Whether you’re just getting into running or thinking about taking up running for the very first time, what you wear on your feet matters. The best beginner running shoes for women won’t just help you run in complete comfort, they’ll also help you to prevent any running-related injuries so you can feel confident, happy, and free of pain every step of your running journey.
Of course, here at Women’s Fitness, we recognise that not everyone is ready and willing to invest hundreds of pounds on the best women’s road running shoes when they’re just starting out. Equally, we would never want the cost of trainers to prevent any woman from taking up running in the first place, especially when it provides so many amazing benefits for the body and mind.
That’s why we’ve put a ton of budget-friendly trainers through their paces to find the best beginner running shoes for women in 2023. Read on to discover your perfect pair.
How should I choose running shoes for beginners?
Comfort is crucial if you want your running journey to be successful. If running feels too uncomfortable, or it hurts your joints or gives you blisters, you could end up quitting before you get to the second week of your Couch to 5k plan, and nobody wants that.
That’s why wearing a pair of the best beginner running shoes for women can make a huge difference to your enjoyment of running. Here are a few key things you should think about when buying your first pair of trainers:
What type of road running shoe do I need?
Road running shoes fall into two main categories: Support and Neutral.
Support shoes, also called Stability shoes or Control shoes, are designed for people who find their feet roll inwards a lot when their feet strike the ground (known as overpronation). Accordingly, these shoes provide extra support and cushioning or firmer inserts in certain areas to support the foot and reduce pronation. For this reason, they can be a bit heavier than neutral shoes.
Neutral shoes are designed for runners with a ‘correct’ running pattern and a normal range of pronation (a little bit of rolling inwards is natural). Neutral shoes can vary in cushioning, although they tend to have a greater amount of cushioning in the heel because the whole foot usually meets the ground and the weight is distributed evenly. The are generally lighter than stability shoes.
To find out if you need a support or neutral shoe, use an online tool such as the Brooks Shoe Finder, which will take you through a questionnaire and some simple exercises to help establish your required level of support. Guessing by your high or low arches doesn’t always work.
How to find the right size of road running shoes?
You land with one-and-a-half to three times your bodyweight when running, meaning your feet splay considerably (and swell due to increased blood flow and heat), so most runners need to order a half to a full size bigger than regular shoes.
As a guideline, grab your comfiest trainers and see how they fit. Ideally, you want about a half to a full thumb’s width between your longest toe and the end of the shoe, so scale up accordingly.
Knowing whether you need a wider or narrower fitting comes down to experience. If you’re really not sure what you need, look for running shoe brands that offer long trial periods though their online stores, such as Brooks and Hoka. If your shoes aren’t the perfect match, return them and try another style.
What are the easiest shoes to run in?
The easiest shoes to run in are the shoes are running shoes. Now, that might sound obvious, but far too many people start out on their running journeys wearing shoes that are designed for walking, or for gym workouts, or for fashion purposes. A pair of cheap plimsolls just won’t cut it, quite simply.
Look for a pair of the best beginner running shoes for women that fit you perfectly, so you are always comfortable. You shoes should also match your running needs, so if you’re planning to get away from the road and onto countryside tracks, you might want to consider a pair of the best trail running shoes for women instead.
Finally, remember that experts advise you should replace your running shoes every 400 to 500 miles if you want to avoid becoming susceptible to running-related injuries. If and when that time comes, and you want to continue your running journey, why not consider buying a pair of the best women’s road running shoes to see you from your first 10k and beyond!
The best beginner running shoes for women in 2023
Below, you’ll find our pick of the best women’s running shoes for beginners. However, if you’re further into your running journey, check out our guide to the best running shoes for women, where you’ll find shoes suitable for running your first 10k race and even your first marathon.
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£128 / lululemon.co.uk
- Weight: 274.5g
- Reason to buy: Versatile shoes suited to different activities
The Chargefeel is a multi-tasking, female-specific shoe with dual-density cushioning and pressure-mapped outsoles to give you the bounce, agile support and traction you need to run, lunge, kick, sprint, jump and HIIT your way to fitness.
Featuring ‘run-to-train’ engineering, these versatile shoes are designed to mirror the way many women exercise (i.e. running to the gym or doing cardio on a treadmill before moving onto strength training), making them ideal for women who like to train in a variety of ways but don’t want the expense of buying different types of shoes.
Sleek, minimal and available in a Mid Top style, they’re also stylish enough to wear from the office to the gym. They also have stretchy mesh uppers and a smooth second-skin-feel liner for great ventilation, superior comfort and adaptability.
