best running shoes for kids

Finding The Best Running Shoes For Kids – Buying Guide & In Depth Reviews

Is your child an aspiring athlete who wants to do their best when it comes to all things sports? If you said yes, then you are in luck! Even though most of us consider buying running shoes as being reserved for adults, buying running shoes for children is just as important, if not more so.

In other words, it is necessary to make sure that you consider just what is a good running shoe for your child, especially since they are constantly growing and developing, particularly during their teenage years. That said, what you buy can make or break not only their athletic experience, but also their health.

With that being said, how do you know which running shoes will be best for your child? We have the answer! Read on to learn more about how to choose the best running shoes for kids, as well as get some top suggestions from us to get started. We ensure you that, at the end of this article, you will have a happy, healthy, and athletic child.

Without further ado, let’s get right down to it!

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Things to Consider Before Buying the Best Running Shoes for Kids

When it comes down to it, there are many factors that go into finding and selecting a good running shoe for kids. Being smaller does not necessarily mean easier, and you will certainly find that it will be no easy feat to accomplish, give or take the circumstances of the shoe and the kid themselves.

That being said, here are some steps you might want to take in order to make your kid’s running shoe shopping experience the best one out there:

1. Bring your kid to the store.

Compared with adults, who might already know exactly their size, foot shape, and other aspects needed for purchasing a running shoe, it is better if you take your kid physically to the local sports store to try on pairs, instead of purchasing them online. This is to ensure that you do not buy the wrong-sized shoe, let alone one which does not provide the best fit for them.

2. Have a good fitting size.

What does this mean exactly? In other words, your child will first need to be wearing some good socks (without any holes or worn-out areas) while trying it on. Next, the shoe should be nice and snug all over the edges, but at the same time not too restrictive.

If anything, try to find a running shoe pair which has just a little bit of growing room (including toe box room), considering that your child is still developing and is subjected to growth spurts from time to time. After all, you would not want your child’s shoes to be too small after two months! That said, having some space inside (but not too much) can make a big difference.

3. Check the color and the style.

Perhaps as an adult you could care less about having your running shoes be your favorite color or style. However, from a child’s perspective, it can make all the difference in terms of looking good or fitting in with their peers.

With that being said, it is best not to tempt fate and purchase a pair which might be the right fit for them, but that they do not like it because of the color or style. Chances are if you buy that red pair instead of the blue pair, which they wanted, they will refuse to wear it and that not only does not benefit their athletic career, but also wastes money.

The best policy is to negotiate between practicality and style, and in the end, you and your child will find mutual ground for their running shoe.

4. Look for a good midsole.

More specifically, this refers to an EVA foam midsole, which provides just the right amount of comfort without being too soft for the child to run in. Considering that children tend to be sturdier than adults when it comes to the rough-and-tumble mentality of sports, having less of a support in the midsole can help the child’s foot arch adjust to the “proper way” of running, and adapt over time.

If anything, you could also test out your child’s foot arch at the local sports store or at home with the “Wet Test.” Especially if you notice that your child has a particular manner of walking or running, then determining the foot arch can make a difference when buying the best running shoe for them.

5. Minimal footwear vs. padding.

This point is similar to #4’s, but in other words, it refers to just how much support there is for the sole itself. As already mentioned, children are naturally sturdier than adults, i.e. able to take a fall or two before picking themselves back up.

That being said, it is actually best to strike a balance between having too little and too much padding in the shoe; while adults might benefit from having that extra cushion to run (due to older joints and muscles), kids need a bit less of it in order to run well. Even further, it helps to develop their biomechanics later on, so that they can handle falls and injuries more so than if they were overly protected.

6. Determine whether the adult shoe is better.

While unlikely for your younger ones, figuring out if your adolescent is able and ready for the actual adult shoe is an important decision. It is not just about how tall or big your kid is, but also if their biomechanics have been adequately developed already.

By figuring all of this out, you can set about finding the best running shoe for your kid. However, at the same time, all of these factors need to also be considered by your own kid, since ultimately it is their shoe to use. All you can do is give your opinion, and ultimately, it is their decision.

For more thoughts on buying running shoes for kids, check out this video: 

Top Five Best Running Shoes for Kids

* Below, you'll see more detailed reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices and read customer's reviews on Amazon.


Made from both leather and synthetic material, New Balance’s infant running shoe is perfect for being sturdy for kids ranging from just a few months up to eight years old, thereby providing a wide range to last you for several years. Not only that, but also it comes with an Imeva midsole, which helps to both protect but also provide the support needed to help the kid’s feet develop as they run.

Pros

  • Made from leather and synthetic material for a sturdy and flexible experience.
  • Sizes range from a few months to eight years old.
  • Comes with an Imeva midsole to provide protection and support to run.

