10 Best Boys Running Shoes Tested in-depth

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Like adults, it’s important that kids run in shoes that are comfortable, and supportive.  Take a look at this list of the 10 best running shoes for boys, to ensure that you’re  providing a well constructed, protective shoe for your active child.

Last Updated: May 5, 2017

We have added a few updates to this buying guide which we hope will be helpful. We did some research and have added a whole bunch of information that may help with finding the right shoes.

In addition, we did some more digging to see what others had for questions or concerns regarding similar products. As a result, we have come up with some frequently asked questions that we think will be helpful as well.

New Balance KJ990 Lace-Up
  • New Balance KJ990 Lace-Up
  • 5 out of 5
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  • Good shock absorption
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New Balance KJ890 Lace-Up
  • New Balance KJ890 Lace-Up
  • 4.5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Lightweight and flexible
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New Balance KJ750
  • New Balance KJ750
  • 4 out of 5
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  • C-Cap midsole
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10 Best Boys Running Shoes

 

1. New Balance KJ990

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The New Balance KJ990 combines the classic look of suede with a sturdy outsole to offer your child a shoe that will never go out of style for the duration of its wear.
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Durable
New Balance’s signature Ndurance rubber sole contributes to this shoe’s durability, and the suede on this shoe can be easily cleaned. This allows your child to be free to partake in any activity that he wishes throughout the day, including running track or climbing trees.

Protective
The KJ990 features New Balance’s Abzorb technology in its heel. This foam polymer material disperse the force of impact especially in the heel and provides good shock absorption. The laces on this shoe are wide, which helps keep the laces tied.

Cost
For a boy’s shoe, this one is more expensive, but you’re definitely getting a high quality product.
Pros
  • Many reviewers state that these shoes work with a boy’s growing feet so that you don’t have to purchase another shoe after a short period of time.
  • Soles are non-marking, meaning no scuff marks on your floors.
  • Your child will love the way this shoe looks.
Cons
  • It’s advised that you look at the size chart carefully before purchasing.
  • Tread can wear away quickly.
  • Some reviewers wished the toe box was wider.

2. New Balance KJ890

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Not to be confused with the KJ990, the New Balance KJ890 is a lightweight and comfortable shoe that’s also has a flexible fit to allow for a greater range of motion.
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Breathable
The upper of this shoe is made with both synthetic and mesh material, and is also seamless. These features combined make this shoe breathable and comfortable to wear.

Secure
This shoe is also made with a padded collar that wraps around the ankle and a tongue that is padded. These features will allow the shoe to feel more secure and provide a better fit on your child’s foot.

Cost
Similar to the first shoe on this list, the price is a big higher than you might be used to paying for a boy’s shoe, but the quality will not disappoint.
Pros
  • Your kid will like the “cool” design options.
  • Lightweight
  • Versatile; can be used for multiple activities
  • Flexible; allows for natural foot movement
Cons
  • Reviewers wished the shoe was more durable, especially for very active kids.
  • Some reviews suggest checking the size chart before purchasing, because these shoes tend to run small
  • The color of this shoe may bleed if hand-washed.

3. New Balance KJ750

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The New Balance KJ750 is a flexible shoe, allowing for natural movement, while still providing good support.
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Midsole
The midsole of the KJ750 is made with C-Cap technology. This keeps the sole of the shoe flexible yet cushioned at the same time, which helps with not only comfort but also provides good shock absorption.

Durable
This shoe features durable synthetic overlays as well as a durable sole. Besides providing durability, both of these features allow the color and design of the shoe to last longer, even when the shoe is used often. Durability is an important feature for any kid's shoe.

Cost
These shoes are are slightly more than a standard kid's sneaker, but less expensive than some of the other shoes that are on this list.
Pros
  • Reviewers state that this shoe is comfortable, even for "pickier" kids.
  • Provides adequate breathability
  • The C-Cap midsole provides excellent cushioning.

 

Cons
  • Stitching on the toe box could be sturdier.
  • Toe box could be wider.
  • A small number of reviews think that the cushioning for this shoe is inadequate.

