Is your teenager expressing interest in running? Did they try out for track? Or are they active teens who can’t stay still?
Whatever the reason, we’re reviewing the best running shoes for teenagers. If your teen shows an interest in running, it’s important to get them the right shoes from the beginning.
We recommend the Brooks Launch 9 for our top pick. It uses environmentally-friendly BioMogo DNA cushioning, it’s lightweight but responsive. It’s fairly durable and a great value.
Read on to see all 10 options for teenagers who need a good pair of running shoes.
Top 3 Best and Favorite
Brooks Launch 9
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Saucony Guide 14
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NIKE Air Zoom Pegasus 39
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1. Brooks Launch 9
The Brooks Launch 9 is a lightweight and simple running shoe. It’s perfect as a teenager’s first running shoe. It’s classified as a speed trainer, and its main feature is its ultra-lightness and flexibility.
The Launch 9 doesn’t have as much technology packed into it as some of the other Brooks shoes. This makes it ideal for teens who don’t necessarily need high amounts of cushioning or rebound.
The BioMoGo DNA midsole is made from environmentally-friendly foam. Teens can be hard on their shoes, so choosing an eco-friendly option is a great way to ensure that you aren’t contributing to environmental destruction every time your teenager needs a new pair of shoes.
The midsole has an average amount of cushioning and doesn’t offer as much bounce as others. It still offers some protection against impact, and the lightly padded ankle and heel collar help to lock the foot in, as well as a firm heel counter that prevents heel slippage.
The one-piece mesh upper is highly breathable and will keep your teen’s feet cool and as dry as possible. They weigh between 8 and 8.5 ounces, so every teen should find them to be comfortable on their feet.
The rubber outsole is quite thick with good traction, so it should keep your teen stable on every surface.
- One-piece mesh upper
- BioMogo DNA midsole cushioning
- Durable rubber outsole
- Lightly padded heel collar
- The tongue isn’t gusseted which makes the midfoot lockdown a little weak
Top Guidance Shoe
2. Saucony Guide 14
Some teens may feel that they need more support than a normal neutral shoe provides. A guidance shoe is not a full stability shoe, but it offers enough support for a teen who overpronates or has flat feet.
Saucony are also known for having a wide toe box in most of their shoe models. This could be helpful for teenagers who are getting used to running and want some extra space so they don’t hurt their toes.
The FORMFIT system is a three-layer system that helps the shoe mold to one’s foot shape to create a custom-like fit. It also takes into account your weight and gait to make the shoe comfortable.
The PWRRUN foam midsole is soft but responsive. Unlike many stability shoes, this guidance shoe doesn’t sacrifice bounce. It also features a medial TPU Guidance Frame and a 3-D engineered fascia which promote a more stable ride without feeling or looking intrusive.
A gusseted tongue helps to lock the midfoot in place securely, but some runners report heel slippage in these shoes. The stretchy laces may not be tight enough to get a proper locked-in fit.
- FORMFIT system
- Medial TPU guidance frame
- 3D-engineered fascia
- PWRRUN midsole foam
- Some runners may find that the shoe slips a little in the heel
Best Nike Running Shoes
3. NIKE Air Zoom Pegasus 39
If your teen is a fan of Nike, then we highly recommend the Pegasus. Nike has been working on new technologies to improve both the comfort and performance of their running shoes, and the Pegasus is a great example of what they offer.
It’s sleek and good-looking and comes in a variety of subtle color variations. It has a wide and comfortable forefoot but retains a slim shape. The mesh upper is breathable and slightly stretchy, enough to create a good fit on your foot while still providing support.
The Pegasus is well-cushioned. A Zoom air bag in the forefoot provides a substantial amount of energy in the toe-off. The pressure is different in the kids’, men’s, and women’s shoes to cater to each type of person.
Nike React foam is used in the midsole. It’s a good combination of soft underfoot and responsive, and when paired with the Zoom Air Unit it makes the shoe very effective. It’s made from a blend of TPE—thermoplastic elastomer—and EVA—Ethylene Vinyl Acetate. This allows it to be strong, soft and durable without extra weight.
