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Best running shoes for beginners (how to buy running shoes)

by Shoshana Sue

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So, you want to start running? Welcome to the club, you will love it here. The first step to becoming a runner is finding the best running shoes for beginners because this is what will move you from walking to running, fast.

Any runner who has racked up a few miles will tell you that plenty of times, what makes the difference between a fantastic and an awful run is usually a pair of running shoes. That is why you must learn how to buy running shoes first, before spending money on expensive shoes.

Best running shoes for beginners

When you weigh the cost of going to the gym versus that of running outside, you can almost say that running is free, save for the races when you seriously get into it.

Whether you are running for weight loss or pure pleasure, the most you’ll probably be spending is on running shoes. That is why you have to get it right the first time, or you’ll be burning money looking for the best running shoes time and again.

 

This article will walk you through two important points: how to buy running shoes, and the best running shoes for beginners, guided by an expert.

 

 


 

 

Essential reading:

How to buy running shoes for the first time

Apart from price, there are lots of important factors to consider before buying running shoes, which Dawid Visser, a running expert sheds light on.

1. Consider the surface you will be running on

As a beginner runner, you should give thought to the type of surface you mostly you will be running on. This matters a lot because most running shoes are designed for different surfaces such as concrete, grass trail or treadmill.

tips for buying the right running shoes

2. Have a running gait analysis done

Running expert Dawid Visser, recommends going to your local running shoe store to have a running gait analysis done.

A gait analysis will provide you with information about your running style, which, at the end of the day, will determine the right type of running shoes for you. Gait analysis focuses on pronation which in layman’s terms, describes the way your foot rolls when you walk and run.

best cheap running shoes for beginners women's

 

3. Buy half a size up from your everyday shoes

Running in shoes that are either too small or too big might cause blisters, or foot problems after a while.

 “Always remember that your running shoe size will be bigger than your normal shoe size as you need to be aware that your foot will need to move in the shoe,” Dawid points out.

The recommendation is that you should go half a size up from your day to day shoes depending on the fit. I feel this should not be a one size fits all method to gauge to go by because feet are shaped differently, so are running shoes.

The most accurate way of finding running shoes that properly fit is to start by measuring the size of your foot with a tape measure.

Do this with your foot resting on a flat surface, while wearing the socks that you would usually be running in.

If you are unable to measure your feet, you can wing it by making sure that there’s always be room to wiggle your toe inside the shoe, or at least enough space for a thumb.

Also read:

4. Measure your feet or go shopping for running shoes in the afternoon

Naturally, feet expand the longer you are on your toes. This means that towards the end of the day, would be the best time to go shoe shopping or measure your feet if you are buying the running shoes online.

 “The best practice for buying running shoes is to shop for shoes in the middle of the day when your feet are most swollen due to heat. This is common as there is slight variation in the size of the feet in the morning and in the evening,” Dawid adds.

best running shoes for beginners 2020

5. Always buy running shoes based on fit & feel & not how pretty it is

When I just started running, I would base my purchase decision for running shoes on the colour or how pretty and fashionable the shoes were. 

And mine is not an isolated case. Lots of other female runners and gym-goers have admitted to buying workout shoes because they looked amazing, and not that they were functional.

Others make similar mistakes such as sticking by trendy brand names or going for expensive running shoes because they falsely believe that expensive means better quality.

Dawid Visser advises against this kind of thinking when it comes to buying running shoes.

“Always choose running shoes on fit and feel and not on how they look. You want to be comfortable while running. Besides, your shoes will get dirty in any case no matter how cute they look. The best-looking shoe is not always the shoe that will work for you,” Dawid advises.

*This post may include affiliate links. You can read my full disclosure here.

READ:  21 Awesome Running Motivational Quotes For Your Next Run

Best running shoes for beginners

best running shoes for beginners womens

Now that we know how to buy the perfect running shoes, let’s get to the meat of the matter. These are the best running shoes for beginners that will help you run like the wind from the start to the finish line.

1. Best budget running shoes 

ASICS  Gel-Venture 6

Like I said earlier, expensive doesn’t really mean better quality. There are affordable running shoes that will give you great miles without leaving a hole in your pocket.

My budget for running shoes has always been tight because I have a lot of other commitments, thus, only splurge once in a very long time. You will usually find me pounding the pavement in quality running shoes that cost a fraction of the average price.

