The Best Running Shoes for Beginners in 2021

Natalie Cecconi
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If you are a beginner runner or someone thinking about running for the first time, you might be unsure what the best running shoes for beginners are.

Wondering if you should go for a cheap pair of running shoes from a big box store or invest in a pair of high end running shoes from one of the best running shoe manufacturers out there?

We’ve written this guide to help you answer these kinds of questions and shed some light on why some running shoes are better than others.

Similar to the guides to the best running shoes for women and the best running shoes for men out there, we’ve scoured the internet to find the best running shoes for beginners.

NameCategoryProduct
Brooks Women's Launch 7Best OverallBrooks Women's Launch 7
New Balance Women's Fresh Foam Beacon V1 Running ShoeBudget PickNew Balance Women's Fresh Foam Beacon V1 Running Shoe
HOKA ONE ONE Women’s Cavu Running ShoeUpgrade PickHOKA ONE ONE Women’s Cavu Running Shoe

1. Brooks Women's Launch 7

Our rating: 9 / 10

Brooks Women's Launch 7

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Pros:

  • Good quality
  • Very lightweight
  • Works with a broad range of foot types
  • Very comfortable
  • Great stability
  • Good looking

Cons:

  • Lacks proper ventilation
  • The shoe is a bit rigid, which can cause discomfort if you run on hard surfaces
  • The traction is relatively poor compared to other brands

The Brooks Women’s Launch 7 running shoes are a popular choice for beginner runners looking for an efficient shoe to start off their new running/jogging routine. The shoe is lightweight, and comes with a padded tongue and collar to enhance your comfort level.

The foam provides soft landings, and the sole is very responsive to give you great control over your stride and running style.

While the shoe gives ample support, it doesn’t provide enough ventilation to keep your feet cool during a run.

2. Brooks Men's Launch 7

Our rating: 9 / 10

Brooks Men's Launch 7

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Pros:

  • Extremely well-made and comfortable
  • Vast amount of color options
  • Fantastic traction for trails
  • Not heavy, even for its size (~10 oz)
  • Good grip on different terrains
  • Affordable
  • Insanely long lifespan

Cons:

  • A tad slippery on wet surfaces
  • Harder to clean

When you’re starting out running, it’s a good idea to start with a lightweight running shoe. A minimalist shoe, such as the Brooks Men’s Launch 7, is what many beginners are looking for when they’re taking their first steps.

The Launch 7 is one of the lightest shoes from the Brooks lineup, coming in at 9oz. This makes it a well-balanced option for people who want a lighter, more flexible shoe than others.

It also features an incredibly long lifespan – which is one of the most important things to look for in any shoe.

3. ASICS Women's GT-2000 8 Running Shoes

Our rating: 9 / 10

ASICS Women's GT-2000 8 Running Shoes

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Pros:

  • Low to the ground, excellent cushioning sole
  • Breathable mesh with a lot of cushioning
  • The shoe has a lot of color options
  • Very durable

Cons:

  • This shoe runs small so it’s best to order a half size bigger
  • It’s a bit heavier than some of the competitors

If you’re seeking a high-quality running shoe to take your running to the next level, then the ASICS Women’s GT 2000 is worth taking a closer look. This is an excellent high-performance trail running shoe.

This shoe weighs about 10.2 ounces. It’s designed to be a little on the narrow side so you’ll need a half-size larger in this case. The shoe features a dual-density platform that allows runners to benefit from cushioning, a secure fit, and solid support.

The midsole is a combination of GEL and Solyte material, and this provides the shoe with excellent crash absorption that absorbs impacts from all directions. It also features an asymmetric midsole that helps to optimize the foot’s natural motion patterns. In addition, a multi-directional support system in the forefoot helps protect feet from injury.

4. ASICS Men's GT-2000 8

Our rating: 9 / 10

ASICS Men's GT-2000 8

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Pros:

  • Great price for a great value
  • Highly breathable mesh upper; mesh only extends to midfoot, not the entire upper
  • Minimalistic design; includes just enough features for running
  • Lightweight
  • Minimal support
  • Series of grilles, gussets and perforations for improved airflow
  • Rubberized heel bumper for improved traction
  • Deep support cage with additional support around the arch and heel
  • Great value for the money
  • Provides great support and stability

Cons:

  • Limited front-to-back ankle flexibility
  • Some customers have mentioned that these shoes run a bit long
  • Some customers have reported discomfort near the arch
  • Some customers have also reported some slipping on wet surfaces

The ASICS Men's Elements GT-2000 8 (4E) Running Shoes has a synthetic and mesh upper with suede overlays for enhanced durability. The upper is combined with molded overlays to provide midfoot structure and support.