One of the updates to the latest Pegasus is a thicker, more padded tongue. For some, this offers extra comfort. But some may find that it makes the shoe a bit less breathable.
- Wide forefoot
- Midfoot webbing
- Padded tongue
- React foam midsole
- The padded tongue may make the shoe less breathable
Top Lightweight Stability
4. Brooks Launch 8 GTS
The Brooks Launch 8 GTS is the stability shoe version of our top choice, the Brooks Launch 8. “GTS” stands for Go-To-Support, which is Brooks’ set of supportive technologies that make this shoe great for runners who need more stability and foot security.
This isn’t your average stability shoe. Instead, it’s more of a guidance shoe so it’s suitable for teens who don’t need a full stability shoe but want some extra support.
GuideRails are a unique feature that provides support and protection from side-to-side movement. This reduces pressure on the knees and helps your teen to develop a healthy running form from the start.
The BioMoGo DNA midsole provides impact protection and good rebound and it’s also lightweight and eco-friendly. Under the shoe, the blown rubber Midfoot Transition Zone helps the runner to make the heel-to-toe transition as fast as possible by facilitating the natural flex of the foot.
Despite being full of supportive features, the Launch 8 GTS is lightweight at just 10 ounces—men’s—and 9 ounces for the women’s shoe.
- GuideRails for support
- Extra rubber in the forefoot
- Spacious toe box
- BioMoGo DNA midsole foam
- Some runners may experience some heel slippage
Best Wide Toe Box
5. Topo Athletic Zephyr
If your teen needs extra space around their toes, then we recommend the Topo Athletic Zephyr. It has a comfortably spacious toe box which results in the shoe not looking very slim, but it offers enough room for the toes to splay naturally which can reduce blisters and black toenails.
The Zephyr offers a ZipFoam midsole, which has more energy return and a higher durability than EVA material. Inside the midsole, an elastomer plate offers extra stability and provides a bounciness that helps propel the runner forward faster.
An Ortholite anti-compression footbed, cushioned tongue, and ankle collar provide even more comfort and durability. The anti-compression footbed will not flatten as easily as others do with daily use.
The breathable mesh upper and durable grippy outsole keep your foot well-protected, cool and dry from top to bottom. Heel strikers may find that the heel of the shoe is not as padded as other shoes.
- Elastomer stability plate in the midsole
- ZipFoam midsole compound
- Anti-compression footbed
- Padded tongue and collar
- The heel area is less padded than others which could be a problem for heel strikers
Top Mild Support
6. ASICS GEL-DS TRAINER 26
The ASICS GEL-DS Trainer 26 is a stability shoe that offers mild support. It’s best for teenagers who will be running shorter distances as it’s built for speed rather than distance.
A redesigned upper is soft and flexible and moves with the runner’s natural foot motion to promote better performance. The sockliner has also been updated to contour to the foot and flex with it, offering comfort and practicality.
Propulsion Trusstic technology is built into the outsole, and mirrors the ligaments of the foot to provide a more holistic fit and flex. As well as this support, DUOMAX technology provides extra support and stability on the medial side of the shoe thanks to a dual-density foam that creates a medial post.
ASICS’ GEL technology allows for optimal shock absorption and when paired with the FLYTEFOAM midsole, it offers a responsive and protective layer within the shoe. An AHARPLUS heel plug improves the firmness of the heel and adds durability.
Moms can feel more secure about their teens being out on the road in low light conditions, as this shoe features a variety of reflective details.
- Propulsion Trusstic technology
- AHARPLUS heel plug
- Engineered knit upper
- Rearfoot GEL technology
- Some may find that the heel plug is too firm for their liking
Best Zero Drop
7. ALTRA ESCALANTE 3
Teens who dislike the forward slope that is common in many running shoes should try a zero drop shoe. The Altra Escalante is our recommendation.
Altra shoes are known for their zero-drop platforms and their wide toe boxes, both of which contribute to the comfort of their shoes. Zero-drop just means the heel and toe are the same height (vs a raised heel in most running shoes).
It’s light and breathable so your teenager can run freely without feeling weighed down. The midsole is a blend of Altra EGO and InnerFlex foams, offering the best of both softness and energy return.
