7 Best Neutral Running Shoes in 2022

Jovana Subic
Jovana Subic on
7 Best Neutral Running Shoes in 2022

Neutral running shoes are intended for people with neutral pronation, when the foot is not rolling inwards excessively. These shoes have no additional stabilizers or foot guiding features.

Making up around 85% of the running shoe market, there is more than plenty of neutral shoes to choose from. We have personally tested over 100 of these shoes from 30+ brands to pick out the cream of the crop.

Be it a go-to daily trainer that you’re after, a race-day shoe, or a rugged trail option, we’ve got our top picks in five different categories.

You can also learn more about pronation and other nitty-gritties of running shoes in the bottom section of this guide.

Disclaimer: The purpose of this article is to educate, not to make any medical diagnosis or recommendation.

How we test running shoes

There are thousands of good running shoes out there. But we know how to pick the great ones.

How? We are a team of running shoe fanatics equipped with a shoe testing lab and a set of strict criteria:

  • Every shoe gets cut into pieces and is measured on 30+ different parameters, from cushioning softness to upper breathability to shoelace slippage.
  • Our testers log 30-50 miles on average to test each pair in a variety of conditions.
  • We do not receive shoes for free, all products are purchased with our own money to keep us unbiased.
  • Our system aggregates all available expert and user reviews on every single shoe.

Our findings are then summarized in a CoreScore. It is a number from 0 to 100 which helps to compare each shoe against 1700+ other neutral running shoes.

The top picks make it to this list.

Best neutral running shoes overall

Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 38
Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 38

Corescore

86
Great!
4.3 / 5 from 2,994 users
88 / 100 from 21 experts

Pros

  • Wider than Pegasus 37
  • Very stable ride
  • Peppy toe-off
  • Hugs your feet 
  • Padded upper
  • Very durable (400-500miles)
  • Grippy even on dirt roads
  • Legit workhorse
  • Doubles as a gym shoe
  • A joy to run in

Cons

  • Runs warm
  • Above-average weight

Verdict

The GOAT in our list of workhorse shoes, the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 38 is just a bag of goods.

For our daily runs, it gave us all the comfort our feet could ever ask for. And when we picked up the pace, the shoe showed us some serious pep. It was fun and lively to run in. 

Make no mistake, this can eat up miles too! And for a neutral shoe, it’s very stable. Its outsole measures 109.5mm wide in the forefoot and 80.7mm in the heel, we had ZERO issues with unsteady strides. 

And when it comes to sturdiness, it couldn’t get more solid than this. 

It’s built like a tank, and we are sure it will last 400-500 miles with serious beating from the pavement. Although the React midsole is 18% softer than the average midsole (in our lab test), it’s still very dense, we don’t see it bottoming out. 

Add in the shoe’s heavy-duty outsole. At 87.5HC, it’s 11% stiffer than the average outsole. No cap, this shoe is just built to last! 

We even took it out for some fun on the dirt, and guess what? The outsole has got major traction. 

If there’s a downside to this do-it-all trainer, it’s on its heft. At 10.25 oz, it’s just WAY up there on the scales. Other than that, it’s a great-value shoe that won’t disappoint! 

See our full review and facts

Best neutral running shoes for race

Asics MetaSpeed Sky
Asics MetaSpeed Sky

Corescore

90
Superb!
4.4 / 5 from 77 users
94 / 100 from 16 experts

Pros

  • Bouncy and responsive
  • Fast
  • Fantastic grip
  • Ultra breathable 
  • Stable even at slower speeds
  • Ultra-lightweight
  • Perfect fit
  • Superb foot lockdown
  • Fits wider feet

Cons

  • Not so durable
  • Expensive
  • Not for cold weather
  • No heel tab

Verdict

Even as fault-finding kings, we just had to bow down to the Asics MetaSpeed Sky. It’s the shoe of dreams! 