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£115 / underarmour.co.uk
- Weight: 235.3 grams
- Reason to buy: A perfect fit and built-in running metrics for a reasonable price
This is Under Armour’s first running shoe made by women, for women. The result is a neutral shoe that fits the female foot perfectly, especially around the heel, arch and midfoot. Thanks to the award-winning UA Flow foam midsole that provides great traction without the use of a heavy rubber outsole, this shoe is lightweight and works well over shorter distances.
The supportive cushioning also gives you great ground feel, and this can be helpful to new runners who need to feel everything beneath their feet to work on technique. Extremely comfortable with no break-in time required, they even connect to the UA MapMyRun app so you can track and analyse your running metrics to become a better runner. Yes, they’re the priciest shoe here for beginners, but you get a lot of bang for your buck.
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£75 / amazon.co.uk
- Weight: 198 grams
- Reason to buy: A reliable and comfy daily training shoe for those on a budget
If you’re new to running and don’t want to break the bank, this shoe offers fantastic value for money. Lighter, nimbler, and more breathable than its previous iteration, the Energy 4’s midsole is made from Reebok’s non-squishy Floatride Energy foam, which is durable, flexible, and strikes a good balance between firmness and comfy cushioning for a responsiveness ride.
As you’d expect for the price, this isn’t a flashy shoe, but it does have a carbon rubber outsole for reliable grip in wet conditions, and it’s a great daily training shoe for cross-training, gym workouts and shorter distances up to 25k.
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£70 / amazon.co.uk
- Weight: 217 grams
- Reason to buy: A reliable and versatile daily trainer that’s great for short, easy runs
The Gel-Excite 9 is a neutral shoe designed to provide comfort to the casual fitness runner. The midsole features durable and flexible AMPLIFOAM cushioning combined with Asics’s famous Rearfoot GEL technology to provide you with better impact absorption and gentler landings as your foot strikes the ground.
Running newbies will like the bargain price along with the GUIDANCE LINE tech that helps you keep a more consistent stride, and the engineered jacquard mesh upper feels soft against your foot while helping to create more airflow. Overall, it’s a great shoe if you’re just starting out on your fitness journey because it’s good for long walks and gym workouts, too.
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£80 / newbalance.co.uk
- Weight: 238 grams
- Reason to buy: A supportive and stable shoe for those who pronate
Described by New Balance as the ‘ideal shoe for anyone looking to break into running’, the Fresh Foam 680v7 has a precision-engineered, dual-density midsole that’s high on cushioning and comfort. If your feet tend to roll inwards when running, also known as pronation, you love the addition of the moulded insert that provides extra support and stability.
Altogether, you get a firm and responsive ride that’s still soft and comfy underfoot, and that comfort is only enhanced by the breathable mesh upper featuring a seamless construction for a sleek fit that won’t irritate your feet. A rubber outsole adds to the weight but ensures durability and traction.
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£110 / amazon.co.uk
- Weight: 176 grams
- Reason to buy: A versatile shoe that’s good for shorter and longer distances
Looking for a shoe that’s big on cushioning and value for money? Look no further than the Rincon 3, which delivers the same chunky, curved EVA foam midsole and smooth ride that Hoka are famous for at a price that’s a fair bit cheaper than the brand’s other shoes.
A great allrounder, this neutral shoe is incredibly lightweight, so it’s speedy and responsive enough for when you want to go faster during your first 5 or 10k race, but also supportive and stable enough for those days when you want to plod along at a slower speed to build up your milage. Available in Regular and Wide widths, it also has enhanced rubber coverage for improved durability and a vented-mesh upper for the ultimate in breathability.
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£90 / amazon.co.uk
- Weight: 245 grams
- Reason to buy: A sturdy shoe that’s built for comfort every step of the way
The budget-friendly Supernova 2 is aimed specifically at those getting back into running or lacing up for the first time. Designed to help you run in comfort over any terrain – thanks to the new direct-injected TPU outsoles that are extra grippy – these shoes are ideal for anyone looking to mix up their runs by jogging on and off the road.
The hybrid midsole strikes a lovely balance between the Bounce foam at the front and the Boost foam at the back, and you get a good amount of energy return. Sturdy and durable, this shoe is a little heavier than the other shoes in this guide so it’s more suited for daily training and slower recovery runs than racing, while the new padded tongue and heel patch up the comfort factor even more.