Best Basic Running Shoes

Best Basic Running Shoes of 2017

Being healthy and getting plenty exercise is great but are you comfortable while doing so? We’re discussing basic running shoes and how to choose the right kind for yourself today!

Running and jogging can cause injuries if you don’t have a proper stride so it’s important to select a good, sturdy shoe!

Model Key Features Ratings More Information
ASICS GEL-Venture 5 Trail-friendly
Removable sock liner
Widths available: standard (D) and extra wide (4E)
4.9 out of 5

For more information, click here!
ASICS GEL-Excite 4 Road-friendly
Removable sock liner
Widths available: standard (D) and extra wide (4E)
4.8 out of 5

For more information, click here!
adidas Energy Cloud Wtc Road-friendly
Sock liner is not removable
Widths available: standard (D)
4.7 out of 5

For more information, click here!
New Balance 541v1 Road-friendly
Removable sock liner
Widths available: standard (D)
4.6 out of 5

For more information, click here!
PUMA Tazon 6 FM Road-friendly
Sock liner is not removable
Widths available: standard (D) and wide (2E)
4.6 out of 5

For more information, click here!
ASICS GT-2000 5 Road-friendly
Sock liner is not meant to be removed
Widths available: standard (D)
4.5 out of 5

For more information, click here!
Skechers Performance Go Run 400 Disperse Road-friendly
Sock liner is not meant to be removed
Widths available: standard (D) and wide (3E)
4.5 out of 5

For more information, click here!
adidas Performance Alphabounce Road-friendly
Sock liner is not meant to be removed
Widths available: standard (D)
4.4 out of 5

For more information, click here!
Reebok Runner Road-friendly
Sock liner is not meant to be removed
Widths available: standard (D)
4.3 out of 5

For more information, click here!
ASICS GEL-Kayano 23 Road-friendly
Sock liner is not meant to be removed
Widths available: standard (D), wide (2E), and extra wide (4E)
4.2 out of 5

For more information, click here!

Things to Consider

The terrain you’re interested in should influence your decision when it comes to picking basic running shoes. You should probably retire any tennis shoes you use for running… we had to after we realized they weren’t appropriate for our needs!

  • Prefer pavement? Look for flexible, lightweight models with good cushioning or stabilization features. If the pavement you’re running on is rugged, you might want to look at trail-running shoes.
  • If you plan on running through the woods or other natural environments, you should check out some trail-running shoes. They’re designed to protect your feet from obstacles and rocks. Stability and support are pretty standard features in these shoes as well.
  • Hoping to gain your balance back quickly or feel where you make contact due to Crossfit training? Cross-training shoes exist!

Intrigued by the idea of running barefoot but want to keep your toes intact? Minimalist/barefoot running shoes are wonderful. Be careful when it comes to transitioning to this type of shoe, though. If you train too intensely before your body adjusts to your new style of shoe, you can hurt yourself.

We won’t be discussing barefoot shoes in this particular post but keep your eyes peeled for the possibility of a post dedicated to those!

  • How often do you plan on running?
    • Daily, a few times a week, occasionally? Look for durability depending on your needs.

A well-made pair of running shoes will typically remain in good condition until you’ve run approximately 500 miles in them. If you run a fair distance every day, you’ll approach 500 miles in about 4 months.

We’re in no way telling you that you must dispose of your shoes that quickly (especially if you don’t run that often)… but if you want your shoes to perform at their best they should be swapped out every so often.

  • How can you tell if your shoes need replacing?
    • If they appear or feel worn in certain areas. The outermost layer of the sole (outsole) and the area between the outer and inner soles (midsole) should be protected the most. (The midsole is responsible for a lot of shock absorption).
  • How do you land on your feet? (What kind of gait do you have?)
    • There are 3 basic types of wear patterns we’re familiar with: pronation, overpronation, and under-pronation/supination. If you have well-worn shoes, look at the soles to see which pattern you follow.

Pronation is the most natural and neutral pattern. The heels and balls of the feet absorb most of the impact. This is ideal for bones and joints as it is an efficient way to relieve pressure with each ground strike.

Overpronation will show wear and tear along the inner edges of your shoes and soles. Feet naturally roll inwards a bit while running and striking the ground. In this case, your feet roll inward more than normal. This is actually pretty common among many runners. Stability shoes help with this issue.

Supination is when your foot rolls outward too much. This isn’t as common as the other two but it does result in poor impact reduction. (Which means you’re probably hurting quite a bit after a while!)

  • How to implement good running form:
    • Be aware of your hips, pelvis, posture, and alignment. It takes work to break bad habits but if you look up good forms and practice them yourself, you’ll soon have good form.
    • Notice your feet and work on correcting the way they land if you need to. If it’s a bit too difficult to tackle all on your own, look for shoes designed for targeted issues.

