Sharing your hiking experience with your kids is wonderful, but can quickly become worrying if you don’t have the right gear with you. Children won’t especially notice what they have on their feet while they’re busy climbing on every branch of kicking every stone they can find, but as a parent you need to be sure that they have the best kid’s hiking shoes you can find, otherwise you’re the one that will hear the consequences of hurting feet or blisters.
To avoid your adventures in nature being stopped short and depriving you of the feeling of accomplishment that comes when you get to the top of a hill or complete the trail you had decided to explore, we have compiled here a list of the ten best hiking shoes for kids you can buy in 2021, so you can be free of worries while the little ones run around and know that their developing limbs are going to be well protected at all times.
Choose shoes that fit the season and terrain you and your kids will be hiking in. If you're going hiking in the winter, snow boots are more appropriate than shoes. But hiking shoes are great for hiking during the summer, and if you live in a dry climate your kids will probably be most comfortable in breathable, vented shoes or even closed-toe sandals.
Young children will usually outgrow their hiking shoes before the shoes wear out. Consider investing in a high-quality pair of hiking shoes that can be handed down to the next child. If you don't have other children, there is a great market for re-selling, consigning, or trading in your child's used hiking shoes and other gear.
If you can, shop for hiking shoes that are a half- to full-size longer than your child's normal shoe size, to reduce the chance of their toes rubbing against the front of the shoes and causing painful blisters as they grow. The rest of the shoe should still fit appropriately when the laces are tightened down.
How To Choose Hiking Shoes For Kids – Buying Guide
Comfort And Fit
Comfort is key to being sure that your kids will wear the shoes you buy for them. We all know how things can go south sometimes simply because of the wrong colour choice. Comfortable youth hiking shoes will take care of your worries both avoiding complaints about how they look and also greatly reducing the risk of your child getting blisters, which you would then as a parent have to patiently tend to. When making your decision, pay close attention to the material the midsole is made of, because that is the main responsible for a comfortable feel. Polyurethane is slightly firmer and more durable while EVA is softer and lighter.
Avoiding injuries should be one of your primary concerns while setting out on any outdoor activity. Hiking shoes with good traction ensure that you feel confident about where you are putting your feet and for kids, this is even more important since they usually go looking every possible obstacle that is on the road. Look for soles that are explicitly built for it and are specialized for hiking, with patterns designed for that purpose and high quality rubber. Sometimes, shoes that are good all-rounders may just have an intermediate level of traction, since it is advantageous only in specific situations. Therefore, it may be worth sacrificing a little flexibility to get yourself a nice reliable sole.
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Whether you’re looking for the best boy’s hiking shoes or girls’s, do we need to describe the smell of sweaty feet? Not breathable shoes are probably not something your kid will notice while they are running around but you will definitely know when they take them off! The key is finding a good balance between synthetic materials and leather. The former provides excellent protection for water and humidity while the latter is more breathable but not as impervious to the outside environment, so perhaps a mix of both can best suit your needs.
When hiking, kids have to walk more than adults to cover the same space and their developing limbs make them more fragile than grown-ups. It is therefore paramount that their boots are constructed out of good quality materials to give them the extra protection they need. Most shoes are made out of leather, synthetic material or rubber, sometimes combined. The toughest material is leather, but it is not as resistant to water as the other two. After leather come synthetics, which make up what they lack in strength with comfort and water resistance. Lastly, rubber shoes keep out all the water but are the less breathable of all three while also not being the toughest. This will allow you to decide which combination works best for you.
Over a long hike, any extra weight will slow you down, and this is also something to consider when looking at hiking shoes. Granted, kids usually don’t seem to ever get tired so they probably won’t notice a difference unless you put stones in their socks, but you should still look for hiking shoes for children that will not prove a burden in the long run, since the person who will have to take care of that burden is you.
As we said, kids need more protection than adults when outdoors, so you need to make sure that their feet are taken good care of. Look for shoes that are constructed with good materials, as we discussed earlier, and you can also look for models that are specifically designed to support the ankle and the heel. Some shoes are reinforced at the toe to protect against collisions so that can be a useful addition as well, and a feature that will help you feel reassured nothing is going to happen to your child’s mobility.
When you walk, your feet will work better and help you more efficiently if they are in the correct position. The arch support is built for this and helps you achieve good posture and balance when you move. Consider how much kids like to move and you can understand the importance of this feature in your shoe. Most models take this into account when they build their shoes and the fit can be further customized once you have them, but it is surely a feature you should look out for when you buy shoes you will be spending a lot of time in, over rough terrain.
As was the case for breathability, water resistance also depends on the material your shoes are made of, be it leather, synthetic or rubber. It is needless to stress the importance of water resistance when on a hike since wet feet are not only extremely uncomfortable to walk in but also more prone to injury. Leather is the least water resistant material of the three, with rubber being the most, and each of them comes with the drawback and advantages we have describes in the “Materials” section. It’s up to you to choose then, but luckily some models on our list are made of a mix of these materials so you can get the best of both worlds.
If you want your shoes to last a long time, pay close attention to the materials they are made of, since they will have to withstand passing over rocks and branches or through mud and swamps. They have to sustain much more abuse than regular sneakers. Usually, the more money you put into your purchase, the best kid’s hiking shoes you will find but keep in mind all the characteristics we talked about concerning leather, synthetics and rubber, so you can find shoes you won’t have to throw out even season. Try to avoid large sections of unsupported mesh that can wear out very quickly.
Apart from the characteristics we have described in our hiking shoes for kids reviews, some models may come with additional features that can make them even better suited to any particular needs you may have. It is possible to come across shoes made with ballistic nylon, which greatly improves water resistance while keeping the weight low. Another useful feature some shoes might have is a reinforced outsole that lets your kids kick everything they want without issues. Keep your eyes open if you happen on any of these and they fit in your price range, they might just make your day.
Q: Should I Buy A Size Bigger?
Many prefer to buy hiking shoes that are slightly bigger than their usual foot size to accommodate space for extra thick socks. Be wary however that shoes that are too big can be counterproductive or even dangerous on a long hike, so be sure to test them before going out so you can still return them if they don’t work for you. The same logic applies for shoes for both adults and kids.
Q: How To Make Sure The Hiking Shoes Fit?
In order to make sure your shoes fit well you have to try them on at the end of the day when your feet have swollen a bit just as they would on a long hike, and wearing the socks you would wear on the day of the hike. Keep in mind that if you bought your shoes new they also have a breaking in period during which they might feel stiffer than you would imagine.
Q: What Is The Difference Between Hiking Shoes And Hiking Boots?
Hiking shoes are usually low cut models that leave your ankle more free to move around. They can be excellent for a one-day hike and will cost you a bit less. Hiking boots are designed for longer distances and so they provide greater support for the ankle and are extremely durable.
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Every child and every hike are unique, so it’s hard to find the absolute best hiking shoes for kids that will fit for every occasion. Follow our tips to find out which model works best for you and can accompany your child in many exciting natural adventures. The options are there, only waiting for you to put them to the test.
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