The Best Running Shoes For Kids Reviewed

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Searching for Kids Running Shoes? Take a look at the top rated shoes of 2018, Pros & Cons and what to be aware of before buying them in a store!

Choosing the right running shoe is one of the most important parts of running – as an adult. Even more importantly, we must find the correct running shoe for our children. They’re bodies are young and the last thing we want is for them to get injured because of ill-fitting shoes. Kids tend to have a very intense interest in sports and physical activity when in school. Developing those skills within your child requires proper sporting gear and accessories to ensure they continue enjoying their sporting activity.

If you desire your child to be an excellent runner, you must find the perfect kind of shoe. The right shoe is just as important as taking care of the rest of your bones, joints, and muscles. To make sure you do not neglect proper research, read this article of our top ten choices on running shoes for kids!

Last Updated: December 7, 2017
By Kelly Siedhof:

We have one major update in this article: the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 34! It is an updated version of the Pegasus 33. Nike has gone in the correct direction yet again with this shoe to make a comfortable and protective shoe for nearly any child. Take a look at the rest of our list and see what shoes would work for your kids!

ASICS Pre Contend 3 PS
  • ASICS Pre Contend 3 PS
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Reinforced Stitched Toe Cap
  • Price: See Here
New Balance KVRUSV2
  • New Balance KVRUSV2
  • 4.7 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Rapid Rebound Midsole
  • Price: See Here
New Balance KV888V1
  • New Balance KV888V1
  • 4.5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Synthetic Sole + Imeva Midsole
  • Price: See Here

There are vast amounts of running shoes on the market; nevertheless, it is a parent’s job to get the best product for their kid(s). In this buying guide, we review and examine the best youth running shoes. These running shoes have been tested and proven to be the leading lights among their peers in the market place.

10 Best Kids Running Shoes


ASICS Pre Contend 3 PS

ASICS is Latinized acronym that connotes “A Sound Mind in a Sound Body. It was on this premise that the company rolled out products designed to promote sound health and fitness. In other words, their products focus on creating harmony between body and soul. Let's get into why the Asics Pre Contend lives up to their name and quality, and why they took the top most position for childrens running shoes
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The biggest selling point of the Pre Contend 3 PS was the sole. It is the rubber that distinguishes them from the many companies that focus on the use of foam soles. Foam soles are known to wear out within weeks and are also slippery. Asics’s Pre Contend 3 sole is real rubber, nice and sticky so you wont have to worry about the kids injuring themselves by falling.

Comfort/Stability
The color and style are well made. The ability of ASICS kids’ running shoes to hold up to the daily abuse of Elementary School and related activity made it a winner any day any time. There is no fraying, no tears, and noticeable sign of wear. They are easy to put on and take off -no tying of laces

Durability/ Quality
ASICS has a removable and durable insole for easy cleaning. It is durable with decent price and above all great quality.

Cost & Value
It is an awesome shoe at a great value!
Pros
  • Lightweight and breathable fabric
  • Excellently constructed
  • Correct Fit and support
  • Removable and durable insole for easier cleaning
  • Stylish and fashionable
  • More convenience because of Velcro
Cons
  • Some had issues with threading after heavy use


New Balance KVRUSV2

New Balance KVRUSV2 Pre Running is an excellent shoe produced with high quality materials to give comfort and ease for the youth & even toddlers. It is designed having the kids as the fulcrum of concern. And no wonder this running shoe has been awesome!
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Importance
New Balance is dedicated to helping athletes achieve their goals. It's been their mission for more than a century. It's why they don't spend money on celebrity endorsements. They spend it on research and development. It's why they don't design products to fit an image. They design them to fit. New Balance is driven to make the finest shoes for the same reason athletes lace them up: to achieve the very best.

Comfort/Stability
These super light weight shoes are so simple to wear and take off because of the one piece Velcro closure. The manufacture is superb, typical of most NB shoes. This is a truly handy and comfortable pair of shoes.

Durability and Quality
The Closure has a large surface area, thus the shoes are very secure when worn. The uppers are very breathable and provide exceptional air circulation during wear.

