Our round-up of the best running shoes for kids makes it easy to find a pair perfect for little feet. Whether you are looking for running shoes from Nike, New Balance or adidas, our list will make you smile.

Let’s be honest, running isn’t a trivial endeavor. You’ve got a pair of open-toe shoes, jogging shorts, and you’ve been training for months. The last thing you want to worry about is whether or not your shoes are going to do their job. That’s why we’ve compiled the best youth running shoes 2019 list for every kid.

Kids will always find a way to be kids and with the development of their motor skills, they are able to do things that we often take for granted. Whether it is a game of tag or a friendly match in soccer, running around is fun and a way to keep your child healthy and active. To keep up with whatever pace your child sets on their own two feet, you will need to find them the best youth running shoes on the market. The trick here is knowing what qualities define the best running shoes for kids, as well as finding them in a price range you are comfortable with.

Boys running shoes

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Best youth running shoes 2019

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New Balance Kid's 888 V1 Running Shoe, Pacific/Dynomite, 5.5 W US Toddler
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The New Balance 888v1 Running Shoe tops our list as the best and most recommended running shoe in 2021.

This classic 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. It’s one of the best kids shoes overall.

Asics Kids’ Gel-Contend 4 GS Running Shoe

ASICS Kid's Gel-Contend 5 GS Running Shoes, 4, Black/Speed RED
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The Asics Kids’ Gel-Contend 4 GS Running Shoe blasts into action with a fun, colorful upper featuring seamless construction.

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

New Balance Kid's 990 V3 Sneaker, Grey/Pink Trim with White Laces, 12 M US Little Kid
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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

adidas Performance Hyperfast Running Shoe (Little Kid/Big Kid),Black/Mid Grey/Silver ,11.5 M US Little Kid
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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 offers both for your little one. With five fashionable color choices to choose from, this kid running shoe makes the grade for both style and comfort.

It’s a solid pick for one of the best sneakers for kids.

Nike Roshe One Running Shoe

Nike Kid's Roshe One Running Shoe, Black/Black/Black, 6 Big Kid
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The Nike Roshe One Running Shoe is flexible, lightweight, and perfect for everyday wear.

Parents love this shoe for its mesh upper, which offers 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 it 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.

The Best Boys Running Shoes

The Nike Kids Flex Experience Running Shoe is available in big kids sizes and not available for younger kiddos, while the Reebok Realflex Transition Running Shoe is available from toddler to big kid sizes.  

Nike Kids Flex Experience RN 7 Running Shoe

Nike Kids Flex Experience RN 7 (GS) Running Shoe, Hyper Royal/ White, 6 Big Kid
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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 seven 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 kid 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

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

The Best Girls Running Shoes

The Skechers Kids Go Run 4 Running Shoes are lightweight and come in bright colors but have quite a large price tag for a children’s shoe; whereas the Saucony Ride 8 Sneakers are durable, comfy, and colorful shoes but will cost much less for your child’s footsies.

Skechers 80653L Go Run 4 Running Shoe

Skechers Kids 80653L Go Run 4 Running Shoe,Neon Pink/Multi,2 M US Little Kid
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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. Plus, the fun colors make these some of the best tennis shoes for girls.

Saucony Ride 8 Running Shoe

Saucony Ride 8 Running Shoe (Little Kid/Big Kid), Pink/Purple, 6 M US Big Kid
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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 Shoeprovides 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 still critical of this shoe because it is only available in a regular width. If your child has a wide or thick foot and needs more space in the toe box, this may not be the shoe for you.

If you are gonna be outside, don’t forget the kids sunscreen!

Best Running Shoes Compared

The table below compares only the recommended products on this page. A low or high Price means it is low or high compared to the other products listed. The Popularity Score reflects how often readers click on and buy the product. The Quality Score is our assessment of the overall performance and satisfaction with the product compared to others in the table.

Nike Roshe One Running Shoe$$9.0 
New Balance KJ990 Running Shoe9.2 
Reebok RealFlex Transition Running Shoe8.2 
Adidas Performance Hyperfast Running Shoe9.0 

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Guide to Selecting Running Shoes for Kids

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, feet develop best in natural, barefoot environments. The purpose of shoes is to provide protection from injury and infection.

Stiff and compressive footwear may cause deformity, weakness, and loss of mobility. Shoes that are designed with the barefoot model in mind are less likely to cause these conditions. 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.

FAQs about Kids Running Shoes

How can I tell if my kid’s shoe fits properly?

Examine where the shoe is bending by feeling the shoe and foot in the bent position. It should bend under the ball of the foot to support the bending of the toes. If the position of the bend is 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).

Here are some other indicators of good shoe fit:

  • 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.
  • Your child should not feel any sliding motion inside the shoe when they start and stop running.

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 the 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.

Also, if the mesh upper or rubber outsole of the shoe has holes, tearing, or excessive wear, then it’s definitely time to buy a new pair of shoes.

Can I buy shoes a size up for my child’s growing feet?

As a parent, I totally get this question. It can be very frustrating to buy new shoes every 3 to 6 months for a growing child. But resist the urge to buy a size up!

Why? Because a shoe that’s too big won’t support your child’s foot as it should. This can result in foot, ankle, leg, and even back or hip injuries now and down the road. 

If it’s time to buy new shoes and you think your child is experiencing a growth spurt, you can try buying a half-size up. As long as the shoe is bending where it should and there’s not a crazy amount of room in the toe box, it should be okay. 

And just remember, if you are planning for a pair of shoes to fit your child 4 or 5 months from now, the season will be different and the shoe will be really beat up, so you’ll likely have to buy another pair of shoes in that size anyway! So just buy a pair that fits and works right now. 


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