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The Best Shoe Brands For Kids- The 5 Most Durable And Affordable Brands

Most Durable Kids Shoes

Are your kids wearing down their shoes before they outgrow them? So many parents report that their children typically destroy their shoes before they are ready to be replaced! Replacing their children’s shoes prematurely is frustrating for parents, who want to ensure that their children get the most use out of their shoes as possible.

I have been fitting children’s shoes and orthotics for the last 10 years at a premier children’s shoe store specializing in children with foot and leg problems, but our store provides regular shoe fittings as well.

We carry some of the most supportive children’s shoes and orthotics.  I will share with you my perspective on the best shoe brands for kids, and the best shoe styles among those brands, based on my experience.

Most children are extremely active and impose an enormous amount of stress on their shoes. The highest quality footwear is not only supportive but also durable. In my experience, certain brands consistently offer shoes of the highest quality construction and durability. So many parents are disappointed to find that their kids’ shoes fall apart before they outgrow them, and these frustrated parents all seem to have one question in common:

What are the best shoe brands for kids?

The best shoe brands for kids are the ones that make durable, supportive and affordable footwear. Additionally,shoe brands that make shoes in a variety of widths such as narrow, medium, wide, and extra wide guarantee that the shoes will fit the shape of your child’s feet, regardless of how narrow or wide the might be.

Did you know that NikeAdidas, and Under Armour didn’t make it on my top 5 shoe brands for children? While these shoe brands are some of the most popular shoe brands among children, their shoe styles don’t provide the correct amount of support that children need to perform their everyday activities and keep their feet healthy.

Let me prove it to you…

Do you notice that in the picture below, the child’s feet are much straighter in the Asics shoe style (all black) than in the Nike shoe style?

Shoes For Kids With Flat Feet

Shoes For Kids With Flat Feet

Most Nike shoe styles are too flimsy and soft, providing minimal arch and ankle support. Do you know what the heel counter of the shoe is? The heel counter is the back part of the shoe that provides ankle support.The heel counter of the Nike shoe style is much softer compared to a New Balance shoe style, which is evident in these photos:

firm-heel-counter

soft-heel-counter

Shoes play a key role in keeping your kids’ feet and legs healthy, so it’s very important that you choose the correct shoe styles for your child. There are certain shoe brands that are consistent in making supportive, and well-made shoes for children.

Are you ready to learn about the best shoe brands for kids?

Disclosure: Keep in mind that we may receive commissions when you click our links and make purchases.

NUMBER 1: NEW BALANCE ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Winner for Wide and Extra Wide Feet

New Balance Sneakers For Kids

New Balance doesn’t just create excellent quality footwear for kids, but the company also produces shoes providing comfort, maximum support and stability. The fact that the company makes shoes in different widths such as medium, wide, and extra wide is also a life saver for those children who have extra wide feet.

Wouldn’t it be great if you didn’t have to worry about your kids’ shoes falling apart? Because the company’s mission is to focus solely on quality, New Balance invests a significant amount of resources on research and development.

New Balance doesn’t merely want to design, produce and market products to convey an image.  Rather, the company designs shoes that fit and last!

New Balance shoes are partially manufactured in the United States. The company makes domestic manufacturing a top priority, producing and assembling over 4 million pairs of athletic shoes per year in the United States.

I have fitted thousands of children for New Balance shoes, and I can assure you that they are made of excellent quality materials. Also, several parents report that New Balance shoes tend to hold up the best.

At the shoe store where I work, we have a bin for discarding defective footwear (when a shoe doesn’t hold up as it should, parents are allowed to return them to the shoe store as long they are within the return policy period). At the end of the month, we send the defective shoes back to the vendors. New Balance always has the lowest quantity of defective shoes compared to the other shoe brands.

If you are looking for supportive and durable shoes for your child, you can’t go wrong with New Balance. This shoe brand will work the best if your child has wide to extra wide feet.

For example, if you take a look at a Saucony shoe style and you put a New Balance shoe style with the same length and width next to it, you will notice how different their toe-boxes are. New Balance tends to make shoes with rounder toe-boxes than Saucony, so if your child has extra wide feet, I always recommend parents to stick with New Balance.

Here you can find a selection of the best children’s shoe styles made by New Balance:

ToddlersToddlersToddlersToddlersToddlersToddlersLittle KidsLittle KidsLittle KidsLittle KidsLittle KidsLittle KidsBig KidsBig KidsBig KidsBig KidsBig KidsBig Kids

This selection of shoes fit “true to size”, which means that you need to go a half a size longer of the size that your child measures in the shoe measuring scale in order to allow for growing room.

NUMBER 2:  SAUCONY ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Winner for Narrow Feet!

Vegan Shoes For Kids

Another iconic shoe brand is Saucony, one of the leading technical shoe manufactures out there. The company, which ceased producing their shoes in the US in 1997, focuses on quality, and is known for their shoes’ high quality and support. Saucony is a great brand for kids, as they produce shoes in medium, wide, and extra wide widths.

What parents love the most about Saucony is how they make great quality shoes, at an affordable price.

Did you know that Saucony is one of the few brands that makes vegan shoes, which include no glue or animal-sourced materials?

In my experience, most children will outgrow their pair of Saucony shoes before wearing them out!  If you are making a trip to the playground with your child, Saucony’s high quality materials, such as leather and mesh uppers, rubber outsoles and flex grooves, will keep your child comfortable and carefree.

The company stands behind their products, in my experience, when consumers did not feel their Saucony purchases met quality standards.

The shoes below will fit a child that has narrow, medium, or wide feet (choose the width accordingly). If your child has narrow feet you need to choose the medium (“M”) width.

Toddler ShoesToddler ShoesToddler ShoesToddler ShoesToddler ShoesToddler ShoesLittle KidsLittle KidsLittle KidsLittle KidsLittle KidsLittle KidsBig KidsBig KidsBig KidsBig KidsBig KidsBig Kids

This selection of shoes fit “short”, which means that you need to go a whole size longer of the size that your child measures in the shoe measuring scale in order to allow for growing room.

NUMBER 3: ASICS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Winner for Kids who Love to Run!

Asics is one of the best shoe brands when it comes to running. In addition to providing excellent support and stability, Asics shoes are extremely well built. Did you know that Asics is one of the most popular running shoe brands worldwide? Their styles are all made to accommodate the boundless energy of young children!

Like New Balance, Asics prioritizes the production of quality footwear over the creation of the most fashionable designs. While Asics’ prices are typically higher than New Balance’s or Saucony‘s, Asics’ shoes come with infused gel and offer optimal support for children who are serious about running!  Additional layers of gel are associated with the highest prices.

Here you can find a selection of the best Asics shoe styles for children. Please refresh your browser if you can’t see the recommendations.


These shoe styles fit ”short”,  which means that you need to go a whole size longer of the size that your child measures in the shoe measuring scale in order to allow for growing room.

NUMBER 4: STRIDE RITE ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Winner for Babies Learning how to Walk!

Baby First Walking Shoes

Stride Rite is the first choice for many parents since the company designs and engineers footwear specifically to meet the needs of growing children. When a child is learning how to walk, we normally fit them in a pair of Stride Rite “transition shoes,” since the shoes are engineered to help your child balance and learn how to walk while he or she is wearing the shoes.

Whether your child is walking, running, or jumping, this brand of shoes can handle it all.  Stride Rite makes shoes that are durable yet lightweight! They also manufacture shoes in different widths such as medium, wide, and extra wide!

Stride Rite has been creating quality footwear for almost a century now, designed specifically for kids. Stride Rite (which is manufactured by Wolverine now) has been manufacturing children’s shoes since 1919.

Most of Stride Rite shoe styles come with sensory pods on the sole of the shoe, which allows babies who are learning how to walk “feel” the ground, making them more confident and stable when taking those first steps.

Here you can find a selection of the best shoe styles made by Stride Rite for babies learning how to walk. 

M,W,XWM,W,XWM,W,XWM,W,XWM,W,XWM,W,XWM,W,XWM,W,XWM,W,XWM,WM,WM,WM,W,XWM,W,XWM,W,XWNarrow, M,W,XWNarrow, M,W,XWNarrow, M,W,XW

All of these shoe styles fit “true to size”, which means that you need to provide your baby with a half a size longer of the size that your baby measures in the shoe measuring scale in order to allow for growing room.

NUMBER 5: GEOX ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Winner for Durable Shoes!

Durable Kids Shoes

Geox doesn’t only make fantastic looking shoes, this brand makes shoes that are virtually indestructible. Need I say more? Wouldn’t that be every parent’s dream shoe? The stitching detail found on every single style of their shoes provides extended durability. A huge plus of this brand is their GeoxTM breathes patented system that absorbs and wicks away moisture!

