Best running shoes for beginners

Every runner has to start somewhere, and we’re willing to bet that as a beginner you may not know much about the right kinds of footwear to use when you’re running. Running can have a bunch of benefits for your health and overall physique, but if you aren’t used to running then you may not know how important it is to have the right pair of running shoes, both to add to your performance and to give you the support that you need.

Thankfully, we’re here to help you find the best pair of running shoes to begin your running journey with. We’ve also included a handy buyer’s guide to help you to narrow down your decision! So, without further ado, here’s our list of the best running shoes for beginners.

Best running shoes for beginners

OUR TOP PICK

ASICS Men's Gel-Venture 6 Running Shoe, Black/Phantom/Mid Grey, 9 Medium US

The ASICS Men’s Gel Venture 6 Running shoes are by far some of the best running shoes for beginners on the market. These running shoes fit as you would expect them to do, so you don’t need to worry about trying to figure out if you need half a size bigger or smaller. In addition, the shoes provide a comfortable and cushioned ride even for longer runs.

The shoes feature good shock absorption to ensure that your heels and ankles are protected, and it also features a removable sockliner that means you can almost get a custom fit for your foot. The shoe is designed o resist abrasion so you can be sure that these running shoes will go the distance for many miles to come.

It is definitely worth mentioning that these shoes are by no means the cheapest out there, but they’re hardly the most expensive either. This means that they’re an ideal shoe to get you acquainted with the world of running. 

Pros

  • Comfortable and well cushioned
  • Ideal for longer runs
  • Fits true to size
  • The shoe is lightweight and looks attractive

Cons

  • They don’t give a lot of arch support
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ASICS Men's Gel-Venture 6 Running Shoe, Black/Phantom/Mid Grey, 9 Medium US
  • Rearfoot GEL Cushioning System: Attenuates shock during impact phase and allows for a smooth transition to midstance.
  • Removable Sockliner: A sockliner which can be removed to accommodate a medical orthotic.
  • Removable Sockliner: A sockliner which can be removed to accommodate a medical orthotic.

EDITOR'S CHOICE

ASICS Men's Gel-Contend 4 Running Shoe, Dark Grey/Black/Carbon, 11.5 Medium US

For the best possible value for money, you can’t go wrong with the ASICS Men’s Gel Contend 4 running shoes. These shoes are somewhat similar to the Venture 6 in many respects, but they are much better for people that are on a budget, and even if you decide not to stick your running out in the long run you’re not taking too much of a risk as far as price is concerned.

You may have heard this before, but we mean it: this is not just a running shoe. Indeed, you can use these running shoes well for walks and for workouts at the gym too. You don’t even need to break them in! You can just pound those pavements straight away, flashing your new kicks right out of the box. 

The shoes are not without their flaws of course. The shoes can run somewhat small so it’s worth looking for a larger size if you have wider feet. Otherwise, they’re a good choice for beginners who are on a budget but still want a high performance, supportive pair of running shoes.

Pros

  • Ideal for a range of activities, from running, to walking and workouts
  • Affordable price for beginners
  • No break in period
  • Comfortable

Cons

  • They’re smaller than advertised so it’s worth opting for a larger size if possible
ASICS Men's Gel-Contend 4 Running Shoe, Dark Grey/Black/Carbon, 11.5 Medium US
  • Rearfoot GEL Cushioning System: Attenuates shock during impact phase and allows for a smooth transition to midstance.
  • Removable Sockliner: A sockliner which can be removed to accommodate a medical orthotic.
  • ComforDry Sockliner: Removable sockliner that provides cushioning performance and moisture wicking for a cooler, dryer, healthier environment.

BEST VALUE

Brooks Mens Ghost 11 Running Shoe - Grey/Blue/Silver - D - 12.0

We swear that these shoes aren’t going to haunt you in your sleep! On the contrary, these shoes are pretty impressive, providing a smooth ride throughout your whole run. This mainly comes down to the lightweight construction of the shoe that will have you feeling like you’re walking on air. 

The shoes feature a segmented crash pad that will give easy transitions, and they also have an extra heel cushion that means they work very well for endurance runs in addition to short jogs around the neighborhood. There’s plenty of room in the toe box for your toes to wiggle, providing extra comfort.

The Ghost 11’s don’t quite have as much support as the Ghost 10s that came before it, but otherwise there are a lot of things to love about these running shoes. 