FootShape toe box and FootPod outsole technology are designed to work with the foot for optimal comfort and mobility. The toe box is roomy enough for natural toe splaying and the outsole technology is made to move with the natural flex of the foot.
- FootShape toe box
- Updated upper
- FootPod outsole technology
- Altra EGO midsole cushioning
- Some runners may find the midsole to be too cushioned and soft
Top Traction And Trails
8. Nike Wildhorse 7
Trail running is a great way to get teenagers out of the house and into nature. But they will need a proper trail running shoe. We recommend the Nike Wildhorse 7.
The mesh upper keeps the feet ventilated and helps to wick away sweat. A thin but durable overlay on the toe helps to protect against rocks and other debris on the trail. The gaiter-style ankle collar also keeps debris from falling into the shoe as you run.
In the midsole, Nike React foam is soft underfoot and offers a little bounce as well. There’s extra cushion in the heel which offers more impact absorption, especially for heel strikers.
Multi-directional high-abrasion rubber lugs on the outsole provide exceptional traction on uneven surfaces. The segmented rock plate also helps to protect the foot from underneath, guarding against rocks and stones.
- Multi-directional traction lugs
- Gaiter collar
- Dynamic Fit System
- Segmented rock plate
- These shoes may take some time to break-in
9. New Balance Fresh Foam Beacon v3
Teens go through shoes quickly. The New Balance Fresh Foam Beacon v3 is very durable thanks to its rubber outsole with strategic rubber pods.
The mesh upper is light and breathable and also includes synthetic materials for extra stability. Overlays on the midfoot section increase the breathability and add structure.
The Fresh Foam midsole feels plush and doesn’t flatten easily even with prolonged use. It is classed as a high-energizing cushion, so it offers responsiveness as well as comfort.
Strategically-placed rubber pods on the outsole offer traction and the Ground Contact midsole allows for slow wear and tear that doesn’t affect the lifespan of the shoe as much as others.
- Fresh Foam midsole
- Engineered mesh upper
- Rubber outsole pods
- Molded foam insole
- Some runners may find that the tongue slips sideways while running
10. ASICS EvoRide 2
The ASICS EvoRide isn’t a true stability shoe but it offers a very stable platform that feels solid and secure when running. Teens who tend to turn their ankles would benefit from a shoe such as this.
It provides support for both neutral runners and those who overpronate mildly. METARIDE technology incorporates a curved sole which assists with a faster heel-to-toe transition, taking strain off of the foot in the process and preventing it from rolling sideways as opposed to forwards.
GUIDESOLE technology helps to reduce ankle movement, lessening the chance of injury and keeping the foot very stable within the shoe.
A FLYTEFOAM midsole keeps the shoe lightweight while providing adequate cushion and softness. AHARPLUS technology is incorporated in areas of high wear and tear on the outsole, to improve durability.
- Anatomically shaped toe box
- GUIDESOLE technology
- Engineered mesh upper
- Spacious toe box
- The midsole is not very flexible and some runners may feel restricted
What Running Shoe Features are Important for Teenagers?
Somehow, teenagers seem to be harder on clothing and shoes than adults! You should make sure that the shoes you’re buying are durable enough to last many miles. This will come down to a combination of factors.
The material—of the upper and the sole—needs to be of high quality. Rubber soles are the most durable and also offer shock-absorbing properties. The stitching should be expertly done and must be tight and not fraying. You should not be able to see any glue on the soles of the shoes.
Most uppers are made from mesh and some may contain synthetic elements. The sole should include rubber or a rubber compound.
The material found in the midsole will usually be some form of foam, but every brand has their different technologies included in the midsole.
Choosing a shoe with high-quality materials ensures that they last longer, look better, and protect the feet properly.
Cushioning is important as it directly absorbs or disperses the shock that happens every time your teenager’s foot lands on the ground.
You want to choose good cushioning—and make sure your teen is running with the correct form—to protect the joints from an early age and reduce the chances of injuries occurring.
Your shoes should keep you firmly on the ground and prevent slipping on wet, smooth, or gravelly surfaces. Rubber outsoles are the best choice to achieve this.
Neglecting this factor can lead to injuries as you may lose your running form when trying not to fall on slippery surfaces.