We’ve all been there. You decided to start running. Maybe you started because basketball hurts your knees or back, maybe because family or work responsibilities make running the most efficient way to get exercise, or for some completely different reason. We understand. But now that you’re running, you need sneakers that can get the job done. This guide will show you the Best Running Shoes for Beginners.
Why make the Best Running Shoes for Beginners list? Because the running shoe market has a lot of different categories within it. There are neutral running shoes, speed day or tempo running shoes, stability running shoes, race day running shoes, trail running shoes, and more. This list cuts through the marketing and clutter to identify the shoes that will provide beginners with the best intro to running.
Basically, the best running shoes for beginners are versatile, accommodating sneakers that will help you better enjoy the sport of running from the beginning. And once you’re interested in starting to buy shoes for speed days, races, and trails, you can check out our Best Running Shoes Overall list and start really diving into all the ins and outs of running shoes.
If you wish to see all of our detailed running shoe reviews, you can go check out our Running Shoe reviews page.
Categories are used below so you can easily find what you want. If you know what you need, you can simply click the category. If not, feel free to browse the whole list.
We would also like to hear your thoughts on this list, and you can even share your own list in the comments below.
Let’s get into our picks:
Best Running Shoes for Beginners
- Best Overall Running Shoes for Beginners
- Best Running Shoes for Beginners – Now on Sale
Best Overall Running Shoes for Beginners
Hoka Clifton 9
The Hoka Clifton 9 is the best, most versatile Clifton to date. It’s the same great neutral cushioned shoe with added bounce and elasticity in the midsole and increased durability in the outsole. The upper is, as usual, super comfy and the fit is accommodating. There’s also a wide version for those that need it. Improved arch support will excite flat footers, but some may find it a bit distracting. It’s a great shoe for everyone from beginners to seasoned vets and can handle jogging, easy running, recovery runs, and long runs. See the full review.
Fit: True to Size, Drop: 5mm, Price: $145
Asics Gel-Nimbus 25
The Asics Gel-Nimbus 25 isn’t a snappy shoe, but there’s plenty of soft FF Blast+ cushion underfoot. That, alongside an absolutely luxuriously comfortable upper, means the Gel-Nimbus 25 is ready for a ton of road miles. We don’t recommend using it for any of your speed work, but you can churn out miles in the Gel-Nimbus 25 while saving your legs from harsh asphalt and roads.
As an added bonus, the foam flares out from the foot, creating an incredibly stable platform. Oh, and it’s built to accommodate tons of foot types. Wide-footers, flat-footers, and beginners (who are likely still figuring out what their feet are) will all find a shoe that works for them. And for wide-footers that need even more room, Asics sells an extra wide version that may be perfect for you. See the full review.
Fits: True to Size, Drop: 8mm, Price: $160
Puma Magnify Nitro 2
The Puma Magnify Nitro 2 is one of our favorite daily runners. At $140, it’s priced right for a high-end cushioned running shoe and has the most cushion of any Puma shoe. The super comfortable knit upper provides an accommodating fit and molds to your foot over time. You also get lots of Puma Grip on the bottom that will provide top-tier traction. Your knees and feet will thank you for beginning your running journey with this shoe. Read the full review.
Fit: True to size, Drop: 10mm, Price $140
adidas Ultraboost Light
With the latest Ultraboost model, adidas finally improved upon the Boost formula with Lightboost. It’s a version of Boost that’s 30% lighter than the original but feels the same underfoot. It makes the shoe significantly lighter than previous models though it’s still weighty for a running shoe.
The traction from the Continental outsole rubber is great though it can pick up pebbles and twigs. The LEP system (essentially a plastic plate to help stabilize the shoe and give it more pop) is much better than previous generations as it’s less stiff but still gives energy back. Finally, the best part of the Ultraboost Light is the upper. It’s got achilles pillows and the best lockdown since the Ultraboost 20 from three years ago. You still get that sock-like comfort and accommodating fit without worrying about sliding off the footbed.
The adidas Ultraboost Light is the ultimate hybrid of a casual and running shoe which makes it a solid option for beginners everywhere. See the full review.
Fits: True to Size, Drop: 10mm, Price: $190
Brooks Ghost Max
The Brooks Ghost Max has soft, fluffy cushion, a smooth feel, good stability, and a super comfortable upper that’s also very wide and flat foot ready. Even with lower-than-average durability thanks to a soft outsole, it packs a lot of value. And it’s the only current Brooks road shoe with a drop lower than 8mm. It’s a different feel than what Brooks fans are used to but that’s not a bad thing. The Ghost Max is ready to protect your feet and legs as you pound the pavement. Read the full review.
Fit: True to Size, Drop: 6mm, Price $150
Asics Novablast 3
The Asics Novablast 3 is close to the perfect running shoe. There are a bunch of reasons it currently sits atop our rankings as the best running shoe of 2022. The combination of bounce and impact protection provided by the FF Blast+ midsole makes this shoe an extremely comfortable daily trainer that can pick up the pace when needed. The Novablast 3 is also much more stable than you’d expect for a shoe this soft. In addition, the upper is breathable and comfortable, while the overall ride is super smooth. It doesn’t hurt that the Novablast 3 looks spectacular as well. It’s the perfect all-around shoe for someone just starting their running journey. See the full review.
