The best running shoes for beginners are not the same as what a seasoned marathoner would wear. It’s easy to get overwhelmed shopping for new kicks. There are hundreds of styles out there, each promising to make you faster, absorb more impact, make running feel easier, prevent injury, guide your feet into better movement patterns, and so on and so on. Considering that a good pair of sneakers is literally the only gear requirement for running, it makes sense that brands want to hype any feature that would make a shoe more appealing.
The Best Running Shoes for Beginners: How to Find Your Perfect Match
If you’re new to running, most coaches recommend going to a running specialty store where you can have your gait analyzed. That can definitely point you toward a specific type of shoe (e.g. minimalist, maximalist, or somewhere in between), but remember that the salesperson’s goal is simply to sell a shoe; your goal is to find a shoe that will keep you healthy while racking up the miles (which you should do slowly and gradually).
Turns out, the shoe that feels most comfortable—not the one someone says is right for your foot or gait pattern—is the one that’s going to help you run the most efficiently and best avoid injury, according to research published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. Make sure to try out (and ask about the return policy!) any recommended pair, and go by what feels most comfortable, not what looks the coolest.
If you’re not sure where to start, these five pairs are runner favorites—and have features that should be especially appealing to beginners.
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