Nope, we are not getting paid for kissing ass. But the MetaSpeed is just everything we needed to bolt into our next PB. 

First off, it’s a damn featherlight shoe. It was like running on air! It weighs 6.7 oz, and this is by far, among the lightest we’ve tested in the racing category. 

And if it’s a performance-oriented fit you’re after, this is THE shoe. It’s very snug and secure from the heel to the midfoot, but it’s got enough room up front for some swelling and toe splay. 

Comfort doesn’t stop there. The midsole is where the magic happens. Unlike other carbon-plated shoes, it’s not stiff. It’s got a lot of give to make your feet feel cushioned, and enough to give you the bounce that will propel you forward.

To put it plainly, this shoe just screams FAST. 

When we did our flex test, the shoe took 22.5HA to bend. In contrast to other high-stack shoes like the Nike Invincible Run, which has 14.2HA, it’s a no-brainer, the MetaSpeed is much more stable.

Even during slow-paced runs, we didn’t like our feet were falling off the sides. Stability is even made better with the shoe’s outstanding grip. 

In both wet and dry conditions, the MetaSpeed Sky was a star! It just latched onto the pavement, and during some quick turns, there was none of that wobbly sensation. 

At $250, it’s a steep price to pay, but it’s a price we’re willing to pay. 

See our full review and facts

Best neutral trail running shoes

Saucony Peregrine 11
Saucony Peregrine 11

Corescore

89
Great!
4.5 / 5 from 3,739 users
85 / 100 from 18 experts

Pros

  • Outstanding grip
  • Perfect foot lockdown
  • Great for mud, ice, rocks 
  • Durable as a tank

Cons

  • For narrow feet only
  • Not breathable
  • Heavy

Verdict

Blazing through the trails was a breeze with the Saucony Peregrine 11. Confidence-inspiring doesn’t even give justice to what this trail bruiser gave us! 

May it be on slick mud, snow, over dry, rocky stream crossing, this just bit through everything. Jagged rocks and roots? This beast smashed them all! 

When we upped the pace and when we ran into some corners, this shoe gave us a 10/10 lockdown. No heel slips, and no wobbling inside. 

Protection is also key in the upper. It’s heavily padded, all you’ll feel is the plush wrap it provides, and none of those harsh trail elements.The tradeoff? It’s not for summer runs. 

But if it’s a winter trail shoe you’re after, you’re in for a treat! 

Where this shoe won us over is in its ride. It’s not cushy, nor is it comfortable, but it’s got everything you need to mute out all the ruggedness underfoot. 

When we took it out for our lab testing, the shoe required 33.6N to bend. That’s INSANELY stiff. On average, it only takes about 26.2N.

The shoe’s rigidity is not all bad. This also translates to a heavy-duty construction. We tell you, this shoe is the armored car of trail shoes!

See our full review and facts

Best neutral road running shoes

Brooks Ghost 14
Brooks Ghost 14

Corescore

93
Superb!
4.7 / 5 from 37,630 users
91 / 100 from 15 experts

Pros

  • All about comfort!
  • True to size
  • Lots of padding
  • Smooth ride
  • Really stable, even on light trails
  • Breathable
  • Great out of the box
  • Built for longevity (500 miles, easily)
  • Great grip 

Cons

  • Lacks breathability for hot summer days
  • Not the best for long distances

Verdict

The Ghost 14 from Brooks really fits the bill as the shoe for all runners. It's a workhorse that's comfy enough for easy days, responsive for tempo sessions, and is heavy-duty to handle light trails. Overall, a no-fuss daily trainer that will work for all your runs!
See our full review and facts

Neutral running shoes with best cushioning

Saucony Endorphin Speed 2
Saucony Endorphin Speed 2

Corescore

91
Superb!
4.6 / 5 from 1,629 users
92 / 100 from 18 experts

Pros

  • Fun, peppy ride
  • Runs like a race shoe
  • Lightweight
  • Plenty breathable
  • Smooth rockered transitions
  • Great lockdown
  • 2 pairs of laces
  • One shoe Race, Tempo, Trainer
  • More flexible than other carbon-plated shoes
  • Reflective detail for night runs
  • Easy to put on (pull tab on the tongue and heel)

Cons

  • Learning curve needed for heel strikers or slower paces
  • Slipper on wet surfaces

Verdict

If you want a neutral shoe that’s going to give you both bounce and comfort, we can’t recommend the Endorphin Speed 2 enough. 

