Sometimes, it seems like kids have an unlimited supply of energy.
Whether it’s climbing a tree, running around with their pals, or hurrying off to school in the morning, they always seem to be rushing around.
Because of this, wearing sensible, durable, and good-quality kids running shoes is super important.
It doesn’t matter if your child is a rookie runner, an accomplished cross-country performer, or just someone looking for a pair of trainers to whip out during lunchtime — there’s something out there for everyone.
In this article, we’ll be taking a look at some of the best kids’ running shoes on the market right now, with a focus on these key issues:
- Why Do Kids Need Running-Specific Shoes?
- What To Look For In Kids Running Shoes
- 9 Of The Best Running Shoes For Kids
- The Benefits Of Great Running Gear
Let’s get started.
Why Do Kids Need Running-Specific Shoes?
It might seem silly buying specialist running shoes for kids, especially when they’re constantly growing and the price point of a more general trainer is often a fair bit lower.
It’s totally understandable to be wondering, ‘Is it really worth it?’ Well, according to most experts, this is a purchase worth making.
The reality is that most kids shoes, especially those made for young children, aren’t built to withstand the kind of strain typically created by running.
They can be stiff and overbuilt, without the quality midsole and supportive upper that will be provided by dedicated kids running shoes.
Not only do these added features improve comfort, they also reduce the chances of kids picking up injuries and ailments like ankle rolls, blisters, shin splints, and sore or numb feet.
It also prevents them from developing injuries that can follow them into their adult life.
Obviously, it’s important to try to protect our little ones from these injuries. But how should we know what to look out for in a decent pair of trainers?
Let’s explore some of the key features to keep your eyes peeled for.
What To Look For In Best Kids Running Shoes
When making an investment like this, it’s vital to know what boxes you need to tick.
There’s one aspect of kids running shoes that should take top priority – the fit.
Because of the fact that children’s feet are always growing, it’s doubly important that their footwear fits properly.
Cramming a growing foot into shoes that are too small can lead to the foot taking on the shoe’s shape, which can cause long-term foot health problems.
Other important things to look for include a cushioned midsole and a flexible forefoot. This will allow for greater comfort and easy movement.
You’ll also want some extra support in the shoe’s upper, especially if the kid in question is pretty hard on their shoes. Having added support increases durability and improves the chances of the sneakers lasting for a while.
The 9 Best Running Shoes For Kids
It’s time to move on to some of the best kids’ running shoes available to buy online right now. We know that everyone is after different things, so we’ve ensured that this is a varied list.
There are sneakers for kids who love running on dirt trails and over natural terrain, there are running spikes for those who favor tracks, and there are more casual pairs suited to everyday exercise and urban running. Hopefully, there’s something here that piques your interest.
Related: The Best Trail Running Shoes For Kids
Let’s get into the best running shoes for kids:
- Best for Overpronation – Asics GT-1000
- Best Everyday Option – Saucony Unisex-Child Ride
- Best for Athletes – Adidas Allroundstar Junior Running Spikes
- Best Minimalist Shoes – Vivobarefoot Primus Sport II Kids
- Most Stylish – Nike Renew Run Casual Running Shoes
- Great Value For Money – Under Armour Kid’s Charged Impulse
- Versatile Option – New Balance Kids Fresh Foam Arishi v2
- Best Budget Shoes – Adidas Unisex-Child Fortarun Running Shoes
- Best For Trail Running – Altra Youth Lone Peak Trail Running Shoes
- Best Stability – New Balance 860 V11 Running Shoes
#1. Best for Overpronation – Asics GT-1000
Weight: 227 g Drop: 8 mm
|Gel cushioning for shock absorption||Fit small on wide feet|
|Duomax support system|
|Breathable and comfy|
With a breathable synthetic and mesh blend for ventilation, the Asics GT-1000s are built to stay cool and comfy.
Added support is provided by a Duomax support system and gel cushioning that helps to absorb the shock of hitting hard surfaces like pavement.
This means that the Asics GT-1000s are perfect for kids who overpronate, meaning their arches roll inward when they run.
These sneakers are available in a variety of sizes and colors — you can check out the 10 Grade School versions here.
#2. Best Everyday Option – Saucony Unisex-Child Ride
Drop: 8 mm
|Highly durable||Some may prefer more cushioning|
|Range of stylish designs and color schemes|
Saucony manufactures some of the best running shoes for kids, and this pair are right up there.
With a range of smooth designs and color schemes, they can suit a wide variety of different tastes.
With added durability provided by a strong rubber sole and outsole, these trainers are designed to cope with all sorts of stress. They’re available on Amazon.