Cost and Value
It is a great bargain and wonderful shoe!
Pros
  • The color is so adoring and fit!
  • They are comfortable all day long
Cons
  • The shoe is not widely available at many retailers.

Mizuno Wave Inspire 12

Mizuno Wave Inspire 12
As always, Mizuno tries to bring some updates with every version and the Wave Inspire 12 does not disappoint. The Wave Inspire 12 comes with some new elements, such as an improved upper and with some patented elements such as the Wave technology. There are added changes to the midsole also. These changes have impacted the overall weight of the sneaker, which now weighs 51 grams more than the previous version. On the upside, the shoe feels solid. With good comfort levels, it seems the shoe could handle longer distances with ease.
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Comfort
Judging by the increased breathability of the shoe, there can only be more comfort. The comfort recommends it for long runs and intense training. But it also brings up a new category of buyers looking for a casual shoe for daily use. Prefect if your kid is involved in daily sporting activities in school, they also can be used for daily wear which makes it convenient. He/she can just wear the shoes on their way home after training in school.
Style
The shoe doesn`t make a visual impact in terms of style. The only exception is the Wave plate. In terms of functionality, the plate will collect dust or other particles over time and will considerably reduce the look of the shoe.

The outsole color matches the color on top of the tongue or insole for a simple symmetry. The Mizuno logo is present classically present on the outer side of the midfoot and on the heel. The stitching of the overlay is not highly refined and the breathable Air mesh looks fragile.
Overall, the style of the shoe is lacking refinement and for runners looking for the most stylish option this might not be the best thing to hear. If you don`t care much about the look, you are going to enjoy the shoe.
Price
This is the most amazing part of the shoe: the price. If you are lucky, you can get a pair at as low as $50. That`s right, all those great, unique technologies have an affordable price. This is really one of the few options that pack great technologies at a lower price and places them perfectly for new runners or as backups for advanced runners.
Pros

Excellent for daily training.

Superb breathability

Improved cushioning with anti microbial features

Increased sole durability.

Uric Technology adds ground contact

Pronation and foot arch support

Cons

Heavier than previous model

Narrower in the foot area

New Balance KJ890

New Balance KJ890
It tops the list of the best running shoes for kids from New Balance. Though 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

Mazing cool designs for kids

Lightweight

Versatile can be used for on different sporting activities

Flexible

Cons

Not durable

Asics Cumulus 18 GS

Asics Cumulus 18 GS
The Cumulus 18 GS from Asics is a running sneaker built for long distances. The cushioning absorbs strenuous impact on the heel and forefoot. Classic Asics FluidRide guides the foot from strike to lift off. Mesh upper keeps feet dry and breathable no matter how long the shoe is worn.
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Style & Design
Unique and very comfortable. The system of the shoe is designed with a line from the heel to the toe. The lines offer guidance of gait movement when running. Apart from that the insole of the shoe is removable. Very flexible to the feet and has no stiffness irrespective of the running surface.

Comfortability
Extra cushioning is offered by the sock liner (ComforDry) and has anti-odor features keeping the feet fresh always. The shock impact when running is absorbed by the heel gel and the forefoot.

Price
Good value for money.
Pros

Ample cushioning.

Built for long distances and durations.

Breathable mesh upper.

Rubber sole enhances durability.

Cons

Tight toe box.

Adidas Kanadia 8 K

Adidas Kanadia 8 K
The Adidas Kanadia 8 is a world-renowned running shoe built for off road running with breathability and comfort. This is a top girls running shoe for all trail surfaces. The strong grip is perfect for wet runs. Also being praised for its resilience on the terrain and durability.
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Style
With its non-marking outsole, this shoe make is suitable for indoor use too. With its lightweight and long lasting build, the Kanadia 8 is the perfect choice for mud, road or indoors. It is also good for hikes as it provides a breathable and supportive environment.

Comfort
The multi directional lugs on the traxion outsole gives runners complete control, even on uneven surfaces.

Value
Good value, especially for a trail shoe
Pros

Fun color options

Made from high quality materials

Great fit provided by the external heel counter

Good for training and racing

Cons

A little costly

Not suitable for intense trail running

Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 34

Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 34
The new 34 edition of the Pegasus has proven yet again to be an excellent choice for kids running shoes. The shoe features an air pocket in the sole of the shoe to increase the cushioning and the protection from heavy impact. As a versatile shoe with Nike's tried-and-true build, the Pegasus 34 is a great choice for kids.
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Style & Design
The Pegasus 34 comes in a variety of colors for both boys and girls. The simple, sleek design is gentle on the eye. The upper structure consists of flexible material with only one seam behind the heel to make a lightweight shoe. The heel of the upper provides supportive structure with a few reflective stripes for safety. Kids can wear these shoes for a short sprint or a long race and still enjoy the comfort of everyday wear.

Comfortability
The Pegasus 34 features the well-known pods along the medial side of the sole with the crash pad along the lateral side of the sole. These features aid in strike and liftoff while running by reducing shock to the foot. The tread of the shoe is versatile for indoors and the treadmill to outdoors and trails. With this combination of features, kids are sure to run freely without getting hurt and having endless fun.

Price
The Pegasus 34 comes with a reasonable price tag.
Pros

Air pocket in the sole for added comfort and support.

Color choices in a simple and sleek design.

Supportive structure in the heel.

Versatile for indoor/outdoor and short distance/long distance.

Pods and crash pad on the sole for support and protection.

 

Cons

A little heavier

Brooks PureFlow 4

Brooks PureFlow 4
The PureFlow still tops the list of softest trainers that have been produced by the Pure company, the trainer has proven to offer dual purpose features to athletes who are neutral runners.
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Style & Design
The trainers offer a good bounce, which this makes the shoes' transition (midfoot to the forefront) to be smooth and easy. Another unique feature of the trainer is the structure of the outsole, which has a interconnected pod design. This provides the shoe with a rolling transition that is natural. The natural transitions are rather quick for this type of sneaker considering its weight. The toe has a split, which enhances the natural transition, this is because the toes have freedom to splay.

Comfortability
This running sneaker offers great comfort for day to day training. It also has amazing responsiveness for running in fast speed. The sneaker also has features that enable it to survive and offer comfort to the runner during long runs.

Price
The shoe has a good value, averagely better for many quality trainers.
Pros

Great cushioning offers a natural running gait

Works well at high speeds

Alteractions on the shoe's toe box have enabled more freedom and room.

Lace up design provides a good fit

Cons

Thick laces (elastic in nature) are difficult to maintain tied up

Not durable

Asics GT 1000-5 GS

Asics GT 1000-5 GS
The Junior Asics GT 1000-5 is a treat for the beginner to experienced runner. That’s why they are the best running shoes for your kids. The GT 1000-5 is flexible and breathable. The shoes are fun for running. The shoe has not changed drastically. For the 5th year in a row, the Asics GT 1000–5 is a great go-to. It looks like they have updated even more of their technology to make the shoe lighter, all the while keeping the price reasonable. Apart from that the shoes come in a variety of colors so that your kid has more colors to pick from. They are also comfortable and have amazing cushioning ability for the young ones’ feet.
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Style & Design
In a variety of fun colors, kids are sure to find a pair they will love. The breathable mesh upper will allow kids to run and play sports for hours a day and keep their feet fresh. The reinforced stitched toe cap keeps little toes safe and secure from bumps and bruises.

Comfortability
The rearfoot gel cushioning system absorbs shock during impact and allows smooth transition into midstance. The DuoMax support system enhances support and stability. The trusstic system technology reduces the weight of the sole unit while retaining the structural integrity of the shoe.

Price
Very affordable and worthwhile shoe under $75.
Pros

Very breathable

Lightweight

True to size

Fun colors

Shock absorbtion

Cons

Durability issues

Saucony Cohesion 8

Saucony Cohesion 8
With the Saucony Cohesion 8, he upper portion of the sneaker has been redesigned for increased durability and breathability. Highly breathable mesh allows air flow in the shoe while leather makes for better support. Even in hot weather these shoes will be an ideal choice for kids.
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Style
The HRC Strobel Board supports the feet by providing more cushioning. The breathable mesh is anti-bacterial and prevents sweats and smells from permeating through the shoes.

Comfort
The Non-Visible Grip System on the heel section provides more cushioning to the heel. The improved cushioning and shock absorption protect you from impact and prevents injuries to ankles. This is a practical running shoe with thoughtful features. It is suitable for indoor running too.

Value
Good value for a solid running shoe
Pros

Improved quality by the new features and technology

Affordable

Good for neutral runners

Available for different types of feet

Lightweight materials

Very breathable

Cons

Poor cushioning in the forefoot area

Inadequate flexibility due to stiffness present in the shoe


The Criteria Used When Evaluating The Best Children’s Running Shoes

We don’t just blindly grab a few pairs of youth running shoes, and say here you go. We take our time and carry out comprehensive research of the different types of  running shoes for children being sold in the market. After that we look at the running shoes and see how effective they are in terms of making sure that they are bale to offer maximum comfort to your child. There are some metrics which we pick apart to decide whether a product is worthy or not of a mention on the list. Whether you are searching for boys running shoes or running shoes for girls, pretty much the same factors apply.

Below there are detailed explanations of the metrics we used when checking  these running shoes. The below metrics play very important roles in picking the best options for you.

How efficient is the running shoe in terms of breathability?

Kid’s feet sweat just like adult’s, and the uncomfortable affects will be the same. The best options would be to go for shoes that  have uppers with breathable construction.  Make sure you search for the lightweight materials like the mesh, the breathable synthetics or any other fabrics which will allow adequate airflow to help keep the feet cool and dry.

breathability

Children are susceptible to many of the same issues caused by footwear that retains heat and moisture that we are. We tend to often forget this, because we don’t see them sweating as much as adults do.

Do the shoes provide enough Protection?

They get into everything. Their footwear should be able to protect their feet from rocks, uneven terrain and hard surfaces. Chances are that whatever shoes you put on your kid’s feet will be used for just about everything that they do outside, including climbing, running, jumping, and even trekking through mud, dirt and rocks.

protection-front

It’s best to send them out prepared. Keeping that in mind when shopping for toddler & kid running shoes could save you some worries later on.

protection-bottom

This doesn’t mean that you need to put some kind of armored, mine resistant footwear on their feet. It really means that you may want to look for things like reinforced toes, durable and protective outsole, and also a supportive upper fit that keeps the their feet secure to prevent injuries from issues like unnecessary sprains.

Does the shoes offer any flexibility, and if yes, is it enough for the feet?

Their shoes should allow as much natural motion as possible, while providing adequate support. Although you don’t want to put a loose, floppy pair of runners on them, their footwear should have enough flexibility to allow as much natural motion as possible.

Unless there is specific reason why the foot must restricted or even immobilized, let them move the way they are supposed to.  Lacking the ability of natural movement, balance and possibly even development may be affected in some way.

10th_regional_support_group_supports_americas_armed_forces_kids_run_130518-a-yy695-001

Maybe you won’t want to put something like a barefoot runner on there feet, but they definitely need a pair that is flexible enough for the activities they’re into.

Are the shoes too high, or too low of a profile?

You will want to find something lower profile, with a “closer to the ground” design. This will allow better and more natural balance when running and climbing, which kids do a ton of. Super thick and high profile soles are something that you will probably want to stay away from. Aside from making it more difficult to get their balance, those attributes could present a situation where they may be more apt to injuries like sprained, twisted or rolled ankles, especially if there is already an issue present such as pronation.

When looking at the sole of the trainers, is it too thin or is it too thick?

You don’t want a sole that is too thick to have positive ground contact. Think thin, but supportive. This kind of adds onto what we mentioned above with looking for a sole thickness that does not produce a high profile design.

sole-thickness

With that being said, you’ll also want them to have plenty of cushioning and support to comfortably and safely see them through any activities in which your kids are involved. This part really doesn’t differ too much from what you would think about when purchasing a pair of running shoes for yourself.

Children’s shoes, these days, have many of the same features and technologies used in creating their soles as adult models do. The key is to think about what your child will be involved in when wearing the shoes.

Do the toes have enough room to move around or wriggle around?

For the foot to naturally arch, the toes need to spread enough to provide adequate support. The toe box needs to allow enough room for that to happen. Just like footwear that is too tight in the toes is uncomfortable for you, it’s the same for kids as well.

In fact, depending on their age, they may need the wiggle room for their toes a bit more, as their balance is still developing.

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When your child is running around the house barefoot, watch their feet as they run, jump and play. You will see how they spread their toes when in different positions to adjust their balance appropriately.

Like adults, when their toes are constricted, not only is it uncomfortable, but they also lose some of that balance. So, they’ll definitely need to have the necessary amount of toe space to comfortably run and play.

How durable are they?

Let’s face it, kids are rough on things. Their footwear is no exception. The materials used in their shoes need to hold up to everything that they will throw at them. This is probably a no brainer for most parents, but it is still worth mentioning, as it is an important aspect that we looked at.

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Sometimes, at first thought, it might seem practical to buy a lower priced pair, since kids do tend to be pretty rough on their stuff. But, if you give a second thought, it may make more sense to buy higher quality footwear, which will stand up to everyday use, but also provide good support that will last.


Other Additional Factors To have in mind When picking out The Best Running Shoes For your Kids

Sometimes the little things can get overlooked when we are not actually trying on, or buying the shoes for yourself. But, it really doesn’t have to be said that we want to make sure that any footwear we put on our kids should be the best possible fit and function for them.

For that reason, we want to take a little extra time to offer a few things to have in mind as you  shop around.  Although their feet, just like their body is still developing, they may already foot types or conditions which require specific footwear.

And depending on the age, you may find yourself in a battle with you kid over function vs style, especially with the older ones. There are plenty of good compromises out there, but in the end, function should get more consideration. Some things to consider should include age of the child, activities the kid is involved in and any type of existing foot condition.

When it comes to age, you’ll want to think about whether your child is entering a growth spurt. That will mean that you may need to buy more than one size, or simply wait a bit longer.

Your kids, at the younger ages, will most likely be more attracted to the choices with blinking lights, characters and super heroes on them. But, in most cases, you’ll have to sell them on a pair which is the most suitable. While sometimes the universe aligns and the best option has those things, but we all know as parents that it doesn’t always work like that.

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  • Sizing

Among the crucial  first things that you’ll want to think about is the sizing. Children’s feet grow pretty fast in most cases, so you will definitely want to keep that in mind while shopping around.

childrens-shoes-700069_1920

Also, similar to adult footwear, different brands tend to vary in there sizes a bit. Although this seems to be more apparent with children’s shoes. Don’t take anyone’s word for it, It is best to actually try the shoes on to be sure of the fit.

Children don’t always tell you if there shoes don’t fit perfectly, and a pair too big can be just as bad as a pair that is too small.

 

  • Everyone’s feet are different

feet-1439382_1920

 

Since they probably aren’t going to do this themselves, it is important to match he footwear with the child’s particular foot type. You should be sure to know if they have higher arches or flat feet. Consider issues such as overpronation and underpronation. You can read a great article which better explains pronation in children here.

best-running-shoes-for-overpronation

Although a child’s feet are still developing, they could fall into  these categories which required a bit more attention when it comes to finding the proper footwear.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that a kid’s shoe has to be full of thick cushioning. It really means that the individual’s foot type needs to be considered. Since their feet are still developing, you won’t want to put them in something which will remove the feeling of ground contact.

The goal should be to find a pair which appropriately fits and supports their feet.

 

  •  How old is your child?

This actually matters when trying to figure out how often you’ll be buying new shoes. After some research, we found what we already had an idea of, that children’s feet typically grow in spurts, similar to their physical height.