It’s the shoe that really made us run with speed, and it didn’t punish our feet for it. If anything, it gave us a lush spa-day comfort. And for a speed devil, it's rare. 

Whether you’re training or racing, this shoe fits the bill! For daily abuse, it’s sturdy enough to take a beating, and it’s comfortable enough to give the feet all the cushion it needs for the easy days. 

And if you want to kill the competition, you can too. It’s got loads of bounce and it’s very springy, it’s almost trampoline-like. Running in it is not only a fun experience but is also a FAST one. 

The quick feeling from the shoe is also aided by its rather stiff construction. It complements the springiness that the shoe delivers. 

In our lab test, it took 39.6N to bend the Speed 2, while the average only takes 37.2N. 

Even better, it’s light. At 8.1 oz, it’s in the ranks of race-day shoes. What’s even more surprising is that it has a better lockdown than its racing sibling, the Saucony Endorphin Pro. Our feet were just locked in place, and it’s structured enough to make us feel supported all throughout. 

There is a lot to love about this shoe, and if you want the best of both worlds - a daily trainer and racer packed in one - then don’t hesitate to buy the Saucony Endorphin Speed 2!

See our full review and facts

Best value neutral running shoes

Brooks Revel 5
Brooks Revel 5

Corescore

87
Great!
4.5 / 5 from 7,382 users
91 / 100 from 3 experts

Pros

  • True to size
  • Fits like a dream
  • Accommodating stretchy upper
  • Efficient transitions
  • Surprisingly peppy
  • Laces stay tied tightly
  • Low to the ground
  • Durable construction
  • Great deal
  • Do-it-all shoe
  • Impressive weight
  • Breathable

Cons

  • Not for long runs
  • No reflective details

Verdict

Brooks on a budget but make it high quality, say hello to the Revel 5! If there’s a shoe that surprised us the most it’s this one right here. 

At $100, the Revel made us feel like we were running in an expensive running shoe. It’s comfortable, it kept our feet cushioned all throughout our daily runs. 

And when we threw in some long-distance stretches, the shoe also wowed us not only with its comfort but also with its unmatched protection. Each pound on the pavement, our feet felt completely pain-free. 

And of course, we just had to pace this shoe to test its limits. It didn’t break. It just continued to give us everything we weren’t expecting. It delivered sufficient bounce and spring, creating a fast and efficient ride! 

Even better, it makes its way into our roster of lightweight running shoes. At 8.7 oz, it weighs WAY less than the average 9.4 oz (in our lab tests). 

In the strength arena, it’s got so much for so little price! The outsole is 79HC stiff while the more expensive running shoes are 79.2HC tough. 

See our full review and facts

Do you need neutral shoes? 

Yes, if you pronate neutrally or if you underpronate (supinate). This is a widely-known general rule. However, novice runners might use neutral shoes as well, as shown in this comprehensive study of 927 novice runners.

nike-air-zoom-pegasus-38-heel-outsole.jpg

Around 85% of running shoes on the market today are neutral, meaning they have no arch support. Nike Pegasus is one of the most popular neutral running shoes.

To figure out your pronation (foot mechanic), you can look at your arches and used footwear. Compare your findings with the illustrations below: 

Arch-type-recommended-shoes.png

Wet test: discover your arch type

You can also do a so-called wet test to discover the type of your arches. 