#3. Best for Athletes – Adidas Allroundstar Junior Running Spikes
|Ideal for junior athletes||May not work for trail running|
|Removable spikes provide uncompromising traction|
For more seasoned junior athletes who are used to competing on the track, the Adidas Junior Allroundstars is a really solid choice.
These running spikes offer excellent grip and traction, and the potential for incredible speed. You can pick them up on Amazon.
#4. Best Minimalist Shoes – Vivobarefoot Primus Sport II Kids
|Barefoot-style minimalist sole||May take some getting used to|
Anyone whose read Born To Run will be familiar with the benefits of minimalist footwear, and how our running form adapts to what we have on our feet.
Vivobarefoot’s kids’ range is filled with awesome-looking, practical shoes that provide your kiddo with the protection and comfort they need. . . without excessive cushioning.
The Primus Sport II, in particular, is well-suited to spending days outdoors, and looks great!
#5. Most Stylish – Nike Renew Run Casual Running Shoes
|Lightweight, breathable upper||A bit pricey|
There are lots of similarities between these kids’ running shoes and some of Nike’s adult models, so you know that quality hasn’t been compromised here.
Comfort and support is provided by soft forefoot cushioning and stretchy, breathable upper mesh.
They’ve also got age-appropriate lacing, with standard laces for the larger sizes and Velcro for smaller kids. The flexibility of this model is partly what makes them so popular. They’re up on Amazon.
#6. Great Value For Money – Under Armour Kid’s Charged Impulse
|Build for speed||Not enough sole support for some|
|Great value for money|
For kids’ running shoes that are a little more affordable than the Nike Renew Runs, it’s worth checking out these Under Armour sneakers, which are both high quality and have excellent value.
The Kid’s Charged Impulses use compression-molded foam cushioning for responsiveness and durability. They’re available in sizes 4K-12K, and you can grab them on Amazon.
#7. Versatile Option – New Balance Kids Fresh Foam Arishi v2
|Affordable||Not best for trail runs|
Another pair of good-value kids’ running shoes, these New Balance sneakers are both highly durable and super lightweight, so they’ll be popular with both parents and children.
The Fresh Foam EVA midsole provides plenty of cushion and bounce, meaning that both quick sprints and long runs are equally doable.
For big kids, prices start on Amazon, and they’re less for smaller sizes.
#8. Best Budget Shoes – Adidas Unisex-Child Fortarun Running Shoes
|Low price point||Not the best fabric quality|
|Good value for money|
If you’re seeing some of these price tags and getting nervous, don’t worry.
There are loads of cheaper kids’ running shoes on the market, too. The Adidas Fortarun shoes are a great option within this category.
Their synthetic blend isn’t quite as high quality as some of the other shoes on this list, but with excellent padding and a good deal of durability, they still definitely represent great value. These kids’ running shoes are available on Amazon.
#9. Best For Trail Running – Altra Youth Lone Peak Trail Running Shoes
|Great for outdoor trails & off-roading||Not best for roads & tracks|
For kids that love nothing more than running through a forest and tackling the roughest of terrain, look no further than these Altra Youth Lone Peak shoes.
With firm cushioning, a roomy toe box, and an extra grippy outsole, this pair of trainers are perfect for outdoor trails, although they’re not ideal if your kid is mostly going to be running on roads and in urban settings. You can purchase them here.
#10. Best Stability – New Balance 860 V11 Running Shoes
|Provide excellent stability||More expensive|
|Good for kids who overpronate|
Is stability the most important thing for you? If so, this could be the perfect pair.
The New Balance 860 V11s are particularly good for kids who overpronate or have flatter or wider feet.
That doesn’t mean these are specialist shoes only suited to certain foot types, though. These New Balance sneakers are highly versatile, and they’re also available in a range of different sizes. Check them out on Amazon.
The Benefits Of Great Running Gear
Taking your time to consider the comfort, stability, durability, material, and weight of your prospective running shoes is always a good idea.
Ensuring you gain as much knowledge as possible about what you need, why you need it, and how your running shoes are suited to those needs is absolutely crucial.
And that doesn’t just apply to adults — it applies to kids, too.
Just because kids are always growing and changing doesn’t mean it’s not worth buying them good-quality sneakers that will look after their feet and last for a while.
Whether you’re looking for solid off-roaders, versatile, bouncy sneakers, or speedy, track spikes, there are loads of great options available.
It’s also important to note that you can do this without breaking the bank. Having a lower price point might mean you have to look a little harder to find good running shoes, but it’s not going to stop you from sourcing quality.
. . . And that’s A Wrap!
When it comes to finding the best running gear on the market, we’ve got tons more content to help you along the way.
For more of a focus on how to find the right sneakers for your individual needs, take a look at our complete guide to choosing running shoes. And for more guidance on gear, why not check out our article on the 6 best lightweight running jackets?