10 Best Running Shoes For Beginners in 2022

Jens Jakob Andersen
Jens Jakob Andersen on
10 Best Running Shoes For Beginners in 2022

They say great things come from small beginnings. That said, don't confuse "small beginnings" for a rough start. No, you can be in your best form as a freshman if you sport the finest running shoes for beginners.

We've tested over a dozen remarkable entry-level running shoes for your perusal. So, whether you're fancying a budget-friendly pair or you're looking for something mighty formidable on the trail, this beginner-friendly selection is for you.

How we test running shoes

Assembling such an impressive selection as this is not actually a walk in the park. We do follow a set of principles, after all. To give you a clearer idea, take a look at our approach:

  • We purchase beginner-friendly running shoes with our own money.
  • We run in these kicks for several miles to check their comfort level, general performance (including grip), and durability.
  • Our lab experts run them through a series of tests to gauge their rebound rate and breathability, among others.
  • Our reviews on the best running shoes for beginners reflect opinions from hundreds of footwear critics and entry-level runners.

Combined, these elements result in what we call a CoreScore. Every reviewed kick gets one, ranging from 0 to 100. Our selection process makes use of this scoring system to help us come up with a shortlist of top picks.

Best running shoes for beginners overall

Brooks Ghost 14
Brooks Ghost 14
£90
£131
£142
Top pick

Corescore

93
Superb!
4.7 / 5 from 34,349 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
Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 38
Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 38
£78
£83
£90
£90
Also great

Corescore

86
Great!
4.3 / 5 from 2,515 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

If there's one thing we can't take away from the Pegasus 38, it's that it's the GOAT of all workhorse shoes in our arsenal! It oozes with plushness, stability, and pop, doing it all from slow days, tempo sessions, and gym workouts even. If you want to run with fun, take the Pegasus any day! 

See our full review and facts

Best beginner running shoes for flat feet

Saucony Guide 14
Saucony Guide 14
£66
£81
£101
£101
Top pick

Corescore

89
Great!
4.5 / 5 from 2,811 users
85 / 100 from 12 experts

Pros

  • Mild stability
  • Wide toebox
  • Familiar Saucony fit
  • Good grip
  • Perfect midfoot lockdown
  • Really durable

Cons

  • Uninspired ride
  • Heel slipping
  • A bit heavy

Verdict

A stability shoe made for training runs, the Guide 14 from Saucony just gets the job done for us. No frills, no gimmicks, just plain support. While it may be a positive for the shoe, it also renders a negative - it's a dull ride. Whether you're an overpronator or a neutral runner in need of extra arch support, the Saucony Guide is neither obtrusive nor too harsh to not find that sweet spot in your daily running shoe roster. 

See our full review and facts
Brooks Adrenaline GTS 21
Brooks Adrenaline GTS 21
£81
£121
Also great

Corescore

92
Superb!
4.6 / 5 from 66,593 users
91 / 100 from 18 experts

Pros

  • fits true to size
  • secure fit
  • great stability
  • gusseted tongue
  • soft but not mushy
  • superb durability
  • no lace bite

Cons

  • not for speedy runs
  • could be lighter

Verdict

Thanks for making our daily runs nice and stable, Brooks Adrenaline GTS 21! The upper hugged our feet well, and the midsole is balanced - it's neither mushy nor too rigid. It just kept our motions in check, preventing any excessive movements. It's certainly not a light shoe, but having tested its precursors, we can say that Brooks is heading in the right direction! Apart from support, what stood out to us also is its tank-like durability. 

See our full review and facts

Best beginner running shoes for all-day wear

Asics Gel Cumulus 23
Asics Gel Cumulus 23
£57
£85
£87
£100
Top pick

Corescore

90
Superb!
4.5 / 5 from 6,939 users
89 / 100 from 10 experts

Pros

  • Comfortable 
  • Lightweight for a daily trainer
  • True to size
  • Do-it-all shoe
  • Budget-minded at $120
  • Smooth ride
  • No break-in period
  • Durable
  • Decent grip

Cons

  • Not super efficient
  • Runs a bit warm
  • Stiffens up in the cold

Verdict

Nearing its 24th iteration, Gel Cumulus sure did something right. And we couldn't disagree. The Asics Gel Cumulus 23 is here yet again to prove that it's the most value-oriented neutral trainer out there. It's a one-shoe-fits-all kind of running shoe. It's comfortable for jogs, daily runs, and even for your first race day in 5K or marathon! 

See our full review and facts
Saucony Ride 14
Saucony Ride 14
£84
£88
£95
£113
Also great

Corescore

90
Superb!
4.5 / 5 from 1,899 users
91 / 100 from 15 experts

Pros

  • Durable 
  • Breathable
  • Soft, luxurious feel
  • True to size
  • No break-in
  • Wide feet friendly
  • Do-it-all trainer

Cons

  • A bit stiff underfoot
  • Could be more responsive

Verdict

The Saucony Ride 14 is a daily trainer that impressed us with its utilitarian and consistent ride. It stays nice and stable from short to long-distance runs, giving us that peace of mind to run with confidence from start to finish! It's neither too soft nor too firm and can handle just about any type of run - from daily runs, recovery days, and even tempo paces. 

