Best Running Shoes for Kids 2024

Buyer's Guide | Fleet Feet

By Mandy Wahl, Tom Rivett Updated on

Your kids’ feet take them on all sorts of adventures, from running around the playground at school to running around a track. Whether they are in an organization such as Girls on the Run to build confidence and other skills or just need a pair of sneakers for playing, it is important that your child’s shoes fit properly and give them the support they need.

Here is our list of the best kids running shoes:

How a Kid’s Shoe Should Fit

Kids grow up so fast, that’s why it is best to bring them into one of our Fleet Feet locations and have them fitted with our unique fit id® outfitting process (it is not just for grown-ups). The best rule of thumb: Make sure there is at least a thumb’s width of space between the tip of your kids’ toes and the front of the shoe. Youth running shoes are unisex and built on a men’s scale, so girls running shoes and boys running shoes are the same. If you child is in between adult and kid sizing, then here is a conversion guide because they may want to look at women's shoes.

The most important thing when choosing a shoe for your child is that they are comfortable. This way they will be more likely to engage in physical activity, whether it be running a 5K or running around the backyard.

[This article is part of the Fleet Feet Buyer's Guide for The Best Running Shoes 2024. Find all the best running shoes from the top brands for all situations.]

Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 40

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The Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 40 is a favorite running shoe for adults and kids alike. Nike took their popular shoe and made it kid-friendly by fine-tuning their air zoom pod for a typical kid’s height and weight. This cushioned shoe will put a spring in their step and make them feel fast.

A breathable upper has a midfoot strap, so your kid can move in any direction with ease, like bobbing and weaving during their next dodgeball game. Whether they are lacing up for their first 5K or using them in gym class, the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 40 will be a great fit.

New Balance Fresh Foam 880 v12

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The Youth New Balance Fresh Foam 880 v12 provides both cushion and support for your child. This shoe features New Balance’s plush Fresh Foam that provides soft landings, which is perfect for running or jumping rope.

The upper is made with a double jacquard mesh that is roomy in the forefoot, but gives you support and structure throughout the midfoot. Great for zooming around the track or as a comfortable school shoe, the New Balance Fresh Foam 880 v12 is sure to be a hit.

New Balance Fresh Foam 860 v13

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If your kid needs some stability, the New Balance Fresh Foam 860 v13 is a great option. Perfect for kids who have flexible ankles or excessively pronate, a medial post provides extra support.

This lightweight shoe has a layer of New Balance’s Fresh Foam X underfoot to provide soft landings and all-day comfort, which is great whether they are running around the block or playing hopscotch. With a breathable engineered mesh and a heel that hugs the back of the foot for a snug, supportive fit, the New Balance Fresh Foam 860 v13 is a homerun.

Diadora Mythos Blushield Volo 2

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Stylish and fast, the Diadora Mythos Blushield Volo 2 will make your kids feel like they're flying. The Volo 2 features a soft EVA foam and Diadora’s signature Blushield technology that puts a spring in your kid’s step and reduces any asymmetrical discrepancies between their feet. With a lightweight, breathable upper and durable outsole, your kids can jump rope, run or play to their heart’s content.

Saucony Ride 14

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The Saucony Ride 14 is a shoe that can keep up with your kid’s energy. This neutral shoe provides great energy return step after step. The one-piece upper is lightweight and breathable to fit securely on the foot. Saucony also added a reinforced toe cap so that these shoes can handle kid’s play.

The durable rubber outsole is made with non-marking rubber, so they’re perfect for the gym floor. Plus, Saucony made them with an anti-odor lining so they don’t stink up your house. Whether your kids are starting a running program or just wearing them for fun, they will love the bouncy Saucony Ride 14.

How We Chose the Best Kids Running Shoes

We consider several factors when choosing what are the best shoes for children. From intended use and performance to real world testing and our own fit id® data, here are the things we consider when picking the best running shoes in each category:

  • Purpose. Comparing apples to apples
  • Performance. How well does it do its job?
  • Price. Is it affordable? Does its performance justify its cost?
  • Sales. Best-selling models are best-sellers for a reason
  • fit id® data. Our own data shows how shoes fit for different feet
  • Availability. It won’t help you if you can’t buy it
  • Designer interviews. We ask the people who made it

Standing Behind Our Picks

We picked the best kids running shoes based on what we think will work for the most people in the most situations. If you buy a pair of running shoes from us and you don’t like the way they look, fit or perform, bring them back within 60 days for a full refund. Plus, we offer free shipping on all orders over $99 on fleetfeet.com, and we’ll match a lower price from a qualifying retailer. That’s our Happy Fit Guarantee.