If you have a child whose feet tend to sweat a lot, Geox shoes will provide them with excellent breathability. European customers love Geox shoes for their leather materials and for construction that provides excellent support.

Here you can find a selection of the best Geox shoe styles for children. Please refresh your browser if you can’t see the recommendations.


These shoe styles fit “true to size”, which means that you need to go a half a size longer of the size that your child measures in the shoe measuring scale in order to allow for growing room.

Are you Confused About Which Shoe Brand to Choose? Get it Right!

In all honesty, you really can’t go wrong with any of these brands. They all make excellent quality footwear for kids, and when it comes to durability, there are no other better shoe brands for kids than the ones mentioned above. It will all come down to which brand fits the shape of your kids’ feet best.

REMEMBER: 

If your child has a really wide foot (extra wide), NEW BALANCE is the way to go!

If your child is a runner and likes to run a lot, ASICS should be your first choice!

If you want shoes that hold up the best, GEOX should be your first choice!

When looking for shoes for their children, some parents’ top priority might be where the shoes are made, while for some other parents it might be the cost of the shoes. Aside of what your top priority might be, keep in mind that selecting good quality footwear for your children is important to keep your kids’ feet, legs, and back healthy.

Also, please don’t assume that a certain shoe brand manufactures poorly made shoes just because you had a bad experience with one particular style. Sometimes it happens that one shoe from the whole batch might be defective, in other words, a manufacturer defect. In the case of defective shoes, any of these 5 shoe companies will typically provide you with a refund or an exchange.

There is no definitive length of time that a pair of shoes will last or should last. The longevity of any pair of shoes is variable, as children’s activity levels and growth rates are variable. However, by choosing a high quality, durable shoe from one of these recommended brands, parents can expect to maximize the life of their children’s shoes.

If you want to learn about the best running shoe brands for women, you can do so in an article I wrote called:

The Best Running Shoe Brands for Women – The 2 Most Durable and Affordable Brands!

I hope you enjoyed reading about the most durable brands for children, and I would love to know if you have had positive experiences with any of the brands mentioned. Also, please let me know if you have another brand that you would recommend. Please share your experiences and thoughts below so that other parents can benefit from your experiences.

STOP BUYING THE WRONG PAIR OF SHOES FOR YOUR CHILDREN.LET’S START TAKING CARE OF THEIR FEET!

I created this webpage to help parents understand the importance that shoes have in healthy foot development and how they can prevent foot problems in the future.Join the rest of the parents who are taking care of their kid’s feet and get my guide for free: 10 Mistakes Parents Must Avoid When Buying Shoes for their Kids.

Join the rest of the parents who are taking care of their kids’ feet and get my guide for free: The 5 Most Common Mistakes Parents Make when Buying Their Kids’ Shoes

30 Comments on The Best Shoe Brands For Kids- The 5 Most Durable And Affordable Brands

  1. Hi Juan, thank you for such an interesting post. I have tried for sometime several brands until I found one more durable and affordable for my kids, specially for my boy. Usually a pair of shoes was for 2 months! When I tried the Geox brand everything changed because those are much better in terms of quality and durability than the most brands in the market!
    I never tried Asics, so, maybe it will be my next purchase!
    I really don’t have any problem with my girl because she doesn’t screw up any shoes…
    Thanks
    Alex

    • Alex,

      Geox shoes are practically indestructible! The quality and durability of this brand is superb, your child will definitely outgrow these shoes before anything happens to them! Asics makes great running shoes with a lot of support. As your son gets older and the velcro options are not available anymore, you should definitely consider Asics as his new brand, since Geox doesn’t make a lot of lace-up shoes.

  2. I have a nephew and I’m looking for shoes for his birthday. He is 8 years old on his birthday. I like the asics and the new balance. I have some questions though. Why is that nike is not on the list? Also adidas? Are nike and adidas not durable?

    • John,

      I feel like Adidas and Nike are great brands, but not durable or sturdy like the ones I mentioned in the post. Nike and Adidas have a great marketing team and famous sport players doing commercials promoting the shoes, but that does not make them quality shoes. If you are looking for quality and durability, stick with the brands I recommend. You will definitetely see a difference!

