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10 Best Boys Running Shoes Tested in-depth

last updated Jan 17, 2019
If you compare your childhood to the one that your kids are having, it becomes clear that today’s children have it much better than we did! Just look at the shoes they have: they are more durable and advanced than ever, there are many options to choose from and there are even shoes that will push their fitness to new levels. The best part is, young ones can have all of this and still have something that looks sleek and fashionable. So, if your son is interested in running, it is highly important to invest in a solid pair of running shoes that will allow him to enjoy his runs, ensure he achieves the proper technique, and motivate him to keep running.

In a Hurry? The test winner after 15 hrs of research

icon
ASICS Gel Contend 4
96.2/100 our score
Fit
98
Comfort
97
Outsole
96
Motion Control
95
Value
95
ASICS Gel Contend 4
Why is it better?

Provides support and stability

Comfortable

Cushioned

Durable

Available in 8 different colors

In a Hurry? Editors choice:
ASICS Gel Contend 4
Test Winner: ASICS Gel Contend 4
Researched Sources
15
Researched Sources
Reviews Considered
2k
Reviews Considered
Hours Researching
15
Hours Researching
Products Evaluated
20
Products Evaluated
Last Updated:
By Sarah Coryell:

Another update for you all! This one brings three new items for our top ten list and they are the New Balance Kids' Arishi Next V1, the Feetmat Running Shoe, and the Airators Boys' Raptor Runner. We hope you find the enjoyable and be sure to check out the FAQs, criteria reviews, and product descriptions for all the need-to-know information to help you make the right choice for your son's next pair of running shoes!

Sorting Options
Fit Comfort Outsole Motion Control Value By Default
Rank
PictureProduct
Name
Rating
Shops
#1
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
96.2
Fit
98%
Comfort
97%
Outsole
96%
Motion Control
95%
Value
95%
Price Comparison Last Updated (25.03.19)
$59.28
#2
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95
Fit
95%
Comfort
98%
Outsole
94%
Motion Control
94%
Value
94%
Price Comparison Last Updated (25.03.19)
$54.99
$109.95
See Deal
#3
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94.4
Fit
96%
Comfort
99%
Outsole
94%
Motion Control
91%
Value
92%
Price Comparison Last Updated (25.03.19)
$43.17
#4
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93.6
Fit
92%
Comfort
94%
Outsole
95%
Motion Control
91%
Value
96%
Price Comparison Last Updated (25.03.19)
$75.59
#5
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88.6
Fit
88%
Comfort
90%
Outsole
87%
Motion Control
94%
Value
84%
Price Comparison Last Updated (25.03.19)
$37.87
#6
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88.4
Fit
89%
Comfort
92%
Outsole
84%
Motion Control
90%
Value
87%
Price Comparison Last Updated (25.03.19)
$42.95
#7
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
87.6
Fit
86%
Comfort
89%
Outsole
87%
Motion Control
89%
Value
87%
Price Comparison Last Updated (25.03.19)
$65.95
#8
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
85.4
Fit
86%
Comfort
83%
Outsole
84%
Motion Control
93%
Value
81%
Price Comparison Last Updated (25.03.19)
$49.99
#9
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
84.6
Fit
88%
Comfort
82%
Outsole
82%
Motion Control
92%
Value
79%
Price Comparison Last Updated (25.03.19)
$20.99
#10
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
83.6
Fit
80%
Comfort
84%
Outsole
84%
Motion Control
89%
Value
81%
Price Comparison Last Updated (25.03.19)
$64.95
In Depth Review Top 10
  • ASICS Gel Contend 4
  • Nike Free 5.0
  • Adidas Performance Hyperfast 2.0
  • New Balance Kids' Arishi Next V1
  • Feetmat Running Shoes
  • Skechers Ipox Rayz Light-Up
  • New Balance KJ890
  • Airators Boys' Raptor Runner
  • Hawkwell Casual Breathable
  • New Balance KJ888V1
Table of contents
  • Criteria Used for Evaluation
  • Other Factors to Consider
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Sources

10 Best Boys Running Shoes

1. ASICS Gel Contend 4

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
96.2
ASICS Gel Contend 4
Fit
98
Comfort
97
Outsole
96
Motion Control
95
Value
95
best offer for today
$59.28
Pros:

Provides support and stability

Comfortable

Cushioned

Durable

Available in 8 different colors

Cons:

Sizes run a bit bigger

These shoes are well loved by many children and offer support, stability, and optimal comfort levels. They are highly durable and come in lots of color options for your kiddo to choose from. The ASICS Gel-Contend 4 is a great option for parents with active kiddos.

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Comfort and Support

These provide optimal cushioning and arch support and will keep you comfortable during your runs. One of the most important aspects of a child's sneaker is the support it provides a growing foot.

Durability and Care

These are highly durable and built to last. They have a removable ComfortDry Sock liner that moisture-wicking, dries quickly, and is easy to wash. This feature is an absolute must for parents whose kids like to play hard and get dirty in the process.

Cost and Value

These are moderately priced and come in several color options for your child to choose from.

2. Nike Free 5.0

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95
Nike Free 5.0
Fit
95
Comfort
98
Outsole
94
Motion Control
94
Value
94
best offer for today
more shops
$54.99
$109.95
See Deal
Pros:

Breathable

Comfortable

Lightweight

Several color options

Durable

Cons:

Sizing runs small

The Nike Free 5.0 is a favorite among many adult runners, so it comes to no surprise that they have landed a spot on this list as well. They are super comfortable, effective, and come in fun color options for your young ones to choose from.

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Comfort

These provide a secure fit and are highly breathable. They provide support and stability that will help your child on his runs.

Durability

These are made of high-quality materials that are built to last will help your child brave those runs. Durability is really what a child needs who likes to play hard all day.

Cost and Value

These come at an average price and we know your son will love them. It is always helpful not to break the bank with pricey children's clothing and footwear.

3. Adidas Performance Hyperfast 2.0

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94.4
Adidas Performance Hyperfast 2.0
Fit
96
Comfort
99
Outsole
94
Motion Control
91
Value
92
best offer for today
$43.17
Pros:

Soft and comfortable.

Lightweight

More durable than other boys' shoes

Cons:

Sole and lace loops aren't very durable

Laces are too short

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. That is a terrific combination: style, and performance, can't go wrong here.

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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. It has a neat, funky design that is eye-catching, to say the least. The color options are also vast, so anyone can find what suits their preferences best. Kids specifically like to have vibrant colors and patterns; these fit that bill.

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. The more comfortable the shoe is, the higher the likelihood your child won't fight you to wear them.

Cost and Value

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.

4. New Balance Kids' Arishi Next V1

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93.6
New Balance Kids' Arishi Next V1
Fit
92
Comfort
94
Outsole
95
Motion Control
91
Value
96
best offer for today
$75.59
Pros:

Boys can grow into these shoes

Soles won't cause scuff marks on your floors

Appealing style for children

Plenty of great colors to choose from

Cons:

Tread can wear away quickly

Toe box could be wider

The New Balance Kids' Arishi Next VI give your young runner everything he needs in his first pair of real running shoes- comfortable insoles, a sturdy outsole, and overall great design. This new model from New Balance continues the brands commitment to providing your child running shoes that will never go out of style for however long your son’s ever-growing feet fits them!

Read more

Durable

New Balance’s specialized design contributes to this shoe’s durability, and the cushioned insole and durable exterior material makes this the perfect shoe for active boys. They are easy to clean and care for, leaving your child more time to enjoy whatever running actives he wishes.

Protective

New Balance Kids' Arishi Next V1 features patented New Balance support and shock absorption technology in its heel. This superior material disperses the force of impact and improve shock absorption for less pain and discomfort, no matter how active your child may be. The laces on this shoe are wide, which helps keep the laces tied. And as an added benefit your son will love, there are many bright and wonderful colors to choose from so getting him to wear these shoes will be no challenge at all!

Cost and Value

For a boy’s shoe, the New Balance Kids' Arishi Next V1 comes with the slightly higher price tag associated with this brand, but you’re definitely getting a high-quality product. For as long as your son is able to fit the shoes, they will serve him well! It is an investment you cannot go wrong with!

5. Feetmat Running Shoes

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88.6
Feetmat Running Shoes
Fit
88
Comfort
90
Outsole
87
Motion Control
94
Value
84
best offer for today
$37.87
Pros:

Comfortable memory foam gel

Decently priced

Allows for plenty of growing space

Good color options available

Cons:

Some reported outsole wear and tear early on

Insole heels tend wear out easily for some boys

Mesh accumulates stains over time

The Feetmat Running Shoe is a example of a quality running shoe that is comfortable, of high-quality contrition, and that has the features your growing boy needs in his running shoes. They are made to hold up to the wear and tear and abuse of rough housing, sports, running, and outdoor play which makes them perfect for growing boys!

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Insole

The insole design you find in the Feetmat Running Shoes is made to support your child’s feet. They help reduce the shock of each impact when running on hard surfaces and help provide optimal control and stability when running on uneven ground. The Feetmat Running Shoe is perfect for growing boys and is designed to protect their feet as they grow.

Breathable

One thing any boy’s shoes are lacking is a focus on breathability. The Feetmat Running Shoe model aims to correct that with improved breathability throughout the shoe so your son’s feet stay comfortable and dry. The construction will keep the airflow through the sneaker to keep your kid's foot protected no matter how long he is active for.

