Best Shoes for PE Class: Tennis, Basketball, Gym Shoe, and More

Best Shoes for PE Class

Have kids that are attending school for the first time? Or maybe your children are starting a new school year? Either way, it's important to make sure they have the right shoes for their physical education (PE) class.

This not only protects them from potential injuries but also helps them perform better in their activities. So, what shoes should you choose for your child's PE class? Let's find out!

Importance of Choosing the Right PE Shoes

Selecting the perfect pair of shoes for PE class should be done with careful consideration, regardless of brand. Brands like Puma, UA, Adidas, and Nike often lead the way in shoe technology, offering sneakers that provide the essential cushion and support needed for various athletic activities. 

When looking for the optimal trainer, remember that the best footwear should enhance the child's stability and comfort, whether they're engaging in a high-impact sport or simply participating in daily PE exercises.

An ideal shoe will protect their developing feet and contribute to a positive physical education experience, athletic or not.

Factors to Consider When Choosing the Best PE Shoes

Factors to Consider When Choosing the Best PE Shoes

Now let's talk about exactly what you should look for when choosing PE shoes for your child.

Comfort and Fit

Comfort and fit are critical when selecting shoes for kids, particularly for PE classes where they'll be active. Shoes should have a cushy midsole made of quality foam to provide comfort during every type of workout.

Additionally, the toe box should be spacious enough to allow for natural foot movement while not being too loose to compromise stability. Mesh upper designs often add extra comfort, as they conform to the foot like a soft sock.


Durability is essential because shoes for kids need to withstand the rigors of daily use across various activities. The outsole of the shoes should be made of robust materials that can endure the wear and tear of playgrounds and gym floors. Seams and edges must be reinforced to prevent premature breakdown, ensuring longevity even with lace or no options chosen.

Traction and Grip

A primary safety feature for PE shoes is traction and grip. The sole should provide a secure grip on all surfaces, whether the kids are sprinting on a track or making sharp turns on the gymnasium floor.

Look for outsoles with multi-directional patterns that can handle sudden stops and start to keep your child safe during their PE activities.

Support and Stability

To safeguard against sports injuries, shoes must offer adequate support and stability, especially around the midfoot and heel areas. Good PE shoes will incorporate a structured heel counter and a secure lacing system, or alternative closure, to hold the foot firmly.

This helps in preventing excessive foot movements inside the shoe that can lead to twists or sprains.


Kids' feet tend to get sweaty, especially during physical activities, so breathability is an aspect one shouldn't overlook.

Opt for shoes with a breathable mesh upper that permits airflow, keeping feet dry and cool. This feature is paramount for comfort and can also reduce the risk of fungal infections associated with damp environments.


Finally, the best PE shoes for kids should be lightweight to allow for effortless and agile movement. Heavy shoes can tire children out more quickly and hinder their performance during PE classes.

Lightweight shoes enable kids to jump, run, and play with ease, making their physical education class more enjoyable and productive.

Read related article: How to Waterproof Hiking Boots - 3 Effective Methods

Types of PE Shoes

Types of PE Shoes

Moving forward, PE shoes come in different forms depending on the type of physical activity your child will be participating in. Here are some popular types of sports shoes:

Running Shoes

When it comes to cardiovascular activities like running, the best gym shoes are those that feature a good heel-to-toe drop for a natural gait and ample cushioning for impact reduction.

Running shoes often have a lightweight construction and enhanced flexibility, critical for children involved in track events or simply for the running they do in PE class.

The cushioning in these shoes is specifically designed to handle continuous forward motion, making them less suitable for sports that involve lots of lateral movements.

Cross-Training Shoes

Cross-training shoes are the jack-of-all-trades in gym footwear. These are versatile training shoes ideal for kids who engage in a variety of activities.

Most offerings come with a lower heel-to-toe drop which optimizes them for various types of movements, making them suitable for men who do strength training, CrossFit, or any other high-intensity workouts. They often have a wider base for stability, ensuring kids stay safe and supported whether they're lifting, jumping, or cutting.

Basketball Shoes

Basketball shoes are designed to offer support and stability which is crucial when making quick multidirectional movements. They are generally high-topped training shoes that provide extra ankle support to guard against sprains.

However, this design sometimes falls short on flexibility compared to low-top shoes. Nevertheless, for active kids on the basketball court, these shoes bolster their performance and safety during fast-paced games.

Tennis Shoes

Specifically designed for the lateral movements and quick pivots of tennis, these shoes often feature flatter, sturdier soles for maximum stability on the court. The best gym shoes for young tennis players include those with reinforced toe caps and side supports, accommodating the sport's distinctive movements.

Moreover, the soles are created to offer excellent grip on a variety of court surfaces, ensuring that active kids can move swiftly and with confidence during their matches.

Skateboarding Shoes

Although not a standard PE class activity, skateboarding shoes have found their way into the daily wear of active kids due to their style and durability. These shoes are often characterized by a flat sole made of rubber for good grip on the skateboard, and heavy-duty canvas or leather uppers to withstand the rigors of the sport.

While they may not be the first choice for running or heavy lifting, they can be perfect for casual wear or specific sports where a flat, sticky sole is beneficial.

Read related article: How to Clean Hiking Boots - A Step-by-Step Guide

Tips for Finding the Best PE Shoes for You

Now that you have an idea of what to look for in PE shoes and an overview of the most common types, here are a few tips to help you find the perfect gym shoes for your child:

Know Your Foot Type

Not every shoe is suitable for every foot. Understanding your child's foot type - whether they have a high arch, flat feet, or neutral - can help you find shoes with the right support and comfort features.

  • Overpronation: If your child's feet tend to roll inward when they walk or run, look for shoes with extra support in the arch and heel.
  • Underpronation: For kids whose feet roll outward, choose shoes with plenty of cushioning and flexibility.
  • Neutral arch: These kids will benefit from a well-balanced shoe with moderate cushioning and support.

Choose the Right Size and Width

Since children's feet grow rapidly, it's essential to get their feet measured every few months and buy shoes that fit perfectly. Shoes that are too big or too small can cause discomfort, blisters, and injuries.

Moreover, pay attention to the width of your child's foot. Some brands offer different widths for their shoes, so try on a few sizes to find the best fit.

Consider the Activity Type

As mentioned earlier, different physical activities require different types of shoes. If your child participates in a specific sport or activity regularly, invest in shoes designed for that purpose to prevent injuries and improve performance.

Try On Multiple Pairs

When shopping for PE shoes, have your child try on multiple pairs and walk around in them. This will give you a better idea of the fit, comfort level, and potential issues to watch out for.

Don't Forget About Style

While functionality should be your top priority when choosing PE shoes, there's no harm in considering style as well. Find shoes that your child will feel confident and comfortable wearing, as this can also impact their performance.


Help your kids reach the finish line with ease and confidence by investing in the right PE shoes. Whether they're running, playing basketball, or participating in any other physical activity, the proper footwear can make all the difference.

Use this guide to understand different types of gym shoes and how to find the perfect fit for your child's unique needs. Remember, a comfortable and supportive pair of PE shoes can enhance their performance, reduce the risk of injuries, and make physical activities more enjoyable.

sneaker cleaning kit

Check out our Sneaker Cleaning Kit here for complete and reliable sneaker cleaning products!

12PC Leather Shoe Shine & Care Kit for Men & Women

3.5 oz Mink Oil Leather Care Kit with Applicator

Subscribe Us
Subscribe to our newsletter and receive a selection of cool articles every weeks