  3. Hi Juan,

    My son is 7 years old and his feet are growing really fast. If we buy new size in spring, in autumn these shoes don’t fit him anymore. So on the one hand, I understand that good shoes are important and I do want my son wearing shoes that are not made of good quality materials, but on the other hand I don’t want to spend big money for shoes that fit him only few months. We actually choose Nike shoes, as these are not so expensive and also they are durable enough for the time period these shoes fit him. We used to buy also Ecco shoes and these were both durable and very expensive. Do you have any experience with Ecco shoes?

    • Arta,

      Some people love Nike shoes, but it is a brand that puts a lot of effort on marketing campaigns when they could be using some of that money to improve the quality and support of their shoes. I am not experienced with Ecco shoes but I do know they are made out of great quality! I have heard plenty of good things about that brand!

  4. Thank you so much for sharing this. With three little ones we are always buying new shoes as they seem to fall apart as soon as the kids out them on. Usually we just buy cheap ones from Wal-Mart but i think it might be time to try something different. My wife loves Soucony shoes and i just recently bought a pair of new balance that i really like. I think we will look at one of those 2 brands for the kids and see how they fair.

    • New Balance and Saucony are two of the best brands I have ever fitted. Because they come in medium, wide and extra wide widths, they can fit all sort of feet! Children should definitely outgrow their shoes before they wear them out!

  5. Wow I did not expect for there to be so much useful information on this article about fitting children shoes but there is. All of this information is great and can be helpful for parents trying to figure out how to make shoes fit better on their children. What is the most consistent shoe brand that you have ever fitted?

    • Gilbert,

      If you mean consistency in terms of “fit”, New balance tends to be the best. When it comes to holding up, Geox are pretty much indestructible.

  6. Geox and saucany are the best. I would avoid stride rite unless for toddlers not for older kids the soles wear out and stitching comes apart.

    • Sue,

      Thank you for your input. When you mention that the stitching on Stride Rite shoes comes apart, have you had this happen to you more than once? Some parents tend to shy away from shoe brands once they have a bad experience with it, but sometimes it’s just a manufacturer defect.

      • We have purchased stride rite for my very active 6yo boy and they always come apart at the stitching (on top of the toe). He definitely gives them lots of wear, but we are going to try another brand and see if we have better luck

  7. Wow. Thank you for all this useful info.
    I love saucony. My husband and I wear it ourselves so we bought both our daughters a pair. My youngest LOVED hers. And yes. She outgrew then while they still looked new (toddler- Velcro closing). Same as her deck for pair. My second one loved hers too. And even though they held up pretty well, the shoe laces barely survived 2 month or so. Kind of frustrating because the color is hard to match. However, saucony are my faves. I’ve also bought my first daughter some Geox while visiting Spain and I love the design and the colors.

    • Hello Mena,

      Parents can relate to the best shoe brands for kids because they wear them themselves! Saucony shoes are one of our top selling shoes in the store, and Geox are for those children who need a durable and good quality shoe since they are practically indestructible. Thank you for stopping by!

  8. Thank you for this detailed and helpful article. You introduced me to brands I didn’t know existed (Geox). I’m curious … do you think the quality of these kids shoe brands translates into the same brands adult shoes? I’m very much a brand loyalist if the product is good. It just makes life easier (everyone in the family gets New Balance shoes etc.) For my daughter, I’m going to try New Balance, Saucony and Asics per your recommendation and see which work best for her. But do you think that if I buy Mom a pair or the same shoes the quality will likely be there also? Thanks! Michelle

    • Hello Michelle,

      Yes I do. However, keep in mind that even though the shoe brand might be popular, it all depends on the particular shoe style that you choose among that shoe brand. For example, New Balance makes great shoes for kids and adults. However, there are certain shoe styles made by New Balance that I wouldn’t recommend wearing either because they are too flimsy, non supportive, or no breathable.
      New Balance, Saucony, and Asics are three great shoe brands, but keep in mind that they will fit different. For example, Asics won’t fit a child with an extra wide foot while New Balance and Saucony will. Let me know if you have any other questions.

  9. My two sons, ages 10 and 13, are very active and can wear out normal sneakers in 2 or 3 months or less (usually a hole forms on the toe or the soles start to come off). As I tennis player, I knew tennis shoes are designed to be very durable and can last for years, so I bought my sons some tennis shoes from a tennis website, and these indeed have lasted much longer. However, the tread on tennis shoes is pretty smooth and there’s not much traction like you would get with like running shoes. If a shoe company would combine the construction and materials of tennis shoes with the tread of a running shoe, then they’d have the best all-around kids general purpose sneaker. Still waiting to find such a shoe, but maybe Geox is it.

