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Best Running Shoes for Beginners

Best Running Shoes for Beginners

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.

Updated: 6.5.2024

Let’s get into our picks:

Best Overall Running Shoes for Beginners

New Balance FuelCell Rebel v4

New Balance FuelCell Rebel v4

The New Balance FuelCell Rebel v4 is New Balance’s most versatile and useful daily running shoe despite not featuring a higher end stack height. The Peba/EVA blend of FuelCell is bouncy and makes it easy to pick the pace (maybe too easy). The upper is accommodating and breathable. The Rebel v4 is also lightweight and stable with durable traction. It’s more shoe than previous Rebels but that makes it accessible to more foot types, and ultimately, more people. It’s one of 2024’s best all around running shoes. Read the full review.

Fit: True to Size, Drop: 6mm, Price: $140

9/10
Total Score
Buy Men's Rebel v4 Shop Women's Rebel v4

adidas Supernova Prima

adidas Supernova Prima

The adidas Supernova Prima puts together all the best parts of the existing Supernova line and then adds some extra oomph and slight tweaks to take the shoe to the next level. Dreamstrike+ is a plush yet bouncy Peba-based foam that’s great underfoot. The support rods are helpful without getting in the way. There are some minor quibbles with forefoot width and heel padding but otherwise this is a very good shoe. The Supernova Prima is the best Supernova yet and a capable, protective, and fun daily running shoe. Read the full review.

Fits: True to size, Drop: 8mm, Price: $160

9/10
Total Score
Shop Men's Supernova Prima Shop Women's Supernova Prima

On Cloudmonster 2

On Cloudmonster 2

The On Cloudmonster 2 is a max cushioned shoe that’s firmer than On’s other max cushion shoe, the squishier Cloudeclipse. That slight tweak in squishiness makes the Cloudmonster 2 more stable and creates a smooth ride. It also makes it perfect for standing all day or doing lots of walking.

The upper is comfortable and accommodating with great aesthetics and high quality craftsmanship. The outsole grips in all conditions but the outsole can pick up good-sized rocks. There’s also a premium to be paid for the On brand. Whether that’s worth it for this very good shoe is up to you. Read the full review.

Fit: True to Size, Drop: 6mm, Price: $180

8/10
Total Score
Buy Men's Cloudmonster 2 Shop Women's Cloudmonster 2

Puma Velocity Nitro 3

The Puma Velocity Nitro 3 is the best Velocity Nitro yet. The upper is improved and much more locked in than version 2 but still not wide footer friendly. The bounce from the Puma Nitro midsole feels great underfoot and can handle a lot of miles. The PumaGrip outsole is, as always, elite. The Velocity Nitro 3 provides great value and is a great shoe to recommend to friends and family that come to you for running shoe advice.

Fit: True to size, Drop: 10mm, Price $135

9/10
Total Score
Buy Men's Puma Velocity Nitro 3 Buy Women's Puma Velocity Nitro 3

Reebok Floatzig 1

Reebok Floatzig 1

The Reebok Floatzig 1, releasing in early April 2024, isn’t great at any one thing but features bouncy Floatride cushioning underfoot, looks awesome, and provides impressive durability. It’s a fantastic option for a wide variety of runners but is perfect for joggers, budget conscious runners, and beginners who need their running shoes to pull double duty for casual wear. It may be the ultimate running starter shoe. See the full review.

Fit: True to Size, Drop: 6mm, Price: $130

7/10
Total Score
Buy Reebok Floatzig 1

Asics Novablast 4

Asics Novablast 4

The Asics Novablast 4 improves almost everything from the awesome Novablast 3 (now on sale) but pulls back a bit on the fun factor in order to give the shoe more mass appeal. It’s more comfortable with improved stability and better traction. It still picks up speed nicely but isn’t as energetic as the original. At $140, it’s a high value do-everything shoe. See the full review.

Fit: True to Size, Drop: 8mm, Price: $140

9/10
Total Score
Buy Men's Asics Novablast 4 Buy Women's Asics Novablast 4

Brooks Glycerin 21

Brooks Glycerin 21

The Brooks Glycerin 21 is a clear upgrade from the Glycerin 20 with signature Brooks comfort and fit. The DNA Loft v3 midsole is bouncy and the upper is plush all around. The ride and the traction also get high marks for this versatile trainer. Read the full review.

