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How to Buy Kids’ Running Shoes

JUL. 01, 2022
If your child likes to run, it makes sense to buy them a pair of good running shoes.
Weekly Meal Prep Low Calorie

Whether they’re racing in a 1K fun run or just want to tag along with mom while she jogs around the block, finding a pair of supportive sneakers that fit your child is important.

To help, here are tips for buying running shoes for kids 12 and under.

What to Look for in a Good Running Shoe

Before you head to a local shoe store or start browsing online, it’s good to know what you’re looking for. After all, there are so many different types, sizes, and brands to choose from. To start your search, you should look for a shoe that has a:

  • Thick sole

Running can be hard on the body, even little ones, so it’s a good idea to find a running shoe that has a fairly thick sole. This indicates the shoe has quite a bit of cushion to absorb the impact of running.

  • Well-fitting arch

The curved, inside part of the foot is called an arch. You want a running shoe that has solid arch support. You’ll likely need to read the product’s descriptions to see if arch support is mentioned, since it’s not necessarily something you can spot visually.

  • Solid heel grip

The back of the shoe should be a little higher than the rest of the shoe’s height to provide ample support for your child’s heel. The fabric inside the heel of the shoe shouldn’t have any seams either, which could cause blisters.

kid trying on shoes

How to Shop for Good Running Shoes for Kids

Your child will probably have an opinion on which shoes they like. While style is important to kids, it’s important to remind them that functionality and comfort are the priorities, especially in a running shoe. When you’re ready to make a purchase, here are some tips to make sure your child is happy with the fit:

  • Measure your child’s foot

If you’re shopping at a brick-and-mortar store, ask an associate to measure your child’s foot. If you plan to buy running shoes online, be sure to measure your child’s foot first.

To do so, place a piece of paper next to a wall. Have your child place their heel up against the wall and on the paper. Trace your child’s foot with a pencil and measure both the length and width. Add one centimeter to the length to plan for a little growth.

  • Look for a brand that has varying sizes and widths

It’s a good idea to find a brand that has a variety of sizes and wide-width options available. The best fit for your child might be wider than the average sneaker. Having the ability to try on wide-width sneakers could unlock the ideal fit for your child.

  • Try them on

If you’re in a store, have your child try on a handful of different brands. Sneakers vary widely, so your child should try some on, with socks that they usually wear when running, and walk around the store a bit. If your child wears a shoe insert, take that with you to try on running shoes.

If you’re buying online, your child doesn’t have the ability to try shoes on, but you can read the description, reviews, and sizing chart. Remember, not all shoe sizes are consistent across brands.

man and child running

  • Run a few “fit tests”

To ensure a good fit, there are a few “tests” you can do. First, have your child stand up and use your thumb to see how much room is between your child’s toes and the top of the shoe. There should be a centimeter or two of space.

Next, watch your child walk away from you. Does their foot come out of the shoe? If it does, it’s too big.

Ask your child to jog a little in the shoe and watch their face. If they grimace, the shoe is likely too tight. Don’t assume the shoes will stretch or “break in” later on. Running shoes shouldn’t be painful to wear.

4 kids running outsde

Running Shoe Recommendations for Kids

ASICS has a great variety of supportive, affordable running shoes that don’t compromise on function or style. Here are a few suggestions that kids love:


With its retro design, clean look, and plenty of support, TIGER RUNNER™ GS offers cushion, comfort, and style.


For kids who love a splash of color, GEL-NOOSA TRI™ 13 GS is perfect. Its vibrant colors aren’t the only benefit though. It’s a flexible, breathable shoe that is highly durable.


A great all-purpose sneaker, the GEL-EXCITE™ 8 GS has a supportive cushion, breathable mesh, and rainbow ASICS stripes for a pop of color.

If your child shows interest in running, you can support their passion by finding well-fitting, durable running shoes. The tips and recommendations here should help you find the right fit for your young runner.