    • Hello Jon,

      Your boys like to play rough! You make a good point, combining the traction of a running shoe with the construction and materials of a tennis shoe will give us a very sturdy, almost indestructible pair of shoes (maybe not for your two sons though).
      I have fitted the shoe brand Geox before and almost all of their shoe styles are practically indestructible. I have helped several families who told me how their children destroy every single pair of shoes that they have own, I always direct them to Geox. You should give Geox a try and tell me how it goes!

  10. Hi,
    My 3 and a half year old has achilis tendonitis and also has pigeon toe.
    After reading your article I think we are going to get the insoles and try a pair of the new balance runners.
    Do you need to go up a size if you use the insoles?
    Any information is greatly appreciated.
    We are in the process of seeing a consultant.
    Regards,
    Claire

    • Claire,

      I will say that 90% of the time we do require a larger shoe size ( but we don’t want to go any longer than a whole size up of the size that your child measures in the shoe measuring sale). What you will probably need is a wider shoe. Most New Balance kids shoes come in wide and extra wide widths. Please make sure that the shoe style that you choose has a very firm heel counter. I hope this helps.

  11. I have a 4 year old who has shoe trouble. She only likes the little slip on plastic shoes from old Navy but can’t wear them to school. We have been to every shoe store in my area and can’t find her a pair of tennis shoes. She does not like a shoe to “move” on her foot when she runs or jumps or anything. When she does wear anything else besides the plastic shoes she tightens them so tight she gets marks on her feet or the strap drags the ground. We have tried putting in heal protectors and anything we can think of. Any suggestions? It’s almost like she is always between sizes.

    • Hello Desiree,

      Have you consider providing her with a pair of shoes with shoelaces? They will grab her foot better and prevent her feet from moving inside the shoes.

      Does she like to wear socks with her shoes? It’s important that she does since socks will cushion and protect her feet when she is pulling either the shoelaces or the velcro closure too tight.

      My recommendation will be to try a shoe with shoelaces, but if she has a shoe in mind that she likes already, you can always put a tongue pad inside the shoe to prevent her feet from moving. A tongue pad is an adhesive-backed pad that goes in the tongue of the shoe and pushes our heels back against the shoes (securing them). Tongue pads work in all enclosed shoes.

      You can learn more about tongue pads in an article I wrote called:

      Leather Shoe Tongue Pads – Stop Heel Slippage

      I hope this helps!

  12. HI:
    I have an 8 year old who is very active. He likes to run and play soccer at recess. All his shoes have worn out within 2 months. I’m unsure of what brand of shoes to get him as he has high arches and wide feet too. What brand shoe would suit all the above conditions? I was thinking of getting him indoor soccer shoes to wear so he doesn’t destroy his sneakers but I heard they don’t offer support..
    Help!
    THank you.
    Best, Wenn

    • Hello Wenn,

      There are several brands that will work for his feet, but among those brands there are certain shoe styles that will work better than others. There is a particular shoe style made by New Balance that is my to-go shoe for children who destroy their shoes. It’s durable, supportive, and available in wide and extra wide widths. You can find that shoe style here:

      Supportive and Durable Shoe Style

      If your son doesn’t know how to tie his shoes yet please let me know and I will provide you with some Velcro options.

      I hope this helps!

  13. Plae shoes are amazing for children (and now adult styles too)! they fit great and are impressively durable, they have a guarantee although I don’t recall the terms of it off the top of my head, they also will replace the shoes should the child hit a growth spurt. They also accommodate children with orthopedics and inserts. If you haven’t heard of this brand before it’s definitely worth checking out.. their regular sneaker styles are around $40-55 but they offer a first purchase discount and have a rewards program as well 🙂

    • Hello Ashley,

      I have fitted PLAE shoes before and they are great and the only reason why they didn’t make my top 5 list is because I believe the other shoe brands are even better. I actually even wrote an article that describes PLAE shoes. Thank you for sharing your own experience about PLAE shoes!

  14. My boys used to wear New Balance running shoes. While being indestructible, I have found that these shoes do not offer much cushioning, and are very hard and not as flexible as other shoe brands. I don’t like them for myself either and wear only Brooks.

    • Hello Sandy,

      Thank you for sharing. Among each shoe brand there are certain shoe styles that will be more flexible and provide more support than others, that is why I provide specific shoe recommendations among each shoe brand.

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