I have just updated this post to reflect the best shoe brands for kids in 2020.
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 Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour are not 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 elaborate a bit more..
Do you notice that in the picture below, the child’s feet are much straighter in the New Balance shoe style (navy) than in the Nike shoe style (multicolor blue)?
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:
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?
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NUMBER 1: NEW BALANCE ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Winner for Wide and Extra Wide Feet
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. The company rather design shoes that fit and that actually 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:
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!
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 ` 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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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:
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, 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.