7 Best Neutral Running Shoes in 2024

Jovana Subic
Jovana Subic on
7 Best Neutral Running Shoes in 2024
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Neutral running shoes are intended for people with neutral pronation, when the foot is not rolling inwards excessively. These shoes have no additional stabilisers 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 neutral running shoes 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 different categories.

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.
  • We 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.

The top picks make it to this list.

Best neutral running shoes overall

ASICS Novablast 4

What makes it the best?

The ASICS Novablast 4 reveals itself as the ultimate neutral running shoe in our lab and run tests. This decadent marvel exhibits a stable and energetic ride across different run workouts and exudes pure comfort beyond our imagination.

Running with the Novablast 4 feels like we can run endlessly without leg strain. The midsole has top-tier cushioning, combining an above-average stack with buttery goodness. While this feels ultra-soft underfoot, there’s still a lot of spring for faster efforts. Our durometer reveals that the FF Blast+ ECO foam is 28.7% softer than the average road running shoe. 

Surprisingly, our runs feel stable despite landing on the chunky platform. Novablast provides generous width in the midsole to enhance our surefootedness with every stride. 

Another unexpected feature of Novablast 4 is its lightness on foot. At 9.1 oz (259g), it's lighter than the 9.4 oz (266g) average. Adding to the airy feeling is the unresisting midsole that flows naturally with our motions. Our bend test confirms it’s 13.5% more flexible than average.

While Novablast 4 is a great all-rounder that can go fast, it still lacks the pop needed for racing. Those aiming for new PBs might want to explore other options.


  • Enhanced outsole offering better grip and durability
  • Improved upper comfort with premium materials
  • Upgraded tongue padding
  • Exceptional value at just £150
  • More cushion than ever before
  • Accommodates a wide range of foot sizes
  • The most stable Novablast yet
  • Retains most of its fun and energetic ride


  • Not the best for hot summer runs
  • Outsole still lacks grip in wet conditions
  • Minor weight increase compared to v3
Full review of ASICS Novablast 4

Best daily training neutral running shoes

Nike Pegasus 40

What makes it the best?

The Nike Pegasus, now on its 40th edition, continues to live up to its Greek namesake—the majestic winged stallion. It is a reliable, durable, and comfortable workhorse daily trainer. With 40 years' worth of iterations, we expected nothing less from the Nike Pegasus 40—our clear front-runner for the best neutral daily trainer.

Having an excellent amount of rubber coverage and a purposeful waffle pattern, this shoe not only has incredible durability but also great traction on roads and even light trails. We’ve run more than a few miles in this shoe and it's still going strong. We expect this shoe to last more than a thousand kilometers.

The Pegasus 40’s world-class durability also extends to its upper. The thick dual-layer mesh upper resisted our dremel test (which involves applying exact force and RPMs to every shoe for 4 seconds) where other shoes would have failed. Runners who had durability issues with toe or pinky holes in previous shoes need not look elsewhere.

Aside from its durable upper, it is also comfortable with ample padding in the heel area and a gusseted tongue. It also has a wide forefoot at 100.8 mm (3.2 mm wider than the average of road running shoes). As a whole, the shoe gave us a premium fit—snug but comfortable. 

The Pegasus 40 is a reliable and overall awesome daily trainer with nothing inherently wrong with it. However, it also has an unmemorable and boring ride. Runners will want to look the other way when looking for a more exciting shoe.


  • Plush and comfortable upper
  • Breathable
  • Secure lockdown
  • Has enough toe-box space
  • Not overly soft or firm underfoot
  • Good energy return
  • Great grip on most surfaces
  • Incredible durability
  • Perfect for everyday miles and LSDs


  • A generally narrow fit
  • Heavier than the v39
  • Not a very memorable ride
Full review of Nike Pegasus 40

Best neutral running shoes for speed workouts

What makes it the best?

With energy flowing through its veins, Saucony Endorphin Speed 4 is our super speed trainer among neutral running shoes in the lab. It feels extremely light all around as it offers a fluid and forgiving ride that performs superbly at any distance and pace.

