10 Best Running Shoes for Beginners
You aren't going to enjoy running without a solid shoe, beginner or advanced. However, finding the best running shoe is going to assist those healthy choices to come to fruition faster. Until you have figured out what your body needs, making sure your feet are taken care of should be a priority.
The 10 Best Running Shoes for Beginners is a solid line-up of the most current options for those adjusting to your running style. Scroll through and get updated and informed with our FAQs and Criteria as well. It’s all there to push you and help you make the best choices for an easier transition.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 12 hrs of research
Breathable, lightweight upper
Highest rated for overall comfort, shock absorption, and protection
Trail-rated and extremely durable
Best Beginner Running Shoes To Get You Going
1. ASICS GEL Venture 6
Breathable, lightweight upper
Highest rated for overall comfort, shock absorption, and protection
Trail-rated and extremely durable
Nothing worth noting, 99% Satisfaction Rate
The ASICS Venture 6 are replacing the Venture 5 on our list; when considering the best for beginners, we have to admit these kicks prove to be superior in many aspects!Read more
With thousands of positive reviews by all kinds of runners, the Venture 6 has obviously a whole lot to offer. The cushioning on this shoe is amazing, the AHAR outsole provides plenty of durability, the synthetic upper is very breathable, it has a removable sockliner and an incredibly low price tag! Why are you still reading this? Go get your pair of Venture 6’s and start running like a pro!
2. ASICS FuzeX
High Marks For Comfort
DuoMax support system for support and stability
SpEVA midsole absorbs shock and adds even more support
Vertical flex grooves for natural running feel
Whole foot GEL cushioning absorbs shock
Some testers felt they were a little narrow
These models are highly rated among novice runners that don’t have all the knowledge about features but feel a great difference using them.Read more
The FuzeX offer fantastic cushioning and support to keep your feet in place, free from injury, and happy all around. You’re not going to want to take these off when your workout’s over. Every runner should experience running in ASICS, you may not ever go back!
3. Nike Revolution 4
Good for long periods of wear
Issues with the quality of the insole
The Revolution 4 from Nike has everything someone could want from their first running shoe. It's a shoe that will make you question ever buying anything but running sneakers. Like wearing nothing at all. Many runners are immediately enamored from the moment they put on the Revolution 4 and we included it on this list because we believe you could be too.Read more
Nike’s Revolution 4 is a shoe that will deliver the utmost comfort to you in each and every stride. Comfortable, cool, and lightweight, the Revolution 4 is a shoe you just won't have to worry about after you put it on, which is what makes it great for new runners. Nothing has to be complicated to make it a good shoe. You got into running to do one thing, run, and that’s all you’ll have to consider when wearing a pair of Revolution 4’s.
4. Mizuno Wave Rider 20
3D Mizuno fit is snug yet comfortable
Parallel Wave tech for smooth transitions and healthy gait
U4icX strobel board for underfoot comfort
The Mizuno Wave Riders are the ultimate shoes when it comes to a happy medium. They’re not too heavy, not too light, and they’ve got support and cushioning but don’t lose out on flexibility.Read more
While Wave Riders are a bit understated for Mizuno, understated in Mizuno’s terms is colorful, bright, and exciting compared to all other brands. These are some attractive shoes that will have you excited to start your beginner’s running career.
5. Brooks Ghost 11
Lots of cushioning
Short break-in time
Absorb shock well
Inner material isn't as soft as some expected
Brooks Ghost 11 is a pure upgrade to a brand and style that is a fan favorite from beginner to advanced runners. These road shoes are ideal for you beginners because they offer more support and removable soles so you can make more customizable adjustments to comfort. The Ghost model never disappoints and we are amazed that it was possible to make it even better.Read more
DNA technologies are what make comfort in the Ghost 11 worthy of praise. It’s BioMoGo DNA not only responds well but is geared toward saving the planet. In addition, the DNA LOFT makes the shoe extra soft without losing integrity in the cushioning -- softness doesn't necessarily always lie in pressure.
