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What Shoes Should Kids Wear for Park Runs?

3 January 2023

The right pair of trainers can make all the difference to kids on a Park Run.  They can even help motivate them to take part in the first place.

Get Proper Trainers

5km Park Runs and 2 km Junior Park Runs are run on grass, tarmac and gravel paths so appropriate footwear is important. Nobody is going to question what your child wears to the event and they may only be walking round the course. Children cannot run well in boots or sandals, however, so if they are going to run regularly, investing in cushioning, supportive trainers with traction will help prevent kids from straining ankles and knees whilst they are growing. They will also enjoy it more.

Look Beyond Fashion

Kids’ trainers come with flashing lights, superheroes, branded and unbranded, the choice is huge. There’s also a wide price range. If kids do other sports, it is possible to find cross-training shoes that will work. Fashion trainers may not have a shock-absorbing sole to protect joints, support the arches or prevent slipping. They will need something durable with firm heel support.

Trainers can be breathable or waterproof so think about the upcoming season. If your family enjoys trail running there are specialist trainers for kids for that.

Make Sure They Fit Well

A good fit to avoid blisters or ingrown toenails is crucial. Have the child measured for width and length at the shop wearing the socks they would normally wear for running. There should be 1cm at the front of the shoe when the child is standing up. Check that the heel is snug but not too tight. Have your child try on several pairs and styles and walk around in them in the shop.  

Check there is enough room in front of the foot regularly as children’s feet grow in bursts. Velcro or laces can be done up securely so the shoe doesn’t slip about but not so tight as to be uncomfortable. Slip-ons are less flexible. 

Be Prepared For Mud

Comfortable footwear which keeps little feet dry and stops kids slipping in the mud can make all the difference to their enjoyment of Park Runs. A miserable day of blisters might put them off running for life and they’ll miss out on the community spirit as well as the exercise.

It is usually not necessary to use running spikes or studs but courses can get muddy in places. Keen competitive runners coming into their teens may want to invest in these. They may wish to choose lighter shoes for speed.

It’s a good idea to contact local organisers or look on the Facebook page to find out details of the course so you can go prepared. This will give you a sense of the community spirit of the event. Don’t let a lack of fancy footwear put you off. Just come along and see how your child likes it. You can always invest in better trainers if they are keen.

Photo by Miguel A Amutio on Unsplash

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