The Best Running Shoes for Beginners in 2019
With so many categories of running shoes, finding one for a beginner can feel impossible. In a good pair of beginner shoes, you’ll want it reasonably priced, but also with good cushion and support.
Many shoes seem to be for long-time runners, so it’s hard to find what you’ll benefit from. You don’t run marathons, you don’t do triathlons, and you need something simple.
While many novice runners don’t understand why a good pair of shoes is crucial to a great run, experienced athletes would be the first to tell you that proper footwear is the foundation for success.
Preventing foot and ankle damage is just one of the reasons to invest in a good pair of beginner shoes; it also improves your performance.
For a beginner pair of running shoes, the most important thing is comfort and stability. It’s likely as a beginner you may not run correctly for your knees and feet, so you’ll want a pair of shoes that can help counter that.
Every year there seems to be a whole new list of shoes to choose from. To make the decision easier, we’ve broken down the best running shoes for beginners.
Top 3 Best and Favorites
Best Overall Running Shoes for New Runners
1. Brooks Launch 6
The Brooks Launch 6 is a popular choice for runners who need to take a little bit of stress off of their knees and ankles.
The cushion is made up of a BioMogo DNA, which helps with extra support in the heel and forefoot of the shoe. This technology gives you nearly 30 percent extra cushioning, making it a must-have for beginners.
Although the shoe comes with extra cushion, it isn’t too soft. Shoes that are too soft could become tiresome on your feet. You’ll want enough bounce to keep you running for longer periods – especially for beginners.
The Launch 6 also comes with a one-piece mesh on the upper part of the shoe to keep your feet well ventilated. Shoes with too much mesh can cause your feet to heat up and sweat.
- Extra cushion to avoid sore feet
- Padded midsole which is great for longer runs
- Smaller tongue to avoid getting in the way while you run
- The updated cushion is less springy than the previous model
- The extra support causes it to be wider than most shoes
Top Running Shos for Overweight Runners
2. Saucony Echelon 7
The Saucony Echelon 7 is especially helpful for runners with under-pronation. Under-pronation is when the arches on your feet don’t go flat enough when you run. It’s common in people with high arches.
Running with too much under-pronation can cause injuries overtime, so the Echelon 7 comes with a cushion that promotes your arches to flatten while you run.
The Saucony Echelon 7 is also great for runners that are overweight. It has a solid platform sockliner on the foundation of the shoe that cushions your feet when you land. It’s great for avoiding sore feet during longer runs.
- Great for people with under-pronation
- Perfect for running on the road
- Made of mesh to promote better airflow for your feet
- Not made for trails and harsher terrain
- Not as lightweight as other beginner running shoes
Best for Runners with Flat Feet
3. Asics GT- 2000 7
While the Echelon 7 is great for those with under-pronation, many others suffer from the exact opposite problem. If you suffer from flat feet or fallen arches, you may want to consider the Asics GT-2000 7, which is perfect for those with overpronation.
Overpronation can cause sore feet and sometimes more serious injuries, so the Asics GT comes with cushioning in the heel and forefoot to hold the arches of your feet in place.
Asics also added their Flytefoam to the padding that promotes a springier bounce when you’re running. The foam will put less stress on your limbs and should lead to fewer injuries.
- Great for people with overpronation
- Breatable mesh to keep your feet cool
- Nice cushioning on the forefoot
- Lightweight for this category of shoe
- Snug in midfoot and heel may be too tight for some runners
- Not as roomy in toebox as other shoes
Top Minimalist Shoe for New Runners
4. Altra Escalante 1.5
A minimalist shoe aims to get your feet back to its natural placement. Many people find that over cushioning of shoes can cause more harm than good overtime; the Altra Escalante 1 is a counter to that.
The Altra Escalante 1 is known for its perfect heel to toe drop. The platforms on the shoe allow for your heel and toes to be the same distance from the ground. Keeping them the same distance will help with low-impact landings.
One customer said, “This shoe has great padding in the ball of your foot for all your zero drop running needs and plenty of padding in the heel.” The Escalante 1.5 shines by giving you a natural running feel without sacrificing comfort.
The shoe also comes with a FootPod technology that lets the bones and tendons in your feet move more naturally. If you’re a beginner runner and want a more organic run, the Altra Escalante 1 is the best choice on the market.
- Extremely lightweight
- Minimalist but doesn’t sacrifice cushion
- Perfect drop on your heel and toes
- Not a good choice for people with severe overpronation
- Minimalist shoes can be uncomfortable for beginners
Most Cushioned Shoe for Beginners
5. Hoka One One Cavu
While these other shoes have a group of benefits, Hoka One One focuses all their effort towards cushion and support.
The Hoka One One Cavu comes with a comfort fit bootie under the mesh that offers extra cushion around your feet. It also comes with their PROFLY midsole that will give you extra support.
The cushioned heel also lets you be on your feet for longer periods without getting sore.
If you’re a beginner and cushion is your priority, the Hoka One One Cavu is the right choice.