Cons

  • A bit heavy and not very flexible.

Opinion

After my child tried out New Balance’s infant running shoe, I would have to say that they are having a great time jumping and running around, without a care in the world. It has been really sturdy so far, and the Imeva midsole works wonders on them. Granted, my child has complained that it is quite heavy, but that is the only flaw.


With a stitched toe cap and a removable sockliner, this running shoe from ASICS offers a combination of durability and flexibility, the latter which kids can remove and replace with an orthotic, if need be. It also consists of elastic laces, along with a hook-and-loop feature, which makes for an easier slip-on and slip-off transition from road to home, respectively.

Pros

  • Has a stitched toe cap for longer durability.
  • Consists of a removable sockliner for taking off and replacing with an orthotic, if necessary.
  • Has a hook-and-loop feature for convenience when slipping on and slipping off the shoes.

Cons

  • Elastic laces might not be very sturdy, and difficult to replace.

Opinion

I let my seven-year-old run loose with ASICS’ PS running shoe and I have to say that they love it! So far, the stitched toe cap is incredible in its durability, and the hook-and-loop feature of the shoelaces are a godsend when it comes to hurrying them up for school. After two months, however, the elastic laces broke, which made it hard to replace.


Consisting of a 3:1 synthetic-mesh ratio, New Balance’s youth running shoe is ideal for your older kids, ranging between the ages of 8 and 12. Its advanced IM ethylene vinyl acetate midsole offers a technological power boost to get your kid well on their way to running, and its Abzorb heel makes for a well-cushioned experience.

Pros

  • Has a 3:1 synthetic-mesh ratio for durable running material.
  • Consists of an advanced IM ethylene vinyl acetate midsole for a power boost.
  • Has an Abzorb heel for better cushioning and support.

Cons

  • Tends to wear out at the top after a short amount of time.

Opinion

My ten-year-old kid tried New Balance KA680 Youth running shoe on and has since fallen in love with them. They have told me that the shoes are super comfortable, while also having a “cool style” to them. The Abzorb heel feature seems to be doing wonders for their workouts, as well as the highly-advanced insole. Granted, the top has worn out after a couple of months, so it is not as durable as expected.


With a bright, electric-blue color and pink trimmings, this other running shoe from ASICS offers a combination of style and practicality to keep your kids, ages 4 to 12, running their best. Not only that, but also it comes with a variety of different features, from the Rearfoot gel cushioning system that reduces shock impact to the Trusstic system, which makes the shoe lighter while still stable.

Pros

  • Comes in an electric-blue color and pink trimmings for style.
  • Has a Rearfoot gel cushioning system for shock impact.
  • Consists of the Trusstic system for lightening the shoe and keeping it stable.

Cons

  • Not well-ventilated.

Opinion

I had my twelve-year-old try out this ASICS’ running shoe, and they seem to really love the bright-colored scheme. Besides that, they are finding the Rearfoot gel cushioning and Trusstic systems super supportive; I have not heard any complaints on the matter. While they seem to be enjoying the shoe, I have noticed that it is not very well-ventilate; the other day, I caught a whiff of the foot odor emitting from it, and whew! Boy, was it stinky!


Consisting of a three-stripe panel and heel cage, this running shoe from Adidas makes for a supportive, comfortable running experience. Its lightweight, cushioning midsole is ideal for your child, especially if they are still growing and developing. Its engineered-mesh forefoot, knit-look midfoot, and lace-up heel makes for a complex, but very consistent blend of networks that offer protection and efficiency for your little athlete.

Pros

  • Has a three-stripe panel and heel cage for support and comfort.
  • Consists of a lightweight, cushioning midsole for your developing child.
  • Contains a complex blend of forefoot, midfoot, and heel features.

Cons

  • Loops for shoelaces might not hold up very long.

Opinion

Adidas’ hyperfast 2.0 running shoe for kids proved to be a decent investment for my eleven-year-old, who has told me that they enjoy the light, airiness of the product while also feeling comfortable and protected. So far so good…however, after a few months, I have started to see some loops for shoelaces fraying, so it might not be the best design for that.


Winner of the Roundup

Overall, the winner of this roundup goes to ASICS Pre Contend 3 PS Running Shoe (#2).

Not only is it extra-sturdy with its stitched toe cap feature, but also it has a removable sockliner in the case that your kid has special needs for orthotics. Although the elastic laces could be worked on with durability, it surprisingly was not too difficult to replace when they broke. That said, it is worth the investment in the future.

References

http://www.runnersworld.com/running-shoes/shoes-for-small-fry

http://www.runnersworld.com/running-shoes/shoeguy-little-tracks

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