One of the best budget running shoes is this sturdy and comfortable ASICS Gel-Venture 6 shoe, which will feel like they were specially made for your feet. I have owned 3 pairs of this shoe so far, and nothing in this price range beats Asics Venture 6.

This shoe has one of the best arch support and is the kind that you can spend the whole day walking in, especially if your job involves long hours of standing.

If you have wide feet, however, this shoe might not for you.

2. Best running shoes for heavy runners and bad knees

HOKA ONE ONE Bondi 6

If you are an overweight runner, you should ensure that you are wearing the right running shoes that fully support your weight.  Running in poorly cushioned shoes may cause problems for your knees.

What you need to look for is a well-cushioned pair of running shoes that is lightweight and designed to absorb shock and support your joints.

The shoe that is both durable and perfect for plus size runners, is the HOKA ONE ONE Bondi 6, which appears heavy but turns out to be very light and breathable.

You must check out this running plan for beginners to lose weight.

how to choose running shoes for beginners

 

3. Best cushioned walking shoes 

Brooks Ghost 12

Yes, this post is about the best running shoes for beginners, but one thing I know is that not all of us start running from day one. We walk first before we run- I know I did.

I want you to know that it’s okay to start walking first. It doesn’t matter that you will be walking for the first few weeks or month, take it at a pace you are comfortable with and improve from there.

As you walk towards running, make sure you are power or brisk walking so that you elevate your heart rate and burn as many calories as possible.

The best shoe for walking, hands down is the Brooks Ghost 12. Ghost 12 has been given the thumbs up by lots of people, such as those who have moved from walking to running, as well as medical professionals who spend hours on their feet. Its predecessor, Brooks Ghost 11, is equally breathable and comfy as the 12.

4. Best running shoes for long-distance

Brooks Adrenaline GTS 20

The shoes we have covered so far, are for short to medium distance running, except for Brooks Ghost 12, which works quite well for long-distance running for beginners.

If you have set your sight on the bigger picture, and are considering running long distances, then you must invest in shoes that are designed to give you a smooth ride beyond that 10k.

beginner running shoes overweight

Less is more when it comes to marathon running shoes. Do not make the mistake of buying long-distance running shoes that have excessive cushioning, that may hurt your running form, instead of giving you proper support.

The best running shoes for long-distance is the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 20, without a doubt. It has a balanced soft cushioning without the excessive bulk that might slow you down.

5. Best road running shoes

Brooks Glycerin 17 Road Running shoe

Road running includes running on smooth surfaces like the pavement or tarmac. If you’ll be gliding on the road, your running shoes need to be lighter and flexible.

An excellent shoe that got great tread for road running is this Brooks Glycerin 17 Road Running shoe.

6. Best trail running shoes for beginners

HOKA ONE ONE Clifton 6

Trail running involves running on off-road routes. The terrain is usually rough, and the surface uneven. Trail running shoes need to have extra traction and tread as well as a whole lot more cushioning to lessen the impact.

If you will be spending your time off-road, running and not hiking, then HOKA ONE ONE Clifton 6 is your best bet.

 

How often should you replace running shoes?

How often should you replace running shoes

Right now that we know how to buy running shoes and the best running shoes for beginners, we have to answer one last question. How often should you replace running shoes?

Asics suggests replacing your running shoes after 450 to 550 miles (about 725 to 885km). Most runners keep a mileage log to help them with this, but I log mine using a running app.

There are a plethora of running apps that you can choose from, and my current favourite is Endomondo. 

If you are old school, or simply prefer a pen and paper, you can use a notebook to help you keep track of your miles.

I am currently trying out the Asics Gel Pulse 9, which is the ninth generation of the Asics Gel-Pulse. The Pulse 9 is an entry-level running shoe, ideal for beginners and is classified as the start of the performance range of the ASICS neutral road running range.

You can read my review here: Asics Gel Pulse 9 Running Shoes Review

Are you a seasoned runner? How do you buy your running shoes? Share your tips in the comments below.

how to buy running shoes

best cheap running shoes for beginners women's

 

How to buy the right running shoes- a complete guide for beginners
How to buy the right running shoes, a guide for beginners

 

 

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24 comments

Alli Smith April 16, 2018 - 10:11 am

I hate when I buy a pair of running shoes and I didn’t leave enough room for my toes. These are all great tips. I especially like the one about knowing when to replace running shoes. For me, the more lightweight the shoe, the better.