Cost and Value

For the comfort and durability of this shoe, you’re getting a great deal. You also get a wide variety of colors to choose from. The Feetmat Running Shoe is a great investment and is a great way to introduce you boys to the joys of running in a good pair of running shoes!

6. Skechers Ipox Rayz Light-Up

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88.4
 Skechers Ipox Rayz Light-Up
Fit
89
Comfort
92
Outsole
84
Motion Control
90
Value
87
best offer for today
$42.95
Pros:

Comfortable

Provides good arch support

Fun light-up feature

Lightweight yet durable

Cons:

Issues with durability near the toes

These tend to run smaller

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 and Value

This shoe is definitely a moderately priced one. You will find both more expensive and less expensive shoes on this list. The neat light-up feature is also a child-pleaser.

7. New Balance KJ890

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
87.6
New Balance KJ890
Fit
86
Comfort
89
Outsole
87
Motion Control
89
Value
87
best offer for today
$65.95
Pros:

Cool designs for kids

Lightweight

Versatile; can be used for multiple activities

Flexible; allows for natural foot movement

Cons:

Lackluster durability

Shoes tend to run small

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 trainer is made with both synthetic and mesh materials 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 and Value

Similar to the first shoe on this list, the price is a bit higher than you might be used to paying for a boy’s shoe, but the quality will not disappoint.

8. Airators Boys' Raptor Runner

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
85.4
Airators Boys' Raptor Runner
Fit
86
Comfort
83
Outsole
84
Motion Control
93
Value
81
best offer for today
$49.99
Pros:

A comfortable and lightweight shoe

Good level of protection

Decent durability

Cons:

Laces must be securely tied or they come undone

Some users report fast wear of the tread

When you need a quality running shoe for growing boy’s feet, it can be hard to know where to get the best support and value. One answer to this dilemma is the Airators Boys' Raptor Runner shoe. The shoe is great for daily casual wear, playing, sports, and is good for fostering a growing interest in running. They are made to hold up to wear and tear and are great for boys’ fast-growing feet as well as their rough and tumble way of play.

Read more

Durable

The Airators Boys' Raptor Runner model of kids running shoes provides good durability and support for growing feet. The outsole gives flexibility and the upper construction of the shoe allows for air flow to keep your child’s feet cool and comfortable. Th soles are designed to improve shock impact absorption and to protect against injury.

Protective

These running shoes also feature a soft comfortable protective lining, easy to lace design, and are fairly easy to clean and care for. The outsole offers good traction for outdoor and indoor play and the supportive material construction supports the entire foot to protects against excessive strain during running activities.

Cost

The price is average for the Airators Boys' Raptor Runner shoes and many reviewers consider it to be a fair and affordable investment for children running shoes. If your son loves to run then these are a great start shoe to consider.

9. Hawkwell Casual Breathable

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
84.6
Hawkwell Casual Breathable
Fit
88
Comfort
82
Outsole
82
Motion Control
92
Value
79
best offer for today
$20.99
Pros:

Offers a simple and lightweight ride

The simple design of the shoe makes them perfect for daily usage

The shoe has an overall great fit

Cons:

Sizes are larger than advertised

Colors fade over time

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.

Read more

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. They also offer an ideal amount of versatility and functionality for young boys.

10. New Balance KJ888V1

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
83.6
New Balance KJ888V1
Fit
80
Comfort
84
Outsole
84
Motion Control
89
Value
81
best offer for today
$64.95
Pros:

Comfortable and cushioned yet lightweight

Breathable, yet are able to retain heat on cooler days

Perfect for those who have wider feet

Cons:

Laces come untied easily

Disappointing underfoot grip

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. However, for developing feet, it is always a great idea to get the right shoe for your child's growth.

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Fit

The fit is the most important thing to consider, along with comfort. Make sure the shoe provides your son with a secure fir without it being too tight. If it’s too small it causes blisters, compresses the foot too much, and lead to injury and discomfort. If they are too large it can lead to chafing and diminished performance. Take a look at the lacing system and make sure it allows for adjustments and make sure they have enough room in the toe box. Lastly, have your child try them on in the afternoon or after exercise because that is when their feet are at their largest–this is important because their feet will expand during their run.

Comfort

Comfort is important to everyone, and it will be especially difficult for your son to foster a love for running if he is not comfortable. Before making your purchase have your son try them on and run around a bit. As their parent, it’s your responsibility to check how well the shoe fits your child. Make sure you know if the overpronate, how they run, and take into account how much they will be running.

Running is one of the best workouts out there and it is especially easy for little ones to pick up–after all, they already have a ton of energy to burn. Just like adults, kiddos need the right shoe for them. One that provides comfort, support, and stability–so they can perform to the best of their ability and nourish a love for running and physical activity. This is why we took our time when compiling our list of top 10 best running shoes for boys.