Don’t be too embarrassed to go to a specialty store! If you have no idea where to begin and are intimidated by shopping online for a pair of basic running shoes, go to a store and get assistance. That way, you can try a set on and maybe even jog around in them to get a good feel for the type of shoe you’re interested in. (Just remember us when it’s time to order a new pair!)

Be aware of the materials used to make each shoe. The model might boast trail-running capabilities and include a lot of foam materials which would make it less-than-ideal for running through mud or wet areas!

  • What kind of arch do you have?
    • Do you have no arch, a low, medium, or high arch? Most of you probably know the answer to that by now but there are easy ways to figure it out if you don’t! One of the easiest tests you can perform on yourself is the “wet test.”
    • One of the main reasons we don’t recommend jumping to a minimalist shoe immediately is because they don’t tend to have much arch support. If you’re used to having arch support and then run without any, you’re likely to wake up with sore or wounded feet!
  • Are your feet wide or extra wide?
    • This is nothing to be embarrassed by but it’s important to consider when selecting a shoe for comfort.
    • Sometimes it’s easy to fit a wide foot into a normal shoe if you go up half a size or more… it isn’t typically as easy to slide an extra-wide foot into a normal shoe. Plenty of manufacturers have noticed the demand for wider shoes and offer many different sole sizes. This doesn’t just apply to running shoes, either, so browse around at all the lovely wide-width shoes available now compared to just a decade ago!

Are you prone to experiencing things like shin splints? Looking into the development and design of a particular shoe can help with this kind of problem. With today’s technology, it isn’t hard to create shoes designed to alleviate certain symptoms and issues!

Gender and Goals

You’ll notice that it’s relatively difficult to find aesthetically-pleasing unisex shoes in most places. They tend to be marketed towards either males or females. We want to bring something to your attention. Other than sizing and style, gender doesn’t matter that much.

One of the benefits to shopping online is realizing you can usually (easily) stumble across a similar, alternative choice when examining an item of interest. The same goes for running shoes! If a certain style seems too masculine or feminine, don’t be afraid to browse through the suggested and similar items!

We did our best to find styles that have neutral color options but we do urge you to pay attention to the sizing charts. We remain hopeful for the day we can update this list with completely gender-neutral choices!

Until then, know that you can reach your goals in many types of shoes. Go with whatever feels the best to you!

Top 10 Basic Running Shoes

ASICS GEL-Venture 5

  • The GEL-Venture 5 is intended to be a trail-running shoe but can also be beneficial for various types of outdoor running.
    • Whether we decided to use these for walking on rough terrain or for running, the GEL-Venture 5 shoes surpassed our expectations.
    • The GEL technology surprised us with a substantial amount of shock absorption compared to the cost of the shoe. If you plan on using these daily, we could imagine the insole thinning out fairly quickly and recommend having inserts on standby.
  • Without having to spend a whole paycheck on them, expect astonishing durability from these running shoes.
    • The outsole consists of ASICS High-Abrasion Rubber (AHAR).
  • Luckily for most of us, it’s becoming easier and easier to find stylish, wide shoes!
    • The GEL-Venture 5 can be ordered in standard or extra wide widths!
    • The sock liner can be removed, which means you should be able to add your own inserts without much difficulty.
  • These are wonderfully lightweight!
    • These basic running shoes weigh less than one pound!
  • Keeping the cost in mind, these are more impressive than we imagined they would be. Consider us new fans of ASICS for our basic running shoe needs!

ASICS GEL-Excite 4

  • The ASICS GEL-Excite 4 running shoe is for road-use more than anything else.
    • Geared with AHAR outsoles, you can get a little rough with them but we do not recommend trail-running with these. (Especially if you want these to last a while!)
    • These are built to handle daily runs.
  • These offer neutral arch support which means you might need additional inserts or support if you have problems with your gait.
    • The sock liner is removable which is ideal for anyone with a medical orthotic.
  • The GEL-Excite 4 shoes weigh less than one pound.
  • These have a 10mm heel-to-toe drop.
  • Depending on the style, size, and colors you choose, you shouldn’t have to spend an insane amount of money on the GEL-Excite 4 shoes.
    • The mesh material makes it comfortable and easy for your feet to breathe while you’re running.
  • The part of the shoe that encases the foot (the upper) is stitched around an EVA board or canvas and is attached to the midsole.
  • Since these are geared towards road-runners, they have reflective materials made by 3M to ensure safety for evening escapades.
  • For shock-absorption and impact-reduction, the GEL-Excite 4 shoes are equipped with the Rearfoot GEL Cushioning System.