Ghost 11 is light and offers a neutral design that is gender-fluid. The upper Gore Tex water-proof mesh has been updated as well to add breathability and more flexibility. Another addition to the flexibility is the Omega Flex Grooves, which give the forefoot more natural fluidity.
Assisting those grooves for a smoother transitioning is the crash pad that lines the full length of the outer sole. This makes any landing style feel natural and helps guide you into the next stride, absorbing harsh impact.
This shoe is a bundle of features geared toward natural running styles that need a little more support or those that are learning what works for them. Made for comfort and soft transition, Ghost 11 is a great design for beginners because of the versatility the features offer.
We are impressed, to say the least, and for a beginner, Ghost 11 is one of the best we have found. It gives you a great place to start when looking for a shoe by customizing to multiple running styles.
Brooks Ghost 11 didn't win Runner’s World Editor’s Choice award because it was weak. This shoe is loaded down and in each feature, you get more and more durability. Crash pads and DNA technologies tied in with Goretex make it a shoe that lasts.
As you get into more of a routine, you will be able to see where you’re winning by investing in this shoe as well. When going through our research and reviews we didn't find durability as an issue among consumers at all.
Worth the midrange price tag for sure, Brooks Ghost 11 is going to give you high value with affordability. We understand finding a good shoe depends on the wallet sometimes as well. Ghost 11 is s perfect mid-range priced beginner running shoe that will keep you on track for miles with durability that matches features and great for guiding your run.
6. Saucony Triumph ISO 3
Very strong support
Well cushioned with a spring
Good for runners looking for a neutral running shoe
Sizing inconsistency, runs exceptionally small
The Saucony Triumph ISO 3 is the shoe on this list for runners that need that extra support. As newer runners start exploring their gate and run style they might discover new aches and pains. Don’t let this discourage you, many runners have conditions that may seem hindering but can actually be corrected with the right shoe. The Triumph ISO 3 has the support you need to help you feel out your running needs pain and worry-free.Read more
The Triumph ISO 3 is lightweight and well ventilated, strong qualities to have in any shoe but good to get in the habit to look for as you enter the world of running. The Triumph is also very well cushioned, which a lot of runners prefer in terms of comfort, especially beginners. High amounts of cushioning mean that the energy you invest in your stride will be returned to you and can keep you running longer. This is the type of performance you can expect to see from the Saucony Triumph ISO 3.
7. New Balance Fresh Foam Zante v2
Comfortable padded mesh tongue
Cradles foot for great support
EVA footbed for comfort and support
IMEVA midsole for comfort and support
Some Testers Had Issues With Durability
So you’re just getting into running. You’re not looking for something flashy with too many bells and whistles to weigh you down while lightening your wallet paying for features you don't need. What you need is a simple shoe to get you into the groove.Read more
If this sounds like you, the NB Fresh Foams v2 are a great, highly affordable choice. New Balance is a trusted brand, and these fit the bill as some of the best for beginners. We also like the style and color options, and the overall comfort, durability, value, and availability make this a great choice to buy when dipping your toes into the world of running for the first time ever, or in a while.
8. Nike Air Zoom Structure 22
Sleek and simple
Work for Over-Pronation
Nike Air Zoom Structure 22 is one of the more stable picks on the 10 Best Running Shoes For Beginners. Engineered for support while still being light, pushing you forward as you run. The structure 22 has a simple design that will help you learn just what your feet need when adjusting to the running lifestyle.Read more
Putting the Zoom Air structure in the front of the shoe with Duralon rubber creates extra responsiveness and low ground-feel cushioning to your stride. Nike also added a partial booty and flywire mesh to the upper to keep the foot in place for more ground control.
Zoom Structure 22 is also lined strategically through the arches with a well balanced and extra flexible material. This design was made to aid over-pronation so having some natural feeling support to prevent inward-turning while running is completely relevant to design. The midfoot area is also structured with dynamic support to help transition, making the Nike Air Zoom Structure 22 great for those learning to properly run with over-pronation.