Fit: True to Size, Drop: 10mm, Price $160

9/10
Total Score
Shop Men's Brooks Glycerin 21 Shop Women's Brooks Glycerin 21

Hoka Clifton 9

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

9/10
Total Score
Buy Men's Hoka Clifton 9 Buy Women's Hoka Clifton 9

Asics Gel Nimbus 26

Asics Gel Nimbus 26

The Asics Gel Nimbus 26 is almost a carbon copy of the Gel Nimbus 25 (now on sale). It’s a highly padded, luxuriously comfortable, well-cushioned shoe that’s perfect for tons and tons of easy paced running or walking. If all-around comfort is your number one priority, give the Nimbus 26 a try. See the full review.

Fit: True to Size, Drop: 8mm, Price: $160

8/10
Total Score
Buy Men's Asics Nimbus 26 Buy Women's Asics Nimbus 26

Saucony Endorphin Speed 4

The Saucony Endorphin Speed 4 continues to be the best shoe in Saucony’s line despite a full aesthetic overhaul. There’s something about the way the TPU plate, Saucony’s Speedroll rocker, and the PWRRUN PB work together. It’s magic on speed days and really earns the Speed name. Despite a more narrow toebox, the Endorphin Speed 4 is one of the most versatile shoes on the market. And, if you don’t like carbon-plated shoes, the Speed 4 is a great option for race day. Read the full review. 

Fit: True to size, Drop: 8mm, Price $170

9/10
Total Score
Buy Men's Endorphin Speed 4 Buy Women's Endorphin Speed 4

Puma Magnify Nitro 2

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

9/10
Total Score
Buy Men's Puma Magnify Nitro 2 Buy Women's Puma Magnify Nitro 2

New Balance 880v14

New Balance 880v14

The New Balance 880v14 comes with the best cushioning the 880 has ever seen. It’s a reliable shoe with a basic upper that struggles to provide enough cushioning on runs above 6 miles. The traction is durable, it feels light on foot, and is quite stable. There are better options at the $140 price point like New Balance’s own Fuelcell Rebel v4 but long time 880 devotees will be happy with the improvements. It’s also a great shoe for beginners that comes in narrow, regular, wide, and extra wide making it one of the more accommodating models on the market. Read the full review. Price: $140

7/10
Total Score
Buy Men's New Balance 880v14 Buy Women's New Balance 880v14

Brooks Ghost Max

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

9/10
Total Score
Shop Men's Brooks Ghost Max Shop Women's Brooks Ghost Max

New Balance Fresh Foam X More v4

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

9/10
Total Score
Buy Men's Fresh Foam X More v4 Shop Women's Fresh Foam X More v4

Brooks Ghost 16

Brooks Ghost 16

The Brooks Ghost 16 maintains the Ghost DNA with a comfortable upper while adding a more modern and comfortable cushioning setup underfoot. The DNA Loft v3 really makes a difference in underfoot feel and takes the Ghost line to the next level. Ghost fans will love the upgrades and be excited for this new era. Read the full review.

Fit: True to Size, Drop: 12mm, Price: $140

7/10
Total Score
Buy Men's Brooks Ghost 16 Buy Women's Brooks Ghost 16

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

8.5/10
Total Score
Buy Men's Propel v4 Buy Women's Propel v4

Nike InfinityRN 4

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

8/10
Total Score
Buy Men's Nike InfinityRN 4 Buy Women's Nike InfinityRN 4

Best Running Shoes for Beginners – Now on Sale

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

8/10
Total Score
Buy Men's Kinvara 14 Buy Women's Kinvara 14

Brooks Glycerin 20

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

9.5/10
Total Score
Buy Men's Brooks Glycerin 20 Buy Women's Brooks Glycerin 20

Asics Novablast 3

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

9.9/10
Total Score
Buy Men's Asics Novablast 3 Shop Women's Asics Novablast 3

Asics Gel-Nimbus 25

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

8/10
Total Score
Shop Men's Nimbus 25 Shop Women's Nimbus 25

Asics Gel Cumulus 25

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

8/10
Total Score
Buy Men's Asics Cumulus 25 Buy Women's Asics Cumulus 25

Thinking of a shoe we should add to the best running shoes for beginners list? Comment below or message us on Instagram or Twitter.

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