The sole is comprised of Solyte midsole material which is lightweight, durable and offers great cushioning. This shoe is best suited for uneven surfaces and provides some great stability.

5. Brooks Men's Ghost 13

Our rating: 8 / 10

Brooks Men's Ghost 13

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Pros:

  • One of the most popular running shoes
  • Lightweight and reasonably priced
  • Cushioning is decent
  • Plenty of stabilizing features
  • Great value for money
  • Wide range of color options
  • Outstanding toe box
  • Perfect for mild-medium arch feet – need wider toe box
  • High-quality manufacturing

Cons:

  • Lateral movement can feel a little unstable/clunky
  • The rubber outsole can get slick in wet conditions
  • Not specific to runners with flat feet or low instep

If you’re looking for the best running shoes for beginners, then you’ll definitely want to consider the Brooks Ghost 13. It won’t break the bank and it’s got plenty of helpful features to make running more enjoyable.

The Ghost 13 is lightweight, features a breathable mesh upper, and has a wide toe box. These are elements that work to help the runner maintain a good stride during the run.

There are quite a few features that make this shoe a user-friendly option. For example, it uses BioMoGo DNA cushioning. This is a cushioning material that is based on the musculature as opposed to the skeleton.

6. Saucony Womens Echelon 8

Our rating: 8 / 10

Saucony Womens Echelon 8

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Pros:

  • Comfortable and well-made
  • Good support
  • Great price for shoe of that quality

Cons:

  • Can get smelly if not cleaned every day
  • The fit runs a tad narrow
  • Can take some time to break in

When you run, your feet land at an angle; that’s what causes your shoes to wear down faster. Runner’s typically need to replace their running shoes after every 300-500 miles of activity.

Saucony’s Echelon is a quality running shoe that has just the right stiffness for mid-foot strikers, but has plenty of cushioning to keep your feet comfortable. This shoe is stable enough for everyday wear, but it will also stand up to some hard mileage if you stick with it.

There is a lot to love when it comes to the Echelon. It’s affordable, it’s durable, it’s comfortable, and it’s a fantastic shoe for anyone looking to get into running.

7. ASICS Women's Gel-Cumulus 22 Running Shoes

Our rating: 8 / 10

ASICS Women's Gel-Cumulus 22 Running Shoes

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Pros:

  • Great for long distance running
  • Excellent comfort
  • Good fit
  • Performance, stability, and structure is top notch
  • Excellent cushioning and arch support
  • Great for strengthening the shin, toning the calves, and improving endurance

The Gel Cushioning and Trusstic System in the Gel Cumulus 22 shoes is great for runners with flat feet. These shoes also feature ‘SpEVA’ midsole foam that are designed for both shock absorption and support. This midsole material is lightweight yet high in rigidity and durability. That makes this shoe very comfortable to run on.

The Gel Cumulus 22 has a sleek and stylish design that goes well with any outfit. Its fabric pattern grips the foot and is very durable. An additional bonus is that the shoes are machine washable.

8. Brooks Women's Ghost 13

Our rating: 8 / 10

Brooks Women's Ghost 13

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Pros:

  • Designed for a wide variety of running surfaces
  • Comfortable & cushioned
  • Provides ample support for a neutral runner
  • Improved traction and grip
  • Ideal for training & after-workout wear
  • Flat out fantastic value for money

If you are looking for the best running shoes, there are quite a few to choose from, but the Brooks Women's Ghost 13 Running Shoes might just be the perfect fit for your needs. These incredible running shoes are designed to be comfortable, durable and lightweight; making them an excellent choice for long distance running and everyday wear.

These fantastic running shoes are built with Brooks' patented DNA technology which allows for a personalized fit based upon your running style and requirements. Additionally, the reinforced heels and straps ensure maximum comfort, durability and support; while the fantastic traction is great for strolling, walking or running on a variety of terrains.

Bottom line: If you are looking for the best running shoes for your feet in 2020, then the Brooks Women's Ghost 13 Running Shoes might be the perfect option for you.

