If you’ve never hit the streets before but are thinking about getting into running, choosing running shoes can be a whirlwind of confusion. Sure, you’ve seen people running up and down the street, you may even have done some running yourself back at school, but this doesn’t mean you know which running shoes are right for you. The best running shoes for beginners should help ease you into an activity that’s fun, free, and effective without costing you too much money right off the bat.
So how can you make sure you find the right running shoes for you? It’s not as easy as picking any old pair off the shelf. You need to consider the fit, the weight, the support, and your foot type. Without understanding these crucial factors, you may find yourself running around the neighborhood once and never again.
We think it’s great so many people are dusting off their lycra, perfecting a pumped-up running playlist and starting their quest towards a healthier, happier lifestyle, but without the proper gear, you’ll only end up suffering, and maybe not make any progress at all.
The Best Running Shoe For Beginners
Our top pick of the best running shoes for beginners are the ASICS Men’s Gel-Venture 6. They fit just as expected and provide a comfortable, cushioned experience for long runs. The rear foot gel system reduces the shock impact to protect your heels and ankles, while the removable sockliner provides personalization for different foot sizes.
The anti-abrasion construction ensures longevity, but there isn’t as much arch support as you’ll get with pricier models. They’re neither too cheap nor too expensive, making them the perfect introductory shoe for those who want to get serious straight away. If you like trail running, check out our guide to the best trail running shoes for men.
Rear foot gel system to attenuate shock during impact
Removable sockliner to accommodate medical orthodontic
Trail specific outsole for uphill and downhill traction
AHAR Outsole for exceptional durability
- Weight12 ounces
Fits as expected
Comfortable, cushioned design for longer runs
Lightweight and stylish construction
Not much arch support
The ASICS Men’s Gel-Contend 4 are our pick for the best value beginner running shoes. They share many of the same traits as the Venture 6, but come at a more affordable and low-risk price for people who want to ease their way into running.
You’ll get more than just a running shoe, too, and these are suitable for walking and gym workouts too, with no break-in period required. This is great news for those who love to show off their new kicks as soon as they get them and also reduces the risk of getting blisters. However, they run slightly small, so look for a larger size if your feet are a little wide.
ComforDry sockliner for cool performance and healthier environments
Removable sockliner for a more personalized fit
Gel cushioning system for smooth mid-stance transition
Laminate mid cage upper for support and stability
- Weight12 ounces
Suitable for running, walking, and workouts
Comfortable with no need to break them in
Excellent price for a quality entry-level pair
Runs slightly smaller than expected
These Nike Men’s Revolution 4 are designed for multiple surfaces and terrains to give you an all-in-one running shoe at a marvelous price. They boast superb cushioning and contribute to an accelerated toe-off to get you going even if the rest of your body isn’t ready.
The soles are a squeaky though, so we’d not advise getting into burglary wearing them (not that we would anyway). If you crank your running playlist up, though, this won’t bother you, and you’ll get all the comfy, cushioned benefits you deserve without the shoe falling apart too soon or chafing your ankles and you’ll both stay cool and look cool while wearing them. What a winner. You may also like to check out our guide to the best trail running shoes for women.
Molded pods for multi-surface traction
Responsive cushioning for pistol-like effect at toe-off
Full-length rubber outsole provides excellent traction
No-sew overlays along mid-foot ensures durability
- Weight12 ounces
Stay cool even on more intense runs
Lightweight construction prevents leg and foot fatigue or overheating
Available in wide sizes for larger feet
Soles squeak which can distract
Going to the other end of the pay scale, the ASICS Men’s Gel-Kayano 24 race far ahead as the best running shoes for beginners for those looking to spend a lot now on a reliable and efficient pair. The IGS enhances the natural gait of the foot for better performance, while the FlyteFoam midsole ensures a comfortable run like nothing else.
Despite this, the cushioning isn’t as great as previous generations of the Kayano, but you can solve this with an extra insole, and for all the other great features this shoe offers, including the best stability and arch support around, you’re unlikely to care too much. Be sure to also check out our list of the best stability running shoes for more great items like this.
