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
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
Hoka Mach 5
The Hoka Mach 5 is a lightweight, bouncy, and comfortable shoe that works for short, long, and speedy runs. The Profly+ midsole is bouncy and does a great job with impact protection despite the mid-tier stack height. The upper is soft, widens at the forefoot, and allows very good airflow. The traction is great in all conditions but the outsole is rubberized foam so durability is an issue. It won’t be the longest-lasting shoe, but the Mach 5 is an accommodating shoe that does everything well giving you a shoe for beginners that does everything well. Read the full review.
Fit: True to Size, Drop: 5mm, Price: $140
Nike React Infinity Run 3
The Nike React Infinity Run 3 is a well-rounded shoe that works well for daily usage. The fit accommodates just about every foot type which is great for beginners getting used to how their foot expands when they run. The React midsole is plush and lasts a long time. The shoe’s rocker motion is smooth which makes the miles feel easier. Plus, the Flyknit is super comfy and molds to your foot. The lacing system isn’t the best but this shoe is an all-around good choice as a comfortable running shoe that will have you wanting to put it on to run some more miles. See the full review.
Fit: True to Size, Drop: 8mm, Price: $160
Reebok Floatride Energy 4
The Reebok Floatride Energy 4 is a smooth, comfortable, and nicely cushioned running shoe that easily outperforms its price point. Which is perfect when you’re just starting to run. Value and versatility are important when just starting out.
The Floatride midsole is bouncy and protects well from ground impacts. The rocker is smooth and the upper feels great but still light and airy. The only problems are crappy pull tabs and a slippy tongue. For $110, you’re getting a shoe that can hold its own against shoes priced $30-$40 more. Read the full review.
Fit: True to Size, Drop: 9mm, Price: $110
Hoka Clifton 8
The Hoka Clifton 8 is the first shoe you’ll see in the Best Hoka Running Shoes list, and it was also included in the Best Running Shoes list. Needless to say, it’s one of the most reliable running shoes on the market today. The midsole is plush and the upper is comfortable. There’s also plenty of rubber on the outsole for durability. The Clifton 8 is just a great all-around performer that double as a great starter shoe for new runners.
Fit: True to Size, Drop: 5mm, Price: $140
Brooks Glycerin 19
The Brooks Glycerin 19 offers everything you need to start running in comfort. It features full-length DNA Loft foam. This EVA-based compound is soft and comfortable to protect your joints. The flex grooves on the outsole provide great mobility, the traction works in all conditions, and the fit accommodates almost all foot shapes. It’s everything you need without any drawbacks. See the full review.
Fit: True to Size, Drop: 10mm, Price: $150
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-Nimbus 24
The Asics Gel-Nimbus 24 is a big upgrade from its predecessor and that gets it on this list. The FFBlast+ Foam and traditional Asics Gel cushion combination is very good. The FFBlast+ is implemented throughout the whole shoe. The Gel, however, is only in the forefoot and heel (and the heel is more for show). The upper is comfortable, there’s an amazing tongue, and the shoe is available in a wide version. Finally, the outsole is super durable and will last a very long time. See the full review.
Fit: True to Size, Drop: 10mm, Price: $160
Nike Pegasus 38
The Nike Pegasus 38 is the continuation of Nike’s flagship running shoe line. It’s a great everyday runner with an affordable $130 price tag. The forefoot Zoom Air is really bouncy and the whole setup underfoot feels good. Durability is great thanks to the thick rubber outsole and resilient React foam. If you’re a wide footer, you’ll need to try them on as they run slightly narrow. Otherwise, go true to size and enjoy one of the most solid running shoes on the market. See the full review.
Fit: True to Size, Drop: 10mm, Price: $130
The adidas Adistar 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: $130