Best Running Shoes For Kids Reviewed
Scroll down to find our list of the best junior running shoes in 2020!
This is the best product on our list that is currently in stock:
High-quality materials and construction
Top 10 Kids Running Shoes Reviewed
1. ASICS Pre Contend 3 PS
- 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
ASICS is a term that's supposed to mean “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 topmost position for kids running shoes.Read more
The biggest selling point of the Pre Contend 3 PS as one of the best youth running shoes 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.
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. They are easy to put on and take off -no tying of laces
It is an awesome shoe at a great value! It's great for kids of all ages and offers everything you want and need in a kid's running shoe.
2. Adidas Kids' CF Racer
Many color options available
Good tread design
Excellent balance of support and stability
Some sizing issues reported
Laces fray easily according to some
A good place to start when looking for the best running shoes for kids is to start with a name people know and trust. You cannot go wrong with Adidas, and the Adidas Kids' CF Racer shoes are perfect for kids who love to be active and on the go!Read more
These shoes are made to be breathable which is important to avoid the dreaded sneaker odor and the Adidas Kids' CF Racer shoes are made with kids in mind. Hot feet that are wet with sweat bruise and blister easier so breathability is an important factor to consider!
Having good support in their shoes is essential for kids because their feet are still growing. Injuries to the feet due to poor support and stability now can potentially affect them the rest of their lives so go with what is best and trust the Adidas name.
The Adidas Kids' CF Racer shoes are designed with the right amount of flexibility to allow for good motion control and traction while running outdoors and on uneven terrain. These shoes are made with active kids in mind and can handle their high level so activity!
Many adult running shoes shave thick soles and a lot of padding in the interior parts of the shoe in comparison with best running shoes kids models. This is not necessarily best for kids and the Adidas Kids' CF Racers are made with just enough thickness to offer support without affecting balance and stability.
The outsole of these kids running shoes is designed to protect growing and developing feet from shock impact. They also have ample tread so your child stays stable and balanced when they are outdoor playing on slippery or uneven terrain.
3. New Balance KJ990v4
High-quality materials and construction
Not very breathable
This option comes highly reviewed for its comfort. It also comes in wide sizes so they're great for kids who are normally hard to find the right size for. They also get high marks for their durability and should have no problem lasting for longer than your kid's feet stay the same size.Read more
Breathability and Support
These have a lot of synthetic overlays. These features definitely make this a very supportive shoe but it causes them to be less breathable than other options.
Flexibility and Ground Feel
These are about average in terms of pliability but do offer the user a good sense of the running surface.
4. Altra One
Highly breathable and quick drying
The rare zero drop shoe for kids
Some durability issues
This option gives your child a zero drop shoe to get them started with natural running at an early age. It also has a breathable mesh upper to wick moisture and dry quickly. It's well cushioned and comfortable with an impact absorbing midsole and the outsole gives good traction. It's also very flexible so your child's foot will be allowed a good range of motion.Read more
Breathability and Support
This is one of the most breathable options on our youth running shoes list with its well-designed mesh upper with synthetic overlays for additional structure. As with most zero drop shoes, there is not a lot of additional support offered as the product is designed to help the user's foot get stronger over time and help them have a more natural stride.
Flexibility and Ground Feel
This one is super pliable and designed for maximum range of motion. This also means that the user can easily feel the ground giving them more control as they run.
This part of the shoe is durable and features Altra's foot pod technology which helps to form itself to the user's foot.
5. Saucony Peregrine Shield
- Good grip, anti-slip
- Come in wide sizes
- Laces may be misleading, not the stretchy type
Running shoes for children don’t generally come more specialized than they already are. The Saucony Peregrine Shield separates itself from other children’s shoes by being an excellent trail sneaker too. If you want to see the great outdoors alongside your little ones then this is a great pick for you.Read more
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.
6. NIKE Kids' Revolution 3
Great for those needing support and stability
Well designed and very comfortable
Velcro strap and lacing provides ample security
Expensive compared to other kids' shoes
The NIKE Kids' Revolution 3 shoes are perfect for kids who are on the go and for parents who want a reliable pair of shoes that will hold up to the abuse their kids dish out. These Nike running shoes are made to be durable and reliable and are perfect for your child!Read more
Just like with us adults, kids’ feet will get hot and sweaty the longer they are active and on the go. The NIKE Kids' Revolution 3 running shoes are made to be breathable to feet stay comfortable and cool and so your child will enjoy their run even more.
With a durable interior sole and a tough outer sole, these shoes are made to support your child’s feet and keep them comfortable even on the longest of runs or training sessions. They will help protect developing feet and reduce the chances for injury as well!
Some degree of flexibility is needed in running shoes because it makes it easier to maintain balance, especially when on slippery or uneven terrain likely a field or outdoor trail. The NIKE Kids' Revolution 3 has the perfect level of flexibility to protect their feet.
The ground feel of the NIKE Kids' Revolution 3 running shoes is good because it has a thinner sole design. This helps improve stability and balance which is needed for running and every day activities. These shoes are designed for kids’ feet and their unique needs.
