Best trainers for kids – including Nike, Adidas sneakers and running shoes

Girl learning to tie her best kids trainers
(Image credit: Getty Images)

If your little one’s toes are starting to push on the ends of their trainers, it’s time for a new pair. Lucky for you, we’ve rounded up the very best kids trainers so make shoe shopping will be a doddle.

We've made it our mission to find the kicks that the kids will actually be glad to put on - minus any tears or tantrums. Think comfy inners, springy soles and plenty of bright colours. From classic branded pairs from the likes of Vans and Adidas to nostalgic styles from Converse and colourful alternatives - there’s something here to suit all budgets, needs and styles. 

Scroll on for our carefully curated edit of the best children's trainers to suit all ages, budgets and activities. Happy shopping!

How to choose the best trainers for kids

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To find the best trainers for kids, first consider your needs (and wants!) in terms of function, style and budget.

Early walkers and toddlers will benefit from details such as Velcro straps for easy dressing and cushioned innersoles to help keep their feet in place. Older kids will prefer a more grown-up take, with lace-up or slip-on styles from recognisable brands such as Nike and Adidas. If they are opting for laces, make sure they’re tied securely to prevent their feet from sliding around. 

It’s also important to ensure the trainers are being used for the right purpose. Think specific sports styles for exercise and PE and more trend-led pairs from high-street and supermarket brands for everyday wear. The former is likely to be the most expensive and the latter a little more purse-friendly. 

Are trainers bad for children’s feet?

Out of all the shoes children can wear, trainers are one of the most foot-friendly styles. This is, of course, as long as you get the right size. You can measure your child’s feet at home with a printable online guide, a tape measure or a DIY shoe gauge - Start-Rite has some great options. Alternatively, pop into a specialist store such as Clarks to take advantage of their free foot-measuring service. If your child is in-between sizes, seek out brands that offer half sizes for a more precise fit. And make sure you replace shoes as soon as your tot has grown out of them to avoid any scrunched up toes.

And because kids' feet sweat twice as much as adults, it’s also worth noting that sneakers can quickly become smelly if worn a lot, so it’s best to keep trainers as clean as possible. Regularly wiping down the outside will help keep them at their just-bought best, while a shoe deodoriser will come in handy for keeping any unpleasant whiffs at bay. We all know that clothes and shoes can easily pile up when they're quickly outgrown, so this  could also be a good time to organise your kids closet.

Best trainers for kids

Contrast Canvas High Tops from Boden, some of the best kids' trainers for 2022

Credit: Boden

1. Contrast Canvas High Tops

Sizes: 24-39

With contrasting soles and lace tips for an on-trend pop of colour, these canvas-and-suede high tops will smarten up any little dude's look - without slowing them down. There are side zips to help youngsters get these on or off in a flash, and there's even a bold 'go faster' stripe on the back. 


2. Veja Esplar Infant Trainers 

Sizes: 8-9.5 jnr

If you’re on the lookout for quality, sustainable options then Veja is a go-to. Ethically driven and ecologically grounded, they create trainers made from organic cotton and recyclable materials. 

VIEW NOW - OFFICE | £59.99

3. Adidas Gazelle Shoes 

Sizes: 10 jnr - 2.5

Identical to the adult trainer styles, you can’t beat this classic kids' trainer. The Gazelle is one of Adidas' most-loved trainers - and you can see why.  Plus your mini-me can personalise their style with up to seven characters for £5 per foot.


4. Converse Chuck Taylor All Star 2V lo fantasy toddler trainers

Sizes: 2-6 jnr

These toddler trainers are printed to perfection in a white and violet fabric upper paired with a cute print and durable rubber outsole. The Velcro fastening means even little hands can do up their own shoes. Fitting tip: when standing, there should be a thumbnail's length of growing room plus room at the little toe.

VIEW NOW - SCHUH | £14.99

5. New Balance 574 Varsity Sport 

Sizes: 1.5-5.5 jnr

An iconic trainer doesn't have to just be for adults. This sporty pair of kicks is a winner for little adventurers. The lightweight EVA foam cushioning in the midsole and heel increases comfort while the rubber outsole improves durability and traction for toddlers taking their first steps and bigger kids who never stop.


6. Nike Air Force 1 Low Infant 

Sizes: 3.5-8.5 jnr

Popular with all ages, this mini-me pair is the unisex style that'll add edge to any outfit. In a white and light smoke grey colourway, these downsized kicks have a durable leather and synthetic upper with shaggy suede overlays for a retro '70s feel. With a cushioned midsole to keep them comfy, these trainers also have a grippy rubber cup sole for traction with each and every lstep.


7. Ath Dot Toddler Navy Leather

Sizes: 4-9.5 jnr, F-G width

You can always rely on Clarks to have a big selection of footwear that fits to perfection. This lightweight trainer is available in half and full sizes and two width options for the perfect fit. Fun features include bungee laces and a riptape fastening to give a secure fit that’s easy to pop on and off. The Agion® lining ensures all-day freshness for active feet and the flexible EVA sole allows healthy foot movement. Plus these are made from sustainable, renewable sugarcane to help reduce the shoe's carbon footprint.


8. Kids' Freshfeet™ Rainbow Riptape Trainers

Sizes: 4-13 jnr

Kickstart fun times with these cruelty-free, cheerful rainbow-hued trainers. They have riptape fastenings for quick and easy, tantrum-free dressing while the unique Freshfeet™ technology will help keep odours at bay.

VIEW NOW - M&S | £23

Dynamic Tread

Credit: Sketchers

9. Dynamic Tread Shoe

Sizes: 9.5 jnr-2

Skechers is known for offering ultimate comfort for all. This sporty-looking children's pair is made from a breathable, waterproof fabric, for a slip-on, bungee-laced shoe that's designed specifically for walking and training. With an Air Cooled Memory Foam insole and shock-absorbing, lightweight, athletic midsole, the adjustable strap with hook and loop closure ensures a precise fit for ultimate comfort.


10. Vans Old Skool Toddler Trainers 

Sizes: 4-9 jnr

These little Vans for toddlers are the nostalgic touch they'll be too young to appreciate - but adults are sure to get a kick out of them! What the little ones will like is the easy-to-walk-in Velcro style and fastening.


Canvas High Top Trainers

Credit: Boden

11. Canvas High Top Trainers

Sizes: 24-39

These shiny high-tops are made from sturdy cotton canvas with a flexible, rubber sole and padded, cotton insock for comfort. When time's too tight for tying laces, there's a side zip for quick on-and-offs.


Kids' Freshfeet™ Riptape Trainers

Credit: M&S

12. Kids' Freshfeet™ Riptape Trainers

Sizes: 3 jnr to 2

With a knitted upper, these Light As Air™ trainers have a flexible, lightweight feel that is like walking on clouds. With easy riptape fastenings and comfy padded ankle collars, they're the ultimate in comfort and ease. The brand's Freshfeet™ technology combats bacteria to minimise odours but when it's time for a wash, you can simply pop them in the machine.

VIEW NOW - M&S | £21-25

Best trainers for kids at-a-glance 2022:

Keep little feet comfy and looking their best with our guide to the best trainers out there - whatever the occasion: