Questions & Answers

Kids shoes?

What have folks bought for minimalist shoes for kids? What did you like? not like? What did your kids like? _louise


Answers and Replies


I used to buy Teva Protons for my kids. They loved them and they were really durable. Then Teva went and discontinued them... I was really disappointed. I tried some other water shoes, but nothing else came close in durability to the Tevas.

Now that my kids are bigger they can get away from small sized womens shoes, so that is what I am buying them these days.


I hadn't even thought of there a size chart somewhere? like if your child is a size 2 what would that be in small womens? (my oldest needs a 3, next one done is a 1) its hard to guess when you have to buy online.....


I just bought my two daughters moccasins from Soft Star Shoes... the Mary Jane shoe. They love 'em. One daughter got shiny red, the other picked shiny purple (a "design your own").

I used the sizing guides at their web site (I traced both kids' feet and measured the paper with a ruler). Both kids were in-between sizes so I just got the next size up. The shoes fit fine and still seem like they will be able to grow into them a little.

The kids get lots of compliments on their shiny bright-colored shoes and love showing them off to people.


I wouldn't start looking at womens' shoes until they are around a size 4 or so. In the meantime, I would use the SoftStars, VivoBarefoot, or some inexpensive water shoes.


we decided to get softshoes...our first choice was the terraplana aquarius BUT they did not have his size at all...he got his soft shoes today and loves them. Tomorrow will be the real test. We are headed to homeschool co-op so the shoes will venture out the door...


The softstars look pretty good (is that the kind you got?). Let me know how you like them. It's far too snowy for them right now, but we'd like to get something for summer.


So we did get soft stars for my 7 year old. He did the design your own option which was very cool. He loved picking the style and color. He chose the suede taz style in green. He wore them right away around the house and loved them. They were so comfortable to him he actually forgot to take them off for bed! He wore them today to our homeschool co-op and even though there is still snow on the ground, ice tc. he was fine. I would not go puddle jumping in them but as far as keeping his feet warm, dry and comfortable for a little bit of winter outdoor walking they were fine. He loved them for gym class. In his words " they are good mom".... I think as my other boys outgrow their current sizes I will get them some too...these are pretty minimalist as far as shoes go--like their website says it is the next best thing to barefoot....


My 8 y/o runs track and cross country. Is there a running shoe you recommend? He wants to do some light trail running this spring in addition to track.

He's barefoot in the house(all the time) and the yard (when the weather is warmer).


8 year olds in track and cross country? Wow, they start them young these days!

What does your son wear for track and cross country?

For "light" trail running, there usually isn't a need to buy any special trail shoes, but I guess this depends on your definition of "light". :)

Try these ideas:

Terra Plana kids Vibram FiveFingers for kids Soft Star Shoes moccasins Huarache sandal providers (Unshoes mentioned above, there are others) Generic cheap water shoes from places like Target, WalMart, ... Spikeless Cross Country racing flats (if they make them small enough)

Kids can be picky, the list above should at least allow you to get some feedback.

One of my favorite trail shoes is the Adidas Kanadia 3. It's heavy and stiff (compared to minimalist shoes), but it allows me to run with a natural foot strike / proper running form. I see that Adidas makes a kid's version of the Adidas Kanadia. Most of the other "kids" running shoes (from the big running shoe companies) have all of the negative features common in adult shoes... raised heel, structured arch, narrow toebox, etc.

I also saw that New Balance makes a shoe called the KE410 sneaker. From the pictures I found online, they seem to be a pretty basic shoe without all those unneeded support features.

I think we'd all love to hear back what your 8-year-old chooses and how he ends up liking (or hating) them.


We have a great local running club for kids with track and field in the spring and xc in the fall, and it's for 4 y/o's up to high school. The coach's objective is for the kids to learn to love running and improve on their individual times as opposed to crushing the competition.

He ran track in Champion shoes from Target and then xc in a pair of Adidas - which he chose because they're red and black, the colors of UMD.

He's really shy and won't wear anything that looks different from 'regular' shoes.

I'll look for the New Balance and the Adidas Kanadia. I just wondered if there was a general favorite among more experienced parents.

Thanks for the ideas!


Inov-8 also makes an X-Talon 160 which is a kids version of the X-Talon 212. It has a very low profile sole, only 3 mm of heel rise, and is very flexible. The only downsides are that the toebox may be a little narrow depending on your kids feet, and the aggressively lugged sole isn't good on anything other than natural surfaces.


I just ordered a pair of Soft Stars for my 2.5 year old. I'm hoping to use the for everything, including hiking this summer. He usually doesn't walk more than a mile or two (he spends the rest of the time in the backpack), so hopefully they'll last until fall. He'll probably outgrow them by then...


Thanks- Huib- I've been waiting to the Merrell kids shoes to come out. They might be just the ticket for the shoulder season when it is too cold for barefoot, but not enough snow for boots.

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