4. Adidas Performance Hyperfast 2.0

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The Adidas Performance Hyperfast 2.0 combines style with the latest running technology to bring any boy a shoe that is both fashionable and fast.
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Style
This shoe is unique and stylish as it features a breathable knit mesh upper located on the midfoot and heel of the shoe.

Comfortable
This shoe is designed with a textile lining that not only wraps around your child’s foot, but will also provide additional comfort not offered in similar shoes.

Cost
As with most Adidas products, you’re paying for the brand and the quality. That being the case, this shoe is more expensive than many of the others that are featured on this list.
Pros
  • The knit and textile materials are soft and comfortable.
  • Lightweight
  • More durable than other boys' shoes

 

Cons
  • Some reviewers noted that the loops that hold the laces of this shoe  split after only a short period of time.
  • Sole could be more durable.
  • The laces that come with this shoe could be longer so that the shoe would stay tied.

5. Skechers Nitrate

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The Skechers Nitrate kids running sneaker is a comfortable, high quality shoe, constructed with many technological features that will leave your boy ready to run.
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Insole
The insole of the Skechers Nitrate is made with Gel-Infused Memory Foam. This means that not only is gel foam distributed evenly into the insole to provide comfort, but that this type of foam will actually mold to the shape of your boy’s foot over time.

Breathable
The entirety of this shoe is made with a synthetic mesh overlay. This provides great breathability, and also sets this shoe apart in terms of style and durability.

Cost
For the comfort and durability of this shoe, you’re getting a great deal.
Pros
  • A very comfortable shoe due to the gel memory foam
  • Reviewers were happy with the price of the shoe.
  • Tend to run a little big, allowing for some "growing" space
Cons
  • Some reviews wish the outsole had better grip.
  • Some reviewers felt the insole, especially the heel, wore out prematurely.
  • Synthetic mesh is prone to accumulating stains over time.

6. ASICS Gel Contend 3 GS

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For a shoe that will protect your child’s foot and can also be put in the washer, the ASICS Gel Contend 3 GS is a great choice.
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Protective
This shoe is built with a gel cushioning system in the heel. This provides shock absorbancy towards the rear of the shoe. This will protect your child’s foot from the force of impact.

Clean
The removable sockliner that comes with this shoe gives you the of washing it whenever it becomes wet, stained, or otherwise dirty. For a boys running shoe, it doesn’t get much better than that.

Cost
These shoes are moderately priced, and are good quality while still keeping a budget in mind.
Pros
  • Good arch support, especially for kids whose arches need additional support
  • Kids like these shoes so much, parents have bought them multiple times in a row for them.
  • The gel in the heel of this shoe prevents heel pain.
Cons
  • The mesh on the upper of this shoe could be a bit more durable.
  • Tread of this shoe has been known to wear away rather quickly.
  • This pair of shoes tends to run small. Consider ordering at least a half size up.

7. Skechers Ipox Rayz Light-Up

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The Skechers Ipox Rayz Light-Up running sneaker is sure to make your child a point of envy in any elementary classroom. Stylish and adjustable, these shoes exude class and flexibility with every stride.
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Style
The outsole of this shoe is made of a lightweight synthetic material and also lights up every time your child’s foot strikes the ground. With this aesthetic feature, it’s less likely that your child will become bored with the look of this shoe.

Adjustable
This shoe is made with both laces and an adjustable velcro closure. This allows for this shoe to adjustably wrap to fit your child’s foot, regardless of its shape.

Cost
This shoe is definitely a moderately priced one. You will find both more expensive and less expensive shoes on this list.
Pros
  • Comfortable
  • Provide good arch support 
  • Fun light-up feature 
  • Lightweight, yet durable
Cons
  • Some reviewers had issues with the durability of material in the upper toe area.
  • Some reviews state that the lights on the sole stopped working after only a short period of time.
  • The size of these shoes tend to run smaller than advertised. Be sure to refer to Skecher’s sizing chart prior to purchasing

8. Hawkwell Casual Breathable Running Shoe

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The Hawkwell Casual Breathable running shoe is going to appeal to a wide range of boys who are looking for a minimalist yet highly functional shoe.
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Casual
The design of this shoe is versatile, making it perfect to wear to school because it can be used in gym class and at recess.