adidas Energy Cloud Wtc

  • The Energy Cloud Wtc shoes are comfortable beyond belief! We were new to the concept of cloudfoam midsoles… and now we love them!
    • Immediately upon putting your feet inside these, we felt comfortable and like we could run anywhere.
    • These are meant to be worn on pavement but can be worn all day at work, too. We do not recommend running in wet conditions with these on since they are full of foam. (They’ll absorb a crazy amount of moisture).
  • These shoes are equipped with rubber toe guards. If some of your toes are much shorter than the others, this particular model might be uncomfortable.
  • It’s important to point out that the sock liner cannot be removed in these shoes. Take a look at some of our choices that do feature removable liners if you use medical orthotics!
  • This model proudly consists of mesh material all over, making these breathable running shoes.
  • In standard sizing, the Energy Cloud shoes shouldn’t weigh more than 11 ounces.
    • The heel-to-toe drop is approximately 10mm.
  • Sadly, these do not come in wide or extra-wide widths, which limits their gifting value.
    • Those of us with wide (but not extra-wide) feet were able to wear these after ordering a half or whole size larger than normal.

New Balance 541v1

  • We like New Balance shoes because they’re typically affordable and comfortable. The 541v1 shoes are no exception.
    • The sizing seems to be a bit smaller than most people are comfortable with/used to so we recommend buying a half or whole size up from what’s normal!
    • We also do not recommend these to anyone with extra-wide feet. They are advertised in extra-wide sizes, but this is an imported model and the sizing disappointed us.
  • These are fairly priced if you intend on using these lightly. If you run in these every day, you should expect to replace these pretty quickly… but if it’s in your price range, that doesn’t have to be a dealbreaker!
    • The main reason we’re not diehard NB fans anymore is because the overall durability of their shoes is not impressive compared to the likes of ASICS or Adidas.
  • We don’t have much to say in terms of description for the New Balance 541v1 model simply because it doesn’t have any bells and whistles like some of our other options do!

PUMA Tazon 6 FM

  • The Tazon 6 FM is an impressive style but does not offer an extra-wide size.
  • These are sleek enough to be worn just about anywhere and durable enough to travel.
  • The Tazon shoes feature a midfoot saddle which increases comfort, generally speaking. This could be uncomfortable for certain people, though.
  • The sock liner isn’t removable but it does have an EcoOrthoLite liner.
    • These are environmentally friendly sock liners.
    • The EcoOrthoLite liners use a castor bean oil substitute for petroleum.
  • The Tazon 6 FM has a thermoplastic urethane (TPU) shank, which adds to the stability of the shoe.
    • It also has an EVA heel pod!

ASICS GT-2000 5

  • The GT-2000 5 running shoes are a little pricier than our previously-mentioned choices for ASICS.
    • We were happy to overlook the additional cost due to the added support.
  • These are equipped with Impact Guidance System  (I.G.S) technology, making starting, continuing, and stopping any run easier.
  • The Dynamic DuoMax Support System aids in overall support and stability with decreased shoe-weight and increased platform support.
  • The GT-2000 5 shoes feature Forefoot and Rearfoot GEL cushioning technologies!
    • If you deal with overpronation, this particular shoe might become your new best friend.
    • Let exercising be fun again with enough shoe support to cancel out typical aches and pains, you say? We’re sold!
  • The heel-to-toe drop is about 10mm.
  • GT-2000 5 running shoes have DuraSponge outsoles. They’re pronounced to increase comfort and durability. (Especially in the forefoot!)
  • You might be pleased to know this has an APMA (American Podiatric Medical Association) Seal of Acceptance. Not just any old shoe is recommended by medical professionals!

Skechers Performance Go Run 400 Disperse

  • These Skechers are available in all sorts of sizes, including wide (3E)!
    • They’re pretty affordable and look nice, too!
  • The mesh material allows awesome airflow around your feet… and have we mentioned its soft inner lining, yet?!
  • The Go Run 400 shoes are impressively built.
    • They have Goga Run insoles, which help with shock-absorption.
    • Each shoe weighs less than 9 ounces and barely feels like anything is on your foot!
    • There are synthetic overlays around the heels and laces.
  • These are capable of hitting the pavement but they’re even better for running on a treadmill or track!
  • For a basic pair of running shoes, the Disperse shoes didn’t let us down.

adidas Performance Alphabounce

  • The Adidas Alphabounce shoes are bit pricier than most of our other options but they’re pretty well-worth it!
  • The upper features fused mesh and a fit that’s almost as snug as wearing a sock.
    • This design encourages your shoes to adapt to your body’s movements.
  • The outsoles are capable of gripping many types of surfaces without being uncomfortable.
  • The heel-to-toe drop is about 10mm.
    • When it comes to running up and down inclines, this kind of midsole drop is ideal.
  • This is a heavier choice than most of our others, weighing in at around 11 ounces per shoe!
  • Seriously, if comfort matters a lot to you, check these out!
    • It took us a minute to get moving when we first put these on. We were simply in awe of the feel.

