YOUTH RUNNER MAGAZINE’S BEST YOUTH RUNNING SHOES

For Back to School

 

Our editors reviewed and tested shoes that we thought would be the best for Youth Runners returning to school and to their cross country teams. We looked at fit, stability, youth sizes, coolness, and for this review affordability-price.

Here they are:

 

Running is the basic skill of most of our popular sports. Training to run fast (or long) requires good equipment, and that starts with the shoes. Youth Runner® wants you to know the most important details because there are a lot of shoe choices out there, from the discount retailers to the sporting goods stores, and the footwear Holy Grail - the running specialty store. The higher the price the better the shoe, at least with those featured here. We have given a score to each shoe in five areas: Cushion, Stability, Activity, Value, and Recommended Foot Type. We also list the sizes and price for each shoe, and comments from our testers, to assist with your informed decision and budget.

 

adidas Response Boost Techfit J  $90

The Response Boost is a running shoe for serious training. It is durable, but not the best choice for multi-purpose use - particularly in the gym or on the court with lots of side to side movement. If your child is running more than ten miles each week, these really show their strength, and for younger runners do a decent job for racing.

 

Cushion: A+

Stability: A-

Value: B (only for really serious runners)

Activity: Running

For: medium arched feet

Sizes: 3.5-6 Youth

 

Testers: “These are really bouncy, and they feel fast.”

 

 

adidas Power Blaze K $60

The Power Blaze K is the kids version of the adidas Springblade, but without the blades. The thing is that this design makes the shoe very versatile, working on the gym floor and the courts almost as well as on the track. It is durable enough for casual wear, though this will shorten its useful life as a training shoe. This is a good choice for between 10 and 15 miles a week, and is pretty good  as a racer for entry level runners.

 

Cushion: A

Stability: A

Value: A

Activity: Running, active games and exercises.

For: medium arched feet

Sizes: 10.5K-13K; 1-6 Youth

 

Testers: “These are light, and really grip the ground.”

 

 

ASICS Gel Noosa Tri 9 $75 

The Noosa Tri maybe surprisingly, looks much like the adult shoes with crazy colors and designs. Named for a region in Australia, they were designed for Triathlons. That said they make a really all-around kind of shoe. Really good for running, whether a little or a lot, and pretty good for more general purposes, though best for running.

 

Cushion: A-

Stability: A+

Value: B+ (better for older runners)

Activity: Running, running games, and exercises.

For: medium arched feet

Sizes: 1-7 Youth

 

Testers: “The colors are cool. The shoes are really comfortable”

 

 

The Pure Flow 3 is the second edition of the Kid’s version, and may be among the speedier of shoes offered here. They are good for distance as well, their low profile shape making them balanced and protective when the foot touches down. As for the versatility factor, they do pretty well for different active games, but the thin outersole doesn’t hold up to shoe scuffers as well as some other shoes might.

 

Cushion: A-

Stability: A

Value: A-

Activity: Running, active games, and exercises.

For: medium to high arched feet

Sizes: 1-7 Youth

 

Testers: “Light on my feet, fit just right. Great for running, for sure.”

 

 

New Balance 890v4 $65

The 890 has been successful for adults looking for a light, well cushioned running shoe, so it should not be a newsflash that they are also great for kids. Really great for running, but for gym or general purpose not as good. If your child is hard on shoes these are best only for running, but on the upside, they are light enough for distance races.

 

Cushion: A

Stability: A-

Value: A-

Activity: Running, field games, and exercises.

For: medium to high arched feet

Sizes: 3.5-7 Youth

 

Testers: “Really light feeling, fit nice and snug. Made me feel like running.”

 

 

New Balance 980 $70

The 980 is often called “Fresh Foam” because of the new midsole material it uses. This is a very cushy running shoe, especially if your child needs the cushion and a pretty stable shoe, as its flat bottom design reduces some of the wobble you get with some other shoes. Because of its cushiness it isn’t as versatile for the gym or PE classes, but does hold its own for running related exercise and games. 

 

Cushion: A+

Stability: A

Value: A-

Activity: Running, active games, and exercises.

For: medium arched feet

Sizes: 3.5-7 Youth

 

Testers: “Totally cushy, so soft. They fit well without being tight on my feet. They kind of float when you run.”

 

Nike Zoom Pegasus 31  $80

The Pegasus is Nike’s most versatile running shoe for serious training, fine tuned over 30+ years. It is very durable for running, but more limited in the gym or on the court with lateral movement, though running games and exercises are no problem. If your child is running more than three days each week, the Peg’s are great, as running is their focus.

 

Cushion: A

Stability: A-

Value: B+ (the value is better as a serious training shoe for runners)

Activity: Running, active games, exercises

For: medium arched feet

Sizes: 3.5-7 Youth

 

Testers: “Snug on the foot, roomy in the toes. Good cushion, great for running.”

 

 

 

Reebok ATV19 Ultimate  $70

The ATV19 updates a similar shoe from last season, keeping the sole unit from which it takes the name, ATV (all terrain vehicle). Because of the sole it is really good for running with plenty of cushioning and decent stability, but that also equips it for more general purpose use, where it can hold its own on the court, in games, and running at blistering speed. The upper is pretty tough even for the toe draggers, they will eventually destroy the shoe, just not immediately. 

 

Cushion: A

Stability: A+

Value: A

Activity: Running, active games, and exercises.

For: medium arched feet

Sizes: 3.5-7 Youth

 

Testers: “The sole is awesome, and it grips everything. Of course, who doesn’t like camo?.”

 

 

Saucony Kid’s Kinvara 5 $60

The Kinvara is the shoe that has come to define much of what Saucony is today, because everyone from small children to adults can wear it. Its value is really surprising, because it is great for running and still tough enough for more general wear. The sole shape is efficient for running, and the midsole material is bouncy, durable, and has pretty good traction, so the shoe is not just good to look at, it also delivers. 

 

Cushion: A

Stability: A-

Value: A+

Activity: Running, active games, and exercises.

For: medium to high arched feet

Sizes: 3.5-7 Youth, medium & wide

 

Testers: “Good cushion, fits great, nice and light. I’d wear them everyday if I could.”

 

 

Skechers GOrun Ride 3  $50

Skechers succeeded in the Kid’s shoe world long before they had a Boston Marathon champion. The GOrun Ride 3 is the kid’s version of the adult shoe that has developed a growing fan club of runners. The shoe is quite versatile, its spongy sole able to adapt to a variety of activities, and the rubber covered lugs on the sole offer pretty good durability to boot. The flexibility and stretchy fit react well to move with the foot, which is pretty good for running, but may be less so for the side to side movement in other activities.

 

Cushion: A

Stability: A-

Value: A+

Activity: Running, active games, and exercises.

For: medium to high arched feet

Sizes: 1-7 Youth

 

Testers: “Love the stretchy fit, and the sole is so soft it is like a marshmallow, in a good way.”