Top 10 Running Shoes for Kids

The 10 Best Running Shoes for Kids in 2019

by Brittany Spalding |

As an active mom of two athletic children, my family is constantly on the hunt for new running shoes. After hours upon hours of research, speaking with a physical therapist, and getting input from friends, I have compiled a list of the top 10 running shoes for kids.

ProductWhy It Is BestMom Rating
New Balance 888v1 Running ShoeMost Recommended. Available in 3 Widths.♥♥♥♥♥
Asics Gel-Noosa Tri 11 GS Running ShoeGreat for Distance Runners.♥♥♥♥♥
New Balance KJ990 Running ShoeSturdy. Available in 2 Widths.♥♥♥♥♥
Adida Performance Hyperfast Running ShoeDurable. Supportive Arch.♥♥♥♥
Saucony Ride 8 Running ShoeGood Choice for Narrow Feet. Great for Distance Runners.♥♥♥♥
Nike Roshe One Running ShoeFlexible. Lightweight. Perfect for Narrow Feet.♥♥♥♥
Adidas Performance S-Flex Running ShoeMidfoot Support. Impressive Quality.♥♥♥♥
Nike Flex RN Running ShoeMimics Barefoot Running. Best for Thin/Narrow Feet.♥♥♥♥
Reebok RealFlex Transitions Running ShoeMimics Barefoot Running. Excellent Traction.♥♥♥♥
Skechers 80653L Go Run 4 Running ShoeFlexible. Durable.♥♥♥♥


New Balance 888v1 Running Shoe

Image of the New Balance Boys' 888v1 Running Shoe, Pacific/Dynomite, 5.5 W US Toddler

The New Balance 888v1 Running Shoe tops our list as the best and most recommended running shoe in 2019. This classic style, suede shoe features a flexible sole and a shock absorbing heel cushion to keep your little one’s feet comfortably protected during hours of endless play. From infant to big kid sizes, this shoe is available in three widths – regular, wide, and extra-wide. Parents love this running shoe for its durability and comfort, while physical therapists recommend this one more than its competitors. The removable insole and extra-wide width also allow it to fit perfectly over orthotic braces.

Asics Gel-Noosa Tri 11 GS Running Shoe

Image of the ASICS Gel-Noosa Tri 11 GS Running Shoe (Little Kid/Big Kid), White/Diva Pink/Mint, 2 M US Little Kid

The Asics Gel-Noosa Tri 11 GS Running Shoe blasts into action with a fun, new upper featuring seamless construction and a glow-in-the-dark print. The Rearfoot GEL Cushioning System and a reinforced stitched toe cap ensure comfort and durability that is sure to keep in step with the speediest of young runners. Parents of young distance runners rave about the comfort and durability of this shoe. The impeccable arch support is perfect for those wanting to run 5K and 10K races. Removable insoles also make it a great choice for those with medical orthotics.

New Balance KJ990 Running Shoe

Image of the New Balance KJ990 Lace-Up Running Shoe (Little Kid/Big Kid),Grey/Pink,12 M US Little Kid

Modeled after its grown-up counterpart, the New Balance KJ990 Running Shoe will give your youngster the performance they need every step of the way. The injection-molded, foam insole and ABZORB heel cushion increases cushioning and compression resistance properties, and aids in absorbing forceful impacts. With sixteen color schemes and two widths to choose from, this shoe is available in sizes ranging from toddler to big kids. Parents praise the sturdy construction and great support this shoe provides.

Adidas Performance Hyperfast Running Shoe

Image of the adidas Performance Hyperfast Running Shoe (Little Kid/Big Kid),Black/Mid Grey/Silver,11.5 M US Little Kid

Get past the competition in the Adidas Performance Hyperfast Running Shoe. An Ortholite midsole provides lightweight comfort and manages moisture and odor. This running shoe is made with kid specific materials for impeccable durability. The flexible outsole and supportive arch make it a wonderful choice for young runners. As a runner, you’re told to pick the shoe that provides the best fit instead of the “coolest” color. This shoe provides both for your little one. With five fashionable color choices to choose from, this shoe makes the grade for both style and comfort.

Saucony Ride 8 Running Shoe

Image of the Saucony Girl's Ride 8 Turquoise Ankle-High Running Shoe - 5M

Saucony is among the most respected names in running shoes. Want the best in running technology for your 5K or track running kid? The Saucony Ride 8 Running Shoe provides the best features and benefits from the Adult Saucony Ride, but in kid right colors. Parents are impressed with the durability, longevity, and comfort this shoe provides. However, some are critical of this shoe because it is only available in a regular width. If your child has a wide or thick foot, this may not be the shoe for you.

Nike Roshe One Running Shoe

Image of the NIKE Kids Roshe One (GS) Black/Black Black Running Shoe 6 Kids US Black/Black/Black

The Nike Roshe One Running Shoe is flexible, lightweight, and perfect for everyday wear. Parents love this shoe for its superior ventilation – leaving little feet cool and dry. Most parents feel this shoe runs small and narrow. If you purchase this shoe for your child, you may want to size up. This is a wonderful shoe for narrow feet. However, if your child has wide or thick feet, you may want to consider another option.

Adidas Performance S-Flex Running Shoe

Image of the adidas Performance S-Flex K Running Shoe,Black/Red/White,12 M US Little Kid

The Adidas Performance S-Flex Running Shoe gives little feet lightweight comfort and a clean style. With a lightweight textile upper, this running shoe features soft cushioning and midfoot support for active kids. Parents are impressed with the quality, durability, and comfort of this shoe. After reading many reviews, it appears this shoe runs slightly bigger than its competitors.

Nike Flex RN Running Shoe

Image of the NIKE Boy's Flex RN 2017 (GS) Running Shoe Hyper Orange/Black/University Red/White Size 7 M US

Whether your child is training for his first race or just running around outside with friends, the Nike Flex RN Running Shoe is sure to keep him on stride. Available in fifteen colors for boys and girls, alike, this running shoe features an extremely flexible sole that mimics barefoot running.

I can personally attest to the quality and comfort of this shoe. My son has tried numerous pairs of running shoes for his thin, narrow feet. All fell short until his physical therapist recommended he try Nike Flex. He has two pairs – one for practice and one for everyday wear. Now, he won’t wear anything else. He is hard on his shoes, but these are durable and clean up well.

Reebok RealFlex Transition Running Shoe

Image of the Reebok Realflex Transition Shoe (Little Kid/Big Kid),Neon Yellow/Black/White,3 M US Little Kid

Merging all the benefits of barefoot running with the protection of sneakers, Reebok created the low, lightweight, and highly flexible Reebok RealFlex Transition Running Shoe. Its form-fitting design and sock-like feel keeps the shoe in contact with the foot providing great fit, feel, and added mobility. Made with an exclusive RealFlex outsole design, this running shoe allows for multi-directional flexibility and optimal foot feel as your child runs, jumps, and stretches. Parents praise this shoe for its excellent quality and comfort.

Just as my son preferred the previous shoe, the Reebok RealFlex Transition Running Shoe is my daughter’s favorite running shoe. She wears this one to participate in athletic obstacle courses, and I can give it two thumbs up for durability, flexibility, and traction.

Skechers 80653L Go Run 4 Running Shoe

Image of the Skechers Kids 80653L Go Run 4 Running Shoe,Neon Pink/Multi,2 M US Little Kid

Your child will be racing in comfort and style with the Skechers 80653L Go Run 4 Running Shoe. Featuring a lightweight, shock absorbing midsole with a flexible, rubber outsole, this underrated brand is great for running. Parents say this shoe fits comfortably, has sufficient cushioning for hard surfaces, and is quite durable.

Guide to Selecting Running Shoes for Kids

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, optimum foot development occurs in the barefoot environment. The primary role of shoes is to protect the foot from injury and infection. Stiff and compressive footwear may cause deformity, weakness, and loss of mobility, thus shoe selection for children should be based on the barefoot model. Shock absorption, load distribution, and elevation should all be taken into consideration when choosing a quality running shoe for your child.

Foot Types and Shoe Qualities

Nationwide Children’s reminds us that a good pair of running shoes is an important piece of equipment for any athlete. Shoes that are chosen specifically for foot type and fitted properly can help keep athletes healthy and possibly prevent injuries such as shin splints and stress fractures. The guide below will help you determine how to shop for the right shoe for your child’s foot and explain when to get rid of old shoes in favor of a new pair.

  • Low arched feet or flat feet are those that do not have much of a gap between the floor and the arch of the foot when standing. This foot type is very flexible and needs a shoe that can control its motion. Look for a shoe that has a rigid heel counter and more durable foam in the middle 1/3 of the midsole (often there is a change in foam color or texture in these types of shoes).
  • High arched feet are those that have a large gap between the floor and the arch of the foot. This foot type tends to be rigid and needs a shoe that can absorb the shock of running. Look for a shoe that is flexible and has a thick and cushioned midsole.
  • Neutral feet are those that have an arch height between high and low. This foot type can accommodate most shoe types.

FAQ’s about Running Shoes

  • How can I tell if the shoe fits properly?

    • The shoe should bend at the ball of the foot where the toes bend. If the shoe bends farther forward or behind where the toes bend, this means the shoe is too big or small (which could result in unneeded stress occurring elsewhere on the foot).
    • There should be an index finger width between the longest toe and the end of the shoe.
    • The heel should be stable and should not move in and out of the heel counter.
    • The foot should not slide back and forth inside the shoe when stopping or starting.
  • When should I replace my child’s running shoes?

    • Shoes should be replaced when they start feeling too small.
    • If your child is a runner, keep track of his mileage. Shoes should be replaced between 300 and 500 miles, depending on his training. In general, shoes should be replaced at least once per athletic season (if not more, depending on activity). Shoes should also be replaced if they show unevenness in wear when placed on a flat surface or if there is noticeable creasing in the midsole.
    • Remember that the midsole (which is the portion of the shoe that absorbs shock) is usually the first part to wear out in athletic shoes. If all of a sudden your child starts experiencing aches and pains that she hasn’t dealt with before (such as shin splints or knee pain), it could be because the shoes are no longer absorbing the shock of running and her body is, instead. This may be a signal that it is time to change shoes. If you do not, the aches and pains could become overuse injuries.

Final Word

While there is no universally perfect running shoe, there is a shoe that is perfect for YOUR child.

It is my hope that, with the help of this article, your youngsters find a running shoe that keeps them fast, fearless, and free of any unwanted aches and pains.

Brittany Spalding
Brittany Spalding is a wife, homeschool mom, writer, editor, and food allergy awareness advocate. She enjoys spending time with her family, gardening, restoring antique furniture, St. Louis Cardinals baseball, and fishing on the beautiful Kentucky Lake.

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