Protective
This shoe also features Phylon EVA foam in its midsole, which causes this shoe to feel firmer against the ground than other shoes that have been featured on this list.

Cost
This shoe is extremely affordable when compared to other shoes that are on this list.
Pros
  • Offers a simple and lightweight ride for kids
  • The simple design of the shoe makes them perfect for daily use.
  • Fit of shoe is very good.
Cons
  • The sizes for this shoe tend to run larger than advertised.
  • Some consumers wish that there was more rubber on this shoe’s outsole.
  • The color on these shoes may fade, depending on how often they’re used.

 

9. Nike Revolution 2 PSV

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The Nike Revolution 2 PSV are for those kids who need an extra boost of cushioning for additional comfort while running.
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Midsole
The midsole of this shoe is designed with Nike’s Phylon material. It is made with lightweight foam pellets that are compressed into a mold and provide responsiveness. This allows for extra cushioning that is integral to the Nike Revolution 2 PSV.

Flexability
Flex grooves etched into the outsole allow for a flexible range of motion.

Cost
This shoe is lower priced than other ones on the market. These provide a great sense of comfort without sacrificing your budget.
Pros
  • Price of this shoe is good, especially for the Nike brand.
  • Easy for child to put on by himself.
  • Bottom of this shoe has great traction.

 

Cons
  • Quality of the stitching on this shoe could be more durable.
  • These shoes tend to run at least a half size too small.
  • In some cases, the height of the toe can cause child to trip.

 

10. New Balance KJ888V1

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The technology in the New Balance KJ888V1 has been designed with is sure to make your child’s foot feel light and comfortable during his run and throughout the duration of the day.
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Midsole
The midsole of this shoe is designed with an IMEVA foam. IMEVA stands for Injection Molded EVA foam. This type of foam is more expensive to produce than a compression midsole, and promises to provide the shoe with enhanced bounce and responsiveness. Additionally, IMEVA midsoles are typically lighter in weight than ones of the compression molded variety.

Cushion
In addition to the IMEVA midsole, this shoe is also built with the same ABZORB technology that we saw in the KJ990 model of the same brand. This provides even more cushioning than the IMEVA foam on its own.

Cost
This shoe is moderately priced compared to the other shoes on this list.
Pros
  • Comfortable and cushioned yet lightweight
  • Breathable, yet are able to retain heat on cooler days
  • Perfect for kids who have wider feet
Cons
  • Some consumers wish that the laces stayed tied better.
  • The colors that you see in the photos are a bit more vibrant in person.
  • Grip could be better, especially for when used indoors, such as at a gym.

The Criteria We Used When Choosing The Best Boys Running Shoes

Walking and running are some of the most common forms of physical exercises that are easy, natural and require very little knowledge of working out techniques especially for the boy child. That is why maximum comfort not only to a kid’s shoe when they are trying the shoe in the store, but also when running and walking for couples of miles is a priority consideration to many if not all shoe manufactures. It is much recommended that sometimes when purchasing shoes for kids we don’t give too much priority to style, brand or the size and overlook the main aspect of every sporting shoe which is comfortability at all times. It’s also important to understand that different people have different needs when it comes to picking out their running shoes, that’s why a person must clearly understand their needs and make sure they pick the shoes that will be able to satisfy their needs. Other factors to look at when buying your running or walking shoes are: your individual biomechanics, your weight, the surfaces you run on, and obviously, the shape of your feet mean that one person’s ideal shoe could be another person’s nightmare.

The following are considered when picking a boy’s running and walking pair of shoe;

The anatomical basis

Foot shape is an anatomical reality; around which you will inevitably have to orientate your choice of running shoe. Knowing about your foot shape and the consequent rolling is crucial when buying a pair of running shoes.