Comfort carries a lot of weight in feature design, this is why you'll find we just covered quite a few. However, there is more to this shoe and consumers are happy with how it fits and feels.
Flywire cable mesh not only supports but it also is designed to let the airflow, making the Structure 22 extra arid and well ventilated in all the right spots. Furthermore, this is Nike’s stability addition to running shoes, which also makes it ideal for beginners. The way the features work together make it the best option for preventing shin splints and helping knee pain.
Durability is built into the Structure 22 package and as a stability shoe, it has to work as a runner while supporting all your unnatural twist and bends that come with foot ailments. These have an extra step to their function, which aids in them lasting longer and with a name like Structure, it wouldn't be well managed if they fell apart. Furthermore, when doing our research, durability wasn't something that stood out as an issue at all.
These are a classic design with an updated supportive feel to them. Nike offers these at the average cost for a beginner running shoe and they hold up in features, making them a great value. These are a shoe you can slip on and run without feeling insecure about your style or wallet.
9. ASICS GEL Kayano 25
Good cushioning for long distance
Higher sides around heel
Soles handles for midfoot strike and liftoff
Same reliable sole as Kayano 23
Sized approximately a half size small
Shoe may feel heavy and bulky
Stiff sole not good for speed
Asics is known for its rugged shoes and runners continually purchase them time and again. The Gel Kayano 24 is a heavy duty everyday shoe weighing 11.3 oz with a 10mm heel drop. As for the update from the Kayano 23, there is not much change for those who prefer the classic Kayano technologies. One small change Asics did make is the higher walls of the shoe around the heel so as to keep your feet more secure in the shoe.Read more
First and foremost, the Kayano 24 is built for slower long-distance running. Some runners reviewed this model as rather stiff and more suited for lower speeds, but that's the trade-off for the excellent support and cushioning. The 24 contains mostly the same technologies as the 23, which include the Gel heel, Dynamic Duomax cushioning with shock absorption, guidance line for control at strike and lift off, and FlyteFoam.
The sole of the Kayano 24 handles well so runners strike and lift off on the midfoot for safest running posture, even with the 10mm drop. While this sole is not structured for speed, the 24 is better for slower runs, long distance, and recovery days.
10. Adidas Ultraboost 19
Heel molds to your shape
True to size
Not for Flat Feet
Adidas Ultraboost 19 is a seamless addition to the best running shoes for beginners. If you like the idea of adding some unrivaled support to a sock, this is your jam. They took the Ultrabost from 17 pieces to 4 but somehow magically upgraded it’s coveted neutral engineerings, adding 20% more return by taking out 77% of the shoe’s parts.Read more
This shoe is light, to say the least; it’s a sock with some torque and support. The Prime Knit upper provides a seamless and yet targetted supportive feel that breathes well. It expands effortlessly yet retracts with the feel of a second skin, adding just the right amount of compression with each propulsion.
In addition, the Boost midsole is soft and absorbent on impact. You also get the soft Prime Knit lining that doesn't irritate the foot so going sockless is an option. The 3D heel frame also offers Achilles support and that molds to your heels, which keeps you stabilized and cushioned properly.
In addition to all the comfort features above, you are also getting tons of dynamics and traction built-in. The outer sole is made of Continental rubber, sticking and adapting to terrain. Moreover, torsion spring design on the outer midsole adds support as well as bounce on lift-off.
LAcing is traditional nd that 3D Heel Fitcounter molds to the movement of the Achilles to give more fluid movement. All the features work in 4 major parts that are strategically placed to limit weight while offering one of the best neutral shoes for runners transitioning their feet into running.
Made from 100% synthetic materials and textile, this shoe is the toughest "sock" you will ever invest in. Seriously though, it is one simple design and apparently less moving parts mean less headache in the durability department. They took all the strong parts of the last design, sewed them together to create a simple and very effective neutral designed running shoe that can take some serious miles.
