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There’s a lot to consider when shopping for kids’ sneakers. “Comfort and ease of wear are key when it comes to kids’ sneakers since they are always on the move,” says Dina Sweeny, the chief merchandising officer of the kids’-clothing subscription service Kidpik. It’s no secret that kids can be very fidgety, and while putting on a pair of shoes may seem like a simple task for adults, it can feel like an entire process when your tot insists on doing it themselves. To find out what parents should look for, we enlisted the help of shoe experts, parents, style specialists, and sports aficionados, who shared their picks for preschoolers, kindergartners, elementary-schoolers, middle-schoolers, and high-schoolers. With the cutest and coolest style suggestions in hand, we’ve organized them by age group, based on general criteria the experts said you should consider when shopping for your kiddo. Some styles are available in multiple age categories, which we’ve noted where applicable.
Best sneakers for preschoolers and kindergartners
See Kai Run Kids Robyne (Toddler/Little Kid)
Stacey Fauci, owner of kids’ shoe store Runnin’ Wild, says canvas shoes from the Seattle-based brand See Kai Run are among her best sellers year after year. “They have a functional soft sole, and the styles are very nice,” she says. “The colors are more muted, and it’s a good first-walker shoe. They’re also cut a little wider.” According to Jennifer May, a children’s-footwear consultant, many children have wide feet so it makes sense that these roomier shoes are comfortable on kids’ feet.
Best sneakers for elementary schoolers
New Balance Kids FuelCore Reveal BOA
Vox Media product-operations manager Kristin Knight says that this innovative pair of sneakers gives her son an extra boost of independence while he’s learning to master tying his shoes. “He’s not quite ready for tying his shoes and loves how easy they are to put on and take off. The BOA tightening mechanism feels very exciting to him,” she says. The sneaker has a single flap that hooks onto a kid-size disc that can be tightened to secure the shoe so your kiddo can quickly and easily put their shoes on by themselves.
B.Duck Kids Sneakers Boys Basketball Shoes Nonslip Kid Sports Shoes Girls Athletic Running Shoes
Applicable gender: boy
Function: Wear-resistant, shock-absorbing, lightweight
Applicable season: autumn
Applicable age: 3-6 years old, 6-12 years old
Applicable people: young children, middle-aged children
Lining condition: none
Applicable scene: outdoor, sports, daily, campus
Upper: Low Top
Product selling point: cartoon tide brand fashion sports
Surface material: fabric + synthetic leather
Year of listing: 2022
made in China