  • Hind foot: The heel bone can tilt inwards or outwards, where a pronation or over pronation (supination), respectively, can occur.
  • Mid court: The curvature of the mid foot determines how much contact your foot/shoe gets with the floor.
  • Forefoot: The bigger the foot, the wider it gets. That has an effect on running style (more on that later).

Flat, splay or skewed feet can cause injuries, twisted ankles and knees when to a boy wearing unsuitable running and walking shoes. Regular training helps against this, as it strengthens your muscles and improves his performance in general, but it does take time. Time, in which you can support your feet with stable and sufficiently cushioned running and walking shoes.

Style

Everyone wants to go out running while not only wearing comfortable shoes but also shoes that are very stylish. Boy children are not exceptions. Other runners would find the grey running shoes a plus in their running wardrobe. Shoes that easily blend with other colours in a boy running attire. This is a bonus feature as there won’t be a risk a boy looking like a scarecrow wearing shoes. Shoes can be fashion statement on their own

Comfort

Comfort is one of the main features considered when buying shoes and is never overlooked unless there is a very good reason to do so. A boys’ running and walking shoes should be very neutral and don’t offer any excessive amount of control features or cushioning to the feet of the runner. Comfort comes in very handy when you want to achieve your workout goals. Different running shoes serve different types of runners that is why light weight trainers are able to provide ample support to many runners and some have even added a modest amount of posting/ a firmer cushioning in the mid foot section. This helps to control any excessive pronation when running. Before buying any shoes makes sure it’s the most comfortable running shoes for your boy child.

Value

Different shoes cost differently in the market depending on the manufacture or brand, style, purpose or the area of purchase. Boys shoes are relatively costly but then they are a very good investment as a pair of running shoes. Once your child gets a pair that suits your personal needs as a runner you will not be disappointed that you had to spend an extra dollar for the shoes.

Fit

It sounds basic but one of the key features in finding a good running shoe is the fit the boy. The last fitting or upper fit needs to be relatively snug – a running shoe that is too big will allow the foot to shear/slide in the trainer, which will increase the risk of blistering on the foot. Similarly, a trainer that is too small will add compression (squeezing) force on the foot and increase the risk of bone injury. If you get a poor fit what follows are those dreaded toenail problems that result in bleeding or bruising underneath the nail plate.  Though it’s a little challenging to get a 100% fit, the above shoes have been with materials that influences the flexibility of the foot, hence being able to achieve the maximum fit of your feet. A wide fit means greater freedom of movement and a more comfortable feel, a tighter fit means more control. Downhill running for example requires good grip for more control and security, while running uphill requires high stability for an effective impression. Another bonus feature from these running shoes is that they have various lacing technologies for the different specific feet types and sizes hence being able to achieve the maximum fit. Another tip to make sure your running shoes fit properly is to always stretch your toes upwards and push your heel back while doing up your shoelaces.

Cushioning

A good running boy shoe should have ample cushioning to absorb shock. However, there are also advocates who argue in favour of minimalist running shoes that have almost no cushioning. No data exists to say which type of shoe is better, but if you choose a cushioned shoe, look for overall shock absorption for the foot. The mechanics of the cushioning is similar to a spring. It converts the impact energy into heat and therefore reduces the forces acting on your body. And that can be (depending on body weight, speed and route length (i.e. time)) two or three times your own body weight! The cushioning therefore provides not only comfort, but also protects our joints. In this case the sole material also has an influence, since the more resilient it is, the greater the spring effect is.

Apart from that, the type of cushioning is dependent on the type of running you do (and also definitely on the surface: Fast runs (lightweight cushioning), Effective “running to the limit” (moderate cushioning), Long and steady runs (extensive cushioning), and for a particularly soft feeling (maximum cushioning). The grey running shoes have been made with different degrees of cushioning to match the different running needs of different runners.

