Best Girl Sneakers Reviewed & Rated
Shopping for shoes for your kid can be an intimidating task. Athletic footwear, sneakers in particular, can be an overwhelming category, with a huge number of available options, giving you all types of features you never even knew existed. Will your child be more comfortable wearing running shoes, or will they prefer the stability of a basketball shoe? Should you go with a tennis shoe, or maybe opt for something simple, such as a lightweight canvas slip-on? Additionally, you want the shoes you buy to be worth the investment, which means that they’ll be comfortable, durable, and will encourage your daughter to go out and explore.
There are some aspects found in sneakers that will definitely make a world of difference to your child. While a cute sneaker may catch your daughter’s attention, you need to ensure that it provides her with the proper support, protection, flexibility and breathability, as well as that it’s durable enough to make it through a season. Luckily, children’s sneakers come in a huge variety of styles, and there’s a model for everyone’s budget – whether you’re looking for something breathable, such as a summer canvas shoe, something to use at the beach, or a leather style that’ll work well for school, you’ll easily find a variety of options.
- Adidas Superstar
- Leather Upper
- Rubber Outsole
- Nike Air Force 1
- Premium Leather Upper
- Low, Mid or High Top
- Keds Daphne
- Buckle Closure
- Padded Heel Collar
Some of the best brands are those which also make footwear for adults, including adidas, Nike, Converse, Keds, Vans, Reebok, New Balance and many more. If a style is particularly successful amongst adults, chances are, you’re going to find it in a kids version as well. This means that your little one can follow the latest style trends, but also that they can profit from the latest performance technologies found in sports footwear. All you have to do is decide on one model.
This list looks at the best available girl sneakers available for purchase, offering you a variety of options, including lifestyle sneakers, basketball shoes, running shoes, as well as some footwear that’s meant for beach use. No matter which of the styles below you opt for, you’re sure to find a number of beautiful colorways, as well as a comfortable shoe made to protect, comfort and aid the proper development of your child’s feet.
10 Best Girl Sneakers
1. Adidas Superstar
These Adidas sneakers have a rubber outsole that offers excellent traction even on slippery surfaces such as hardwood floors or tile. Furthermore, it’s non-marking, which means that it’s appropriate to wear in places which require such footwear. In addition, a padded heel collar provides additional support and prevents rubbing and chafing around the ankle, while a rubber shell toe protects the delicate front end of the foot.
The Superstar is iconic streetwear attire that boasts an adidas signature Originals emblem at the top of the tongue and the recognizable adidas three stripes on both the inner and outer sides. It’s available in white, but you can also get it in a number of other color variations. Plus, there’s a lace-up and velcro closure option, so you can choose the one that’s most appropriate for your little one.
Cost and Value
These cute girl sneakers are reasonably priced and will last for a long time thanks to their durable construction and quality leather uppers. The Superstar is easy to match and provides a good balance between warmth and breathability, so you can rest assured you’re getting a high quality, protective style that’ll be easy to match with a variety of outfits, and that’ll work well on a number of occasions, from casual to those a bit more formal.
Padded Heel Collar
Classic adidas Style
Lace or Velcro Closure
Toddler to Big Kid Sizes
Hard to Keep Clean
2. Nike Air Force 1
Originally designed in 1982 for basketball players, the Air Force 1 makes use of a Nike Air cushion in the heel area that allows for a great level of shock absorption, making this the ideal sneaker for running around, jumping, playing, and general frolicking. The non-marking rubber outsole offers a secure grip on both inside and outside surfaces, so you can rest assured your little one is going to remain slip-free in all weather conditions.
Premium Leather Upper
The classic model of the AF1 is made with a premium leather upper that’s soft to the touch, breathable, and easily molds to the feet. Nonetheless, you can get this pair of basketball shoes in different upper materials as well, one of our favorites being the suede version which comes in a vast variety of colors, and can even be customized.
Cost and Value
Nike footwear is anything but cheap, and the Air Force 1 is no exception. On this list, it ranks as the most expensive pair of sneakers, and this is mainly due to its use of high quality materials, as well as its status as an iconic pair of footwear. If, however, you decide to splurge, then it’s sure to provide with a good life span, plenty of comfort, and a great level of protection from the elements.
Premium Leather Upper
Nike Air Cushion
Low, Mid and High Top Versions
Toddler to Adult Sizes
Gets Dirty Easily
3. Keds Daphne
You can purchase the Daphne in over ten variations, from leather, to denim to canvas. All versions feature beautifully colored uppers, that are feminine and fun, but never over the top. Plus, the flower embellishment adds a nice touch, making these a good choice even for formal occasions when your little girl wants to show off her most beautiful dress and shoes.
Hook and Loop Closure
The Daphne features and adjustable hook and loop closure that is perfect for small kids, but that big ones will prefer to laces as well. Allowing your daughter to put her shoes on by herself, this is the perfect pair of footwear for play dates, days with gym class, etc.
Cost and Value
The Keds Daphne is the cheapest item on this list, making it an excellent investment for anyone looking for something light and versatile. It can be as simple or as colorful as you wish, and the breathable canvas upper is the perfect choice for summer and spring wear where thicker materials would simply be too warm.
Hook and Loop Closure
Canvas or Leather Upper
Mary Jane Style
Casual or Formal
10+ Color Options
Glitter Comes Off
4. Reebok Classic
One of the main disadvantages of a comfortable outsole is usually the fact that it breaks down easily. However, the Reebok Classic solves this problem with a layer of high abrasion rubber on the bottom of the shoe, ensuring that it can stand up to the test of time, as well as to wear on hard concrete.
EVA Foam Cushioning
The cushioning in the Classic is brought to you by a die-cut EVA foam midsole that is combined with a molded PU sockliner in order to provide the best possible combination of shock absorption and arch support. This means that, despite its appearance as a simple lifestyle shoe, the Reebok Classic will work well for physical activity as well.
Cost and Value
Reebok products hit the sweet spot when it comes to price and quality. The Classic ranks average on our list of the best sneakers for girls, but it offers a high level of quality and comfort most foot shapes will greatly benefit from. It’s available in a limited number of colors, however, which means that you may not be able to find the look that you’re looking for.
Molded PU Sockliner
Abrasion Resistant Rubber Outsole
Limited Number of Colors
5. Vans Old Skool V
These Vans sneakers are super-comfortable and feature a breathable suede and canvas upper that allows for good ventilation preventing sweat and odors. It's a low-rise style with plenty of cushioning in the heel, collar and tongue, which is the perfect addition for those with sensitive feet, seeing that it will prevent excessive rubbing that may cause blisters and pain.
Complete with the Vans signature waffle outsole, the Old Skool V provides a solid grip on any surface. It’ll work great at school, in the home, and at the playground. It will even perform well on wet surfaces, which can come in handy on rainy days. And another thing, seeing that it was made to be used on the rough surface of a skateboard, it will be able to take a beating, which means that it won’t easily wear out.
Cost and Value
The price for the Vans Old Skool V will vary depending on the version you choose, however, all models are budget friendly, ranking low on this list when it comes to cost. This shoe is an excellent investment thanks to its comfort levels and durability, and the fact that it features a hook and loop closure makes it an appropriate option for all ages.
Hook and Loop Closure
Padded Heel & Collar
Suede and Canvas Upper
Runs Slightly Narrow
6. Converse Chuck Taylor
The standard Converse Chuck Taylor r is made with a canvas upper that’s perfect for summer, spring and even fall wear. Nonetheless, if you want something a bit more protective and warmer, you can get one of the leather options, including some that are completely waterproof. No matter which version you go with, you can rest assured that your kid will be wearing a pair of shoes that are lightweight, and that will feel good across the tops of their feet.
One of the things that originally made these shoes so famous was the rubber outsole made for slick basketball courts. It’s made from hard-wearing rubber that won’t easily break down, no matter where your child decides to wear these, and it has the additional benefit of being slip resistant, giving you an ease of mind that any injury or sprain due to a slip will be easily avoided.
Cost and Value
This is one of the lowest priced sneakers on the list. When purchasing Converse, you are receiving a shoe that won’t easily fall apart, and will look good while remaining comfortable. It has the fit of a traditional canvas shoe, and the benefits of an athletic sneaker that come in the form of the cushioned rubber outsole. Additionally, you can choose between a low top and high top version, depending on your child’s preferences.
Protective Toe Shell
Leather or Canvas Upper
Breathable and Lightweight
Low Top Lacks Ankle Support
Upper Is Not Padded
7. K-Swiss Classic
The K-Swiss Classic is versatile, simple and straight to the point. It comes in a wide variety of options both for girls and boys, and can even be purchased with laces or hook and loop closures. It’s a great option to wear to school, but you can also count on it to withstand a beating at the playground or at the park.
Made with premium quality leather in the upper, the K-Swiss Classic will provide your child with just the right amount of protection. Because leather is a natural material, it will allow for a good level of breathability, and after being broken in will provide a fit that’s perfectly molded to your kid’s foot shape. The textile lining is soft to the touch, and will be kind to sensitive kids’ feet.
Cost and Value
Considering that it’s made with genuine leather in the upper, the K-Swiss Classic is a bargain, seeing that it’s half the price of similar style by more popular brands. It’s an excellent choice for both school and play wear, and can even be worn on the tennis court. And the latest editions even feature a pop of color, for those girls who want something that will stand out.
Sleek K-Swiss Signature Styling
D-Ring Lace-up Closure
Die-cut EVA Sock Liner
8. New Balance 574
The New Balance 574 comes in two widths: Standard and Wide, which is a great option for those parents trying to find a solution to chubby or flat feet. Additionally, the closure system comes both in a lace and a hook and loop option, which further accommodates a variety of foot shapes, meaning that the 574 may just be the perfect sneaker for your girl.
Although when it comes to purchasing kid’s shoes you may not be thinking about shock absorption, cushioning and alignment, it is still important to keep in mind that these performance features can greatly impact your child’s development and activity levels. The New Balance 574 comes with a rubber outsole that offers good grip of the ground, an EVA foam midsole that absorbs shock and supports the arch, and a heel that is cushioned so that any rubbing is prevented.
Cost and Value
The New Balance 574 comes at a price that’s slightly above average, which means that if you’re after this type of performance features, it’s definitely going to cost you more than a standard pair of canvas or rubber sneakers. However, if you’re looking for something that will work well even through some athletic activity such as running around the playground, these are a good choice that just so happens to also be fashionable.
EVA Midsole and Heel
External Heel Counter
Lace or Hook and Loop Closure
Suede, Textile, Mesh or Synthetic Upper
Variety of Color Options
Slightly Higher Cost
Beware of Counterfeit Items
9. Under Armour Primed 2
Made for running and helping absorb the shock that is generated upon each impact, the Under Armour Primed 2 features a full length EVA foam midsole that is just the right combination of cushioned and responsive. The outsole is made with non-marking rubber, and features outriggers at the forefoot that work to give additional lateral stability, helping prevent any sprains or rolled ankles.
Healthy Foot Environment
In addition to the breathable mesh upper that allows a good amount of air flow, the Under Armour Primed 2 also features a footbed that’s been treated with an antimicrobial process in order to prevent the appearance of fungus and bacteria that may lead to the development of odors or infections.
Cost and Value
For a pair of performance running shoes, the Under Armour Primed 2 comes at a surprisingly affordable price. Sure, it’ll set you back more than a simple canvas sneaker, but considering that it was made for athletic use, you have to consider the technologies that go into making a running shoe such as this. If your little one likes running around, or needs something cushioned for gym class, then these are definitely highly recommended.
Hook & Loop or Lace Up Closure
10. Stride Rite Made2Play Phibian
This factor alone makes this sneaker an annual best seller. Parents love being able to toss sneakers into the washer. Even if you prefer not to put heavy rubbery objects in washing machines, rest in comfort knowing they can be easily sprayed clean in the shower or outside patio.
Rubber footwear is not the best option when it comes to health. It will often lack in breathability, trapping moisture inside the shoe, allowing for bacterial or fungal overgrowth that can lead to an infection or smelly feet. However, the Phibian is quite different, seeing that it’s a perforated shoe with lots of breathability. To top it all off, its treated with an “anti-stink” treatment to prevent the appearance of harmful bacteria in your child’s shoes.
Cost and Value
You may think this sneaker costs a bit too much for a rubber shoe, but you’ll find that it still ranks quite low compared to other styles on this list. It’s an excellent investment for those living in hotter climates, and will definitely be a stylish addition to your child’s wardrobe. Plus, with the company’s almost 100 year tradition, you can rest assured you’re getting a quality product made to last.
20 Different Colorways
Made of Imeva
Mesh Tongue and Collar
May Cause Blisters
Unsuitable for Cold Weather
Girls are very particular about the shoes they wear which is why we have factored style, as well as functionality, into the deciding process and have included sneakers for girls ranging in age from toddler to young adult. Whether you’re shopping for your child or shopping for yourself, there are suitable options for walking, running, tennis, and more.
If you’re purchasing a brand for the first time, be sure to carefully read the item description to assess whether the shoes are true to size or not, and whether they meet your needs in terms of material, cushioning and closure. Note that size and width will vary from brand to brand. However complicated it may be to size a pair of shoes you’re purchasing online, a good fit is crucial in order to provide a secure fit that won’t lead to blisters or more serious injuries.
Criteria Used to Evaluate the Best Girl Sneakers
The criteria used to evaluate the best girl sneakers involved careful consideration and research of the most integral elements of a sneaker including style, comfort, materials, brand, and safety. When it comes to children, they’re always on the go and require a sneaker that can withstand continuous wear and tear without breaking down too quickly which is why the materials used to construct the shoe are so important.
The following elements were used to determine the very best girl sneakers available and can be used as a reference to help you in making an informed decision of which sneakers will best suit your needs.
There are several different style sneakers available, and each offers its style and wearability benefits. The most popular and widely available styles are:
- Low-top: Low-top sneakers are a casual wearing shoe that is convenient and practical. These are the perfect style of sneaker for relaxed outings or for hitting the mall with friends. These type of shoe look best with a pair of skinny jeans and a comfortable t-shirt.
- High-top: High tops are a trendy choice of sneaker and add a grittier street style to any look. These look great with a pair of skinnies and a tucked in solid color tank or t-shirt. They also look great with a skirt or dress, offering a more stylish alternative to regular shoes.
- Slip-on: A Slip-on is similar to a low-top only without the lace closures. Slip-on sneakers are always a hit in the warmer months and look great with a pair of shorts and summer tank top.
- Sneaker Boots: Sneaker boots sit just below the knee and are ideally paired with shorts or a skirt, but also look stylish with a pair of skinnies. They’re also a good option for colder weather, as they provide an added element of warmth.
Comfort is a crucial element of a sneakers performance and is a major deciding factor in the overall happiness of the wearer. There are many elements and features of a shoe which can make a world of difference when it comes to the level of comfort it provides including:
- Arch Support
- Ankle Support
A sneaker needs to have ample cushioning to support the foot and absorb shock from the impact of every step. Without proper cushioning feet and legs become fatigued and achy which can become uncomfortable and affect performance. Growing children especially need to have a supportive pair of footwear that takes the pressure of off their growing bones, limbs, and tendons. The ankle is another area to pay particular attention to, and that should be well-supported and protected from the potential for injury. It’s easy to accidentally hurt your ankle while walking, running, or playing sports, which is why a sneaker should provide some level of support at the ankle bone, mainly if it will be for athletic activities.