9. New Balance Women's Fresh Foam Beacon V1 Running Shoe

Our rating: 8 / 10

New Balance Women's Fresh Foam Beacon V1 Running Shoe

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Pros:

  • Good performance both on-road and off-road
  • Durable outsole and breathable mesh upper

Cons:

  • Our reviewers found they are not suitable for wide feet.

The Fresh Foam Beacon is a neutral training sneaker designed for a woman’s foot. This lightweight shoe features a breathable mesh upper that will keep your feet cool, dry and well-ventilated. It also has a foam sock liner, which will provide a cushioned feeling.

It is constructed on a stable platform, which provides a comfortable and smooth ride. It is also equipped with a Removable Ortholite footbed, which helps in conforming to the natural shape and structure of your foot.

This shoe has an EVA midsole, which is lightweight and highly responsive. It will provide cushioning and energy return. The outsole is designed with Fresh Foam, which is a durable material that will provide long-lasting wear.

10. HOKA ONE ONE Women’s Cavu Running Shoe

Our rating: 8 / 10

HOKA ONE ONE Women’s Cavu Running Shoe

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Pros:

  • Super lightweight
  • Virtually no break-in time
  • The cushioning and support are amazing
  • Great lacing system

Cons:

  • The sizing might be a little off
  • Squeaky material

The HOKA ONE ONE Women’s Cavu Running Shoe is a lightweight running shoe with fantastic cushioning and support. The shoe feels soft even when you’re running on hard surfaces as the cushioning in the midsole is really generous.

The flexibility of this shoe is also commendable. It comes with a very well-designed lacing system that allows the shoe to flex in all directions for a customized fit.

One of the reasons why we feel the Hoka One One Women’s Cavu Running Shoe is such a solid choice for beginners is that it is almost effortless to run with. It comes with an extra-plush midsole, which absorbs all the shock caused by the impact of running.

11. ASICS Men's Gel-Cumulus 22

Our rating: 8 / 10

ASICS Men's Gel-Cumulus 22

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Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • Breathable
  • Sleek and stylish design
  • Highly responsive in your stride
  • Multidirectional traction
  • Ideal for neutral runners
  • Great value for the price

Cons:

  • Very minimal support
  • Not ideal for overpronators
  • Heel slips a bit when running on smooth surfaces

It’s hard to find a good option when it comes to running shoes for beginners. Most beginners want to invest in a shoe that is affordable, comfortable, and yet is able to provide the best possible protection for your feet, always keeping your safety in mind.

After considering several options in the market, we came to the conclusion that the ASICS Men’s GEL-Cumulus 22 is the best all round running shoe for beginners. It has everything you’d expect from a running shoe – breathability, comfort when worn for long hours and miles, and most importantly safety and protection.

Moreover, the shoes are lightweight and this makes them extremely agile. So you can run with total agility and stability on any surface that you choose. But do keep in mind, this shoe is more suitable for a neutral stride. So if you fall into this category, then the top pick is something you should definitely consider.

12. Nike Women's Air Zoom Pegasus 36 Running Shoes

Our rating: 8 / 10

Nike Women's Air Zoom Pegasus 36 Running Shoes

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Pros:

  • The shoe has dimensional width
  • Lightweight
  • The heel and arch fit

Cons:

  • Midsole cushioning could be better
  • Arch support is slightly lacking
  • The shoe runs a bit narrow

(White/White/Volt) 7 B(M) US

The Nike Women’s Air Zoom Pegasus running shoe is designed for neutral-footed runners who want a lightweight trainer with a low-to-the-ground feel.

It has a breathable mesh upper with laser-siped zigzag perforations for a lightweight and comfortable fit. The Nike Zoom Air unit in the heel provides cushioning, while the forefoot is responsive with an injected unit in the heel and midsole. All this adds up to a low-profile, highly responsive underfoot feel.

13. HOKA ONE ONE Women’s Cavu Running Shoe

Our rating: 8 / 10

HOKA ONE ONE Women’s Cavu Running Shoe

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Pros:

  • Super lightweight
  • Virtually no break-in time
  • The cushioning and support are amazing
  • Great lacing system

Cons:

  • The sizing might be a little off
  • Squeaky material

The HOKA ONE ONE Women’s Cavu Running Shoe is a lightweight running shoe with fantastic cushioning and support. The shoe feels soft even when you’re running on hard surfaces as the cushioning in the midsole is really generous.

The flexibility of this shoe is also commendable. It comes with a very well-designed lacing system that allows the shoe to flex in all directions for a customized fit.

One of the reasons why we feel the Hoka One One Women’s Cavu Running Shoe is such a solid choice for beginners is that it is almost effortless to run with. It comes with an extra-plush midsole, which absorbs all the shock caused by the impact of running.

14. New Balance Men's 890 V6 Running Shoe

Our rating: 8 / 10

New Balance Men's 890 V6 Running Shoe

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Pros:

  • Flat sole to reduce turf burn and ensure a better biomechanical alignment
  • The internal and external support work well together to provide protection against foot injuries
  • The shoe is very well cushioned
  • The breathability is commendable
  • The arch support is excellent
  • The quality is good

Cons:

  • The cushioning support does not work as well as the longer versions of the shoe
  • This is not a great shoe for wider feet
  • The sneaker is on the pricey side

The New Balance 890 V6 Running Shoe was our top pick on the best running shoes for beginners for several reasons. At a reasonable price, this performance shoe is very comfortable, light, and has enough support to continue running as you improve your form over time.

With a wide toe box, your toes are free to move comfortably rather than being squished into a narrower space. It has a mesh upper, which provides much needed breathability and ventilation in warm weather. The lacing system holds the foot securely but still allows for easy adjustments.

The cushioned midsole provides the expected levels of shock absorption and comfort. The motion control stability works well to reduce overstriding and pronation problems. And the shoe is quite versatile, giving you enough stability for both high and low impact exercises alike.

15. Saucony Mens Echelon 8

Our rating: 7 / 10

Saucony Mens Echelon 8

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Pros:

  • Great initial comfort and support
  • Good fit for wider feet
  • Easy lace system for quick on and off
  • A good value for the price

Cons:

  • Takes some break-in time
  • Not as lightweight as some other models

The Saucony Mens Echelon 8 is a great-fitting running shoe that has received positive reviews for its comfortable and supportive walking “feel.”

It has a lightweight construction which makes it a good option for a variety of training conditions. The engineered mesh upper is lightweight and breathable, which helps keep you dry and cool.

The shoe’s design also features an asymmetrical cross foot pattern which is considered to be a mid-stability shoe for running. The upper also has a synthetic suede that helps provide excellent foot protection. The outsole is also designed with a full-length carbon rubber plate that provides good traction and grip on a variety of different surfaces.

16. New Balance Women's 890 V6 Running Shoe

Our rating: 7 / 10

New Balance Women's 890 V6 Running Shoe

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New Balance is a brand you should think about when shopping for shoes for women. This is one of their best running shoes ever because of the way it’s built – it has the perfect mix of lightness and durability. Plus, it’s very supportive, so you can wear it on long runs without smashing your feet flat.

The New Balance women’s 890 V6 running shoe is arguably one of the best running shoes New Balance has ever made. It uses their brand new RevLite midsole cushioning – made up of EVA, Nylon Mesh, and a Rubber Compound. These materials allow the midsole to be lightweight and highly responsive.

The bottom line is that walking, running, or working out on this shoe is very comfortable and easy on your feet. It doesn’t feel like you’re wearing anything at all. Plus, it has adequate arch support and a supportive midfoot so you can be sure of your footing. This lightweight design helps boost your metabolism and gets your muscles and bones operating more efficiently.

17. ALTRA Women's ALW1733G Escalante Road Running Shoe

Our rating: 6 / 10

ALTRA Women's ALW1733G Escalante Road Running Shoe

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Pros:

  • Available at 16-20 ounces
  • The padded tongue and collar provide a plush feel
  • Shoe laces stay secure
  • It’s not bulky or heavy, making it ideal for your daily runs
  • The outsole is durable, yet lightweight
  • The upper is breathable and
  • It won’t wear out too quickly

Cons:

  • Can be a bit heavy for some
  • The outsole is not as durable as others in the price range
  • The foot bed is removable, but it’s tricky to put back in the shoe
  • A little warm to wear

18. HOKA ONE ONE MEN'S Cavu Running Shoe

Our rating: 6 / 10

HOKA ONE ONE MEN'S Cavu Running Shoe

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19. ALTRA Men's AL0A4VQA Escalante 2.5 Road Running Shoe

Our rating: 6 / 10

ALTRA Men's AL0A4VQA Escalante 2.5 Road Running Shoe

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The ALTRA Men’s AL0A4VQA Escalante 2.5 Road Running Shoe is an innovative and lightweight athletic shoe with a good number of performance features for an excellent price. The shoe comes with a new lacing system – the Megagrip lace system – that provides superior hold and comfort at the same time.

The outsole features Altura Apex technology, which is a progressive combination of tread design and a lug pattern designed for wet or dry asphalt conditions. The nylon outsole also offers additional protection at the heel for added stability.

For an optimal traction it has a herringbone pattern made of rubber, which provides a good amount of traction on many different types of surfaces. It also features a breathable upper material with a mesh construction for additional ventilation, allowing air to circulate to your foot.

20. Nike Men's Air Zoom Pegasus 36 Running Shoes

Our rating: 6 / 10

Nike Men's Air Zoom Pegasus 36 Running Shoes

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Pros:

  • Well-padded
  • Durable
  • Very stylish
  • Perfect for a wide range of activities
  • The cushioning is comfortable
  • Breathable
  • Reasonable price
  • Great traction

Cons:

  • This one runs a little small
  • It lacks durability compared to the previous models

The Nike Air Pegasus Running Shoes is a great choice for new runners. This lightweight running shoe provides great traction. It is extremely comfortable for those who have wider feet. These running shoes are available in a wide variety of different sizes (EUR 40-50) and colors. You can choose the size that fits you best.

The Nike Air Pegasus 36 has a synthetic and mesh upper and a rubber sole. This shoe is designed for high performance. It is also lightweight and ventilated which mean that it doesn't weigh you down. You will be able to maintain your speed with these running shoes. The shoe is perfect for regular exercise, walking, track, and cross-traffic.

With a lightweight, high-performance design, the N1e Plus delivers an on-the-go fit, which is very surprising for a running shoe.

21. HOKA ONE ONE MEN'S Cavu Running Shoe

Our rating: 6 / 10

HOKA ONE ONE MEN'S Cavu Running Shoe

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What are the best running shoes for beginners?

This is yet another question without a definitive answer. Different people have different preferences. That being said here’s what we think are some of the best options out there for beginners.

What are the best running shoes 2021?

For beginners, you can get away with using running shoes that are not designed for running. But you should know that they are not really designed for running.

You will be elated to know that the best running shoes for beginners in 2021 fall in two main categories. One is motion control shoes which are good for wearers with overpronation, and the other is stability shoes which are meant for those with underpronation.

Regardless of whether you have an overpronation issue or an underpronation issue, a motion control or stability running shoe will help with your ailment which is desirable for beginners.

What are the best affordable running shoes?

The most important thing to consider when buying running shoes is comfort. You want to find a pair of shoes that will allow you to put in the miles without overpronating, being too narrow, or causing blisters. You should also maintain a neutral gait when running without stumbling or leaning from side to side as this can result in injuries such as plantar fasciitis.

The main brands that make quality running shoes are Adidas, Brooks, Nike, Puma, New Balance, and Asics. This is a good place to start but don’t be afraid to try on different brands as each company has its own unique style. Here are the top five shoes on the market today.

What are the most comfortable running shoes?

This 100 percent depends on the runner. There are certain characteristics that a runner might value over others. Some runners need shoes that have great arch support, while other runners might need shoes with excellent maneuverability so they can have the ability to do multiple different things while running.

It is all up to the runner to determine what specific area they feel they need more support or energy from. Some runners might not be able to determine what they need because they arenʼt accustomed to running. The best running shoes can be determined by how the shoe feels and how it helps to provide a running experience that is better than the other running shoes that the buyer has tried on.

Conclusion

The best running shoes for beginners are the ones that are light weight, well balanced, offer great support particularly in the arch and heel, cushioning for protection of the foot, and are durable. To have a great shoe, these factors must be present.

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
Brooks Women's Launch 7Best OverallBrooks Women's Launch 7
New Balance Women's Fresh Foam Beacon V1 Running ShoeBudget PickNew Balance Women's Fresh Foam Beacon V1 Running Shoe
HOKA ONE ONE Women’s Cavu Running ShoeUpgrade PickHOKA ONE ONE Women’s Cavu Running Shoe