And with this you also determine additional requirements of your running shoes, just depending on their primary purpose. That includes bearing in mind the typical type of ground you run on, since these also set different requirements for the running shoe: Track running (Shoes targeted specifically for synthetic grounds), Road (Shoes which guarantee reliable safety on hard ground), Uneven ground (Shoes with good traction) and Trail running (Non-slip shoes (even on damp ground))

Outsole

It’s important to consider the type of surface you child runs on and the compatibility of the out sole. You might not have been aware but there are key differences in the type of outsole that is used for road trainers and other terrain suited types. Those of you that have ever run on a surface with the wrong out sole may recall sliding around, which over a prolonged period of time can increase the risk of soft tissue injury. The shoes have the best out sole that is able to handle any type of terrain that you might experience when running, while still maintaining the natural movement of the feet while running. The outsole is also made with lightweight materials hence more fun running.

Motion control

Footwear for boys can often be overly engineered but there are some design features that contribute to reducing the mechanical forces on the foot and lower limb – therefore enhancing your running ability. The concept of bad pronation (the inward roll of the foot when walking or running) highlights how foot position can be a factor in the spectrum of mechanical forces that can eventually lead to lower limb symptoms. A good shoe should be able to allow motion control but to a limited level, it should not in any way hinder the natural movement of the feet while running. That is the shoe should not be too stiff nor too loose, as this affects the protective feature of the shoes.

 

Other Important Factors To Consider

Types of Running Shoes

Different types of running shoes are made to accommodate different types of feet and the different environments that people run in. Once you have determined the type of running your child is going to do and how he will be using his running shoes, then the next step will be to determine the type of shoes that will be able to meet his running needs and will work out best for him as a runner. We have different types of shoes that suit different types of runners depending on the level of running experience and intense of running workout.

Motion Control: For use with over pronators or flat feet where the foot rolls inward excessively. These shoes provide more rigidity to reduce rotation. They have a wider sole and are slightly bulkier.

Stability: For people with normal or medium arches. They use cushioning to absorb shock and prevent injury. Offer some rigidity, but still allow for normal pronation.

Cushioning: For use with runners who have high arches. Since the foot is rigid and does not pronate, cushion shoes help to absorb the shock and reduce pain in the shins and knee joints. The shoes are not rigid in order to promote some pronation.

Trail: Available for all foot types. Have increased grip on the bottom, ankle support, cushioning, and outer protection to protect the feet from the uneven and rough terrain of trail running.

Racing: Available for all foot types. Low profile and lightweight design assist with speed. Have reduced cushioning and are designed for experienced runners.

Not all running shoes are created equal, so it is important that runners select the type of shoes that will best suit their foot type and running needs. Not only will the proper type of shoes be more comfortable, but they will also provide more protection against injury.

The heel-to-toe drop

One feature of running shoes that can be a problem is the heel-to-toe drop. The heel-to-toe drop is the difference in the thickness of the sole between the forefoot and the heel. The bigger it is, the higher the heel. Asics defines the effects as: A low heel-to-toe drop only encourages a faster motion at high speeds for a boy, for example during interval training or competitions. On the other hand, the movement amplitude is magnified in the area of calf muscles/Achilles heel. This makes a dynamic step possible and leads to faster speeds. Additional (technical and technological) selection criteria for running shoes are cushioning and support.

The necessary support

Every running style is unique, which also goes for the phase of ground contact too. Shoe support targets this specific moment with its mix of material and technology and is dependent on a few factors:

  • Length/Distance: You need greater support on longer runs, because muscles lose power after a certain amount of time.
  • Body weight: In general, the heavier a runner is, the greater their shoe support should be.
  • Pronation: A pronounced pronation can be regulated by a higher level of support.

Finding the right running shoes is all about comfort and protection rather than appearances. Shoes that fit runners properly will protect them from injury and also improve their performance by reducing fatigue and lessening the shock of impact. With so many different types of running shoes available, it can be hard for first-time buyers of running shoes to figure out which shoes will work best for them. When it comes to finding the right pair of running shoes, a runner’s foot type is often the main factor that needs to be taken into consideration. After evaluating the runner, himself and determining how the shoes will be used, shoppers can figure out which shoes will best meet their needs and learn how to find the proper size. No matter if the runner is a beginner or experienced, running on the treadmill or running on trails, shoppers will find the pair of running shoes that meets their needs on amazon.