  1. Wet the soles of your feet, one at a time
  2. Stand onto a piece of paper while allowing the moisture from your feet to sink into the paper
  3. Step off
  4. Look at the shape of your footprint and compare it to the ones shown below.  

If you have a high arch, the footprint will show only the front and heel of your foot with nothing in between. If there’s a thin line connecting them, you have a moderately high arch - better than the extreme.

Wet-test-results.png

If your footprints look like the 2nd or the 3rd one (or something in between), you’re a candidate for neutral shoes! On the other hand, overpronators usually look for stability shoes and motion control shoes.

If all this sounds too complicated, running specialty stores have treadmills with feet-scanning options. They can easily assess your pronation and tell you which features to look for in a shoe. Going to the specialist is also always a good idea as they can implement a holistic approach.

Features of neutral running shoes

It’s easier to understand the features of neutral running shoes when the comparison is given, for orientation. 

Feature-comparison-neutral-vs-stability-vs-motion-control-shoes.png

Neutral running shoes are usually lighter than other shoes because they don’t have additional stability features. Their outsole/midsole design is simple, without rigid implementations. They are softer and allow the feet to move freely.

neutral-vs-stability-support.jpg

Saucony Ride (neutral) weighs 9.9 oz vs. Saucony Guide (stability) weighs 10.5 oz

These are general properties only. There are extremes like neutral running shoes that are maximally cushioned and weigh more than 500g.

How to recognize neutral running shoes 

If you don’t want to check the features of the shoe online or ask the store employees, here’s how you can recognize neutral running shoes.

For easier comparison, we’ll show how all 3 types of running shoes compare.

how-to-recognize-neutral-stability-and-motion-control-running-shoes.png

Running-shoe market dropdown by stability features

Chances are the model you choose is the neutral running shoe, given that they occupy the majority of the running shoe market.

running-shoes-market-breakdown-stability-features.png

FAQ about neutral running shoes

1. Can overpronators run in neutral running shoes?

Overpronators need stability elements because those prevent the ankle from rolling excessively inward and leading to potential pain and injury. Neutral running shoes are not recommended, especially for severe overpronation cases.

2. Can neutral pronators run in stability running shoes?

Neutral pronators might run in any kind of shoe. In theory. But why risk stability features influencing your gait or why pay for features you don’t actually need? The good news is that 85% of running shoes are neutral shoes.

3. How reliable is the arch-type/pronation test?

It’s not difficult to assess arch type or pronation. The trouble comes when we realize that science doesn’t back this widely-accepted criteria for choosing a shoe (as explained here). That’s why it’s most important to choose the shoe that is comfortable. If you have a history of injuries or are experiencing severe pain, it’s imperative to see a specialist. 

What are the cheapest neutral running shoes in 2022?

  1. Reebok Flashfilm 3.0 - from $28
  2. Adidas Questar - from $33
  3. Reebok Lite Plus 3 - from $36
  4. Adidas Runfalcon 2.0 TR - from $36
  5. Adidas SL20.2 - from $37
  6. Asics Trail Scout 2 - from $37
  7. Reebok Energylux 3 - from $37
  8. Reebok Energen Plus - from $39
  9. Adidas SL20.3 - from $39
  10. Adidas Runfalcon 2.0 - from $39
  11. Under Armour HOVR Infinite 3 - from $40
  12. Adidas EQ21 - from $40
  13. Asics Jolt 3 - from $40
  14. Asics Versablast - from $40
  15. Asics Gel Scram 6 - from $40

See all neutral running shoes sorted by lowest price

Author
Jovana Subic
Jovana Subic

Whether it's a vertical kilometre or an ultra, climbing in the Alps or exploring local mountains, Jovana uses every opportunity to trade walls and concrete for forests and trails. She logs at least 10h/week on trails, with no off-season, and 4x more on research on running and running shoes. With a background in physics and engineering management, she prefers her running spiced with data.