One question I frequently get asked is what shoe should I run in, or should my kid run in. If you ask 100 Colorado runners what shoes they should run in, you're bound to get 100 different answers.
First let's talk about running shoes, what your young cross country runner will wear to practice on a daily basis. It's important that you pick up a pair of quality running shoes, that's the first step and can easily be accomplished by going to your local running store or sporting goods retailer.
Now I'm a fan of minimalist shoes in general and even more so for youth runners, who often have better mechanics than adults and already run on their forefoot. A child who is 70lbs, does not need a supportive running shoe and I feel they will do more harm than good in the long run.
Finding a minimal running shoe is getting harder and harder, especially in youth sizes. A shoe like the Nike Free, is a good flexible and lightweight shoe that should serve most youth runners well and comes in a variety of options and colors. My personal favorite is the New Balance Minimus, which was reintroduced in 2017. This is an ideal shoe for Coyotes practice as it's flexible, has a 4mm offset and has a Vibram sole to handle running on the grass and off roads.
One thing to look for are lightweight shoes and shoes with a low heel to toe drop and a low heel height. This will allow the foot to work in a more natural position.
The next decision is racing shoes or spikes. This will be a personal preference and a lot of that will depend on how competitive your child is and how serious you/they are taking running. At the youth level, most races aren't even conducive to wearing spikes as the kids will often have to run over concrete trails for a long period of time.
Most kids at the meets will not have separate shoes for training and racing. If you do elect for a pair of racing flats, a shoe such as the Nike Zoom Rival (Waffle) has been around for decades and is a good all round choice. Or you can always pick up a pair of XC spikes, remove the spikes when they are not needed and add them for races that are entirely on grass.