Cushioning really depends on your child’s needs. Many will argue children need ample cushioning, while others insist their running shoes should be minimalistic and allow for natural movement. While cushioned shoes allow for shock absorption, increase support, and provide stability, this does not mean every child needs this. Some may need a minimalistic shoe that does not allows for their natural movement. Be sure to consider your child’s anatomy as well as their own personal preference. Talk to them and have them try on as many shoes as possible before making your purchase.

Outsole

When looking at the outsole of the shoe, make sure to consider the terrain your son will be running in. Road trainers have features designed for pavement and trail runners have features that will help you tackle technical terrain that you can’t wear your road shoes for. It’s important to make sure they are durable and effective enough to get through the environment they are in. Good motion control is an important factor that will make your runs more effective and improves your performance. It encourages your foot’s natural movement and they can’t be to stiff to do this. in having a good run.

Foot shape is an important factor to consider because it allows you to find the ideal running shoes. It is specifically important to find the right pair of shoes for your son–and you need to remember they have their very own unique foot shape and type. Make sure to consult an expert at a sporting store to find the right shoe for your little man!

Motion Control

Good motion control is an important factor that will make your runs more effective and improves your performance. It encourages your foot's natural movement and they can't be to stiff to do this.  in having a good run.

Different styles of running, foot anatomy, and personal preference all play a part in support. Take a look at some important factors to consider here.

Pronation: Different degrees of pronation ( overpronation, under pronation and normal pronation) require specific features in their running shoes.

Distance: More support is needed for athletes who run farther and for longer periods of time. This allows for more power, strength, and comfort during your run.

The weight of your child: The heavier you are the more support you need.

Value

Even boy running shoes come at different prices–and more expensive doesn’t always mean better. This factor takes into account the brand, style, features, durability, and effectivity and we weigh it against the overall cost of the shoe to determine its value. Make sure to consider your budget here as well, before making your purchase.

Expert Interviews & Opinions

Most Important Criteria (According to our experts opinion)
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#1
Outsole
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#2
Fit
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#3
Comfort
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#4
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#5
Motion Control
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Leave Some Room To Grow

When picking out a pair of shoes for your boy, don't worry if they have a bit of extra room in them. Just tighten their laces to the point where they stay securely fastened to his feet. As he gets older, his feet are going to grow a bit more and fill out those shoes. In fact, buying a pair of shoes that are a half size larger can save you money since you won't need to replace them so soon.

Safety First

The most important thing when picking a pair of shoes for a young boy is safety. Children are inherently curious and are drawn to new experiences and situations; this can lead them into dangerous environments where visibility is low. To prevent your child from getting injured, look for shoes with reflective elements or lights.

Other Factors to Consider

Weight

This is important, especially if your son is considering racing. Lightweight shoes are best for race days while heavier shoes, such as stability shoes, provide features you need but aren’t the best for speed.

Use

There are different types of shoes to choose from, all of which are designed to fit different needs, running styles, and environments. Once you have figured out what type of racing your child wants to partake in you will be able to pick the right type of running shoes for them.

Drop

This will depend on your son’s anatomy and the type of running they want to do. A zero drop shoes allowed for more natural movement and speed while a higher drop allows for more stability, cushioning and support.

Frequently Asked Questions

q: How often should I replace my son’s running shoes?
a:

While running shoes can last from 300-500 miles, it’s important to replace your child’s more frequently since they may also wear them for daily activities.

q: How should my son’s shoes fit?
a:

Here’s how to make sure that your son’s running shoes fit properly

Wiggle Room – You should have about a thumb’s width of room between the end-tip of your son’s longest foot toe & the front of his running sneakers or shoe.

Hold It – Look for a secure, comfortable fit through the midfoot.

The Heel Deal – There should be little or no slipping at the heel.

q: What is the difference between half a shoe size and the whole shoe size?
a:

Half sizes are commonly made, resulting in an increment of 1⁄6 inch (4.23 mm).

q: How do I figure out my child’s size?
a:

To measure your son’s foot measure the length of their foot and reduce the number by 1/5 of an inch or 5 mm.

Sources

  1. Katie Robertson, Get the Gloss, Website,
  2. Katie Rosenbrock, The Active Times, Website, Mar 31, 2014
  3. Jay Dicharry, Runner's World, Article, Aug 22, 2012
  4. Healthy Children, Healthy Children, Website, Nov 21, 2015
  5. Peter Larson, Run Blogger, Website, Jan 19, 2011
  6. Shelley Boettcher, Active for Life, Website, Jul 29, 2013
  7. Andorra Pediatrics, Andorra Pediatrics, Website,