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The Worst Shoes for Kids – Stop Buying Under Armour, Nike, and Adidas!


Editor’s Note: This post has been updated and revised for accuracy on April 2022 and reflects up-to-date information on the worst shoes for kids.

Have you noticed that there is a growing trend of children leaning towards more fashion-oriented shoe brands such as Nike, Under Armour, and Adidas? You will notice how the older your kids get, the more they will start asking you to get shoes from these brands.

These 3 brands are some of the most popular not just in terms of footwear, but in active clothing in general. However, when it comes to manufacturing shoes for children, they make some of the worst shoes for their feet in terms of support and comfort.

Wait… What? How is that possible? People tend to relate the name of these brands with quality footwear and clothing, but when it comes to kids’ shoes, this is far from the truth.

Children who wore shoes from Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour complained about experiencing foot and leg pain a lot more compared to children who wore shoes from other shoe brands such as New Balance, Saucony, or Asics.

Do your kids ever complain that their feet and legs hurt? When your children start complaining about foot or leg pain, the first step before taking them to the doctor is to check if the shoes they are wearing are supportive and that they are wearing the correct shoe size.

My Experience Fitting Children’s Shoes

I have been working for a specialized children’s shoe store for the last 10 years now. This experience has afforded me many insights into children’s shoes and the way they fit. Our store specializes in fitting shoes for children with “complicated” foot shapes as well as foot and leg problems, but we provide regular shoe fittings as well. Over the years I got familiar with the best shoe brands for kids.


Shoes that don’t provide the correct amount of support are the leading reason why children develop foot issues and complain about foot and leg pain.

Did you know that Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour don’t manufacture shoes for children with wide or extra wide feet? Aren’t these 3 shoe brands aware that children’s feet come in different shapes? I am sure they know, they just think that children will cramp their toes if it means being able to wear one of their “cooler shoes”. 

For some reason Under Armour, Nike, and Adidas invest in making quality footwear for adults, but when it comes to children I believe they think that their logo is enough for kids to want to wear their shoes, and they can cut down in investing in good quality footwear for children.

Under Armour, Nike, and Adidas Shoes – Why are Their Shoes so Flimsy and Unsupportive?

Take a look at the picture below and notice the difference in support between a pair of Nike shoes and a pair of New Balance shoes. Do you notice how the New Balance shoe has a more substantial outsole? This helps minimize the impact that kids’ feet take when they come in contact with the ground.

Now let’s take a look at a different picture that shows how little ankle and heel support Nike shoes provide. The heel counter of the shoe is the part that provides ankle support and prevents heel pain. The firmer the heel counter, the better!


I will say that 90% of Under Armour, Nike, and Adidas shoes have the same features as the shoe in the image described above.

I know kids’ can be quite persistent when it comes to getting the shoes that they want, and most parents try to make their kids happy. It’s hard sometimes to say “no” to your kids since it’s not just about the shoes, but also about allowing them to make the right decision and wear something they are happy about!

Under Armour – ONLY for Kids with Narrow Feet

Did you know that Under Armour shoes only fit children with narrow feet? Most parents are fitting their kids’ feet in Under Armour shoes not knowing just how narrow they fit.

Every time a child comes to the shoe store that I work for wearing a pair of Under Armour shoes and complains about foot pain, I immediately check the width of the shoes first, and every single time… the shoes are too narrow!

If your child has wide or extra wide feet, you should stay away from this brand! If your child has a medium width foot, you can try them and see if they are wide enough, but I have even seen children with medium width feet not being able to fit in Under Armour shoes.


Maybe your child has narrow feet and you wanted a pair of narrow fitting shoes, but that is not the only issue with Under Armour.

Under Armour shoes provide no support whatsoever. Their shoes are flimsy, shallow, and they always end up wearing out faster than expected.

Just keep in mind that Under Armour shoes for kids are poorly made, and they won’t provide the everyday support your child needs to run around all day.


Even though we carry all of these three shoe brands at the children’s shoe store that I work for, I always try to explain to parents and kids that if the child is active and likes to run around, other types of shoes will be better for their feet.

Where can you Get your Kids’ Shoes? – Let’s Find Out!

I will say that most of the children that come wearing shoes that were fitted at the shopping mall are either wearing the wrong shoe size, or the wrong type of shoes! I always recommend that parents take their kids to be properly fitted for shoes at their local children’s shoe store that they trust.

You need to avoid big retailers such as Nordstrom, Stride Rite —most stores have been closing down— or Payless. They don’t have employees that know how to properly fit children’s shoes, and making a sale is their top priority, even if it means that your child will walk out of the store wearing the wrong pair of shoes.

However, don’t just take my word for it, ask other parents and you will get the same feedback. Start by taking a look at a resource I created where I describe the best fitting children’s shoe stores by state:

The Best Kids’ Shoe Stores – Where To Go For Proper Fittings

How to Retrieve Your Child’s Exact Foot Length and Shape

If after looking at that resource you still can’t seem to find a good fitting children’s shoe store in your area, then take a look at an article I wrote where I explain the simplest, and most effective way to measure your child’s foot size from home:

How to Measure Your Kids’ Foot – 2 Simple Steps to Determine Foot Length and Foot Width

In that article I help parents determine their child’s exact foot size and whether the child has narrow, medium, wide, or extra wide feet. I also will be able to tell you whether your child has a high instep or not.

Providing children with the correct shoe size and the correct type of shoes will keep their feet and legs healthy, and you will end up saving a lot of time and money in the long run.

I have put together a selection of the most durable, better fitting, and most supportive shoes for children! These shoes are all available in different widths such as medium, wide, and extra wide. Disclosure: Keep in mind that we may receive commissions when you click our links and make purchases.

The Best Shoes for Children ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The shoes below can fit children that have medium (M), wide (W), or extra wide feet (XW). 

Unsure About What Shoe Size You Should Order?

In each of the descriptions of the shoes I indicate whether you need to order a half a size or a whole size bigger than your child’s foot size to provide the correct amount of growing room.

What are the Best Shoe Brands for Kids?

Don’t assume that just because the shoe brand name is Nike, Adidas, or Under Armour that automatically means that their shoes are the best choice for your kids’ feet.

Trust me, this is not the case!

If you want to learn about which are the best shoe brands for children you can do it in an article I wrote called:

The Best Shoe Brands for Kids – The 5 Most Durable and Affordable Brands

We decided to stop carrying Under Armour shoes since we are a fitting shoe store that provides good quality footwear for kids, and their shoes are just awful. This might even be the worst shoe brand for kids that I have ever fitted before, and I have fitted over 40 different shoe brands.

It’s not just that their shoes are flimsy and non-supportive, they make some of the worst fitting shoes as well. They will definitely work well in a child that has a very narrow foot, but the problem again is that the shoes won’t provide any support to the kids’ feet.

Plus, if your child has very narrow feet, there are several other kids’ shoe brands that will fit the shape of your kids’ feet and also provide them with good support such as Asics for example. I put together a list of the best shoes for children with narrow feet and you can find it here:

The Best Shoes for Kids with Narrow Feet – Stop Hurting Your Kids’ Feet!

Are Any Other Shoe Choices Available?

There are hundreds of other shoes for your child that provide better support and that will be a better fit for their feet. Do not hesitate to contact me directly to my e-mail if you have any further questions or if you need a different pair of shoes for your child. My e-mail address is: fittingchildrensshoes@gmail.com

Does your child like to wear shoe brands such as Under Armour, Nike, or Adidas? Do you feel like their shoes tend to fall apart faster than expected? Please share your thoughts and experiences below so we can all benefit from them!


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 kids feet and get my guide for free: 10 Mistakes Parents Must Avoid When Buying Shoes for their Kids.

Do You Buy Your Kids’ Shoes Online?

Subscribe and get my personalized shoe size chart for free to help you find what size to order online.

Shoe Sizing Chart

18 Comments on The Worst Shoes for Kids – Stop Buying Under Armour, Nike, and Adidas!

  1. Juan.

    I bought my child some shoes from Under Armour and they were the worst purchase I have ever made. He insisted he wanted that shoe brand, because his friends also wear them. The shoes gave him blisters and fell apart a month after purchasing them! You are right about Under Armour kids shoes, they SUCK!

    • Hello Nico,

      Like I stated in my post, Under Armour shoes for kids’ are terrible. I have never seen shoes that fall apart so quickly. They are also really flimsy and won’t fit a child with a wide or an extra wide foot. Sometimes even children with medium width can’t fit inside them!

      • I once bought new balance shoes for myself. They just sucked completely and nobody, not even me, thought they were cool. Then I bought Under Armour and EVERYONE liked them. I spent more money on the new balance and it was worse. In the under Armours, they have lasted for half a year, look sick, and I don’t have any discomfort. I would recommend my Under Armour shoes (UA Team Drive 4) for anyone, even a 6 year old. I had a similar experience with nikes and Asiacs and don’t want to ever buy Asiacs ore NB for anything again.

        • Hello Dan,

          I don’t know if you are referring to adult or kids’ shoes, but in my article, I specifically talk about children’s shoes.

          Sometimes when a particular shoe style doesn’t work it doesn’t mean that the whole shoe brand is bad. It might be a manufacturer’s defect with that particular shoe and if that is the case most companies will replace the shoe.

          I do agree that children and some adults find Under Armour shoes “cooler” than New Balance, but I always emphasize to parents to not choose shoes motivated by fashion and rather choose their kids’ shoes by what their kids’ feet really need. I have found Under Armour shoes for children to be flimsy and non-supportive, but they are fine if you don’t have any foot issues or if you are not involved in any type of intense physical activity.

          Thank you for sharing!

  2. I am always telling my kids to be aware of what type of shoes they are buying for my grandchildren. While they may be what is in style the other end of it is painful feet and horrible posture. I have had many problems with my own feet as a young kid and I can tell you now, I wish I knew then what I know now. I have noticed how when they wear Under Armour shoes the shoes cave in and always fall apart in no more than two months! Horrible shoes that offer no support!

    • Under Armour makes some of the worst shoes for children. They are non supportive, flimsy, and they tend to fall apart before the child outgrows the shoes! This is crazy considering how fast children feet grow. I always recommend parents to stay away from this brand, no matter how much the child asks for it!

  3. Hi there,

    This is a great article on this particular, very important subject and I can see that you are very knowledgeable on this topic. Well done for highlighting these issues and I guess what happens is the kids see the brand names and nothing else, as all of their friends wear them and they must get a pair as well.

    Fit is the most important thing, but young parents seem to prioritize fashion over fit. Little they know about the damage they are doing to their kids feet.

    I can see you are passionate about this situation and I know that people will sit up and listen, but it may take time.

    Cheers….Phil Browne

    • Hello Phil,

      Thanks for stopping by. I agree with you that young parents seem to prioritize fashion over fit, without realizing the damage they are causing to their kids feet. Wearing shoes that don’t offer the appropriate support or that don’t fit well will lead to several foot issues including foot and leg pain, calluses, blisters, and corns, among others.

      Parents will also end up saving a lot of money in the future by providing their kids with the correct pair of shoes!

  4. What an interesting article!

    Having brought up four boys I understand the importance of having correctly fitting shoes.

    I remember having to wear the least fashionable shoes when I was young and watching the ‘black patent brigade’ walk past me on a daily basis at school. Believe me, I didn’t like those shoes one little bit but looking back they were the best I could have possibly worn for my little feet!

    Listening to the problems my friends have with their feet now it can be blamed on the choice of shoes they had when their feet were growing.

    Thank goodness my mom knew what was best for me (I still have a hankering for black patent though!!)

    Which are the best shoe brands for children?


  5. Up to now we have always bought Nike shoes for my son. However, he has very wide feet so after reading your article I have started to doubt if this is good choice for him. We have had width issues before with Nike – as few styles didn’t fit my son but we managed to find styles fitting him. Nikes we bought were long-lasting – they actually didn’t wear out quickly taking into account that my son wore them daily. So the quality of the shoes is OK. Yet – the fit is an issue, especially as he has extra wide feet. So I think we will try new balance as the next style. Do you have a post about new balance shoes?

  6. I appreciate that your article is available just as we are sneaker shopping for our 4 & 2 year old boys. We have been buying UA sneakers assuming they were ‘best.’ Back to the shoe store we go to select the sneaker brand(s) you have suggested.
    Thanks for your knowledge and recommendations, they have certainly helped in our desire for the best sneakers for little developing feet.

  7. Thank you for this! I have always bought NeW Balance and Stride Rite for my sons. My older son, with wide feet, asked for a pair of Under Armour. This popped up in my search to decide whether to buy him some. After this I will stick with New balance!

  8. It’s funny. I never wear Nike or Adidas (except shell toe), so I didn’t think about the fact that I don’t wear them because they’re too narrow for my foot and that my kids will probably have the same problem. I have to admit in kids shoes they look super cool, but that explains why we thought our oldest was a size 5 in big kids versus his actual size 3 when we had him measured – that’s how big he had to go in order to have enough room in the shoe! But it’s hard to find the shoes nearby, so I’ll be buying online direct from the brands from now on. Saucony has a new cool blue shoe that might work for us!

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