Although each boy and girl is different, on average, most kids will start outgrowing a pair of shoes in several months. Their feet will grow much faster when they are younger, then slowing down just slightly around ages 3 or 4.

This obviously isn’t where the growing stops. However it seems that after age 5 or 6, the average rate of the need for new shoes stretches out to about every six months or so. That is another reason why it is so tempting to just go for the cheapest option. However, it’s really important to get them the best fit and support possible, even for the short amount of time they will be spending in those shoes.

 

  • Style is great, but…

We all want to make our kids happy, so when they get excited about a pair of shoes because their friends have the same ones, or they are made by the currently most popular brand, it is tempting to oblige them and give them what they want.

The priority should be function over fashion. While you might get lucky and find that the pair your kid really wants is an ideal fit for their feet, sometimes style has to come second to what is really best.

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Do your research. Many popular brands and models for adults also have versions made for kids.

FAQ

Here are some frequently asked questions that may get you thinking about a few of your own. this is some of what other parents are asking when looking for the best pair for their kids.

Q:  If children’s feet grow fast, should I just buy a slightly larger size?

A:  Just like with adults, the proper fit of a shoe is important to comfort, support and also the prevention of things like blisters from unnecessary movement inside the shoe. It is really best to get the appropriate size which fits the feet at that particular time. Although it seems that their feet grow really fast, it isn’t like you’ll have to replace the shoe in a few weeks.

Q:  I don’t want to make the wrong choice and buy shoes for my kid which may not be the absolute best, causing foot problems in the future. Is the safest option to just go with the more expensive brands?

A:  While price can often reflect the quality of particular footwear, it doesn’t necessarily meant that a more expensive brand or model is a general “best bet” for everyone, especially the growing feet of children. I probably isn’t the best idea to base a decision on only one or two aspects of a particular running shoe. Take all of the important points into consideration.

Q:  How do I know if my child pronates, and whether it is underproantion or overpronation?

A:  The signs and symptoms are pretty much the same as what adults experience. Basically put, the foot will either roll inward or outward. An excess of either one can cause issues, just as it would with an adult. Here is a great article that better describes pronation, and another which relates it to children.

Q:  If my kid overpronates, has high arches or flat feet, are there orthotics available for children which can help with these things?

A:  The simple answer is yes. There are insoles that one can purchase to help with these issues, but of course it is important to precisely know what your child needs, in order to get the right one. There are some really good brands that make child Prolab Orthotics, Footminders, Arch Angels and Powerkids by Powerstep. There are really quite a few options out there, so finding the right one should be fairly easy if you know what you need.

 

There is our method of finding the best possible footwear for children. It is important to keep all of these different points in mind, especially for kids who have feet which may need a little extra attention.

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We really hope you find the information in this guide useful to your search, and remember that all feet are different. So, finding the right pair of runners for your kids is just as important of a process as it is when shopping for adult feet.


Here are the sources we utilized in carrying out our research:

We utilize many different resources while trying to provide the best information to our readers. Some are clinical sources, some are brand specs provided by manufacturers, and some sources are even other sites which may specialize in particular information which is relative to our subject.

Sources

  1. Runners World, Shoes For Small Fry, Online Running Publication, Aug 22, 2012
  2. Foot & Ankle Center of Washington, Best Children’s OTC Orthotics, Online Clinical Information,
  3. Andorra Pediatrics, Over-Pronation: When Is It Abnormal?, Pediatrician,
  4. Powerstep Insoles, Powerkids Insoles Insole For Children, Manufacturer of Orthotic Insoles,
  5. Arch Angels, Children's Comfort Insoles, Manufacturer of Orthotic Insoles,
  6. Footminders, Footminders KIDS Orthotics, Manufacturer of Orthotic Insoles,
  7. Prolab Orthotics, Kiddythotics Insoles, Manufacturer of Orthotic Insoles,
  8. Healthy Children.org, Flat Feet and Fallen Arches, Pediatric informational website, Nov 21, 2015
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