Impact Guidance System to enhance foot’s natural gait
FlyteFoam midsole technology is lightweight and comfortable
Fluid Ride midsole provides cushioning and bounce back
Durable design with reduced weight for optimal balance
- Weight3 pounds
Best stability and arch support running shoe available
Roomier toe box for less cramped feel
Reliable option for overcoming plantar fasciitis
Cushioning is a little lacking compared to previous generations
Not as spooky as you’d expect from the name, but certainly as smooth-moving, the Brooks Men’s Ghost 11 ensure a sleek, gliding ride that’ll feel you’re drifting along the trail like a specter. This is thanks to the lightweight construction which combines with the high-energizing cushioning to make them one of the best road runner options around.
Much like the Kayano, there’s not as much support as the previous model (Ghost 10), but also like the Kayano’s the upgrades everywhere else are superb. The segmented crash pad allows for easy transitions, while the added heel cushion makes them as effective for endurance runs as they are for a quick 10 minute jog around the neighborhood. Our handy guide to the best zero drop running shoes features more great products like this.
Lightweight construction provides a smooth ride
High energizing cushioning on road surfaces
Engineered mesh upper for breathability and needed stretch
Segmented crash pad to accommodate any foot landing and allows for smooth transitions
- Weight12 ounces
Added heel cushion is perfect for endurance running
Sufficient toe box room for comfortable wear uphill and downhill
Suitable for a variety of terrains and surfaces
Doesn’t offer the same support as the Ghost 10s
The ASICS Men’s fuzeX are a solid option for high-range amateur running shoes. If you’re looking to take a giant leap instead of a small step into the world of running, these are a reliable option you’ll get a lot of use out of. The fuzeGEL technology ensures adaptable comfort and superb shock absorption, while the ComforDry sockliner is both breathable and moisture wicking for a more comfortable ride.
Our only issue with it is the inconsistent pricing between sizes, so depending on your size you might get lucky, or you might not. The quality of the shoe shines through, though, and it does this without sacrificing quality, which is always something people worry about with pricier options. Love this product? Check out our review of the best soccer cleats for our top picks.
fuzeGEL technology creates lightweight adaptable comfort for easy shock absorption
Seamless construction reduces friction and irritation
ComforDry sockliner provides cushioning and moisture wicking for a more comfortable run
AHAR Outsole delivers durability in critical areas of the sole
- Weight4 pounds
Lightweight style prevents fatigue
Stylish design without sacrificing quality
Delivers excellent comfort with no need to break them in
Wide and inconsistent price range between sizes
The Mizuno Men’s Wave Rider are one of the most breathable shoes around thanks to the Triple Zone engineered mesh upper making them perfect for those who suffer sweaty feet just thinking about going for a run. This guaranteed comfort is crucial for building great habits, but it’s more than just the breathability we like.
The Cloudwave design provides a smooth, ethereal landing and heel to toe transition, and also provides better support on longer runs. The size runs a little too small, but now you know this, you can plan to ensure you find the proper breathable fit just for you. Find more great products like this by checking out our guide to the best basketball sneakers.
Triple zone engineered mesh upper provides breathability and comfort
Redesigned Wave Technology allows for softer cushioning and more responsive feel
Cloudwave delivers smoother landing and heel to toe transition
U4IC midsole is 33% more responsive and durable
- ModelWave Rider 20-M
- Weight2 pounds
Lightweight style and cool designs help you stand out against other runners
Decent heel support during longer runs
Durable construction ensures longevity and consistent performance
Sizing is a little too small
The Saucony Men’s Triumph ISO 3 boasts the famous ISOFIT inner sleeve which helps the shoe feel more like a sock for greater mobility and a more natural, lightweight feel. The stretch mesh construction also provides excellent support, complemented by the steel frame for solid protection on different surfaces.
However, despite the stretch mesh, they’re perhaps too tight out the box to wear immediately, so you’ll not be able to wear them out that day unless you’ve got a hankering for some blisters. Once broken in, though, you can take advantage of the remarkable Tri-Flex force dispersion and improved durability at an excellent price. If you love working out check out our guide to the best crossfit shoes.
Engineered stretch mesh upper and support steel frame counter
ISOFIT soft inner sleeves morphs to provide a sock-like feel
Everun insole delivers responsive cushioning
Tri-Flex design increases force dispersion over a greater surface area
- Weight3 pounds
Redesigned to prevent consistent tearing in same area
Lightweight and provide ample cushioning
Better priced than running shoes of similar quality
Too tight and stiff out the box
There are few running shoes better at preventing chafing and discomfort than the New Balance Men’s MZANTEV2 which does away with traditional construction and delivers a no-sew upper for optimal comfort whether you’re walking to the gym or running your first 5k. It also offers support both at the ankle and underfoot to eliminate the injuries and to prevent fatigue.