ES4 is weightless and peppy. At 8.4 oz (237g), it’s 10.9% lighter than average. Its nylon plate and bouncy midsole feel responsive, giving us the runner’s high we’re craving. Despite its energy rebound, each stride feels effortless since the midsole doesn’t resist our movements. Our 90-degree test confirms it’s as flexible as our current lab average (29.4N).

The PWRRUN PB midsole tempted us to gobble more miles as it spoiled us with bounce and comfort through its 36.2/27.5 mm stack. To boost stability, it makes the cushion a balanced 22.3 HA so that it doesn’t compress unevenly no matter where we strike our foot.

ES4 is a good place to be in all day. No sweat and blisters with its ultra-breezy upper. The constant airflow provided by the ventilation holes keeps our feet fresh, which our breathability tests confirm with a remarkable 5/5 rating.

While ES4 feels comfortable, some runners still prefer the ultra-soft sensation. If plush cushioning is a priority, we recommend checking other options.


  • Remains lightweight
  • Excels at all paces
  • Great for track workouts
  • More spacious fit
  • Bouncy and enjoyable ride
  • Enhanced stability over v3
  • Suits daily training
  • Exceptional value


  • Slightly heavier than predecessor
  • Could be a bit firm for some
Full review of Saucony Endorphin Speed 4

Best neutral race running shoes

What makes it the best?

The Alphafly 3 is a lightweight marvel of running engineering, boasting exceptional energy return, luxurious comfort, and remarkable stability. After intense testing in the lab and on the streets, it emerges as our top racer among neutral running shoes.

This shoe is meant to race as it truly comes alive at a faster pace. It integrates the rigid FlyPlate and Air Pods into the midsole to provide consistent power and responsiveness. Our bend test revealed its exceptional 144.7% higher stiffness than average, exhaling limitless energy with every stride. What sets the Alphafly 3 apart is its dynamic ZoomX midsole, featuring a dual-density setup for enhanced stability and impact protection. The top layer is a firm 29.3 HA for surefootedness, while the bottom is a plush 18.1 HA for added comfort. This is important for preventing fatigue, especially in the later stages of a race.

Even if it falls in the max-cushioned range, the Alphafly 3 surprises us with its lightness at 7.1 oz (201g). It delivers a refreshing ride with its well-ventilated Atomknit upper, scoring a perfect 5/5 on our breathability test. 

However, enjoying this shoe’s high performance comes with a hefty £290 price tag. Those on a budget should explore other options.


  • Remarkably lightweight despite its broad size
  • Best-in-class breathability
  • Excels in the marathon distance
  • Repositioned Air Pods offer a better ride than the v2
  • ZoomX foam delivers massive energy return
  • Aids in forward momentum, especially when legs begin to fatigue
  • Better than ever for 5K/10K racing
  • Finally smooth transitions!


  • Heel strikers might wear down the outsole quickly
  • The arch could still be a challenge for some
  • The sock-like tongue might not suit everyone
Full review of Nike Alphafly 3

Neutral running shoes with best plush cushioning

What makes it the best?

The ASICS Gel Nimbus 26 sets a new standard for all-encompassing comfort, establishing itself as a standout choice among neutral running shoes we ran with and lab-tested. From its generously padded and well-ventilated upper to its ultra-soft yet supportive platform, this shoe exudes nothing but comfort and support, earning the well-deserved title for best plush cushioning.

The lavish midsole foam and skyscraper build complement each other to create unparalleled plushness, providing a sensation of pure bliss with every step. Our durometer quantifies this and reveals a remarkable softness rating that's 21.6% higher than the average road running shoe. With an impressive stack height measuring 40.4/32.0 mm at the heel and forefoot, respectively, Gel Nimbus 26 is an ultimate maximalist shoe.

Moreover, comfort isn't confined to the shoe's midsole; the upper ensures our comfort and protection, even during extensive double-digit runs, with breathability preventing blisters and hotspots. Our lab tests affirm this with a high 4/5 rating, ensuring comfort across seasons.

Surprisingly, the Gel Nimbus 26 is a supportive shoe that inspires confidence and balance. With a substantial base measuring 118.4 mm on the forefoot and 101.7 mm on the heel, stable landings are assured.

