So, you want to take your little one on hiking and looking for the best hiking shoes for him? Well, kids need more comfort than adults, so their shoes should be highly comfortable and lightweight. When buying hiking shoes for kids, you need to check multiple things such as the material, weight of shoes, and the fit because kids need their shoes to be perfect or they won’t be using them.
When checking the shoes, you should consider various factors that decide the pair's comfort and fit. To help you in buying the best hiking shoes that your kids will love to wear, we are here with this buyer’s guide.
Go through the factors listed in the guide, and get a pair of hiking kicks for your kid to reward him with comforts and the ease required to walk on the challenging terrains.
The short answer is, yes! Unlike adults’ kids love shows that are comfortable and easy to wear. Furthermore, they enjoy lightweight shoes that look good and have attractive colors. With this guide, you will come across lots of factors that you might have missed by buying the hiking shoes for your kid.
Go through the factors listed below, and then you can pick the perfect pair of kicks so that you can hike on your favorite trail with your most favorite person.
We have classified the factors so that you can buy the best pair without any hassles. With these factors, you can quickly select a good pair that's ideal for the little tootsies of your kid. Let's get started.
The first thing that you need to consider is the type of terrain where you want to hike. The choice of shoes should depend on the terrain so that your little one gets ultimate comfort, and he can walk comfortably along with you.
Here are some types of terrains that will help you in choosing the hiking shoes for your kids.
Off-trails are uneven terrains with loose rocks and gravels, so you need to purchase hiking shoes with thick soles. The shoes should have ample cushioning and soft insole so that your kid gets comfort when walking.
These terrains can be hard on the shoes, so look at the durability and the material as well. Furthermore, you need water-resistant kids' hiking shoes so that your kid can cross the puddles without any hassles.
These trails are easy as compared to off-trail. Usually, a lot of parents avoid going off-trails when kids are with them. But these are some enthusiasts that have rough and tough kids who are ready to explore anything.
If you want to go hiking in an area with uneven surfaces, then look for shoes that are specially designed for them. The hiking shoes should be durable, lightweight, and waterproof.
Most parents consider going on easy trails with their kids. These trails are the basic ones and have the least or no obstacles at all.
You need to buy hiking shoes for kids that are lightweight and have medium-sized outsoles. Or you can even go for non-water-resistant shoes for these types of trails.
Just like adults, there are multiple options available when you are buying hiking shoes for your kids. Choosing the right type is essential, depending on the type of terrain you want to hike on. Here are the following types of hiking shoes for kids.
You will find multiple low-cut models as they are highly popular when it comes to buying shoes for kids. The shoes have thick midsole to absorb the impacts and are ultralight, so your kid won't complain about how heavy his new shoes are.
Hiking boots are a better version of shoes that are high enough to cover the area up to the ankle. These boots are incredibly durable and can prevent water from seeping inside the boots due to the added height. You can easily find some good boots for your kids when going on hiking.
The material of the shoes will define its durability. Hiking shoes for kids are available in many material choices such as leather, synthetic, and much more. Some parents consider buying synthetic hiking shoes because of the breathability, whereas some prefer leather shoes as they are durable and water-resistant.
Here we have classified the materials used in manufacturing hiking shoes for kids.
The upper of the shoes has to withstand a lot of things, such as the impacts and when your little one kicks a rock with the shoes. The upper material has a significant role in the durability of the shoes because if the upper gets damaged, you need to replace the shoes.
Here are the following materials used to manufacture the upper of the shoes:
Leather is a common material used by manufacturers to manufacture hiking shoes for kids. The material is durable and has premium looks, so your kids will love to wear new hiking shoes. Below are the options you will get when choosing the upper material like leather.
Most manufacturers use split-grain leather along with nylon mesh or nylon to produce a durable pair of kicks that is lightweight and has incredible breathability. The rough surface of the leather gets covered with soft synthetic so your kid will get a great amount of comfort during hiking.
If you need a pair of shoes that's affordable, split-grain leather hiking shoes should be your choice. However, the shoes miss great water-resistance, and the water can enter the shoes through the holes in the synthetic material.
Hiking shoes for kids made using full-grain leather are excellent in terms of durability. Furthermore, the shoes are extremely durable and resistant to water. The leather resists the entrance of water, and your kid can walk comfortably even if the trail is wet.