The low-top design is breathable, but the tight toe box could cause some issues if you’ve got a wide toe splay and may cramp. If not, though, this is still a great pair of running shoes at a fantastic price we very nearly selected as our best value. Unfortunately, the competition was too tight. If you like sporty footwear, check out our guide to the best cross training shoes.
No-sew upper prevents abrasions and chafing
Fresh Foam midsole and padded collar offer comfort and support on top and base of foot
Low-top arch design encourages breathability and prevents overheating
Lightweight construction with rubber outsole and synthetic upper
- BrandNew Balance
- ModelMZANTEV2 Run Shoe-M
- Weight12 ounces
Super lightweight design ensures easy all-day wear
Decent price for the quality of shoe
Ideal for short distance runs around the neighborhood
Tight toe box could cramp your feet
Our final pick of the top running shoes for beginners is the Nike Men’s Lunarglide 6 which is the next best thing for anyone who feels like they’ll never get to take a jog on the moon themselves. The Lunarlon foam provides a smooth ride you could describe as out of this world, while the Dynamic Support technology provides stability to keep you going even on uneven terrain.
The sole isn’t ideal for winter or wet-weather running, yet it’s one of the best summer shoes around, with its porosity design ensuring a breathable and dry run even if you’re the sweatiest runner around. Wide-footed runners will also enjoy its easy fit, while the cushioning provides straightforward energy transfer to glide from one crater to the next with ease.
Lunarlon foam provides smooth ride
Dynamic Support technology ensures stability on each step
Seamless upper provides miles of breathability
Highly cushioned for straightforward and smooth energy transfer
- Weight12 ounces
Provide excellent heel support and ankle stabilization
Suitable for wide-footed runners
Porosity allows them to dry quicker than thicker-material shoes
Not suitable for winter or wet-weather running
Running Shoe For Beginners Buying Guide & FAQ
How We Chose Our Selection Of Beginners Running Shoe
We’re all experienced runners here at Shoe Hungry, but we all had to start somewhere. Using our knowledge, we used these 3 important factors to determine our selection of the most effective running shoes for beginners.
Reviews - Reviews are a great resource for finding out everything we needed to know about different running shoes. Written by real people with genuine experiences, they helped up discover all the secrets about what helps to make a great running shoe. Even though some reviews came from those who have run a marathon or two (or ten), these reviews were still excellent for figuring out what makes a running shoes suitable for newbies.
Brand - Even if you’ve never taken a run around the park before, we’re sure you have at least a little idea about the brands you’ll find, and you’ll no doubt recognize many of the brands on our list. However, we didn’t want to only give you one or two brands as options, so we dug our heels in a little deeper to find a range of great brands anyone can enjoy and get the benefits from.
Price - Normally, we look for a range of prices to appeal to both beginners and experienced customers. However, in this instance we knew we only needed to find suitable entry-level running shoes. That being said, we understand not everyone has the same budget, so we still sought a wide range of prices.
We felt no one should miss out on getting healthy just because their budget won’t allow them to pick out the most expensive options possible, and sometimes cheaper didn’t always mean inferior.
Features To Look For In Beginner Running Shoes
Before making your decision, check out which features you need to look for when picking out good running shoes for beginners.
Foot Type - You may already know your foot type, but if you don’t, we’d advise you figure than out before making your final decision. Running shoes have many purposes for different types of feet and by understanding what your arch is you’ll be able to find the most effective, comfortable, and reliable running shoe for you.
Size - Not too small but not too large. You need a shoe that’s durable but not bulky, and one that’s too big can add extra weight that will cause fatigue and tire you out much faster. You also don’t want to sound like you’re solo-stampeding down the road and scare anyone foolish enough to get in your way, but you also don’t want shoes that are too tight.
Most running shoes will fit true to size, but if you’ve got wide feet, look at a size or half a size larger just to be sure.
Fit - When looking for running trainers for beginners, you may not be entirely sure of the right fit for you. Form the best results, you need a running that’s snug but not too snug so there’s no movement on either side of the ankle. However, still look for some room around the toe box to prevent cramping.
