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 kids running shoes is far more complicated. You can’t feel what they are feeling so its a lot of guesswork. 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.

Scroll down to find our list of the best junior running shoes in 2020!

Standout Picks

ASICS Pre Contend 3 PS
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.
Adidas Kids' CF Racer
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!
Amazon Link
New Balance KJ990v4
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.
Amazon Link
Altra One
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.
Amazon Link
Saucony Peregrine Shield
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.
NIKE Kids' Revolution 3
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!
Amazon Link
Asics GT 1000-6 GS
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.
Amazon Link
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.
Amazon Link
Salomon Speedcross
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.
Saucony Kotaro Flash
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.
Amazon Link

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Breathability

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.

Support

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.

Flexibility

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.

Read also about yellow athletic shoes.

Ground Feel

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.

Outsole

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.

Top 10 Kids Running Shoes Reviewed

1. ASICS Pre Contend 3 PS

Where to buy
ASICS Pre Contend 3 PS
Amazon Link

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

Style

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.

Comfort
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

Price
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

Where to buy
Amazon Link
Adidas Kids' CF Racer
Adidas Kids' CF Racer red
Amazon Link

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

Breathability

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!

Read also about all black gym shoes.

Support

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.

Flexibility

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!

Ground Feel

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.

Outsole

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.

Amazon Link

3. New Balance KJ990v4

Where to buy
Amazon Link
New Balance KJ990v4
Amazon Link

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.

Amazon Link

4. Altra One

Where to buy
Amazon Link
Altra One
Amazon Link

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.

Outsole

This part of the shoe is durable and features Altra's foot pod technology which helps to form itself to the user's foot.

Amazon Link

5. Saucony Peregrine Shield

Where to buy
Saucony Peregrine Shield
Amazon Link

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

Style

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.

Comfort

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.

Price

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

Where to buy
Amazon Link
NIKE Kids' Revolution 3
NIKE Kids' Revolution 3 toe box
Amazon Link

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

Breathability

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.

Support

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!

Flexibility

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.

Ground Feel

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.

Outsole

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!

Amazon Link

7. Asics GT 1000-6 GS

Where to buy
Amazon Link
Asics GT 1000-6 GS
Amazon Link

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

Style

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.

Comfort

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.

Price

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.

Amazon Link

8. Adidas Kanadia 8 K

Where to buy
Amazon Link
Adidas Kanadia 8 K
Amazon Link

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

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. It's great for little runners who may still have some balance and control issues when running.

Value

Good value, especially for a trail shoe. They are perfect for training, everyday use so they are a good sho to have on hand!

Amazon Link

9. Salomon Speedcross

Where to buy
Salomon Speedcross
Amazon Link

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.

Outsole

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

Where to buy
Amazon Link
Saucony Kotaro Flash
Amazon Link

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.

Outsole

This part of the shoe is made with non-marking rubber and has specially placed traction features for extra grip and durability.

Amazon Link

Sources

  1. Jay Dicharry, Runners World, Online Running Publication
  2. Clinical Staff, Foot & Ankle Center of Washington, Online Clinical Information
  3. Clinical Staff, Andorra Pediatrics, Pediatrician
  4. Editorial Team, Footminders, Manufacturer of Orthotic Insoles
  5. Prolab Team, Prolab Orthotics, Manufacturer of Orthotic Insoles
  6. Editorial Team, Healthy Children.org, Pediatric informational website

Join our private, growing community of passionate runners

Inside RunnerClick Pro, runners of all strengths come together to meet and support one another, get answers to burning questions, learn from experts, participate in personal challenges, and more.

Join our private, growing community of passionate runners

Inside RunnerClick Pro, runners of all strengths come together to meet and support one another, get answers to burning questions, learn from experts, participate in personal challenges, and more.