Another contributing factor to the overall comfort of a sneaker is how well temperature and moisture build-up is controlled. No one likes the feeling of damp, sweaty feet and it can be especially unpleasant for children who have to sit in class for hours at a time. Ideally, a sneaker will have a footbed which wicks moisture away from the skin, along with ventilation holes or construction using breathable materials. Leather is an excellent material for allowing proper airflow and also draws moisture away from the foot maintaining a cool and dry environment.
The brand is not always an essential factor, but with sneakers, there are brands which stand out from the rest. Some of the biggest names in the sneaker business are:
These names stand behind high-quality products that are tried and true having withstood heavy user testing and have proven staying power making them an excellent place to start looking in your quest to find the ideal pair of sneakers. User reviews and experience is something to be considered because if a large number of people have had either a good or a bad experience chances are that you may have a similar one.
The materials used to construct a shoe are an essential aspect to consider and will determine the level of satisfaction experienced. Some materials are better suited for wear during specific seasons or types of weather while others won’t perform as well under the same conditions.
For colder weather, there are many sneakers which are winterized and feature climate-appropriate features. Two vital aspects to look for in a shoe for fall or winter is a waterproof upper, or at least water-resistant, and a solid outsole that provides excellent traction. The best material for the top of a sneaker that is going to offer water-resistance is leather, which provides waterproofing and keeps feet warm in cold weather. For the outsole, rubber is the best choice of material due to its water-resistant properties, and it’s firm grip even on slippery terrain.
For spring and summer when the weather is warmer, it is vital that a sneaker offers excellent airflow to prevent sweating and odors. Air ventilation holes are a great feature to look for, but an even better option is to look for a shoe that features a mesh upper, the mesh is extremely breathable and is the perfect material for warm weather. When it comes to a fabric upper, canvas is an excellent choice because it allows air to flow through the fibers while also wicking moisture away from the skin.
Safety is always the number one priority when it comes to children, and their footwear needs to offer an additional level of protection. An outsole that’s slip-resistant is an important aspect and is a must for anyone on the go. Inadequate traction can lead to accidental slips and falls and dramatically increases the risk of injury. As mentioned in the ‘Materials’ section above, one of the best materials is rubber, it offers a strong grip and is long-lasting so your child’s shoes won’t wear out too quickly. The main safety aspects to consider when shopping for a new pair of sneakers are:
- Closure System
The closure system on a pair of sneakers usually consists of traditional laces. However, it’s not uncommon to find sneakers with a hook-and-loop closure. Hook-and-loop closures offer a more customized level of wear and allow for complete control over the tightness of a shoe. Laces, on the other hand, are very customizable too and can easily be tied to the wearers desired fit. The downside to laces is that there is a chance of them coming untied while playing sports or engaging in any physical activities which then poses a risk of tripping and does not keep the shoe safely in place.
Feedback from Wear Testers
It’s a good idea to have a look at consumer reviews before purchasing a pair of footwear online because this can help you to get an idea about the shoes from the viewpoint of other people like yourself. It’s important to make sure that the reviews you’re reading are actual consumer reviews from people who have purchased or tested the products themselves and not positive reviews left by the manufacturers. Credible reviews will have a ‘Verified Buyer’ or similar label beside their name or if they’ve chosen to write anonymously, it’ll say ‘Anonymous’ near their name.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How do I determine if the sneaker fits okay?
A: A simple rule of thumb, if all other reliable measuring options have failed, is to ensure that there is enough room by using your finger. The sneakers shouldn’t be TOO big; this doesn’t mean that you can’t buy sneakers that are a larger size, just don’t let them wear the larger sizes until they can fit them adequately. To determine a rough fit, about a finger’s width of space at the heel and toes. Kids grow fast, a couple of sizes within a couple of months is not a rare occurrence.