Adidas Ultraboost 19 is made to stand up here with the best of them at a great value. For less than a Benjamin, you can get a whole lot of support, comfort and high tech design. This is a great beginner’s running shoe with all the perks athletes love. Simplicity and affordability that last are what we like about it and we are confident you will too.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
One of the chief complaints runners have is when their feet get hot and sweaty and wet. This often results in sore and blistered feet and can quickly derail even the most dedicated and serious of runners. The shoes that we included on our list are designed to help combat this by offering superior breathability!
The last thing you want when you’re getting into running for the first time (or after a long hiatus) is a wet, sweaty running shoe during those crucial first miles of your run. Remember that the breathability is important in every type of climate and is especially important as your workout mileage increases.
Breathability is determined by the materials and construction of a shoe. Modern mesh fabrics have allowed shoemakers to be able to create highly durable, lightweight, extremely breathable shoes that will help keep your feet comfortable for mile after mile. Another thing, if you think you'll eventually get into participating in Tough Mudder or Spartan races, you'll want to think long and hard about breathability, as these races often (ok, always) include water obstacles that will leave you with wet shoes that you'll want to have dry out as soon as possible.
When you’re focusing on endurance and distance, you don’t want to worry about hot and sweaty feet. We paid attention to which shoes are the best at wicking moisture and allowing for proper ventilation. Runners generally agree that a breathable shoe makes for a happy and healthy athlete! So check out each product review to see the breathability score we assigned each pair.
It is important to consider the kind of terrain you will be running on. You need different shoes for indoor running than you would for track and field running and if you enjoy trail running that requires a whole different kind of shoe as well. We made sure every shoe here is suited for multiple terrains!
Since you're just beginning, we'll let you in on a little secret that grizzled running veterans rely on; when you're stuck in your routine, or even if you just want something different that day, there's nothing better than trail running, especially in a beautiful place. People who road run or run on a treadmill can tell you about the monotony that can come with running mile after mile with little to no change in scenery. To be honest it can amount to pure drudgery. Heading outdoors for a trail run, especially to new trails you're not familiar with, is a great way to get out of your rut, break your routine, and start having fun running again. And since you're probably a beginner if you're reading this, why not start it out right from the very beginning, and incorporate trail running into your routine as soon as possible.
To help with this, and for our readers who are lucky enough to live around great outdoor trails, we made sure to include selections that can be taken off of the treadmill and out to the great outdoors. Runners tell us that running outdoors is much “easier” for them because they are not concentrated with the digital numbers on the treadmill.
Our buying guide provides models for all types of terrain. If you’re an outdoor enthusiast already, you are going to love the trail runners on our list. They are top rated selections for a reason. For city and treadmill runners, we have perfect offerings that can handle the pavement. Regardless of your terrain, our goal was to bring you the best of both worlds.
A well-made shoe will help support your feet and will cushion your steps in order to reduce fatigue and injury. The best running shoes are those that make your feet feel better when you wear them. This is why we considered the support features of each shoe on our list very carefully before including them!
There is no need to have a painful running experience. they are made to support specific types of arches and amounts of pronation among other factors. Most novice runners don’t realize that choosing a running shoe that is supportive, and especially one that's supportive in the right places for their specific foot and ankle characteristics, can absolutely make or break their running experience. Support typically comes from the ankle cuff and side panels of a shoe. These areas can be strategically reinforced with extra materials, or materials that are stiffer than the rest of the shoe, to give you the support that you want and need. Especially if you're a heavier runner, you'll want to be sure to buy a pair with plenty of support to help make sure that your feet and ankles get the support they need. The last thing you want or need as a beginning runner is to have injuries and discomfort right out of the blocks when you're starting off, so be sure to buy a pair that can help prevent these things by giving you solid and well-designed support. We made sure to note these models on our buying guide, so if support is something you’ve been looking for, you’ve come to the right place.
