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.
Our list is a solid line-up of the most current options for those adjusting to their 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
10 Best Beginner Running Trainers
1. ASICS GEL Venture 7
Breathable, lightweight upper
Highest rated for overall comfort
Nothing worth noting, 99% satisfaction rate
The ASICS Venture 7 are replacing the Venture 6 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 7 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!
2. Mizuno Wave Rider 24
3D Mizuno fit is snug yet comfortable
Parallel Wave tech for smooth transitions
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 workouts.
3. Brooks Ghost 13
Lots of cushioning
Short break-in time
Absorb shock well
Inner material isn't as soft as some expected
Brooks Ghost 13 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 beginners because they offer more support and removable soles so you can make more customizable adjustments to comfort.Read more
DNA technologies are what make comfort in the Ghost 13 worthy of praise. Its 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.
We are impressed, to say the least, and for a beginner, Ghost 13 is one of the best we have found. It gives you a great place to start when looking for a shoe by customizing it to multiple running styles.
4. Adidas Ultraboost 21
Heel molds to your shape
True to size
Not for flat feet
The Adidas Ultraboost 21 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.
5. Saucony Triumph ISO 5
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 5 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.Read more
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 5 has the support you need to help you feel out your running needs pain and worry-free.
The Triumph ISO 5 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.
6. ASICS GEL Kayano 27
Good cushioning for long distance
Higher sides around heel
Soles handles for midfoot strike and lift off
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 27 is a heavy duty everyday beginner running trainer weighing 8.8 ounces with a 13mm heel drop.Read more
First and foremost, the Kayano 27 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 27 contains mostly the same technologies as the 26, which include the Gel heel, Dynamic Duomax cushioning with shock absorption, guidance line for control at strike and lift off, and FlyteFoam.
7. Nike Revolution 5
Good for long periods of wear
Issues with the quality of the insole
The Revolution 5 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.Read more
Nike’s Revolution 5 is a shoe that will deliver the utmost comfort to you in each and every stride. Comfortable, cool, and lightweight, the Revolution 5 is a model you just won't have to worry about after you put it on, which is what makes it great for new runners.
You got into running to do one thing, run, and that’s all you’ll have to consider when wearing a pair of Nike running sneakers.
8. New Balance Fresh Foam Zante V4
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 V4 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.
9. Nike Air Zoom Structure 22
Sleek and simple
Work for overpronation
Nike Air Zoom Structure 22 is one of the more stable picks. 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.
10. ASICS FuzeX
High Marks for comfort
DuoMax support system
EVA midsole absorbs shock
Vertical flex grooves for natural running feel
Whole foot GEL cushioning
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!
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 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.
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 outright from the very beginning, and incorporate trail running into your routine as soon as possible.
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!
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 styles you can choose from and each one has its 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!
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 of 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.
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 your 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, you're 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 number of beginner running trainers 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 in a running shoe 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: As a beginner, should I be more concerned with speed or with distance?
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: Do I need to buy all these things before I start running?
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. Make sure you also check our list on the best affordable running shoes we've compiled.
q: Other than this, what other types of specialized clothing can I expect to need?
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: 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?
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: I’ve heard that some runners go without socks while some swear by them. What’s the verdict?
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.
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