Best Running Shoes for Beginners: Top Picks for 2023

Running is a popular form of exercise and an excellent way to stay fit and healthy. However, foot and leg support are essential for a comfortable and safe experience, especially for beginners. This is where the choice of running shoes comes into play. With a market saturated with countless options and designs, finding the best running shoes designed for beginners can feel overwhelming.

The advantages of a well-chosen pair of running shoes include better shock absorption, appropriate arch support, and improved overall comfort during your runs. For beginners, it is crucial to find a shoe that addresses their specific needs and preferences in order to reduce the risk of injury and stay motivated to continue running.

When choosing the best running shoes for beginners, several critical factors come into play. These include the shoe’s cushioning, flexibility, and overall fit. Each person’s feet and running style are unique, which is why it’s essential to find a shoe that offers the right balance of support and comfort for your individual needs.

We have dedicated our time to research and test various running shoes to help beginners make an informed choice. Our comprehensive guide will provide insights into the top running shoes for beginners, ensuring a comfortable and enjoyable running experience for everyone.

Best Running Shoes for Beginners

We have compiled a comprehensive list of the best running shoes for beginners to help you kickstart your fitness journey with confidence and comfort.

Under Armour Men’s Charged Assert 9 Running Shoe

Under Armour Men's Charged Assert 9 Running Shoe

These Under Armour running shoes provide an excellent balance of comfort, support, and breathability, making them ideal for beginners.


  • Comfortable Charged Cushioning® midsole
  • Durable leather overlays for stability
  • Breathable, lightweight mesh upper


  • May not be ideal for long distances
  • Fit may be tight for some users
  • Limited style options

Upon first trying the Under Armour Men’s Charged Assert 9 Running Shoe, we immediately noticed the comfort of the Charged Cushioning® midsole. It provides excellent responsiveness and durability, making our runs feel more enjoyable. The cushioning is especially helpful for beginners who may not be used to the impact of running on hard surfaces.

Another feature we appreciated was the stability provided by the durable leather overlays. These not only add support but also help lock your midfoot in place, offering a secure feeling while running. This stability can boost your confidence as you work on improving your running form.

The lightweight mesh upper is perfect for keeping your feet cool during a run. We experienced solid breathability, ensuring that our feet didn’t overheat, even on warm days.

However, for longer runs or more advanced runners, you might find that these shoes don’t provide the same level of comfort and support. They are best suited for beginners looking to start their running journey.

While the fit was suitable for us, those with wider feet may find that these shoes run a bit tight. It’s essential to try them out beforehand or consider going a half size up if you’re concerned about the fit.

Lastly, the style options are limited. But if you’re after functionality and comfort, this won’t be a significant issue.

Overall, we believe that the Under Armour Men’s Charged Assert 9 Running Shoe is an excellent investment for beginners starting their running journey. The combination of comfort, support, and breathability allows for a smooth and enjoyable experience as you begin to develop your running abilities.

ASICS Women’s Gel-Contend 7 Running Shoes

ASICS Gel-Contend 7

We recommend these shoes for beginners seeking a comfortable and supportive running experience.


  • Excellent cushioning and support
  • Durable construction
  • Breathable fabric for long-lasting comfort


  • May run small, consider sizing up
  • Narrow toe box
  • Insole may not provide adequate cushioning for long walks

We recently tried the ASICS Women’s Gel-Contend 7 Running Shoes and were quite impressed with the overall comfort provided. The superb cushioning and support make them a perfect choice for beginners entering the world of running.

One of the standout features of these shoes is their durable construction. We put them through various tests and found that the solid rubber outsole and reinforced toe ensure a long service life, so you can trust that they will hold up well as you clock in those miles.

Another advantage is the breathable athletic mesh. We noticed that our feet stayed cool and dry throughout our runs, ensuring that we could keep pushing ourselves to reach new goals. The GEL in the heel area and AmpliFoam midsole enhance the comfort level even further.

However, keep in mind that the sizing of these shoes may be on the smaller side. We suggest considering going up half or even a full size for a more comfortable fit. Additionally, the toe box tends to be narrow, so if you have wide feet, these may not be the best option for you.

Lastly, although the cushioning is great for running, it may not provide enough support for long walks. If you intend to use these shoes for walking, you might want to consider adding an extra insole for improved padding.

In conclusion, the ASICS Women’s Gel-Contend 7 Running Shoes provide excellent support, durability, and breathability for beginner runners. Just be mindful of the sizing and consider adding an extra insole if you plan to use them for walking.

adidas Women’s Puremotion Adapt 10

adidas Women's Puremotion Adapt 10 Running Shoes

We highly recommend these shoes for beginners looking for an easy and comfortable start to their running journey.


  • Effortless slip-on design
  • Lightweight and comfortable
  • Durable construction


  • Might be tight for high arches
  • Limited support compared to traditional running shoes
  • Sizing may run slightly large

We recently tried out the adidas Women’s Puremotion Adapt 10 running shoes and were quite pleased with their overall performance. The laceless, textile upper with elastic straps gives the shoes a minimalist appearance and a snug, sock-like feel, making them perfect for a beginner looking to start their running journey without any hassles.

The Cloudfoam cushioning delivers all-day comfort, ensuring your feet stay happy during your runs. Another feature we loved is the shoes’ lightweight design, making it easier to move and preventing your legs from tiring out too quickly. However, be mindful that for those with high arches, the shoes might feel a bit tight as they don’t have much give in that area.

While these adidas shoes provide decent support and cushioning for beginners, they may lack the level of support some traditional running shoes offer. Therefore, if you require more robust support, you might want to explore other options. Additionally, it’s worth noting that some users found the sizing to be slightly on the larger side, so consider that when making a purchase.

In conclusion, the adidas Women’s Puremotion Adapt 10 running shoes are a great purchase for a beginner seeking a comfortable, lightweight, and easy-to-wear shoe. Although they may not provide extensive support for more advanced runners, their unique design and solid construction make them suitable for those just starting on their running journey.

Brooks Women’s Launch 9 Running Shoe

Brooks Women’s Launch 9 Running Shoe

We highly recommend the Brooks Women’s Launch 9 Neutral Running Shoe for beginners due to its comfort, support, and stylish design.


  • Excellent comfort and cushioning
  • Supportive and well-designed for beginners
  • Stylish and modern look


  • May need to size up for a wider toe area
  • Slightly more expensive than some alternatives
  • Some users may experience a break-in period

The Brooks Women’s Launch 9 Neutral Running Shoe quickly became our go-to choice for beginners seeking a comfortable and supportive running shoe. Designed with a rubber sole, these shoes provided us with excellent traction and durability during our runs. Additionally, the stylish Lilac/Cobalt/Silver color scheme made us stand out and feel confident on the track.

One of the standout features of these shoes is their cushioning. We found that our feet remained comfortable throughout the day, even after walking and running for extended periods. This level of comfort is essential for beginners looking to increase their mileage and gain confidence in their running.

While most of our team found the fit to be true to size, some of us preferred to size up for a little extra wiggle room in the toe box. This minor adjustment allowed for a more comfortable fit overall, especially during longer runs. The price point is slightly higher than some competitors, but we believe the quality and performance of these shoes justify the expense.

In conclusion, we feel that the Brooks Women’s Launch 9 Neutral Running Shoe is an excellent investment for beginners looking for a comfortable, supportive, and stylish running shoe. With proper care and attention, these shoes should provide a fulfilling and enjoyable running experience for any new runner.

Saucony Women’s Axon 2 Running Shoes

Saucony womens Axon 2 9.5 Black/White

We believe the Saucony Women’s Axon 2 is a worthy investment for beginner runners due to its comfort, durability, and performance.


  • Excellent cushioning and support
  • Durable and lightweight
  • Wide range of colors to choose from


  • May require a half size up for some
  • Narrow toe box
  • Slippery on wet surfaces

When we first tried on the Saucony Women’s Axon 2 Running Shoes, we immediately noticed the comfort and cushioning they provide. Our feet felt secure and well-supported throughout our running sessions. These shoes are built with high-quality materials, ensuring durability and a lightweight experience that’s perfect for beginners easing into their running journey.

We also appreciated the wide range of colors available for the Axon 2, making it easy to find a pair that suits our personal style. Not only do they perform well, but they also look great, garnering us compliments during our runs.

However, there are some minor drawbacks worth noting when considering these shoes. For instance, we found that the Axon 2 tends to run a bit small, so it might be necessary for some to order a half size up. Additionally, the toe box is somewhat narrow, which may cause discomfort for those with wider feet. Finally, while testing these running shoes in various conditions, we noticed that they can become slippery on wet surfaces. It’s essential to exercise caution when running in rainy or damp environments.

