Buying sneakers for your child involves a number of factors. Dina Sweeny, chief merchandising officer of the kids' clothing subscription service Kidpik, has this to say about children's sneakers: "Comfort and ease of wear are key because children are always on the go." It's common knowledge that children are prone to restlessness; however, when your toddler insists on putting on his or her own shoes, the process can feel like an ordeal. We polled parents, shoe experts, fashionistas, and sports fans for their recommendations on the best footwear for kids in pre-k, kindergarden, primary school, middle school, and high school. We have the cutest and coolest clothing suggestions for your kiddo, and we've categorized them by age group based on general criteria the experts have said you should consider when shopping for them. We have indicated when a style is offered in more than one age range.
Stacey Fauci, owner of Runnin' Wild, a children's shoe shop, says that See Kai Run canvas shoes, made in Seattle, are consistently popular. She praises the shoes' "functional soft sole" and "very nice styles." It's a good first-walker shoe because the colors are subdued. In addition to being cut wider, Many children have wide feet, so it makes sense that these roomier shoes are comfortable on kids' feet, says Jennifer May, a children's-footwear consultant.
Lifestyle blogger and mother Bianca Dottin says the Adidas Cloudfoams are true to their name and provide exceptional comfort for her children's feet. My kids can't stop raving about how cozy these are, so I know they're a hit. I also own the adult size, and I can wear them for long periods of time without discomfort. ”
Dayna Hall Carter, the design director at Vox Media, laments, "Completely our fault, but my boys (4 and 2) only like wearing AJ1s now." Famous sneakers that will never go out of style, Air Jordan 1s come in a wide range of colorways and heel heights. Carter is happy that her children can share a pair of shoes because "they work well for both their feet, narrow (oldest) and chunky dino feet (the baby)." ”
For kindergarteners, Overtime's director of social strategy and distribution Mike Kaufman recommends a sneaker with a nod to classic basketball style. Previously known as the "boring dad shoe," New Balance is now "the ultimate destination for Generation Z and Millennials." Kaufman predicts that the New Balance shoes will sell like hotcakes with Jack Harlow as the brand's new spokesman.
Another pair of Nike shoes that received praise for being soft and supportive of young feet. Tara Foley, the CEO and founder of the nontoxic cosmetics company Follain, says, "My favorite sneakers for my kids are Nike Air Maxes." "I own a pair just like them, so I can attest that they are exceptionally plush and just the right height." She likes that they come with "great elastic laces that I find way better than Velcro straps or regular laces" for the children's version. In addition to being extremely adorable, All members of the family can sport identical footwear because Nike produces Air Maxes for all ages and sizes (albeit in slightly different designs).
Kristin Knight, manager of product operations at Vox Media, says that these high-tech shoes give her son a sense of autonomy as he learns to tie his own shoes. His inability to tie his shoes has made Velcro and Velcro-less options a lifesaver. She says, "The BOA's tightening mechanism is very exciting to him." Your child can put on their sneakers quickly and easily on their own thanks to a single flap that hooks onto a child-sized disc that can be tightened to secure the shoe.
Both Moloco's founder Mika Oakes and Material's CEO and co-founder Eunice Byun recommend Stan Smiths (with Velcro) for their children. Byun argues that children can easily adapt to the new routine of putting on and removing shoes without tying laces. According to Oakes, "I was never the mom who wanted to deal with tying up laces," so she understands why no-tie shoes are preferable. There are also Stan Smith styles that are closed at the top with laces alone, which may be more appropriate for slightly older children.
Incontestably fashionable Camper Runner sneakers are so adorable, according to Dopple stylist Alexandra Perri, that "your little ones actually want to wear them." Shoes in a timeless cream hue that will go with anything your elementary schooler wears, and a Velcro and lace design that will keep them on your child's feet even if he or she is still practicing their shoe-tying skills, are a must-have for any parent.
The 9-year-old son of Tessa Thorton, engineering manager at Vox Media, loves this collaboration between LEGO and Adidas because "LEGOs are in every kid's DNA." "So many compliments and loves that the tread is LEGO blocks," she exclaims about him. Your child can put them on without assistance because of the elastic laces and hook-and-loop closure.
Sylvana Ward-Durrett, co-founder of Maisonette, says that her go-to pair of kids' shoes are Vans slip-ons because they're so convenient for quick on-and-off. Also, she says, "they're the perfect price point for the wear and tear of the week." They come in a variety of sizes, so if you and your child feel like twinning, you can both sport the same outfit.
Dopple stylist Monika Wajda is a huge fan of Veja sneakers because the quality is always there, whether she's buying a pair for herself or her daughter (like this adorable toddler-sized pair). What I like most about these shoes is that the Veja Kids version is just as flexible and lightweight as the adult version. Astonishingly, now when my daughter and I go out, we can experience moments of eerie similarity. She says, "Vejas are so much more entertaining when consumed with others."
Unlike the unstructured, barefoot-style shoes Shevaun Mackie Doyle, a pediatric orthopedist at the Hospital for Special Surgery, recommends for younger kids, she says that “as they get older and closer to their adult body weight, it’s okay to have a shoe that equally distributes load and absorbs shock” like a traditional running shoe She says that these more specialized shoes help prevent stress fractures and calluses as children enter middle school and begin participating in track, cross country, and other running-based sports. Asics are great for active kids because they use the same cushioning technology in their adult shoes that is found in the brand's other shoes. The Gel-Contend, in Fauci's opinion, is "a very stable shoe." ”
As they near the end of elementary school, some kids may start to care more about the way their sneakers look. According to May, "Adidas is doing a great job with styles at the moment." She recommends these as they are both comfortable and fashionable. You can let your kid pick out a pair of shoes based on how they look as long as you make sure they have a good fit and serve their purpose. Doyle claims this to be the case even for the one in five children who have flat or collapsed arches. Don't buy a shoe that will curve to your flat foot, she warns. Evidence suggests that this is a common variation in foot shape. ”
Liza Bychkov-Suloti, a partner at the integrated marketing and PR firm SHADOW, recommends the following knit style as another excellent example of the season's most popular looks. She praises Champion for producing high- and low-top sneakers that are both comfortable and stylish, calling them "outfit of the day" worthy. In addition to being "cool and durable," the sock-style sneakers also make it easy for kids who can't yet tie their own laces to put the shoes on by themselves, as stated by Bychkov-Suloti.
The MB1 is the best basketball shoe ever made, according to Kaufman. Your high schooler may not be playing basketball, but sneakers with a basketball-inspired design will be a must-have this year. According to Kaufman, "the newest colorway of NBA player LaMelo Ball's signature shoe is the most popular shoe among his Gen-Z fans."
When it comes to getting dressed in the morning for school, teenagers can be pickier than their younger peers. Kids' clothing designers Iris Adler and Tali Milchberg agree that black Chuck Taylors are a safe bet. Black All-Star high-tops are timeless classics and a great option at any time." For decades, this brand has been a literal symbol of youth and youth culture. In terms of fashion, they are easygoing and versatile enough to be worn with anything from jeans to a cocktail dress. It's a plus if it's a bit shabby and worn. ”
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Top Sneakers for Kids, as Chosen by Their Parents and Industry Professionals