A lot of parents have heard recently that we are bringing a big run of Altra shoes into the Playtri McKinney Store (they are here, by the way!) including a run of youth sizes.
It is extremely rare that I get behind a specific brand for any product in the endurance industry. In general, I find that all the brands have pros and cons, and some are better than others for individual athletes. When parents in the past have asked me what kind of running shoes they should get for their child, without fail I had said to get something "neutral with moderate cushioning." Recently, though, I've started saying "Altras."
The Altra brings together two HUGE advantages for young and developing athletes - a "no drop" heel and a wide toe box. You can see their description of these two features here.
Why do these features matter? In short, the no drop heel allows the calf and achilles tendon to develop and lengthen the way they are intended, instead of being shortened by heel lift, which constantly prevents them from stretching to their full length during exercise. The wide toe box, instead of cramping toes together and affecting proper foot development allow the toes to spread naturally. The result of both these features is that the athlete's foot is allowed to develop and strengthen naturally. The other thing that makes the Altras unique is that, while oftentimes both of these features can be found in "minimalist" shoes with little to no cushioning (which isn't always ideal for athletes running on paved surfaces), the Altras incorporate a range of cushioning options so that young feet don't get quite so beat down during road runs.
Essentially, these shoes bring together every feature that I look for in a quality run shoe, along with fun colors and designs that will get the kid in all of us excited.
Want to learn more? Visit the Altra Website for a wealth of further information on the design behind the shoe, or come in and try a pair on the next time you're at the Playtri Store!