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How to Shop for Shoes for AFO Braces

Posted by:

Johannes Sauer

Published at: July 09, 2024

Table of Contents
  1. What are AFO Braces?

    1. Types of AFO Braces

  2. Common Conditions That Require AFO Braces

    1. Foot Drop

    2. Stroke

    3. Cerebral Palsy

  3. Key Features in Shoes for AFO Braces

  4. Trying on Shoes with AFO Braces

    1. Bring AFO Braces When Shopping

    2. Wear Appropriate Socks

    3. Walk Around to Test Shoes

  5. Where to Buy Shoes for AFO Braces

If you have a difficult time walking because of a health condition such as foot drop, your doctor may recommend you wear an AFO brace. You will wear this type of brace when you are walking around, including when you are out and about. But how do you find shoes that will fit while you are wearing a brace?

In this post, you will learn what an AFO brace is, the different types, and how you can choose shoes for AFO braces.

What are AFO Braces?

AFO stands for “ankle-foot orthosis.” You may wear an AFO brace if you are experiencing a condition that causes instability in your feet or lower legs. That instability could be tied to muscle weakness, nerve damage, or both.

Types of AFO Braces

Here are some of the different kinds of AFO braces:

  • Ground reaction AFO
  • Leafspring AFO
  • Solid ankle AFO
  • Jointed ankle AFO
  • Propulsion AFO
  • Posterior dynamic element AFO

The specific type of AFO you will wear depends on your individual condition, and on the type of support you require while you are walking. 
For example, if you have a difficult time lifting your feet while walking, you may wear a leafspring AFO. If you have a difficult time keeping your ankle at the right angle, you might wear a solid ankle AFO.

Common Conditions That Require AFO Braces

Let’s go over some conditions that might result in your doctor recommending you wear an AFO brace as part of your treatment.

Foot Drop

Foot drop is a condition where you cannot fully lift the front parts of your feet while walking. This condition produces an unhealthy gait. Wearing an AFO brace can help keep the feet in the right position so they do not slap down unnaturally.


It is common to experience foot drop after stroke. So, patients who have had a stroke may also end up requiring an AFO brace.

Cerebral Palsy

Patients experiencing foot drop in connection with cerebral palsy often need to wear an AFO brace.

Key Features in Shoes for AFO Braces

Here are some important features to look for when you are choosing a shoe for your AFO brace.

  • Deep toe box: This feature minimizes pressure and gives toes room to move comfortably.
  • Sole flexibility: Both the AFO and the shoe should have a flexible sole, as this enables the ankle joint to flex properly. 
  • Lightweight materials: You are already walking with the weight of the brace; choose a shoe that is lightweight to minimize any additional weight and reduce fatigue.

Trying on Shoes with AFO Braces

Jul 9, 2024

Getting the right fit with an AFO brace is important, but it can be a bit challenging. Do not just buy your standard shoe size. Try on some pairs to determine the right size with a brace.

Bring AFO Braces When Shopping

Try on shoes with your AFO brace on.

Wear Appropriate Socks

Wear the socks you would normally wear when you are wearing the shoes you are buying.

Walk Around to Test Shoes

Walk around inside the shop a bit to make sure the shoes are fitting well and facilitating comfortable, natural steps.

Where to Buy Shoes for AFO Braces

We have discussed the benefits of shoes for AFO braces. But where can you get them? We recommend the Cadense Original Adaptive Shoe. These shoes are AFO-compatible. Their patented variable friction technology also makes them ideal for walking with foot drop with conditions like cerebral palsy, MS and others.



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Why is it important to find the right shoes for AFO braces?

If you do not have shoes that are compatible with your AFO brace, your footwear will not fit properly. This could lead to discomfort or worsen an unnatural gait, which would be counterproductive. Shoes that are compatible allow you to wear your brace comfortably and improve your gait.

Can I wear fashionable shoes with AFO braces?

Yes. You can wear fashionable shoes with AFO braces. You just need to find some footwear that was designed to accommodate your brace while also being stylish. We recommend Cadense Original Adaptive Shoes.

How can I care for my shoes and AFO braces?

Wipe down the brace with water and gentle soap now and again. If you need to disinfect, you can use rubbing alcohol. Care for the shoes as you do any others.

Posted by: Johannes Sauer

Johannes is the CEO and Co-Founder of Cadense and passionate about helping people with walking difficulties. Johannes is the CEO and Co-Founder of Cadense and passionate about helping people with walking difficulties. He was immediately drawn to the mission of the company because his cousin lost his lower leg in a tragic motorcycle accident a few years ago and is experiencing walking difficulties ever since. Johannes brings over a decade of experience in working for consumer product companies to Cadense. He holds an MBA from the University of Graz in Austria. Johannes lives with his family in Santa Barbara, CA.

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