Reebok Runner

  • We love how affordable the Reebok Runner shoes are.
    • The sizing is a bit smaller than we’re used to but these are completely comfortable otherwise.
  • The open-weave mesh is surprisingly freeing… the Runners don’t suffocate our feet. We love their breathability.
  • The forefoot is designed to flex and grip nicely on treadmills, roads, and easy trails.
    • We found them most comfortable when running long distances or sprints on solid ground.
    • It is made with high abrasion rubber so it can be a daily shoe but it isn’t meant to get ridiculously wet.
  • They’re sleek and low-cut. Some of us prefer this and were very pleased with the wear of the Reebok Runner.
  • The sock liner provided is a Memory Tech cushion.

ASICS GEL-Kayano 23

  • The GEL-Kayano 23 would’ve made it higher on our list had they been more affordable in large sizes.
    • Don’t get us wrong! They offer standard (D), wide (2E), and extra wide (4E) sizes! All the way to size 16! You just have to be willing to pay more and we weren’t expecting a drastic increase.
  • The design is wonderful and makes the price more reasonable.
    • It’s equipped with I.G.S technology, a Fluid Ride midsole, a FluidFit Upper, and Forefoot and Rearfoot GEL cushioning systems.
    • This is another one of those running shoes that fit like socks!
  • FlyteFoam makes the GEL-Kayano 23 super lightweight but able to withstand many uses.
  • The Dynamic DuoMax support system only engages with your foot when it needs to. That means you have a chance to notice and attempt to correct your own form!
    • Overpronators, these will help correct most of your issues.
    • They’re also good for neutral runners.
  • These weigh a bit more than we’re used to (almost 12 ounces per shoe). That’s almost a pound per foot!
  • The heel-to-toe drop is about 10mm.
  • The fabric is breathable but not shockingly so.
    • The toe room also felt a little weird to us.

Choosing the Best Basic Running Shoe for You

We have a lot of options with a lot of different features (or lack thereof)! There’s no reason you should rush to buy something without comparing shoes first!

During our research and our own trials, we found sizing to be frustrating. We only ran into a couple problems when it came to finding the right sizes, personally, but it seems that most shoes will be a little different.

Comparing older versions of certain models to current models, it’s impossible to say they’ll be the same size forever. This is something we loathe that continues to be prominent with fashion but it’s something we cannot control so we review stuff anyway!

Comfort is obviously a huge deal. If you’re planning on using any of the shoes you choose every day, you should analyze the design and comfort features carefully.

Certain shoes are designed to overcompensate for those of us that don’t fall into the neutral runner category. These can be uncomfortable for neutral runners. If you’re curious but hesitant about the cost of a shoe, see if any friends have a pair you can try out!

If you’re curious about (but hesitant about the cost of) a shoe, see if any friends have a pair you can try out! Just make sure the shoes aren’t totally worn out.

When it came to choosing favorites…

We were torn between several pairs of basic running shoes. Fashion is personal and you should look for whatever pleases your eye as well as whatever makes your feet feel good.

We decided to narrow our final selection down to shoes that were fairly priced, comfortable, cool/cute, and the features we enjoyed.

  1. Our absolute favorite running shoes were the ASICS GEL-Excite 4. They’re low-key in design and low-cut. While there isn’t a wild amount of corrective features, you can remove the sock liner and use your own orthotics. Since most people use treadmills or run on pavement, we found the outsoles on these shoes to be simple yet efficient. They are easily affordable.
  2. In choosing the second pair, we’d go to the ASICS GT-2000 5 shoes. This pair would cost more than our first choice and that gives it its place here. Considering the features, though, we almost would’ve gone with these as our number one choice! The grip on these is pretty amazing and the forefoot comfort is satisfying.
  3. Our final choice would be the Adidas Energy Cloud Wtc. They’re not outrageously priced and they fit surprisingly well. They also look cool with almost any outfit we could wear with them! The biggest downfall to this particular shoe is that they weigh a lot and don’t come in very wide sizes.

Please understand that we are not saying these are the best shoes in the whole world! When it comes to basic running demands, though, this list definitely includes a few of the best. Since shoes and clothes tend to be something that get noticed on us, we understand that you can probably pay to have a shoe designed just for you and your desires! We weren’t comfortable taking that route and wanted to go with familiar names and models.

Thank you for learning about some basic running shoes with us; happy shopping!

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