>"Sierra Trading Post. Wait for sales, then have the whole troop pounce."
Yeah, A few days ago I received a pair of La Sportiva C-Lite 2.0 Trail Running Shoes. STP stock # 5166R. Nice and comfortable right out of the box, seems to absorb shock nicely, has a little cover over the laces (so they don't snag?). List price of $110, STP price of $69.95. If there's not an additional 35% off (on orders over $100) for a keyword like "SITEMON814" like there was yesterday (there's not just now), sign up for the newsletter and get 30% off. Or wait a day or two for another daily keyword. My final price was $45.47.
Anyway, with only 15 miles on them, I was positive enough on them to order my 14-year-old son a pair in his size. And also the next size up (cause he's not getting any smaller) and it's easier to have a pair in the closet than scramble around again in a year.
A few ideas: They are sized in European sizes, so either print out a comparison chart or link to one of the interactive size conversion sites. If you don't mind handling the money, get all the boys' US sizes, convert to European yourself and order them all together. That easily gets you over the $100 order threshold. And splits the shipping up among many more shoes.
This kind of shoe is as much as I would wear for 40 miles in a day or 60 pounds on my back. I could manage with lighter (a minimalist shoe or a light-weight running shoe) but only for 10-15 miles a day with moderate pack weight. Beyond that, I'd want to the slightly stiffer and more cushioned soles that something like the C-Lite offers. I'd only ever use a more substantial shoe for crampon use or if I was doing a ton of talus and wanted the tougher upper of an "approach shoe".
Added bonus: They could totally wear these to school, knock around town, or do laps around the track in PE, so they aren't buying a "backpacking-only" piece of gear. Rather, it's multi-purpose, great for use in town, but also (IMNSHO) a near ideal intro-to-more-UL backpacking shoe. STP currently has all sizes and most all half sizes from 38 to 47 (US Men's 5.5 to 14).