Whether you’ve been inspired by a marathon on TV or just want to start building up your fitness, running is one of the easiest sports out there to get started with – the only equipment you really need is a decent pair of trainers. But if you haven’t ever bought running shoes before, the enormous choice and styles available can be pretty confusing. To make it easier, our guide for finding running shoes for beginners covers all of the essentials.
Why do you need ‘specialist’ running shoes?
While you probably already have a few pairs of normal trainers, it’s generally not a great idea to go running in them. Running shoes are specially designed for the sport, so using them will help you make more out of your run and reduce the risk of injury:
- Cushioning: When you run, force that is equivalent of up to three times your body comes down onto your feet – much more than when you’re walking. That means you need extra cushioning.
- Support: The way your feet move when you run indicates if your feet need extra support. If you have high arches, or flat feet, you need a pair of shoes which can help distribute weight more effectively – because otherwise you risk injury or pain.
- Durability: Running shoes are obviously designed to take the pressure of repeated running on either pavements or trails – something that would ruin non-specialist shoes fast.
What to consider when choosing beginners’ running shoes
There are a number of things to consider when you’re browsing running shoes for beginners, including:
- The type of running you want to do: Do you see yourself running along pavements, muddy forest trails, sprinting round a running track or your gym’s treadmill? Different kinds of running shoes are better suited to these different terrains. You might, for instance, choose to start out with a pair of road running shoes, before deciding that you want to get into trail running – and you'll notice the trainers have different features for the different terrains.
- Your level of pronation: Pronation is a term that describes how far your foot rolls inwards as you run – and there are different shoes designed to give extra support if you overpronate or underpronate. (Read our pronation guide to learn more.)
- Your foot shape: If you have especially wide or narrow feet, it’s worth choosing a pair of shoes which give you the amount of space you need – many of our trainers are available in narrow and wide sizes.
Get help choosing your running shoes for beginners
Running shoes are an important investment if you really want to make the most of the sport and avoid injury, so at least for your first pair, it can be a good idea to get specialist advice (you don’t want to end up with a pair of expensive shoes that are a pain to wear).
To find the best running shoes for beginners, it’s a good idea to visit one of our specialist running stores and speaking to an expert. They can help work out what your running style is and then suggest the right kind of shoes for your needs and budget.