Pros

  • Lots of heel cushioning that’s ideal for endurance runs
  • Lots of room in the toe box so you can be comfortable when running down and uphill
  • Can be used on a range of terrains

Cons

  • Not as much support as the Ghost 10s have
Brooks Mens Ghost 11 Running Shoe - Grey/Blue/Silver - D - 12.0
  • SHOE SIZE: "D" = Medium width, "EE" = Wide width
  • FOOT SUPPORT: Ideal for runners with a medium to high arch looking for neutral support.
  • BALANCED, SOFT CUSHIONING: BioMoGo DNA and DNA LOFT cushioning work together to provide a just-right softness underfoot without losing responsiveness and durability—yet it feels lighter than ever.

RUNNER UP

Nike Men's Revolution 4 Running Shoe, Black/White-Anthracite, 10 Regular US

For a first running shoe, the Nike Revolution 4 running shoes will serve you well. These running shoes are highly reliable, just for a start.

The running shoes offer a lot of breathability, keeping your feet nice and cool throughout your runs. They are quite lightweight too, so you don’t need to worry about your feet feeling like they’re being anchored down. 

These shoes are great for when you need a pair of running shoes that you can wear for long periods of time. They’re super comfortable, provide an enjoyable ride and look quite stylish, so why not give them a go? 

Pros

  • Comfortable
  • Ideal for wearing for long periods of time
  • Good breathability

Cons

  • The fit is a little bit snug
Nike Men's Revolution 4 Running Shoe, Black/White-Anthracite, 10 Regular US
  • MEN'S RUNNING SHOES: Molded pods offer multi-surface traction. Pods flatten on impact then spring back at toe-off creating a piston effect that delivers responsive cushioning.
  • ATHLETIC SHOES: Soft foam midsole delivers lightweight, responsive cushioning. Underlays in the vamp and toe tip offer support and structure for a comfortable ride.
  • CORE PERFORMANCE: Minimal in design running shoes. Full-length rubber outsole provides durable traction and cushioning to run longer.

RUNNER UP

Mizuno Men's Wave Rider 20 Running Shoe, Royal/Silver, 7 D US

These shoes are pretty well known in the running world, and that comes down to the fantastic quality that they offer. These shoes are neither too light nor are they too heavy, helping to contribute to an enjoyable ride overall.

Furthermore, these running shoes provide a lot of support and cushioning, so you will feel comfortable as you run, which ultimately results in a more enjoyable running experience. The shoes are also quite flexible, which is exactly what you need for a run. Additionally, the shoes are very durable, so you can be sure that you will get a lot of miles out of them.

The shoes are well ventilated to keep your feet cool as you run, and they have a snug fit that is still quite comfortable to run in. The Wave Rider 20 also incorporates parallel wave technology to make for smooth and easy transitions which helps to contribute to a healthy gait. It should be noted that these shoes are somewhat expensive though so may not be ideal if you’re on a budget.

Pros

  • Durable
  • Well ventilated
  • Comfortable but snug fit

Cons

  • Expensive
Mizuno Men's Wave Rider 20 Running Shoe, Royal/Silver, 7 D US
  • Running shoe with triple zone engineered mesh upper and cloudwave sole
  • U4IC midsole foam for response and durability

Best Running Shoes for Beginners: A Buyer’s Guide

Do You Really Need Running Shoes?

Your runs will be a lot more productive if you do wear running shoes, and your feet will be more properly supported, so the short answer is yes. When you are running, your feet go through a motion that’s known as the running gait. This is where you land on your heel, rolling your foot from heel to toe and then last of all, toe off.

If you step on your foot while you are running, you are exercising a force that is around one and a half and three times your body weight. So, running shoes have two primary jobs. To start with, they are designed to absorb some amount of the shock. This happens through cushioning. The second function is that running shoes will guide or encourage your feet to start moving in a way that’s efficient and safe for you through the running gait.

Running shoes are made and tweaked to enhance this simple motion. If you play other sports you will notice that different motions are encouraged, and there may be sudden changed in speed and direction, stops, jumps and rotations.

If you run with a shoe that is not designed for running, you are not going to get the benefits that a running shoe will give you. Ultimately, this could mean that your risk for injury is a lot higher. 

How To Choose a Pair of Running Shoes for a Beginner Runner

Finding a pair of running shoes when you are a beginner is not the easiest thing to do. There are a bunch of brands on the market that provide so many styles, so you may not know what to opt for. It’s worth remembering though that certain running shoes are designed for a certain kind of foot, so not every shoe is going to be a good fit for you.

Though it may be compelling to do so, you should also not base your decision on the pretty colors that the running shoes provide, as there are far more important things to think about. In an ideal world, you should try to go to a specialty running shop so that you can find out what your running gain is on the treadmill. The vast majority of running shops have this as a free service.

If this is not an option for you though, as long as you don’t have any stability issues such as overpronation, then you should opt for a stable neutral running shoe that doesn’t have too much cushioning. A shoe that’s too soft may not always hold the foot very well. You also don’t need to break your running shoes in. When you first wear them they should be comfortable.

Things to Look For

Before you choose to buy a running shoe, check out the kinds of features that the shoes have first. There are a lot of things you need to consider when you are making your decision to make sure that you are getting the best possible choice for you, and you should try not to make your decision blindly.

Foot Type

Everyone is different, so naturally our feet are different too. There are all kinds of different foot types so it’s definitely a good idea to get yourself acquainted with your foot type. Running shoes are designed with a lot of different purposes and some are designed for certain foot types. As a result of this, it’s important to try to understand what your arch is so that you can get the most comfortable effective and reliable running shoe for you.

Size

You don’t want to get a pair of running shoes that don’t fit you properly! Your running shoes should not be too small, and not too large either - they need to be somewhere in the middle so that they’re just right for you. Ensure that you get a shoe that’s durable and not bulky, because a shoe that’s too big can end up adding extra weight, which is likely to make you tired more quickly. You should also ensure that your running shoes aren’t too tight.

The vast majority of running shoes are true to size, but if your feet are particularly wide then you should be considering getting a pair of running shoes that are a size or half a size bigger just to be safe.

Fit

You may not be certain of the best fit for you if you’ve just started looking for some beginners running shoes. In order to get the best possible results, you need to find a running shoe that’s snug on you but not too snug. You don’t want something that’s going to move a lot on either side of the ankle. At the same time, you should still be looking out for more room in the toe box so that you don’t have cramping.

Breathability

You may not be surprised to hear this, but running can get pretty hot! Because of this, breathability is a very important feature that you should consider if you don’t want to stop your run early. Having good ventilation is going to allow your feet to breathe properly. This in turn stops your feet from overheating, and it also lets the foot dry when you are running so you don’t take your shoes off and stink the place out when you get home.

Terrain

Your tread is going to need to be different for certain terrains, so this is something that you should try to think about before you buy. You can use normal running shoes with a primarily flat sole for a road or a sidewalk, but if you’re going to be going off road then you will want to have more traction to help you to get the right grip on the surface so that you stay balanced and don’t end up injuring yourself.

Support

If you tend to under or over pronate, then having the right support around the arches and ankles is very important to making sure that you don’t end up injuring yourself when you are on your run. It’s also important to make sure that you have the right amount of heel support to ensure that you stop any aches and pains the next day, but when you’re first getting started aches and pains are somewhat a given.

Style

Sure, style is definitely not the most important thing, but wearing a pair of running shoes that you feel stylish in can give you a lot of confidence when you’re out running. This does mainly come down to the design, and a lot of style features are also quite practical. This includes the length of the tongue, the style of lacing and the added protection around the heel and the toe. 

Flexibility

You will run a lot more naturally if you have flexible running shoe, and you won’t get as much strain on the foot. A flexible running shoe will also give you extra mobility to make sure sure that your runs are somewhat easier on inclines and declines. You will need to ensure that your running shoes have enough flexibility so that they can bend as you toe off, and so you will get the energy transfer that you need.

Shock Absorption 

When you are running your foot makes contact with the floor a lot, so if your shoes don’t have adequate shock absorption you may end up having issues with your joints. For the best possible results from your runs, it is imperative to have shoes with good shock absorption, 

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you need to buy running shoes a size bigger?

You don’t always have to buy running shoes a size bigger. Often it can depend on how true to size the running shoes actually are. You can look at other reviews to check how true to size your running shoes are, so you will know whether you need to go half a size up or half a size down. If your fit is not right, you may end up getting injured, getting blisters, overheating and you may have inadequate flexibility which can ultimately result in a loss of control.

Can you use running shoes for walking?

Yes, running shoes can be used for walking, but it’s important to remember that the less you use your running shoes the longer hey last, because more use is going to mean that the shoe deteriorates quicker. If you do walk more than you run but you want running shoes so you are equipped for when you do go running, having a good pair of running shoes can be much more useful to you than normal running shoes. 

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