Hiking shoes made using nubuck leather resembles suede shoes. The material is highly durable and offers decent resistance against water. Moreover, the shoes made using nubuck leather are flexible, so the kid will feel the ease while walking. However, these shoes aren’t that great when it comes to breathability.
You need to take multiple breaks so that your kid can remove the shoes to let his feet breathe.
The synthetic materials used to manufacture hiking shoes for kids include nylon, polyester, and other synthetics that dry quickly and offer ample breathability.
The hiking shoes made using vegan-friendly material don’t have any animal bi-product such as leather. These shoes are lightweight, durable, and offer excellent breathability. However, extreme water-resistance is what these shoes don’t have.
Hiking shoes for kids made using nylon or polyester are durable and dry quickly. These shoes are lightweight and highly flexible. Minor wear and tear cannot damage the upper of the hiking shoes if it is made using nylon. The only downside to nylon shoes is that they aren’t waterproof.
Insulated hiking shoes keep the feet dry and warm, which is a necessity if you are hiking in cold weather. The synthetic material used to insulate the shoes dries quickly, and some of these uppers even have toe guards to protect the little feet of your kids from boulders and rocks.
With hiking shoes made using mesh, your kid will get ultimate breathability so he won't be complaining about the sweat and stink. These shoes are best for summers and hot weather due to the breathability.
However, there is no resistance against water, so the kids cannot wear these shoes during rains.
When checking the midsole, you need to check the material and other things that will impact the flexibility and comfort of the shoes. Usually, most hiking shoe manufacturers use polyurethane and EVA material as they are durable and highly comfortable.
Here are some things that you should check when choosing the midsole of your kid’s hiking shoes.
The midsole should have enough padding to absorb the shock so that the wearer can jump or take steps with added ease. Also, the midsole should be thick so that it can protect your kid’s feet from rocks and other elements that can harm the feet.
When looking for the material used to manufacture the midsole, you will come across:
Hiking shoes for kids that have EVA midsole are good for single-day hikes. If you aren't planning a big hiking trip, then you should choose shoes that have EVA midsole. The midsoles make the shoes lighter, so your children will enjoy wearing these hiking shoes.
The midsoles made using polyurethane may be heavier than EVA, but they are durable and last longer. The hiking shoes for kids should be your choice if you are planning for a multi-day hiking trip.
The midsole of the hiking shoes should be durable so that there is no stink, and bacteria cannot thrive inside the shoes.
Midsoles with shanks will make the hiking shoes better if your kid is heavy. Some kids are heavy, so they need shoes that can support their weight.
Hiking shoes for kids that have plates attached to the midsole will protect your kid’s feet from rocks and gravels.
The outer sole of the hiking shoes is an essential part as it comes in contact with the tough objects and uneven surfaces. Furthermore, the comfort depends on the type and quality of the outer sole so that the shoes don't break down while your kid is jumping or taking steps towards the hiking point.
Check the material of the outer sole to make sure that it is durable and gives an anti-slip grip to the kid. When checking for the material, you will come across the rubber and rubber carbon as they are the two highly flexible and durable materials used to manufacture the outer soles of hiking shoes for kids.
The outer sole made using this material has a mix of rubber and carbon. The soles are hard and highly durable. Also, the flexibility is great, but the grip may not be that great due to the presence of carbon.
The outer soles made using rubber are highly flexible and ensure a good grip while walking. However, the soles don't last long and can wear out when used continuously for some time.
The outer sole should have lugs on the bottom so that the kid gets a good grip while walking on the trail. Hiking shoes for kids that have lugs offer better traction, and the shoes are suitable for walking on a wet terrain as they don't slip.
Walking on a muddy trail can be challenging, and that’s where the heel break helps. The hiking shoes have a gap between the arch and the heel to hold the ground firmly.
When choosing hiking shoes for kids, you need to check if they are season-specific or not. If the weather is warm, then don't expect your kids to wear those high-cut hiking boots that have a thick lining on the inside.
Always buy shoes based on the season when you want to go hiking. Here are the three categories of hiking shoes that you can buy for your kids, depending on the season.
Hiking shoes that look like sandals are ideal for warm weather as heavy shoes can cause sweat and other such issues caused due to the heat trapped inside the shoes. When your kid wears sandal shoes, he gets the ultimate comfort and breathability that is necessary for warm and humid weather.
Lightweight and low-cut hiking shoes are also suitable for warm weather, but they offer more protection than sandal shoes. Sandal shoes aren’t that great when it comes to protecting the tootsies of your kid from rocks and gravels.
Most of the low-cut hiking shoes are made using mesh and synthetic materials that are lightweight and have better ventilation.
High-cut hiking shoes have a big collar that covers the area up to the ankle. These shoes are suitable for demi-season and winters when the temperature is chilling your spine. Furthermore, these shoes are made using leather and other heavy materials that have excellent insulation to keep the warmth maintained.
It is essential to buy hiking shoes that are waterproof as kids love to cross the potholes coming in your way. Also, the waterproof shoes will keep your kid's feet dry, and there will be no or fewer risks of any bacteria or infection caused due to infection.
When you are choosing water-resistant hiking shoes for kids, look for leather and other materials that can prevent the entry of water. If you go for shoes made using mesh or synthetic material, then the water will surely enter the shoes making the inner components wet.
However, there is a drawback of water-resistant hiking shoes, and that is breathability. When you buy hiking shoes that are water-resistant, then you need to compromise with the breathability.
The material that prevents the water from entering the shoes will prevent the sweat and moisture from coming out of it as well. The best thing you can do is buy two pairs of hiking shoes i.e., a pair of breathable and a pair of water-resistant hiking shoes so that your kid can wear the shoes depending on the climatic conditions.
When buying hiking shoes for kids, check if the pair has a thick layer of rubber on the area that covers the toes. Kids love to drag their feet and kick things, so the shoes should have toe protection that safeguards their toes and little feet.
You will find a plethora of hiking shoes with a protective layer on the toe part and on the backside of the shoe. It is essential to buy hiking shoes that offer added protection to the kid’s feet during hiking.
Buying a pair of ill-fitting hiking shoes can be the worst thing to do, as it can cause discomfort and can lead to various issues caused due to the tight or loose fit. When buying hiking shoes for kids, check the size chart after measuring the foot of your kid.
Always check the size chart to ensure that the shoes you are buying will give your kid an easy and snug fit so that he can walk comfortably.
Ask your child to try the shoes, and check if the toes are touching the end part. The end part of the shoes should have some space left after the kid wears if so that he can wear socks whenever required.
The best way to determine an excellent fit is by wearing shoes for some time. Ask the kid to wear the shoes and then walk for some time to determine the fit. If the kid complains about any issues, then it is not the right size for him.
The shoes should not hurt him while walking or running. Moreover, there should be some room left after the kid wears shoes because kids grow quickly, and it is not a good idea to keep buying new shoes every few months.
The arch support is an essential thing to check when buying hiking shoes for kids. The arch support helps the kid get into an active posture while hiking. Not all hiking shoes come with arch support, so it is essential to check if before buying a pair.
A: Yes, there are numerous benefits to wearing socks with hiking shoes. The socks offer better grip and comfort. Also, some socks wick away the moisture so your kid can walk comfortably. For summers, buy thin cotton socks, and for winters, you can buy thick socks that are made using wool.
A: Hiking shoes are specially designed to tackle the roughs and toughs of the uneven terrains. The regular shoes don’t have a durable outsole that can withstand the exposure of gravels and rocks, so you need hiking shoes as they are far more durable and comfortable to wear.
A: Some parents buy a size bigger than the normal size of their kids because kids grow quickly, and they can outgrow the hiking shoes in a few months. If you are going for a bigger size, make sure to buy hiking socks as well so that the kid gets a good fit and the required comfort with the shoes.
A: The life of the hiking shoes depends on the brand, material quality, and how frequently your kid is using the shoes. However, in general, the shoes easily last for a year or two if you follow a care regime, and your kid keeps the shoes in good shape.
Now it will be easier for you to buy the best hiking shoes for kids. Keep all the factors in mind and then look for shoes that are under your budget. When buying hiking shoes, always pay attention to the fit and the material so that the kid feels comfortable wearing them.
Check the size chart and then measure the foot of your kid to make sure that the pair fits nicely. Compare multiple hiking shoes based on these factors, and then you can easily funnel down some top pairs and ask your kid to pick the one he loves the most.
Happy hiking to you and the little one accompanying you!
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