Fit: True to Size, Drop: 8mm, Price $140
New Balance Fresh Foam X More v4
The New Balance Fresh Foam X More v4 is a comfortable, affordable, and excellently executed running shoe that’s perfect for someone just starting to run. The upper’s fit is super accommodating, and any foot shape will enjoy it, especially those hard-to-please wide footers and flat footers. The Fresh Foam X feels great on foot for any amount of miles or household chores. The stability is great due to the midsole’s geometry and sitting inside the midsole walls. The lockdown is solid, so even narrow footers can be confident their foot will stay in place on the sharpest of turns or bumpiest of roads. And the style — well, chunktastic is in these days, so this shoe will work as well casually as it does for running. Read the full review.
Fit: True to Size, Drop: 4mm, Price: $150
Brooks Glycerin 20
The Brooks Glycerin 20 is a comfortable, breathable, and versatile daily running shoe that’s great for both beginner and savvy running veterans. The DNA Loft v3 midsole is plush and can easily handle long runs. The ride is very smooth on easy on the legs. The traction is durable and doesn’t slip in any conditions. Just don’t get the StealthFit version because the upper on the regular version is much better fitting and more comfortable. It’s the bounciest shoe on this list and bounce really helps your legs feel better when you just start running. See the full review.
Fit: True to Size, Drop: 10mm, Price $160
New Balance FuelCell Propel v4
The New Balance FuelCell Propel v4 has the best value proposition of any shoe on the market. $110 for a bouncy Fuelcell midsole and a TPU plate? That alone raises my eyebrows.
The upper isn’t spectacular but it’s comfortable. The tongue can be slippy, it’s a little on the heavy side, and the traction is solid. Durability is a big question mark because there’s not a ton of rubber on the outsole and it wears down pretty fast. But, at $110, a price serviceable daily running shoes don’t touch anymore, sacrificing some durability and comfort is expected.
The end result is a shoe that’s perfect for a wide range of runners. It’s also great for cost-conscious parents that need solid running shoes for kids running track or cross country (and growing out of the shoes way too fast). I’d recommend the Propel v4 over Nike’s current Pegasus and several other $130-150 models. Watch Kofuzi’s review.
Fit: True to size, Drop: 6mm, Price $110
Nike InfinityRN 4
The Nike InfinityRN 4 is technically a stability shoe. However, the stability features are unobtrusive and won’t affect you if you don’t need the help. The very noticeable arch on previous Infinity Runs is also found on this version though it’s somewhat toned down. If you don’t like a lot of arch support, you should still stay away. If an ever-present arch doesn’t bug you, the InfinityRN 4 is a highly comfortable daily training shoe that’s ready for lots of miles while also packing a ton of casual appeal. Read the full review.
Fit: Go up a half size, Drop: 9mm, Price: $160
Saucony Kinvara 14
The Saucony Kinvara 14 is a lightweight, breathable but firmer trainer with a very good value proposition at $120. And while it may be too firm for larger runners or when your legs are absolutely crushed from a hard workout the day before, it’ll work well in most other circumstances. The upper, though built with just regular mesh, does include a gusseted tongue that locks the foot down nicely and keeps everything in place. The outsole, though light on rubber, there are only two small sections, grips extremely well with its wavy foam pattern. Though the Kinvara 14 is somewhat minimal, it’s perfect if you want less shoe. And, the lightweight, flexible build is great for elementary or middle school kids just beginning their running journey. Saucony thankfully realized this and made the Kinvara 14 available in kid sizes as well.
Fit: True to Size, Drop: 4mm, Price: $120
Puma Velocity Nitro 2
The Puma Velocity Nitro 2 features the nitro-injected, otherwise known as supercritical, foam called Nitro. Nitro provides a lot of bounce. The Nitro is so bouncy in the forefoot that it feels like Nike’s Zoom Air. The outsole is made out of Puma Grip, which will literally grip anything it comes in contact with. And while the upper isn’t perfect, this shoe will make former basketball and football players happy as they log those miles. See the full review.
Fit: True to Size, Drop: 10mm, Price: $120
Asics Gel Cumulus 25
The Asics Cumulus line is reliable. An updated Asics Gel Cumulus 25 packs a nice squish, a fairly standard running shoe upper, and a smooth ride. It’s fairly accommodating and comes in a wide version too.
At $140, it delivers value but it’s hard to choose over the Asics Novablast 3, which offers more pop at the same price, and the Asics Gel Nimbus 25, which delivers more comfort and stability for $20 more. It ends up here as another solid Asics option to try out. Read the full review.
Fits: True to Size, Drop: 8mm, Price $140
Best Running Shoes for Beginners – Now on Sale
adidas Adistar 2.0
The adidas Adistar 2.0 is in the Honorable Mentions portion of our Best adidas Running Shoes list. The foam used is what the brand calls Repetitor, which is much like Nike’s Renew in the sense that it’s dual-density. It isn’t as soft as we’d prefer, but it gets the job done. The chunky midsole style is very popular nowadays so these can double as casual shoes. Whether you’re using this to run in or walk in, you’re making a good choice.
Fit: 1/2 size large, Drop: 6mm, Price: