6 of the best running shoes for beginners

·4-min read
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You can take your first steps in your everyday trainers but investing in a pair of specialist running shoes will make your runs more comfortable and enjoyable in the long-term and is well worth the investment.

What to look for in a pair of running shoes

Choosing shoes doesn’t have to be complicated. Although there are a huge variety of styles and price points, all basically consist of a foam sole unit (known as the midsole) of varying thickness, designed to cushion impact, combined with a breathable and comfortable upper to hold the foot securely, without being too tight, and giving your toes room to move.

There is no one ‘best shoe’, as everyone has different needs. All sorts of factors – such as your biomechanics, weight and the shape of your feet – mean one person’s ideal option might not work as well for someone else. If you’re buying for the first time, it’s a good idea to go to a dedicated running store where you can have your feet measured and get advice on shoes that fit well and provide the comfort and support you need. But if this isn’t an option, here are a few guide rules.

YOU MIGHT NEED TO GO BIGGER THAN NORMAL

Common sense would dictate that if you wear size nine in regular shoes then you’ll be a size nine in running shoes, but this might not be the case. When you run, the foot spreads inside the shoe more than when you’re walking, so size nines might feel a bit small.

BE GUIDED BY COMFORT

If your new shoes aren’t comfortable then you won’t enjoy running in them. Try on a few different pairs to work out what feels best.

USE THE RULE OF THUMB

This will help you determine if a shoe is too small and that’s a good place to start when it comes to comfort on the run. With the shoe laced up and your heel against the back of it, there should be a thumb’s width of space between the tip of your big toe and the front of the shoe.

TYPES OF SHOE

There are lots of types of running shoe, but those designed for running on pavements (road shoes) can be divided into two main categories:

Neutral: These shoes are designed for runners with a normal range of pronation – the natural inward rolling of the foot when it hits the ground – and can vary in cushioning. At one end there are performance (or ‘minimalist’) shoes, designed for racing or running fast, which are very light. At the other there are very cushioned (or ‘maximal’) shoes, with thicker midsoles designed for comfort across very long distances or those with heavier frames.

Support: These shoes, sometimes referred to as stability, structured or control shoes, are designed for those who overpronate when they run – where the foot rolls inwards a lot when it hits the ground. These runners need shoes with good cushioning, along with some kind of support to moderate pronation – generally a firmer insert on the inside of the midsole.

The best running shoes for beginners

Here’s out tried and tested selection of the very best running shoes for beginners.

1. Asics Gel-Excite 8

Offers excellent comfort, whether you’re running a few miles, or errands around town. This model features strategically placed gel inserts in the heel to reduce impact when the foot hits the ground, a lightweight midsole and plush insole to offer a smooth feeling on the run.

2. Reebok Floatride Energy 3

An impressive, all-purpose, good-value running shoe, which features a lightweight midsole for a smooth, responsive ride. The breathable upper helps keep your feet cool, while the carbon rubber outsole is long-lasting and provides reliable grip for all weather conditions and surfaces.

3. Hoka Rincon 3

With a big hit of midsole cushioning delivering a soft-yet-stable landing in an incredibly lightweight package, the Rincon offers supreme comfort straight out of the box. It performs equally well on shorter, faster runs and longer, slower efforts, and scooped the Best Value award in our recent shoe guide.

4. Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 38

This classic workhorse is now in its 38th iteration, which gives you an idea of its pedigree. Nike’s React foam offers a springy feel and an Air unit in the midsole makes for an even bouncier ride. The forefoot is wider for more space for your toes, while the upper, with its breathable mesh, is big on comfort.

5. New Balance Fresh Foam 680v7

An ideal choice for anyone starting out in running. The Fresh Foam midsole is designed to deliver a well-cushioned, soft-feeling ride and contains a firmer, moulded insert for extra pronation support. The breathable mesh upper is seamless for a comfortable fit.

6. Adidas Supernova+

Aimed at beginner runners, these are responsive shoes designed to keep you comfortable from your first mile to your first race. The front of the midsole contains the brand’s Boost foam, offering excellent cushioning, while the mesh upper provides support and ventilation where you need it most.

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