View Full Version : Footwear for Youth

03-03-2014, 17:20
Need footwear advice for a 10 year old boy. Cant justify spending $100 for a pair of boots he grows out of in 6 months. I am thinking high top tennis shoes. A bit of ankle support, lightweight, comfortable but questionable grip.

Anybody thoughts? Whatever shoes I decide on will only be used 2-3 times.

03-03-2014, 19:15
I feel your pain. This year I add my 4th hiking kid and each child has to be outfitted with gear. Oy!

In my experience, a decent pair of shoes will last a kid around 300-500 miles per pair. We use trail running shoes from New Balance, Merrel, or others. Yes they cost more but I can say from personal experience that they generally last more than the Wal Mart street tennis shoes. Doesn't mean you can't use them and they won't work fine for you. They just haven't for me. If your trail is going to be dirt/sand as opposed to roots/rocks that might be just fine. Hiking boots are also fine and there are some who've used those for the length of the AT.

Oh and I'm generally shooting for around $50 or less per pair of shoes. Hint, buy them 1 to 1.5 sizes too big. As his foot expands while hiking it will take up the space. Same thing applies to you, by the way. Your feet will thank you.

just dad
03-03-2014, 22:08
Consider putting your son in a decent pair of running shoes. Unless your son is carrying a lot of weight, he will not need the ankle support. After the hike he can continue wearing the running shoes around town so you will get full use out of them.

03-03-2014, 23:15
I watch for clearance sales as well as relatively occasionally found inexpensive boots from WalMart and Target. But unless your child has special foot needs, all they really need is something with a rough tread to give them some traction and thicker-than-tennis shoes sole to account for stepping on rocks and sticks.A specific thing you can look into is trail running shoes. I found what I thought was a bargain at <$30 for some Merrel Trail Running Shoes. A couple of places have them on clearance right now.

03-04-2014, 10:50
mid or full hiking boots are usually not needed - especially for children - if there is no biomechanical reason requiring the meager support you'll get from the higher cuff. (my one son, for instance, does better with a medial post)

I advise against goretex or other "waterproof" materials and get good (non-cotton) socks to complete the footwear system. Teach them to care for their feet - airing out, using foot powder, changing socks, etc.

Running shoes may be OK, trail runners will have more aggressive treads - the fit should be high on the priority list.
You shouldn't need to break the bank, but inferior footwear could cause problems if there is a failure or fit problem somewhere on the trail.

03-04-2014, 10:55
I wait for clearance sales and buy trail runners (for the more aggressive grip) for my daughter. Even though they aren't used just for hiking she out grows them faster than she wears them out.

03-04-2014, 12:53
Trail runners are a great suggestion. Just don't short-change your kid's foot comfort in the interest of a cheap shoe--he will end up hating hiking/backpacking.

Wise Old Owl
03-26-2014, 09:05
loners4me (http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/member.php?52986-loners4me) Rather than answer all the threads you started - my guess is you will be hiking with your son in Illinois or Wisconsin such as the Dells as most go there. Thirty miles is too ambitious for a first time out with a ten year old... make it a ten -overnight - then a five. With a family member who will help you drop a car at the other end. The foot wear in Illinois for kids is their current sneeker with a thick hunting sock - be prepared for blisters. If you havent camped together at all may I suggest a few trial runs in the backyard showing each other how to set up the tent and see if he can tolorate your snoring.

Stay out of Dick's Sporting Goods.

Consider that seeing other's camping and hiking his age important too- although I am not a "Cub Scout fan" an introduction to a father son weekend with other dads and boys is winning... I would suggest Webelos and the leadership program that Boy Scouts offers!