There are many different style shoes you can choose from and each one has their unique benefits and perks. As we searched for the best running shoes for beginners, we made sure to includes shoes in a wide range of styles. This way you can easily find a pair that meets your unique wants and needs!
Here's another pro tip for all you beginners; feeling like you look good when you go out for a run is actually important. We know, we know, you want to start running to feel better, you're not just some shallow person who cares just about looks. Well the fact is, research has shown that wearing a visually appealing running shoe is important, because when runners are happy with the looks of their shoes, they are twice as likely to take them out for a run and even run for longer distances. That being said, we would never suggest buying a running shoe on looks alone and it’s a cardinal sin in the running world. Quite frankly it's just plain silly to buy a pair on looks alone. However, beware of buying a pair that has all the characteristics you're looking for but that you don't think looks good. If you do this it's highly likely that you'll wear them a couple times, and then suddenly stop running because consciously or subconsciously you're embarrassed about how you look. When you take a look at our list, you'll see that these selections are the latest and greatest in terms of design and style. Today’s runners no longer have to choose between a good looking running shoe and a high performing one, as long as they know what to look for and stay true to their personal style.
The final key factor we used as part of our search criteria was the sizing of the shoes. Ensuring you get the right size and have the right fit is critical to having the best experience possible with your runs and workout sessions. We made sure to check sizing reviews to ensure you can get the right fit!
The most common rookie runner mistake is simple and actually pretty easy to avoid; choosing the wrong size running shoe. Everybody's feet are unique, and each manufacturer sizes their shoes a little bit differently. It's common knowledge, both to experienced runners as well as the layperson that Nike shoes, while typically quite excellent, tend to run small in size compared to other brands. In addition, feet tend to swell towards the end of the day, your run, or a strenuous workout. This is why choosing a size that’s similar to your everyday shoes can be a mistake.
Seasoned runners typically run in a half size larger than their regular shoes and are always aware of a shoe’s tendency to run larger or smaller. We noted which runners are slightly larger or smaller to help you make a selection. We also suggest sizing your feet at the end of the day or after you’ve gone out for a nice run.
If there's a local specialty running or sporting goods store near you that can be a great place to get your foot sized since their associates tend to be knowledgeable about running, the sizing tendencies of different brands, and well, feet. They should be happy to help you figure out what size running shoe is best for you, even if you don't end up buying a pair of shoes there.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
To help your running shoes last as long as possible, we recommend buying more than one pair, and rotating them. By allowing your shoes to completely dry out and for the foam to decompress between uses you'll maximize your purchase and help it last as long as possible. Plus they won't be as smelly.
Don't get distracted by a shoe with a style you love while overlooking whether or not it meets you other needs. Although it's been proven that people run more often and for longer distances if they feel good about the way they look while running, in the end your best served by first finding the right shoe for you, and only then considering its style.
When you are looking for a good pair of shoes to buy for your beginning running gear collection you will want to make a smart choice as to where you invest your money. Buying quality shoes that have the features that will help you during your run are the way to go so be sure to carefully consider everything the shoes you are considering have to offer and what they can do for you and your performance.
If you have any issues with your feet such as a previous injury or a known condition like plantar fasciitis, fallen arches, flat feet, pronation, or heel spurs then you should talk to your doctor or health care provider. They can offer assistance and can recommend shoes that may be best suited for your unique needs to help protect your feet from further injury while helping to compensate for your injury or existing condition.
Other Factors to Consider
With the amount of selection out there, it can be a daunting task to select a pair that is right for you. It’s not a good idea to read the box, listen to the salesman, or buy into the athlete paid sponsor. User feedback on how cushion, protection, heel drop, and support work together is what can really tell you how well a running shoe performs and what it means to you. Our buying guide is clear and concise in order to let you know which models can highlight your natural strengths, and eliminate your weaknesses. For example, if you need additional support, we made sure to note which options rank the highest in that category. If cushioning levels is something that important to you, we provided models that score high in responsive cushioning. We know that it can be overwhelming, so breaking features down into their simplest terms will let you make a stress-free selection while still giving you the peace of mind that you’re getting the absolute best.