Reply
valmg @ Mom Knows It All April 16, 2018 - 10:52 am

Those tips sound like they make sense. We don’t run but I do know the importance of a properly fitting shoe. I’ve always bought for ccomfort, never fashion trends.

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Kimberly April 16, 2018 - 11:29 am

I have not purchased a real pair of actual running shoes for running purposes since 2003 probably. I know. It is sad. Sad. Sad. But to be honest…I destroyed my spine so I can’t do any running anyways, BUT I would love to be able to feel good in some walking shoes since I do a lot of that! I never put a lot of thought in my running shoes. I just buy the cheapest ones. I really should invest in good ones since walking is a sport too..even though I might not be going as fast.
These are such great tips! Thank you so much!

Reply
Shoshana Sue April 17, 2018 - 11:26 am

Wow, Kimberly, I am so sorry to hear about your spine!Great walking shoes are what you need to provide with support to the damaged spine

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Karen Morse April 16, 2018 - 11:29 am

These are great tips for beginners or those who are having a difficult time picking out their running shoes. It’s really important that you pick one that’s a size bigger than your actual foot size because our feet swell when we sweat!

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Amber Myers April 16, 2018 - 12:20 pm

These look like some fabulous shoes. I love the color! I jog daily so I always try to find a pair that works well and won’t fall apart.

Reply
candy April 16, 2018 - 12:49 pm

These look like some great looking and functional running shoes. Have to protect our feet. Wrong type of shoe could do damage. Good to know how to pick out the correct type of shoe.

Reply
chubskulit rose April 16, 2018 - 1:29 pm

I was at the store the other day looking a for a good running shoes. My current one has seen better days and it starting to hurt my feet. Thanks for this guide.

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Jeanette April 16, 2018 - 2:00 pm

I’m getting close to needing new shoes. I never really considered one over the other to be better but my feed to tell me otherwise this year. I didn’t even think about getting a little bit bigger shoe if I’m going to run. It makes total sense to do that.

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Cat April 16, 2018 - 3:38 pm

I am never really confident that I am buying the right kind of sneakers for the kind of exercise that I do. This was so helpful! Thank you so much!

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Mimi Green April 16, 2018 - 4:12 pm

I’ve failed at the running shoe what to look for and have task. Hmmm my boyfriend and I were just talking about this over the weekend. He is a trained runner and I am not, we we look for different things in a shoe.

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Up Run for Life Healthy Lifestyle Blog April 17, 2018 - 5:44 am

It has been a long time since I have purchased a pair of running shoes. When I picked out new shoes in the past, I usually went with a cross trainer when I used to run, walk or use them for aerobics. Now I invest in a good pair of walking shoes. Its about all I can handle exercise wise since being diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia.

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peter April 17, 2018 - 12:36 pm

great article for any shoe buyer. all your points are spot on except about the shoe needing to be bigger than your foot. David misinformed you. your foot isn’t supposed to move inside the shoe. Ever.(that’s how blisters and worn out backs of shoes occur). your heel should never slip and you should have a small amount of wiggle room in the toe box for swelling. i.e. positive blood flow. Sorry, i really had to clarify

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Shoshana Sue April 17, 2018 - 1:16 pm

Thank you for the insight, Peter. I will clarify with Dawid but I also did mention that you need wiggle room, just.

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Jenn @ EngineerMommy April 17, 2018 - 2:04 pm

These are some smart tips for sure. It’s important to find the right running shoes for comfort and style. I’m actually looking for some new shoes!

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Joanna @ Everyday Made Fresh April 17, 2018 - 2:55 pm

Finding the perfect running shoes is essential. Fit is important because not all feet or brands are created equal. This is a great guide for finding what works.

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Kita Bryant April 17, 2018 - 6:12 pm

I am so glad I just got some new running shoes. My feet have never been more thankful!

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Bohemian Babushka April 18, 2018 - 2:58 am

Babushka doesn’t run- unless it’s after an ice cream truck, so a “beginners” post is perfect. Gracias for sharing your knowledge. BB2U

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Lisa Marie Heath April 18, 2018 - 3:16 am

Great tips! I know when I started running, I didn’t realize all that needed to be looked at to find good shoes for it. Then you get into what type of running, and there were more factors! This would seriously cut down in wasting money on shoes that aren’t a good match

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