Breathability - News flash guys and gals: running can get hot, so breathability is another important feature if you don’t want to end the run prematurely. Excellent ventilation helps the feet breathe, prevents overheating, and also allows the foot to dry as you run so you don’t get home stinking of sweaty feet.
Terrain - Different terrains demand a different tread, so consider this before purchasing. Regular road or sidewalk running will get on fine with standard running shoes with a mostly flat sole, but if you’re going off-road, you need extra traction to help you grip the surface better to help you maintain your balance and reduce the risk of injury.
Support - If you’re prone to over or under pronation, support around the ankles and arches is crucial for ensuring you minimize the risk of injury on your run. Sufficient heel support is also useful to prevent aches and pains the next day (and the day after), but when you first get started, this will be difficult to avoid.
Style - Style isn’t everything, but it’s hard not to want to look good while running. It’s more about the design, though, and some style features are also practical. This includes the tongue length, the lacing style, and extra protections around the heel and toe to provide a more comfortable run for beginners.
Flexibility - A flexible running shoe helps you run more naturally while also reducing strain on the foot. It also allows for better mobility to ensure more sufficient purchase on inclines and declines. Your running shoes should be flexible enough to bend as you toe-off and provide a sufficient energy transfer.
Shock Absorption - Running is a high-impact sport and a shoe with less shock absorption can cause havoc on your joints. If you want to get the best from your runs and be as consistent as possible, good shock absorption is key, otherwise you’ll spend more time staring bitterly at your demon shoes than actually wearing them.
Best Running Shoe For Beginners FAQ
Q: How do I pick the right running shoe?
A: Finding and choosing the right running gear for beginners can be a little stressful, and it’s tempting to just pick whatever pair you first come across. As you’ve seen, there are almost too many running shoes to count, but understanding these factors will help you settle on the rights ones for you.
- Understand Pronation and Gait - which way your ankle bends when running and how you run
- Foot type - do you have thin feet or wide feet? A normal arch, low arch, or high arch?
- Get your Foot Checked - shoe and sport stores will have advice on what type of shoe you need
- Try and Test - Putting the shoe on is the best way to determine the right shoe for you
Q: How much should I pay for running shoes?
A: Running trainers range from the cheap to the expensive to the very (almost obscenely) expensive. If you’re a beginner, you’re unlikely to want to splash out on the most expensive running shoes around, unless of course you’re more of an All the Gear, No Idea kind of person.
As you’ve seen in our selection, the most expensive doesn’t always mean the best for everyone, which means you should only spend what you’re comfortable spending on your running shoes, at least until you understand yourself and your running technique better.
Cheaper running shoes may not be as durable as more expensive options though, so if you plan to run 5k every day (although we find that unlikely), you may want to spend more now to spend less later.
Really, it’s down to how much you want to spend, because while it’s great to get into shape, there’s no point spending too much money on something you may not use as much as you expect to.
Q: Should you buy running shoes a size bigger?
A: Not always, and it often depends on how true to size the running shoes are. Luckily, this information is readily available based on reviews, so you’ll know whether you need to go up or down half a size or a full size to ensure you get the proper fit for your running shoes.
Without this proper fit, you risk blisters, injury, overheating, and too much or too little flexibility, which leads to a loss of control, which is especially important on uneven terrain.
Q: Can running shoes be used for walking?
A: Absolutely, but your shoes will last longer if you only use them sparingly, as more use will cause the shoe to deteriorate faster. Running shoes are designed to handle greater impact when the foot lands and provide cushioning to ensure the most comfortable run possible. They are often more lightweight than walking shoes and boast a variety of features to provide better protection such as flexibility.
If you do more walking than running but want the option to use them for running if needed, a pair of decent running shoes could end up being more beneficial than standard walking shoes.
Q: Do I need to wear socks with running shoes?
A: It depends. Most people wouldn’t dream of wearing running shoes without socks as they’ve grown up with the idea that no socks can lead to blisters and chafing, and you lack the extra layer of protection socks offer.
However, depending on the fit of your shoes, socks may not be necessary, and recent models boast a no-sew feature than prevents abrasions and rubbing, which can quickly lead to blisters and discomfort on older models. If your running shoe is a little tight or you prefer a more snug fit, going without socks may be better for you and will help you have a more enjoyable run when you’re next out.
Going sockless also encourages better breathability, so if you live in a warmer climate, you may prefer no socks over socks, anyway.