The Best Running Shoes For Kids Reviewed
Choosing a shoe for yourself isn’t too hard. Complicated, sure, but in the end, you know what feels right and what doesn’t and how to make the choice. Purchasing running shoes for other people is far more complicated. You can’t feel what they are feeling so its a lot of guesswork. Communication makes this much easier, but what if the person you are shopping for lacks fleshed out communication tools? This is what shopping for shoes for a child is like.
Children are constantly growing and developing and their needs change much faster than your average runner, this makes their footwear needs quiet unique. They can also be a lot less sure on their feet so choosing shoes that will be a lot more supportive and protective is essential.
We assessed a large variety of children’s shoes not only as quality footwear in general but also as specialized footwear. We care about our readers and we know our readers care about their children so we want to make sure the shoes they are wearing we keep them running and playing and doing so healthy and happy. We also have the breakdown of our criteria and our helpful FAQ below our list to elaborate on the mentality behind our choices and our approach to choosing.
- ASICS Pre Contend 3 PS
- Reinforced Stitched Toe Cap
- New Balance KVRUSV2
- Rapid Rebound Midsole
- Mizuno Wave Inspire 12
- Made with wave technology
10 Best Kids Running Shoes
ASICS Pre Contend 3 PS
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
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!
- 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
- Some had issues with threading after heavy use
New Balance KVRUSV2
These super lightweight 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!
- The color is so adoring and fit!
- They are comfortable all day long
- The shoe is not widely available at many retailers.
Mizuno Wave Inspire 12
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.
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.
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.
Excellent for daily training.
Improved cushioning with anti microbial features
Increased sole durability.
Uric Technology adds ground contact
Pronation and foot arch support
Heavier than previous model
Narrower in the foot area
New Balance KJ890
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.
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.
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.
Mazing cool designs for kids
Versatile can be used for on different sporting activities
Asics GT 1000-6 GS
ASICS GT-1000 6 GS molded fit means that your child's unique foot shape will be catered to and cradled to maximize support and comfort. These shoes also have a specialized stability system to ensure that your child’s growing and changing needs are accommodated for and allow them to run at their best.
The GT-1000 6 GS comes highly praised by children and parent alike for their comfort. Even if you have a kid who has different needs or is choosier about their level of comfort the GT-1000 6 GS should leave them satisfied.
For the level of comfort and performance, you will be receiving from this pair of ASICS the price is surprisingly affordable.
- Super comfortable
- Gel mold fit
- Well cushioned
- Specialized support and stability
Adidas Kanadia 8 K
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.
The multi directional lugs on the traxion outsole gives runners complete control, even on uneven surfaces.
Good value, especially for a trail shoe
Fun color options
Made from high quality materials
Great fit provided by the external heel counter
Good for training and racing
A little costly
Not suitable for intense trail running
Saucony Cohesion 8
Apart from being breathable, the mesh on the upper is also anti-bacterial, which keeps the feet safe.
There is extra cushioning provided both by the HRC Strobel Board and the Non-Visible Grip System which supports the heel. All this cushioning and good shock absorption do a great job protecting you from all sorts of injuries. The Cohesion 8 is a reliable running shoe that can be used for indoor running as well.
You get a great running shoe for a reasonable price.
Improved quality by the new features and technology
Good for neutral runners
Available for different types of feet
Poor cushioning in the forefoot area
Inadequate flexibility due to stiffness present in the shoe
Saucony Peregrine Shield
The Peregrine Shield is a no-slip design for kids and not just ones who need steady footing on the trail. Children are often growing into their body and many of them have trouble acclimating to their growth. This tends to make them a little clumsy and some extra grippy shoes could be exactly what they need. The other thing we love about the Peregrine is the availability in wide sizes that can help accommodate more types of feet and we are all about having the best fits available to runners.
Saucony produces high-quality comfortable shoes and their run of children's' shoes is no different. The Peregrine Shield is comfortable and accommodating to a wide assortment of feet.
This is a very affordable shoe and given the level of durability that the Peregrine Shield possesses your child will outgrow it before they ware it out making it a good choice if you are in the habit of passing down.
- Good grip, anti-slip
- Come in wide sizes
- Laces may be misleading, not the stretchy type
Asics Cumulus 18 GS
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.
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.
Good value for money.
Built for long distances and durations.
Breathable mesh upper.
Rubber sole enhances durability.
Tight toe box.
Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 34
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.
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.
The Pegasus 34 comes with a reasonable price tag.
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.
A little heavier
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
We’d recommend getting ones with a lower profile, with a design that’s commonly described as being “closer to the ground”. As kids do a lot of running and climbing, this is important to allow them more natural and better balance when engaging in those activities. On the other hand, you should probably not get your children very thick, high-profile soles. Not only do they affect the balance badly, but they are also more likely to lead 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.
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.
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.
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 While Shopping
When it comes to choosing the right footwear for our children, we should really make sure that they try it on – it’s very important that the shoes we put on our kids are the best possible fit for them, and that they will be of suitable function to them as well.
That’s why we want to present a few things to have in mind as you shop around. First of all, think about your children’s foot type: although their feet are still developing, just like their bodies are, they may already have a condition which requires 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 many good compromises you could make, but in the end you should consider function the most. Other important things to consider are the age of the child, the 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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Do your research. Many popular brands and models for adults also have versions made for 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.
Q: How often should I replace my child’s shoe?
Children’s feet grow rather quickly, most parent’s figure that out after the first pair of shoes or two. And many running shoes need a proper fit to be most effective. A good, safe window for how often to measure and check your child’s feet is every 3 to 4 months.
The thing is, feet tend to grow in spurts. So its perfectly feasible within that window that your child’s shoe goes from a comfortable fit to overly snug or flat out too small. The best way to keep on top of this is rather simple, just listen to your kid. They should let you know if their shoes start to feel uncomfortable or too tight. If your child is not the talkative type then it might be a good idea to ask them every few weeks. Best to stay on top of it to ensure your child’s comfort and well being.
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.
- Shoes For Small Fry, Online Running Publication, Aug 22, 2012 ,
- Best Children’s OTC Orthotics, Online Clinical Information, ,
- Over-Pronation: When Is It Abnormal?, Pediatrician, ,
- Powerkids Insoles Insole For Children, Manufacturer of Orthotic Insoles, ,
- Children's Comfort Insoles, Manufacturer of Orthotic Insoles, ,
- Footminders KIDS Orthotics, Manufacturer of Orthotic Insoles, ,
- Kiddythotics Insoles, Manufacturer of Orthotic Insoles, ,
- Flat Feet and Fallen Arches, Pediatric informational website, Nov 21, 2015 ,