“Know Thy Feet!" This is a well-known runner’s motto that sums up very nicely yet another important factor to consider. Take a look at your arches, this is important for all footwear selections. If you have flat or lowered heels, chances are that you may be rolling your feet inward when you land (overpronation), don’t worry, it’s quite common.
Look for shoes with higher support levels and that feature roll bars. If you notice that your heels are very high and that your shoes tend to wear along the outer edges of the sole, you should look for more cushioning and shock absorption. It’s important to disperse the force when you step. Thinking about your foot strike is the first step in selecting a perfect running shoe for your individual needs.
No shoe is worth anything if it is not comfortable. You will want to make sure your shoes support your feet, cushion your heels and toes, and provide the comfortable and snug fit that will keep your feet positioned properly as you run. This is especially true for the newbie because without a comfortable fit they will not enjoy their experience and will likely give up on the run and lose interest fairly quickly.
When you are out for a run, your feet take a major beating. Every step you take exposes your heel and the rest of your foot to shock impact. The best made shoes are those that have built in padding and cushioning to help aid in shock absorption and distribution. This will help reduce the chance for injury and will also help you avoid extreme foot pain and fatigue during your runs.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: Q: As a beginner, should I be more concerned with speed or with distance?
A: Most seasoned runners agree that increasing distance should be the primary focus and our list reflects models that offer that consideration. As you build up endurance, you will start to notice improvements in your speed. If your goal is to have faster times, give yourself about two months of consistent running before you start pushing for faster times.
q: Q: Do I need to buy all these things before I start running?
A: When questioned about the absolute necessities of running, many experienced runners will reply with a long shopping list of specialized clothes and equipment and this can seem overwhelming. We aren’t going to say that this stuff isn’t important because it is. For them. Each runner is unique and they have specific needs. And frankly, you just don’t know what your needs are until you have running for a bit. The only thing you need to get you started is a good pair of shoes, we sincerely recommend you don’t skip out on picking yourself a reliable pair. Consider it an investment in knowing if getting into running is a good choice for you. We don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
q: Q: Other than this, what other types of specialized clothing can I expect to need?
A: There are plenty of clothing options for runners that can suit a plethora of specialized needs. While it is really up to the runner to determine their needs and how to best suit them, there is one thing we suggest you avoid: cotton. Clothing made from cotton does not breath as well as other fabrics and they retain moisture, two attributes that generally don’t make for good runner wear.
q: Q: I’ve found a pair that feel perfect for me. How do I make sure that all my other pairs feel just like this one?
A: The first thing an experienced runner will tell you to do when you find a shoe you love is to buy a second pair. Perfect shoes are a rare occurrence and it is a shame if the shoes you love are discontinued or marked up. The second thing we’d recommend is looking into shoes of the same brand. Often you will find that brands have similarly designed products. Look to fans of the brand, they will be able to tell you what lines are similar to one another.
q: Q: I’ve heard that some runners go without socks while some swear by them. What’s the verdict?
A: This question has been asked time and time again. The truth is, that it’s a personal preference. You need to try both options for yourself to see what works best for you. If you will be running in socks, never go with cotton because of moisture retention and weight. There are thin running socks that wick away sweat and will keep you dry. If you enjoy going sockless but get skin irritation or blisters, don’t give up! Get some Leukotape and place it on trouble spots. It’s cheap, waterproof, and stays on no matter how long your run. Best of all, it will prevent blisters and irritation before it becomes a problem.
q: Q: How many pairs of running shoes should I buy?
A: There is no magic number when it comes to how many pairs of running shoes you should have. You will need to consider several things in order to make the best choice. How often are you running? Are you running on different terrains or the same general terrain each time? Will you be doing a lot of running in bad weather such as rain or snow? What is your available budget like? These questions and the answers you give will help you determine how many pairs of running shoes you should have on hand to ensure you can run when and where you want and need to.
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