The 10 best running shoes for beginners

Men’s Health’s pick of the best running shoes for beginners

Getting into running is always going to be hard, but these shoes can make it a little easier

DESPITE WHAT SOCIAL MEDIA, your friends and even your personal trainer might tell you, incorporating running into your exercise routine is no easy feat. Like every other form of exercise, running is supposed to be challenging. If it’s not, you probably aren’t doing it right. That’s not to say, however, that it can’t be made easier without removing all of its muscle-building, fat-burning and cardiovascular health improving benefits.

With Global Running Day on June 5th rapidly approaching, there’s never been a better time to start running. But before you begin, adding a pair of reliable, top-quality running shoes to your wardrobe can drastically improve your results – and lessen the load on those beat-up joggers that have been gathering dust since your last running effort. But first, some of the basics, so you know what to look for in a running shoe.

What should beginners look for in a running shoe?

It’s easy to be drawn into the over-stacked and über-foamed allure of some of the footwear industry’s flashier running shoes, but beginners should focus on the basics. Glitzy supershoes and terrain specific kicks can factor into the wheelhouses of more experienced runners, who will usually make use of what is called a ‘shoe rotation’ in which they have 2-5 shoes specialised for the different types of runs they embark on.

If you’re starting your running journey, versatility is your friend. For the most part, this means choosing a shoe that the big brands call a daily trainer. These are all-rounders that can handle more mileage than the average shoe without compromising on comfort or performance practicality – they’re also usually far more affordable than their carbon-plated counterparts.

If you’re ready to step into more specialised shoes, check out our picks of the best carbon-plated supershoes, trail running shoes, and overall best running shoes. But, if you’re just starting out, we do recommend sticking to daily trainers. Now, let’s get into the best of them.

What are the best running shoes for beginners?

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Hoka Clifton 9

Hoka continues to excel in cushioning with the much-awarded Clifton 9. The latest addition to the vaunted Clifton line strips back excess weight and adds stack height to create an eminently light running experience. Featuring an updated EVA midsole and a refined upper, these shoes offer cloud-like comfort without compromising on responsiveness. The Meta-Rocker technology ensures a smooth transition from heel to toe, making the Clifton 9 an ideal choice for a plush and supportive ride on any terrain.



Running shoes for beginners

New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080v13

When New Balance says “If we only made one running shoe, it would be the Fresh Foam X 1080”, they mean it. The reason behind such a lofty claim is the notion that the 1080v13 offers enough versatility to be capable of tackling everything from daily training to race day. Fresh Foam midsole cushioning and a second-skin mesh upper provide the necessary support and comfort, ensuring a smooth transition from landing to push-off without losing any performance function. An Ndurance rubber outsole also adds increased durability, which you’ll need if these are going to be your daily trainers.



Running Shoes for beginners

Asics Novablast 4

Asics’ gel-based shoes may garner most of the attention, but there’s hardly a better daily trainer in the Asics catalogue than the Novablast 4. As they’re generally the cheapest shoes in brands’ ranges, there’s a tendency for them to lapse on aesthetics. Not the Novablast, which utilises a visually striking design. The most obvious point of interest lies in the tall heel, which holds a huge amount of cushioning and boasts higher levels of energy return than most of the other entries on this list. Elsewhere, a tongue wing construction in the upper improves the fit for a stabilising, supportive feel.



Running shoes for beginners

Nike Zoom Fly 5

Nike says the Zoom Fly 5 will bridge the gap between weekend training and race day. That versatility is precisely what you want in a beginner running shoe. Durability is at the heart of the Zoom Fly 5’s design. They’ll last longer than a few test runs, and courtesy of powerful ZoomX foam in the midsole, they have the added bounce you’ll need once you decide to lift the tempo.



Best running shoes for beginners

Puma Velocity Nitro 3

The Velocity Nitro 3s are all about blending comfort and speed, with Puma’s patented NITRO technology delivering superior responsiveness and cushioning. There’s also the heel spoiler and Pumagrip outsole, which both provide enhanced stability, for the less sure-footed runners among us.




Adidas Supernova Rise

When assessing a shoe you’re going to be logging countless kilometres in, maximum comfort should be at the top of your list of priorities. Impressive performance specs should be secondary to comfort and feel for beginners – the time will come for your transition into race day attire, but you’ll need to work your way up first – and the Supernova Rises might just be the most comfortable runners on the market. Dreamstrike+ technology cushions the midsole with ​re-engineered super foam, a system of dense foam support rods smoothen the heel-to-toe transition, and soft textiles complete the package with a fit that Adidas describes as “the shoe giving your heel a hug.”



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Asics Gel-Nimbus 26

Like a pub having the year it was established next to its name, there’s something about a shoe having a high number next to its name that adds a level of prestige. The higher the number, the greater the level of intrigue attracted by a shoe, and they don’t get much higher than the latest Gel-Nimbus from Asics, which is the 26th iteration of the line. These shoes combine ultra-supportive PureGel cushioning with a plush collar, offering unbelievably soft landings and a luxurious experience for your feet. The stylish design can’t be ignored either, ensuring you’ll make a statement whether you’re conquering arduous running routes or just strolling to the coffee shop.



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On Cloudeclipse

On running is known for its unconventional designs and atypical-looking shoes, and the Cloudeclipse fits that bill. Cloudeclipse is On’s max-cushioned shoe, designed for durability and long lasting comfort. They boast a double dosage of CloudTec Phase cushioning and a bottom unit made with Helion superfoam for impact absorption. Like most On Running shoes, the Cloudeclipse lives up to its name and feels like running on a cloud.




New Balance FuelCell Rebel v4

The FC Rebel v4 is an up-tempo shoe that represents the culmination of years of innovation at New Balance. The fourth iteration of the Rebel has a taller and wider sole than previous versions. As any knowledgeable sneakerhead will know, it is typically the narrower soles that offer the most energy return and propulsion, but the Rebel v4 is even bouncier than its predecessors thanks to an enhanced FuelCell foam midsole. The FC Rebel v4 is also shockingly lightweight – weighing in at a measly 218 grams.

Read our full review of the FC Rebels here.



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Reebok Floatride Energy 5

Dependable, durable and effective. The Floatride Energy 5 has everything you want in a running shoe, all for a startlingly low price. With a lightweight design and responsive cushioning, these shoes will get the job done on the pavement, at the track or off-road. A jack-of-all-trades of a shoe, the Floatride Energy 5s are perfect for the runner who likes to shake things up on a variety of terrains, even if you’re only just starting out.


By Cayle Reid

Cayle Reid is a fan of everything sports and fitness. He spends his free time at the gym, on his surfboard or staying up late watching sports in incompatible time zones.

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