The outer part of the sole that we see is the most important part of the sole design. The NIKE Kids' Revolution 3 shoes are made with good tread and improved traction design to help improve stability and reduce shock impact while running which is always a plus!
7. Asics GT 1000-6 GS
- Super comfortable
- Gel mold fit
- Well cushioned
- Specialized support and stability
The GT-1000 6 GS are excellent shoes for your child’s comfort. If you are concerned with your kid being comfortable and you are uncertain since you can’t try the shoe for yourself then ASICS GT-1000 6 GS comes highly recommended.Read more
ASICS running shoes 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. Its a smart choice for anyone who needs a good pair of kid's running shoes.
8. Adidas Kanadia 8 K
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
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.Read more
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. It's great for little runners who may still have some balance and control issues when running.
Good value, especially for a trail shoe. They are perfect for training, everyday use so they are a good sho to have on hand!
9. Salomon Speedcross
Rock plate protects feet
Kids will love the color options
Not the most flexible
These trail running shoes are a great option for kids who love running off-road, and their aggressive traction makes them great hiking shoes as well. They come with an easy to use quick lacing system and have a two-year limited warranty. This brand is known for their high-quality, excellent design, and top-notch performance and now kids can get in on the action.Read more
Breathability and Support
The synthetic uppers give users good breathability and dry quickly after getting wet, something that's bound to happen when a kid trail runs. They have excellent support to keep your child's feet in place while negotiating variable terrain.
Flexibility and Ground Feel
A rock plate guards against impact from debris but also keeps this product from being super flexible. Our research didn't turn up any major complaints in this department however and the shoe is still pliable enough to give its user a good sense and feel for the running surface while allowing for good toe-off power.
This is where this one shines, as the shoe is made for loose surfaces including mud and even snow patches. The durability also holds up to the trail and inevitable abuse kids throw at their gear.
10. Saucony Kotaro Flash
Easy on/off with velcro strap
Three cool colors to choose from
Some complaints about durability
Sizes run narrow
With just a 4mm heel to drop this option is good for children who want to learn to run closer to the ground. They're durable, breathable, and comfortable and come in a variety of fun colorways that kids love.Read more
Breathability and Support
The uppers are made of synthetic material that allows moisture to move to the outside air where it can dry naturally. The lining is also treated with an anti-microbial substance that helps to prevent the growth of bacteria and the resulting odors. These are about average in terms of support, but they are extremely comfortable.
Flexibility and Ground Feel
These Saucony running shoes have good flex so that kids will be comfortable running, jumping, and playing in them. With just a 4mm heel to toe drop they will feel close to the ground.
This part of the shoe is made with non-marking rubber and has specially placed traction features for extra grip and durability.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
Kid’s feet sweat just like adult’s, and the uncomfortable effects will be the same so breathability is a must!
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.
Kid's footwear should be able to keep their feet safe from uneven terrain and offer good support.
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 kids 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.
Kid's 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.
The ground feel and impact during each step is an important thing to keepin mind as well.
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.
You don’t want a sole that is too thick to have positive ground contact- hink 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.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
Try out some velcro mock-lace shoes this method is wonderful, considering kids can learn how to tie their shoes with also having the flexibility to quickly get ready.
Rubber soles are ideal for children, rubber soles have the best shock absorption and cushioning for running around keeping them comfortable always. Usually rubber shoes are fairly easy to find making great for quick pick ups.
One thing basically all kids have in common is they are always growing. And growth spurts can make those growth changes happen even faster. When you are choosing shoes for your kids keep this in mind and leave a little bit of wiggle room in the toes. You do not want the shoe to be so loose it slides and causes blisters but you do not want the toes to be cramped either. That is where shoes start to feel tight first so giving yourself an inch of space in the toes can help you get an extra few months out of a pair in many cases!
Once you choose the running shoes you think are best for your child, it is important to do what you can to get your money’s worth out of them! One of the best ways to extend the life of your kids’ shoe sis to take care of them and follow the washing and care labels carefully. If you cannot follow the label instructions or you do not have them anymore, do a basic hand washing of the shoes if they have gotten really dirty and then let them air dry- never put them in the washer or dryer! Do daily spot cleaning and wipe off dirt and clean out the tread every day when your child comes in for the day to keep their running shoes in tip top shape!
Other Factors to Consider
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. 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.
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.
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.
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 child 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.
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.
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.
Don't forget to check out our top picks for boys and girls.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: If children’s feet grow fast, should I just buy a slightly larger size?
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: Is the safest option to just go with the more expensive brands to avoid causing problems for my child's feet?
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?
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?
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. 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.
q: Do I have to spend a lot of money on kid's shoes?
You don’t have to, but if your kid is into sports and does a lot of running, particularly outdoors on uneven ground, you will want to invest in a good pair of running shoes. This will help protect your child’s feet and can help prevent injury as well! So it is an investment that is worth making for sure!