However, the trade-off for such indulgent comfort is weight. With the shoe's bulkiness at 10.7 oz (303g), we found it difficult to speed up.


  • Premium all-around comfort
  • Enhanced toebox design
  • Exceptional durability
  • Best-in-series outsole
  • Ideal for long distances
  • Superb knit upper
  • Surprisingly stable
  • A dream for heel strikers


  • Increased weight
  • Limited energy return
  • Tongue lacks padding
Full review of ASICS Gel Nimbus 26

Best neutral running shoes for trail

Hoka Speedgoat 5

What makes it the best?

Possessing seemingly indestructible outsoles for conquering obstacles along off-beaten paths—going faster and longer on the trails has never felt better. A lightweight and supportive jack-of-all-trades trail shoe, the Hoka Speedgoat 5 is our pick for the best neutral trail shoe.

The Vibram outsole is simply stunning, possessing both grip and durability. After running through rough terrain, there were no visual signs of damage at all. Its traction is confidence-inspiring. When we ran on loose trail terrain, mud, and even frozen surfaces, the Speedgoat 5 did not falter. This is mostly due to the high-quality outsole rubber, and lugs that are 3 mm deep and spaced not too far apart. 

At 277g (9.8 oz), the Hoka Speedgoat 5 is 20g (0.7 oz) lighter than the average trail running shoe and a mere 2.5g heavier than the average neutral running shoe. Trail shoes are expected to be heavier than road running shoes, so the Speedgoat 5's weight sits nicely as a neutral trail shoe. On foot, it feels like it's barely there and certainly helped us in the closing stages of a long run or race.

A combination of a wide base and snug upper makes it stable—and our caliper measurements sealed the deal. At its forefoot, the Speedgoat 5 measures 116.4 mm at the midsole (4.6 mm wider than average) and 96.3 mm at the upper (2.5 mm narrower). It did not wobble nor feel unstable in any of our runs, even on technical terrain.

However, the shoe's upper has a snug fit. Trail runners with really wide feet should consider alternatives for better-fitting shoes.


  • Super grippy
  • Springy ride
  • Stable platform
  • Extra durable
  • High impact protection
  • Lightweight
  • Breathable
  • Secure fit
  • Excellent heel hold


  • Not for wide feet
  • Flared collar is not for everyone (style-wise)
Full review of Hoka Speedgoat 5

Best budget neutral running shoes

Saucony Axon 3

What makes it the best?

At only £110, Saucony Axon 3 is our best budget neutral running shoe, delivering next-level comfort and world-class durability—qualities that some steeper-priced counterparts can’t even provide. For reference, the average pair costs £140. Adding to the feathers to its cap is its refreshing aura due to its light build and breezy upper. 

Axon 3 kept our runs smooth and cozy with its abundance of cushioning. Its 33.6/27.9 mm stack has a velvet foam that allows us to forget the ground's harshness. Our durometer confirms it’s 22.1% softer than average.

Surprisingly, this pair feels light on foot even with its generous padding. Our scales reveal a mere 8.6 oz (244g), 8.3% lighter than the average running shoe. What keeps it all light is the perforated and unobstructed upper that allows air to flow freely. Axon 3 scored an impressive 4/5 result on our breathability test.

Axon 3 deviates from the expected quality of affordable shoes by ensuring the outsole's durability. The Carbon Rubber did not disappoint in all our lab tests by showing less indentation than average in our Dremel test, scoring a tough 82.8 HC, and measuring 0.7 mm thicker than usual.

We felt this shoe might be too stiff for relaxed paces, as confirmed by above-average results in our torsional rigidity and bend tests. Those who prefer a higher level of flexibility should check elsewhere.


  • Incredible value at only £110
  • Significant weight reduction from version 2
  • Impressively cushioned with PWRRUN foam
  • Fantastic durability
  • Suitable for quicker paces
  • Excellent as a daily workhorse
  • Lovely upper
  • Works for short and long runs


  • Probably too stiff for very relaxed runs
  • Slightly narrower forefoot than before
Full review of Saucony Axon 3

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.


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: 


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.


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.

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. 


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.


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 recognise 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 recognise neutral running shoes.

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


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.


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 realise 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. 

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.