In conclusion, the Saucony Women’s Axon 2 Running Shoes are a fantastic choice for beginner runners seeking comfort, support, and durability in their footwear. Just be mindful of sizing and the potential slipperiness on wet surfaces, and you’ll likely find these shoes to be a great addition to your running wardrobe.

Buying Guide

As beginners in the running world, it is essential to find the perfect pair of shoes to set you off on the right foot. In this section, we will discuss features to consider when purchasing your first pair of running shoes.

Cushioning and Support

It is crucial for beginners to ensure their running shoes provide adequate cushioning and support. A well-cushioned shoe will absorb the impact from each stride, reducing potential injuries. Look for shoes with a thick, responsive midsole made of foam or gel material.

Fit and Comfort

Proper fit and comfort are vital for preventing blisters and discomfort during your runs. We recommend:

  • Trying on shoes in the afternoon as feet tend to swell during the day.
  • Wearing the socks you plan to run in while trying on shoes.
  • Ensuring there is a thumb’s width of space between your longest toe and the front of the shoe.
  • Walking around and jogging in the store to ensure a comfortable fit.

Outsole Durability

The outsole of your running shoes must be durable to withstand the wear and tear of your runs. Look for shoes with rubber outsoles and a decent tread pattern to provide good traction on various surfaces.


Proper ventilation is essential for keeping your feet cool and dry during long runs. Shoes with mesh uppers and moisture-wicking materials are ideal for breathability.

Feature Importance
Cushioning Reduces impact, protects joints
Support Enhances stability and reduces injuries
Fit & Comfort Prevents blisters, ensures enjoyable running experience
Outsole Durability Withstands wear and tear, provides traction
Breathability Keeps feet cool and dry, prevents odors

When selecting the right shoe, remember that not every shoe will work for every runner. It is essential to consider any specific needs or preferences and to try on several options before making a final decision. Happy running!

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the top budget-friendly running shoes for new runners?

As beginners, we understand that you might not want to spend a fortune on running shoes. Some budget-friendly options for new runners are the New Balance Fresh Foam Arishi v3, Reebok Floatride Energy 3, ASICS GEL-Contend 6, and Nike Revolution 5. These shoes offer a blend of comfort, support, and durability at a reasonable price.

Which men’s and women’s running shoes are optimal for starting a Couch to 5k program?

When starting a Couch to 5k program, we recommend shoes that provide support and cushioning for both men and women. For men, consider trying the ASICS GEL-Nimbus 23 and Brooks Ghost 14. For women, take a look at the New Balance 880v11 and Nike Pegasus 38. These shoes are designed to accommodate a range of foot shapes and running styles, making them suitable for new runners.

How do Adidas and Nike compare for beginner running shoes?

Both Adidas and Nike offer a variety of running shoes suitable for beginners. Adidas is known for their Boost technology, providing responsive cushioning and support in shoes like the Adidas Solar Boost ST 19 and Ultraboost 21. Nike, on the other hand, offers shoes with their signature Air cushioning, as seen in the Nike Pegasus 38 and Revolution 5. Both brands deliver reliable options for new runners, with the choice ultimately coming down to personal preference and comfort.

What qualities should beginners look for in running shoes?

As beginners, we should look for running shoes that focus on comfort, stability, and durability. Key qualities to consider include a well-cushioned midsole for shock absorption, a secure and comfortable fit, and a durable outsole for long-lasting wear. Additionally, consider shoes with a moderate amount of support to aid in promoting a healthy gait.

Are Brooks running shoes suitable for those just starting out?

Yes, Brooks running shoes are a popular choice for beginners. They offer a variety of models that cater to different types of runners, with the Brooks Ghost and Adrenaline GTS series being particularly suitable for those starting out. These shoes provide a balance of cushioning, support, and durability, helping new runners stay comfortable and injury-free as they increase their mileage.

What are the best running shoe options from Fleet Feet for beginners?

Fleet Feet stocks a diverse range of running shoes, including several options suitable for beginners. Some of the top picks for new runners include the Brooks Ghost 14, New Balance Fresh Foam Beacon v3, HOKA ONE ONE Clifton 8, and ASICS GEL-Cumulus 23. Remember, the most important factor is finding a shoe that fits your unique requirements and comfort preferences, so we recommend visiting a Fleet Feet store for personalized fitting advice.