- The best cushion on the market for beginners
- Extremely comfortable
- Mesh on the upper soles for better breathability
- Too much cushion can cause instability
- Not particularly durable
Best Nike Running Shoes for Beginners
6. Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 35
The Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 35 was the best pair of Nikes we found for beginners. The shoes come with Flywire cables inside the shoe that help your feet from slipping around.
The Pegasus 35’s padding slips down the lower side of the ankle, giving extra support for your Achilles tendon. The Achilles tendon is a common muscle that aches after a long run.
The Pegasus 35 also comes with a full- length Zoom Air unit that many people found to be the best cushion for beginners.
When you run with the Pegasus 35s, the toebox of the shoe opens up and to leave you room for your feet and stay flexible. This will keep your toes from aching after a long run.
One customer said, “The sock-like fit and exceptional shock absorption really save my knees and back when I jog. Really like them.” With a Nike shoe, you’ll get a great aesthetic while keeping your body healthy.
The shoe isn’t revolutionary, but if you’re looking for Nikes to start running in, this is your best option.
- Holds feet tight without being uncomfortable
- Strong durability
- Slanted heel for a smoother transition
- Some people find the extra cushion uncomfortable
- Not great for people with wide forefeet
Best Beginner Running Shoe for Men
7. Brooks Ghost 11
If you’re a beginner runner and want a shoe specifically designed for men, the best option is the Brooks Ghost 11. The shoe was the winner of the Runner’s World Editor’s Choice Award.
Like the Brooks Launch 6, the Brooks 11 also comes with a BioMogo DNA, which helps with extra support in the heel and forefoot of the shoe. This technology gives you nearly 30 percent extra cushioning.
The shoe is designed primarily for road running, but the quality can hold up on other terrains. The Ghost 11 comes with their segmented Crash Pad. These are shock absorbers that help with a cushioned heel-to-toe transition; which is especially useful when running longer distances to keep your feet protected.
If you’re a male that wants comfort without sacrificing durability, the Ghost 11 is the best on the market. One reviewer wrote it’s like “wrapping the foot in a cloud.”
The midsole cushioning keeps your feet from getting sore, which is a great way to keep you running as a beginner.
- Great heel-to-toe transition
- Great arch support
- Great for walking and running
- Much bulkier than other shoes for men
- Shoelaces are a little short
Best Beginner Running Shoe for Women
8. Asics Gel-Cumulus 20
The Asics Gel-Cumulus 20 is the best running shoe for women when it comes to performance and comfort. As a beginner, you can’t go wrong with the Gel-Cumulus 20.
The shoe comes with Asics own technology, the FluidRide. This cushion on the sole gives you a bounce-back that customers say makes them feel much lighter when running.
Like the Asics GT 2000 7, the shoe also has the Flytefoam on the padding that promotes a springier bounce when running as well. This will put less stress on your feet and should lead to fewer injuries.
Asics also added reflective materials for beginner runners that like to exercise at night. The technology brightens the shoe during low-light hours.
For women that are just getting started, the Asics Gel-Cumulus 20 gives you the comfort that you’ll want for a beginner, without sacrificing durability. It’s the best shoe for women today.
- Great balance of cushion and responsiveness
- Durable midsole
- Extremely light
- Little tight in the heel
- Can feel too narrow for some runners
Top Beginner Running Shoe for Bad Knees
9. New Balance Fresh Foam Beacon
The idea of running when you know you have bad knees is a nightmare. Luckily, we found the best shoe for people with knee problems.
The shoes are tailored to go easy on your knees. The Beacon’s best qualities are cushion and lightweight. The New Balance Fresh Foam Beacons are one of the lightest shoes we found.
The shoes come with the Fresh Foam cushioning that one reviewer said, “I find these so comfortable that other shoes feel clunky. I am hoping that New Balance does not make significant changes to this shoe.”
The cushion provides a soft landing for your feet so that your knees aren’t hurting while you’re running.
The other shining quality is how light it is. The midsole in the Fresh Foam Beacons is made from ultra-plush foam that gives it a featherweight feel.
Heavier shoes can put unwanted stress on your knees, so the Beacons give you cushion and support without adding bulk to your run.
- Great for high arches
- Extremely flexible
- Best shoe support for your knees
- The foam is exposed on the outsole
- Not very good traction on crushed stone
Best Beginner Running Shoe for Wide Feet
10. New Balance 890v6
Finding shoes that actually fit when you have wide feet can be difficult.
The New Balance 890v6 is designed with a wider structure to make sure they fit your feet. The shoes also have New Balance REVlite midsole foam that gives you a responsive cushion. You won’t feel like it’s a chore to move each step.
One customer said, “Wonderful shoe that hugs the foot without crowding it.” Many people have to buy larger shoes to fit their wide feet, and they can end up being too large. These shoes fit snugly without being too tight.
The shoes make a lot of improvements from the previous 890, including a snugger fit. The 890v6 also comes with TPU strips in the forefoot that help with a much more responsive shoe when running. The strips will help with bending correctly when you maneuver your feet.
- Well ventilated with the mesh
- Perfect for wider feet
- Much lighter than the precious model
- Not very flexible
- Still heavier than other beginner running shoes