Q: What are some shopping tips?
A: As touched upon above, if you see a super cute style, that is a size larger and on sale, for instance, go ahead and purchase it, don’t let them wear a too large sneaker yet, of course (see FAQ below). Your child will eventually grow into them; you won’t have to worry about fit as much if it is from a brand or manufacturer that you are familiar with. If you can manage to get the same style that your child likes, just in a larger size, that could be a sound method of shopping. She won’t notice the transition as much to next size up if it is identical to a favorite current pair that she adores! Purchase larger sizes of the child’s favorite style if possible.
Q: What are some of the latest novelty girls sneakers designs?
A: In addition to the traditional graphic cartoon sneakers that many of us recognize, there are glowing sneakers, LED light up sneakers, roller-skate sneakers and furry sneakers. The LED Light up sneakers are a recent entrant on the market, featuring an outsole festooned entirely with blinking – LED lights! Many of these are fairly well-made, offering many consumers a fun – and enlightening experience.
Q: For younger kids and toddlers, what are some signs that a shoe is too small?
A: Look for physical gestures or signs of discomfort such as redness or abrasions. If the child is still too young to effectively communicate sneaker pain, monitor, carefully for clues. Typical signs are if the toddler takes the shoes on or off, frequently and consistently. Check for a disruption in walking patterns! An ill-fitting or uncomfortable sneaker can cause the child to trip or fall. These can be signs that they shoes may be tough to maneuver in or are just plain uncomfortable.
Q: What are some common girls/kids foot health conditions?
A: There are several foot conditions that can affect children’s feet regarding growth. Clubfoot is an extremely common congenital disability. Intoeing, this is also known as pigeon-toed, can be outgrown before the second year. Out-toeing is when the feet tilt inwards.
Q: Does a stiffer sneaker make a good girls sneaker?
A: Not necessarily, go softer when you can, breaking in a hard and inflexible sneaker is an uncomfortable time. Stiffer usually connotes strong material, meant to endure. There is nothing wrong with “built to last” type of construction, however, when it comes to the breaking-in period you can avoid it by purchasing a sneaker that doesn’t require a break-in. Growing feet are well-suited to a lighter weight and softer, supple sneaker.
Q: Should I go with Lace-ups or Velcro?
A: The speed at which your child learns to handle two pieces of string is not necessarily a sign of intelligence. Meaning, purchasing Velcro or slip-on sneakers does not mean they are lazy or lacking “lace-up” skills. Most parents will buy a minimum of +50 shoes for the child during an average shopping/raising period of 18 years.
Don’t feel pressured to purchase a lace-up over Velcro because of shame or perception, buy the one that is within your price point, comfortable and well-made. And as cute as possible 🙂
Want the little one to practice with laces? Tying and untying is a beautiful opportunity to teach and interact with kids. Consider a comfy indoor slipper with simple laces, then the child can practice tying laces at home, over and over, without being rushed out the door on the way to the park or school. They can practice on their “home” sneakers while wearing or not, at their and your leisure! This gives plenty of time for teaching moments; they get to master the skill, everyone wins.
- Heel Collar: The area of a shoe which is at the very back and sits highest on the shoe around its rim.
- Anti-microbial: A treatment which prevents the build-up of microbial which create an odor.
- Logo: A companies design which is displayed for others to see.
- Velcro(hook & loop): A type of shoe fastener which sees one piece of material attaches to another, the most commonly found hook-and-loop closure is Velcro.
- EVA: A manmade foam material which is flexible and lightweight making it a good option for the construction of footwear.
- Outsole: The outer sole which connects directly with the ground.
- Footbed: The inner part of the shoe which the foot sits directly on.
- Closure System: A fastening system which enables you to tighten the fit of a shoe to your desired level. These include shoelaces, zippers, or hook-and-loop straps.
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