If You're New To Running, These Are The Best Shoes To Get You Started

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When it comes to athletic shoes, it’s always best to try them on to get the right fit — but there are a few things you can look for if you're a new runner ordering running shoes online. In most cases, the best running shoes for beginners are road-running shoes because they can provide the right amount of comfortable cushioning, support, and tread to help you balance and grip whether you’re running on pavement or a treadmill. But not all feet are alike, and depending on the shape or your arch and pronation, you may want to choose a shoe that’s designed for your foot — or slip some insoles into your basic running shoe.

There are three types of arches (medium arches, flat arches, and high arches), a medium arch is the most common, but flat or high arches may benefit from a more specialized shoe. But you'll also want to think about how your foot hits the ground. If your arch collapses and causes your ankle to roll inwards, that is called overpronation. Those with flat feet, may be more prone to overpronation, but someone with a high arch can also experience this. If your ankle rolls outwards, that is called underpronation or supination. People with high arches are more at high risk of this. Ideally, your feet shouldn’t lean in or out, that indicates you have a natural pronation.

Whatever your arch type, jumpstart your running routine with these four pairs of shoes that are fantastic for beginners.

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The Overall Best Running Shoe For Beginners

Well-reviewed by Amazon customers and critics alike, Brooks's Ghost 12 shoes are a fabulous choice for any neutral runner (a.k.a. anyone who isn't an overpronator or supinator) who wants to invest in an overall great pair of shoes for road running and gym workouts. The lightweight shoe features supportive yet soft cushioning and a Segmented Crash Pad outsole for increased shock absorption. A stretchy mesh gives it a secure fit.

With more than 30 colors and patterns to choose from, you're sure to find a hue that's right for you.

Positive Amazon review: “These are light as a feather and durable. So comfortable to run in. Nice cushioning, & very comfortable on the heel strike. The laces are non slip, so the shoes won’t loosen up which was a nice surprise. [...] I love them.”

  • Available sizes: Women’s 5-12 (narrow, wide, and standard sizes)


The Best Budget Running Shoe For Beginners

The Brooks Ghost 12 is my top pick, but if you need a cheaper (but totally solid!) pair for road or treadmill running, try the ASICS Gel-Excite 6 Shoes. ASICS is a reputable brand and known for having great affordable options and this pair reaffirms that. The AmpliFoam Midsole provides durable, soft cushioning, the Rearfoot GEL technology cushioning system absorbs shock and smooths your transition as you step, and the breathable Ortholite Sockliner cushions your foot while managing uncomfortable sweat. These shoes are best for neutral runners, not overpronators or supinators. They're available in 16 colors.

Positive Amazon review: “I am starting to run, with the goal of running a 10 k this year. I was using cheap sneakers from a big box store and was having so much foot pain. Several friends recommended ASICS [...] I ran for the first time last night with them (3 miles) and wow. What a difference! My legs were a lot less tired and no foot pain!”

  • Available sizes: Women’s 5-12 (wide and standard sizes)


The Best Running Shoes For Beginners With Flat Feet Or Overpronation

If you have low arches, or flat feet, give the ASICS Women's Gel-Kayano 26 Running Shoes a try. Runners with low arches tend to have overpronated feet, meaning their feet roll inwards as they step. These shoes are designed for low arches and overpronated feet, and the Dynamic DuoMax Support System offers extra stability and helps to manage overpronation. The full-length SpevaFoam 45 provides a soft, comfortable platform and FlyteFoam Technology gives the shoe lightweight, continuous cushion, as well as some bounce. The AHAR sponge outsole is lightweight but can withstand lots of wear, and the jacquard mesh uppers are breathable (and available in 21 colors!). ASICS has also added reflective details to improve your visibility in low-light conditions.

For extra comfort, consider also purchasing one of the best insoles for flat feet.

Positive Amazon review: “I was told that these cannot be beat if you have flat feet and bad ankles (which I do) so I decided to give these a try. I was instantly impressed by the support and how stable my ankles felt. [...] Plus, the colors are great and they don't rub my heels!”

  • Available sizes: Women’s 5-13 (wide and standard sizes)


The Best Beginner Running Shoes For High Arches

Brooks offers a lot of great options for anyone with high arches, but this pair of Glycerin 17 shoes tops my list because of its cushioning. If you have high arches, less of your foot hits the ground as you run, which means you may benefit from a shoe with extra cushion to absorb shock and support and protect your foot. The Glycerin 17 has garnered the top level of cushion that Brooks offers (a Level 3) that makes it feel like you're "walking on clouds," according to many reviewers. It features soft yet responsive DNA LOFT cushioning and a contoured, moisture-wicking OrthoLite sockliner that adds to your comfort as you run. The upper is made of a breathable mesh with 3D Fit Print technology.

Positive Amazon review: “I love these shoes. I have really high arches and so finding a good pair of running shoes is key. These make me feel like I can farther and faster, and my knees and legs are way less sore. My stride feels so much more natural with them. [...] I actually look forward to my runs now.”

  • Available sizes: Women’s 5-12 (narrow, wide, and standard sizes)