The Best Nike Running Shoes for Kids
Find a pair of kids' running shoes to keep their feet comfy and supported as they run, jump and play.
For kids, being active is about playing, exploring and having fun. It’s also important for a child’s health and development. The World Health Organization recommends that kids and adolescents ages 5 to 17 average about 60 minutes per day of moderate-to-vigorous aerobic physical activity. That activity can come in many forms — from unstructured, free-time play to family walks or bike rides to organized team sports.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are many ways to incorporate active play and to influence a child’s attitude and behaviors around physical activity, including:
- Making it fun by leaning into activities that the child enjoys
- Incorporating physical activity into the family’s daily routine by going on walks or playing games together
- Taking kids to places where they can be active such as public parks, community baseball fields or basketball courts
- Giving children access to equipment that encourages physical activity
A pair of running shoes helps equip kids to be on their feet and comfortably play. Check out the top Nike running shoes for kids.
1. Nike Pegasus
Nike Pegasus running shoes for kids are designed to feel soft and bouncy for running, skipping and jumping. Plush padding around the ankle and tongue offers extra comfort, and the wider forefoot allows for wiggle room in the toes. The midfoot webbing in the shoe offers a snug fit once the laces are tightened, and the upper of the shoe is constructed with breathable mesh. The American Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Society recommends that kids wear shoes with breathable uppers because they tend to have sweaty feet. Finally, a rubber sole provides durable traction, helping the shoes grip on all kinds of surfaces. This shoe comes in sizes 1Y to 7Y.
2. Nike Free RN
The Nike Free RN shoe is made for kids who love the feeling of running around barefoot. These shoes are flexible and have deep grooves in the sole so the feet can feel a natural connection with the ground while walking and running. The lightweight, soft cushioning underfoot and padded collar make the shoe comfortable for all-day play. A heel tab makes these easy to remove, and the leather and mesh materials in the upper combine for the right balance of breathability and durability. With styles for babies to big kids (sizes 2C up to 7Y), these versatile low-tops can go from class to playtime and everywhere in between.
3. Nike FlyEase
For easy on-and-off kids' footwear, try a pair of Nike FlyEase shoes. The Nike Revolution FlyEase, for example, is a versatile running, walking and playtime shoe with wraparound zipper on the heel and a strap over the top to secure the fit. These shoes can come on and off in seconds with no shoelace-tying required. They don’t compromise on performance, either. They’re designed to offer support and stability for multi-directional movements, and the soft cushioning absorbs impact with every step. A rubber sole grips the ground and a breathable textile upper helps ensure feet stay cool. These shoes come in sizes for little kids and big kids, running from 10.5C to 7Y.
Tips for Finding the Right Fit
- Measure the child’s feet at a local Nike store or other shoe store. If you’d like to try measuring at home, ask them to stand on a piece of paper and put a little weight on each foot. Trace each foot and measure the distance between the tip of the big toe and the outermost part of the heel. Find their proper size on the Nike Kids’ Size Chart.
- It’s best to try on new shoes in the evening, since feet tend to swell over the course of the day. To make sure the fit is accurate, the child should wear the same socks they’ll wear for play when they’re trying on new shoes.
- Check the toe box to make sure it is wide enough for the child to wiggle and stretch their toes and deep enough that the upper doesn’t press onto them.
- Don’t rely on a break-in period. Running shoes should feel comfortable from the first step. Let the child run and play in the shoes, and ask them if they feel comfortable before deciding to keep them.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Often Should You Replace Kids' Running Shoes?
Children who are still growing may need new running shoes as often as every three to four months, since their feet can grow a half size bigger during that time. When their feet are fully grown, it’s best to replace running shoes after 300 to 500 miles of wear. If you notice fraying on the inside of the shoe or noticeable wear on the tread, it’s likely time to get a new pair.
What Should I Look For in Kids' Running Shoes?
According to the American Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Society, kids should wear shoes with breathable uppers. For added comfort and support, look for a shoe with ample cushioning to absorb impact and a durable, rubber sole for traction. Avoid overly thick soles, however, which may feel bulky and cause kids to stumble.
Words by: Lindsay Frankel