It’s not always easy to find ‘real’ trail shoes for kids.  That is, shoes that are designed for more than just playground use.  Shoes that are built for mileage. Shoes that are rugged.  Real trail running shoes that are built like shoes for grownups, but with little feet in mind.

shoes

A shoe pile created as a result of my youngest’s attempt to look for his shoes.

Chances are that if you go to the local department store or mall sports store and ask for running shoes for your kid, you’ll discover shoes that look more like they are designed to spend time in front of a television set gaming, than running 5Ks.

If you do find ‘running’ shoes, they might work fine for road running, running paved paths, and relatively smooth surfaces, but they might not be the ideal pick for running trail.

running treads kidsLike these…note the relatively smooth, gripless tread.  When my daughter couldn’t find her trail running shoes one day, we went to the nearest department store and these were the only ‘running shoes’ available.  Slicker than slick on wet trail. Enough said.

converse kids shoe

Or these… my kids love, love, love Converse shoes and sometimes they will try to prove that they are truly multi-purpose, but mama says otherwise with those flat, smooth treads.

flat tread running shoe kids

Or these…so called running shoes for kids, but really are meant for playgrounds and running or walking flat terrain.

Rest assured though.  Trail running shoes for kids exist.

Depending on where you live, you may have to order shoes online.  Sometimes going to a place locally for sizing in the same brand, even if it’s not the trail shoe you are after, can help you get the sizing right.  If not, when you figure out the shoe you want for your kid, find a sizing guide online and try making the right fit yourself.  Find a store that allows free returns or exchanges–or better yet, comes with a satisfaction guarantee in case you run into problems with the shoe down the road.

My kids each have their favorite running shoes, though everyone in our family tends to gravitate toward Saucony brand, at least right now. I like how Saucony makes adorable and functional trail shoes.

saucony kids running shoe

Saucony makes these great trail shoes for kids, with good construction and beefy grip.

But everyone is different and everyone has their own preferences when it comes to what fits, performs, and feels good as a trail running shoe.  The key is finding what works for your kid–and what gives you peace of mind when they are out running uneven, root covered, rocky, and slippery trail.

The good news… kids grow so fast. It won’t be long until they are wearing adult sizes.  My teen loves Saucony Peregrines and the selection of trail shoes available to her now that she can wear women’s sizes.

saucony tread kids trail

Some brands that market trail shoes for kids:

  • Saucony
  • Salomon
  • Adidas
  • New Balance