See our full review and facts

Best trail running shoes for beginners

Brooks Cascadia 16
Brooks Cascadia 16
£102
£121
Top pick

Corescore

89
Great!
4.5 / 5 from 735 users
88 / 100 from 15 experts

Pros

  • Grippy outsole
  • Wide toe box
  • Great lockdown
  • True to size
  • Durable
  • Gaiter attachments
  • Rock plate
  • Aggressive
  • Lacing options

Cons

  • On the heavier side
  • A bit stiff
  • Runs warm

Verdict

Brooks updates their venerable trail crusher in this 16 version of the Cascadia. If you demand stout grip, a stable platform, and bright colors take a look at the Cascadia 16. It’s true to size, durable as hell, and packed with features like a ballistic rock plate, lace loop, and enough upper lacing eyelets to ensure a custom fit. These aggressive kicks are ready for adventure!

See our full review and facts
Nike Pegasus Trail 3
Nike Pegasus Trail 3
£81
£89
£93
£103
Also great

Corescore

89
Great!
4.5 / 5 from 168 users
87 / 100 from 13 experts

Pros

  • Soft, bouncy ride
  • Very comfortable
  • True to size
  • Wide for a Nike
  • Wide loop on heel
  • Built to last
  • Reflective swoosh
  • Killer grip on dry trails

Cons

  • Not grippy in wet
  • Runs warm

Verdict

The Pegasus road series just holds a special place in our feet, we just had to see it in trail action. And voila! 50 miles later, the Nike Pegasus Trail 3 won us over with its uber plush landings! Unlike other trail shoes, it's NOT dense nor dull, it's stable and comfy and will make your run cloud-like. When faced with slick surfaces, however, it shows its limitations.

See our full review and facts

Best value running shoe for beginners

Nike Downshifter 10
Nike Downshifter 10
Top pick

Corescore

86
Great!
4.5 / 5 from 15,407 users
85 / 100 from 3 experts

Pros

  • True to size
  • Roomy toebox
  • Great energy return
  • No break-in period needed
  • Impressive traction
  • Affordable
  • Lightweight
  • Breathable

Cons

  • Tongue could use more padding
  • Lace pressure

Verdict

The Nike Downshifter 10 is a cushioned shoe with neutral support. It is for runners who want an affordable entry-level shoe. Its design is classic, minimal, and sleek. Overall, the shoe offers good value for money. What you get for the low price point is very good in terms of performance and durability.

See our full review and facts
Asics Gel Contend 7
Asics Gel Contend 7
Also great

Corescore

89
Great!
4.5 / 5 from 24,149 users
100 / 100 from 1 experts

Pros

  • Fits true to size
  • Good heel lock
  • Stable
  • A fair amount of cushioning
  • Value for money
  • Durable, grippy outsole
  • Guidance line keeps the foot steady

Cons

  • Rubber outsole is squeaky
  • Not comfortable on longer runs
  • Inefficient arch support

Verdict

If you're looking for one of the best value running shoes out there, the Asics Gel Contend 7 is it. From ample cushioning for short to medium-length runs, to tough constructions the Gel Contend 7 exceeds expectations for this price bracket. 

See our full review and facts

What are the cheapest running shoes for beginners in 2022?

  1. Reebok Lite Plus 3 - from £16
  2. Adidas Duramo 10 - from £25
  3. Reebok Energylux 3 - from £38
  4. Asics Trail Scout 2 - from £39
  5. Asics Gel Contend 7 - from £40
  6. Asics Gel Excite 9 - from £45
  7. Salomon Alphacross 3 - from £47
  8. Adidas Questar - from £48
  9. Asics Gel Pulse 13 - from £55
  10. Asics Gel Cumulus 23 - from £58
  11. Under Armour Charged Impulse 2 - from £65
  12. Adidas Adistar - from £67
  13. Reebok Floatride Energy 4 - from £73
  14. Nike Pegasus Trail 3 - from £81
  15. Salomon Supercross 3 - from £85

See all running shoes for beginners sorted by lowest price

Author
Jens Jakob Andersen
Jens Jakob Andersen

Jens Jakob is a fan of short distances with a 5K PR at 15:58 minutes. Based on 35 million race results, he's among the fastest 0.2% runners. Jens Jakob previously owned a running store, when he was also a competitive runner. His work is regularly featured in The New York Times, Washington Post, BBC and the likes as well as peer-reviewed journals. Finally, he has been a guest on +30 podcasts on running.