Clothing, Sock, and Shoe Advice for AFO Wearers

Posted by Shannon on Apr 1st 2024

APRIL 2, 2024

Advice for Choosing the Right Shoes, Socks, and Clothes for People Who Wear AFO Braces

An ankle, foot orthosis, known as an AFO, is a custom-made brace used to support muscles, immobilize joints, or correct the position of the foot and ankle. An AFO brace can be made of a variety of materials, including metal, thermoplastic, or carbon fiber.

Man sitting in chair putting on SmartKnit AFO sock

The tips below will help navigate wearing an AFO.

Choosing the Right Shoe

The key to the right shoe for an AFO brace is making sure you have enough space in your shoe to accommodate your foot and the AFO brace. There are many ways to do this. The most obvious is buying shoes a size up for your actual shoe size. This will give you extra length. Another way to achieve extra space is buying shoes that feature a removable insole. Removing the insole gives you more depth space. Wide width shoes will give additional width space to accommodate the brace.

Another great piece of advice for AFO wearers is to try a singles program. Many shoe companies have a program that allows customers to purchase matching shoes in two different sizes. This is especially useful for people who wear a brace on only one leg.

Person shopping for shoes in store

Choosing the Right Sock

The right sock is just as important as the right shoe. AFO braces are worn snug against the leg. This creates an environment where the rigid brace can rub and irritate the skin. A good interface sock will protect the skin from rubbing and irritation. Not just any sock will do. There are several factors that make a sock a perfect interface or AFOs.

First, the length of the sock is important. The most comfortable way to wear the sock-brace combo is folded the sock over the top of the brace. Therefore, youll need a sock that is long enough to cover the top of the brace. Second, you will want a sock with a snug fit. If the socks are too loose, they can slide down the leg and bunch between the leg and the brace, causing more points of irritation. Third, you don’t want socks that introduce any other points of irritation, such as a ribbed texture or an uncomfortable toe seam. These features create pressure points that form blisters on the skin. Finally, you will want to make sure your socks are moisture-wicking. Keeping the feet dry further protects them from irritation.

SmartKnit AFO Socks were developed keeping all these key factors in mind. They are knitted using a process that mimics a caterpillar spinning a cocoon, from the toe up in a circular pattern. This eliminates the need to sew the toe together making a perfectly seamless sock. They are also made with super soft, moisture-wicking and stretchy fibers allowing the socks to fit snug against the skin and keep the skin dry. A detailed quality department ensures the specified lengths are accurate.

Girl laying on couch while wearing Core-Spun Patterned AFO Socks

Choosing the Right Clothes

The right clothes, while important, are not as critical as the right shoes and socks. The most important thing to remember is to make sure that you can comfortably wear your AFO with whatever clothes you choose. Wide leg pants are a good choice, as they can easily slide over the AFO brace. Avoid wearing anything too loose or bulky under the brace since it can cause additional rubbing, just like the wrong socks.

People hiking in woods

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This is only general information and is not meant for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical conditions. Always consult your physician or other health care provider about all health concerns, conditions, and recommended treatments.