Children, from infants to elementary school, run even when they’re not trying to run – they jump, climb, play, and run some more. And this whole race leads to serious shoe wear. From the playground to the first 5km to get into the track or cross-country team, kids need shoes to get there. Check out the top five options below, or scroll further for longer reviews of these and other options, as well as tips from our gear experts to consider when shopping for a small pair. Branded Shoes
How we select
Almost all of the shoes here have been tested by young runners or active kids here at Runner’s World. (Or, we collected a lot of feedback from our team and the wear test team on a comparable adult model of junior shoes.) Additionally, we researched the market, surveyed user ratings, spoke with product managers and engineers, and used our own experience with these shoes to determine which one best meets the needs of active kids and tweens. We also include shoes that haven’t been through our arduous testing cycle; instead, these trainers were recommended to use expert knowledge and assessments.
Read More: Get ready with the right running shoes
Nike Renew Run
Nike developed these shoes with the same stitching as the adult model, with some adjustments to fit smaller feet; the big kid version uses a standard bow, but there is also a velcro option for those who are new to tying their own bunny ears. Shoes And Sneakers
Salomon Speedcross J
The Kevlar pull laces for Salomon’s shoes skipped the shoe lacing lesson, but it took a while for our students to get used to loosening and tightening them on their own and agreeing to bend the laces. Also, these are the heaviest shoes (read: they seem the most durable) in our test. Best Sneakers
Asics Kids Gel-Venture 7
These shoes have high-traction bumps on the bottom designed to adhere to dirt roads, so all types of terrain are open for exploration. They aren’t the lightest running shoes for kids, but with those extra ounces comes a sturdy upper and a rubber outsole that’s tough enough to withstand abuse in various sports.
New Balance 860v11
Like adults, some children say too much when they run, which means that their feet roll more than is ideal. Shoes like the 860 have features like a denser medial toe in the midsole to combat this and stabilize the feet, without being too noticeable for children with normal pronation. The latest version of this long-favorite stability shoe, the v11, is lightweight, but has plenty of foam cushion in the midsole, making it good for kids who build longer distances. Kacamata Rayban
Saucony Kids Ride 13
Active kids will find a lot to love in the versatile Saucony Ride 13, a softly cushioned neutral shoe with a flexible, durable outsole that’s equally suitable for runs or long runs. Very lightweight, and with a fair fit on Saucony’s new PWRRUN midsole to keep sprinters happy, the shoe doesn’t stand out in any area, but it does a little of everything right.