 

FAQ

 

Q. How often should i replace my child’s running shoes?

A. For a boy runner doing daily runs while in school, that comes out to a new pair every five to six months. Though according to some researchers, running shoes should be replaced anywhere from 300 to 500 miles after the first wear. With kids its good to replace their running shoes as often as you can.

Q. How big should my son’s running shoes be?

A. Here’s how to make sure that your boy’s running shoes will fit:

  1. Wiggle Room – You should have about a thumb’s width of room between the end of your longest toe and the front of the shoe.
  2. Hold It – Look for a secure, comfortable fit through the mid foot.
  3. The Heel Deal – There should be little or no slipping at the heel.

 

Q. What is a neutral pronation?

A. An ideal foot-strike is said to be neutral and is characterized by slight inward movement of the ankle-bone during stance (when the foot is in contact with the ground). 20-30% of runners have neutral pronation and are best suited for neutral running shoes. They can also have success wearing mild support shoes.

Q. What is under pronation of the foot?

A. Pronation is the way the foot rolls inward when you walk and run. It is part of the natural movement that helps the lower leg deal with shock. Some people pronate more (over pronation) or less (under pronation) than others.

Q. How much space should be in a child’s shoe?

A. If your finger cannot fit, the shoes are too tight. If your finger has too much room, the shoes are too large. At the other end, your toes should be able to wiggle comfortably. You should be able to fit the width of your thumb in between the tips of your toes and the end of the shoe.

Q. How do i determine the fit of my son’s running shoes?

A. Walk or run around the store a bit to make sure they feel good in action. Use the rule of thumb. There should be about 3/8-1/2 inch between the front of your big toe and the end of the shoe — about a thumb’s width. The heel should fit relatively tightly; your heel should not slip out when you walk.

Q. How big should my child’s running shoes be?

A. Feet swell and lengthen over a run, so make sure there’s a thumb’s width of space between your longest toe (which isn’t always the big toe) and the end of a shoe. A friend or shoe fitter can measure this while you stand with your shoes laced up.

Q. What is the difference between half a shoe size?

A. Half sizes are commonly made, resulting in an increment of 16 inch (4.23 mm). This measure is the basis for current U.K. and U.S. shoe sizes, with the largest shoe size taken as twelve inches (a size 12) and then counting backwards in barley corn units.

Q. How is a child foot size is measured?

A. Foot length: To find your child foot length, measure the distance between the two longest points on his tracing. Reduce this number by 5 mm, or 1/5-inch. The result is his foot length and the number you will use to determine his shoe size.

Q. What does the acronym Asics stand for?

A. ASICS is a Japanese athletic equipment company which produces footwear and sports equipment designed for a wide range of sports, generally in the upper price range. The name is an acronym for the Latin phrase anima sana in corpore sano which translates as a healthy mind in a healthy body.

 

This list has looked at the ten best running shoes for boys.  It is worth noting that when considering the best boys shoes, we kept in mind the unique size of a younger foot including the fact that kids tend to have wider feet than adults.


 

Here are some sources we used while conducting our research:

Sources

  1. Get the gloss, 5 factors to consider when buying running trainers, Lifestyle Website,
  2. Keller Sports, Six factors which influence the choice of your next running shoe, Sporting Website,
  3. Running Technique Coach, Choosing the right running shoes, Running Website, Sporting Website,
  4. The active times, How to Choose the Right Running Shoes, Lifestyle Website,
  5. Runner's World, Shoes For Small Fry, Online Running Publication, Aug 22, 2012
  6. Healthy Children.org, Flat Feet and Fallen Arches, Pediatric informational website, Nov 21, 2015
  7. Run Bloger, Proper Shoes for Kids: Thoughts From a Family Doctor, Running Blog,
  8. Active For Life, How to buy running shoes for your kids, Consumer Website,
  9. Andorra Pediatrics, Over-Pronation: When Is It Abnormal?, Pediatric Website,
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