Best Neutral Running Shoes
Finding the correct pair of running shoes for you can be a long and tumultuous process. It sure would be nice if you choose a random pair and make them work. However, for optimal results, you need to find a running shoe that adapts to you. Today, we would like to address neutral running shoes. But, what exactly are they? Basically, a neutral running shoe is designed for runners with a neutral gait. For the most part, they usually possess some cushioning but are not overloaded with it. Some of the best manufacturers in the world, including Nike, Brooks, New Balance, and Adidas, have designed elite and top-of-the-line neutral running shoes. Which one you ultimately decide is your call but know this, it is difficult to go wrong with the following ten.
- Brooks Launch 5
- Exceptional durability
- Spacious toe box
- Salomon Sense 6
- Impressive durability
- Optimal traction
- Mizuno Wave 17
- SmoothRide tech
- Terrific durability
10 Best Neutral Running Shoes
Brooks Launch 5
For the most part, the Launch 5 stays true to size. It accomplishes this by conforming to the natural shape of your foot while also delivering a snug feel in both your forefoot and your heel.
As soon as you start running with these shoes, you will know why the comfort is highly raved by fans. Both the collar and tongue provide optimal padding; in addition to the interior softness of the fabric.
Although the upper mesh is lightweight, it is sturdy enough to handle the elements of the road. Additionally, the blown rubber and HPR plus compound-composed outsole adds exceptional durability.
Whether you decide to go on long or short runs, the lightweight mesh upper will keep your foot dry and cool.
While Brooks is known for their high-quality running shoes, they also tend to design them visually appealing to the eyes. Their Launch 5 is a great example of this and includes a strong amount of vibrant colors to choose from.
There is not a lot to complain about when one assesses the quality of the Launch 5 Running Shoe. Sure, there are slight issues, such as the traction of the outsole, but it does not get much better than this folks.
- It is made from premium materials for exceptional durability
- Has a spacious toe box and excellent heel fit
- Several runners loved that a break-in period was not necessary
- The outsole does not have the best traction on wet terrain
- Some runners felt the arch was too high
Salomon Sense 6
What is convenient about this model is that it seems to fit true to size, much like the Launch 5. However, the only caveat with the fitting is, because these shoes are designed with racing in mind, it is a bit narrow.
The elegant combination of the dual-density compressed EVA midsole and EnergyCell cushioning system deliver a comfortable and enjoyable ride.
Several runners and users have lauded at the durability of the Sense 6 Running Shoes. One of the reasons why is due to the abrasion-resistance of the upper section.
Salomon worked hard to improve the breathability of their Sense 6 and with the updated design of the upper mesh section, it is safe to say they achieved what they set out to accomplish.
Notwithstanding the fact that some runners would have preferred a deeper and more comprehensive amount of color options, the design options provided are very attractive.
Possibly the only reason you may want to pass on these running shoes is if you have wide feet. If a more narrow fit is not an issue, though, the breathability, comfortability, and durability provided here are too significant to pass up.
- Has very impressive durability
- Features a redesigned lug pattern for optimal traction
- The quick-lacing system adds foot security
- Not an ideal shoe for wider feet as the fit is narrow
Mizuno Wave Creation 17
To help you eliminate stress points while you are running, Dynamotion Fit technology has been implemented. With this technology, the upper will move with your foot for higher efficiency.
With the Mizuno Wave midsole, the impact when you land is pushed away from your foot for better protection. In addition, the removable insole can be used for underfoot cushioning.
As mentioned, a ton of praise needs to go to Mizuno for the durability of this running shoe alone. It not only features a carbon rubber heel to provide durability in high-wear areas but the U4ic technology also adds longevity.
The integration of the mesh upper section with lightweight overlays, in conjunction with the full-length ventilation midsole, creates a breathable shoe. However, some runners agree that this shoe is a bit too heavy.
Truth be told, you are either going to love or loathe the included color options available. They are vibrant and dynamic and that may not be what some runners are seeking.
Despite it landing 3rd on this list, one could easily make the argument this is the best neutral running shoe on the planet. To be honest, you would not get too many arguments from runners around the world.
- Integrates SmoothRide technology for a smooth heel-to-toe transition
- The outsole is designed to provide traction on multiple surfaces
- Is a well-built running shoe with terrific durability
- A few runners were not impressed with the weight
Adidas Supernova Glide 8
A notable feature of the Supernova Glide 8 is its spacious toe box which enables runners’ toes to move naturally. Past this, the midfoot wraps around your foot for a superior fit and dynamic arch support.
Thanks to the Torsion System, this shoe is designed to provide a smooth transition from your midfoot stance to your forefoot push-off. But, the true sensation here is the boost technology that aids in shock absorption.
Adidas engineered this shoe with their ADIWEAR outsole and this not only provides an optimal amount of grip but also a strong amount of durability. All in the meanwhile, while maintaining a light weight.
Like most running shoes, the upper has been designed with a breathable mesh material. In conjunction with this is the cover system which aids in preventing hot spots.
It is impossible to not recognize an Adidas shoe as they have their staple logo integrated on the side. Overall, this is a sharp-looking shoe, with enough color variety to satisfy most users.
One notable downside is some runners claimed the break-in period for these shoes was long. While this is a nuisance you may have to deal with for the first few runs, the end result will be worth it when they are finally broken in.
- The rubber outsole provides optimal traction
- Ideal for both long runs and training sessions
- Features boost technology
- According to some users, it can take some time to break these shoes in
New Balance 990V4
Whether you have wide or narrow feet, it is irrelevant thanks to the design of these New Balance running shoes. Also, the lace keeper is a handy addition as it secures the laces and tongue in place during runs.
New Balance not only delivers an optimal amount of cushioning for the neutral runner but they also set the foundation for a strong amount of stability.
The appeal of New Balance shoes may not be their biggest selling point; but, the durability may just be. Their 990V4 Running Shoes continue on where others have left off in delivering unprecedented long-lasting performance.
Despite the issue with the weight, with some users claiming it to be too heavy, both breathable mesh and a breathable fabric lining are used throughout the interior.
These shoes tend to get criticized for both their unappealing look and bulky exterior. Unfortunately, not too many consumers are going to disagree unless you do not mind a “plain Jane” look.
Is it rather unfortunate that the visual design is far from spectacular? Well, it depends on who you ask. From a technical standpoint, these shoes are top-of-the-line. But, it is up to you to decide if the appeal is enough to warrant a pass.
- Has been raved because of its high-quality performance
- Features enhanced stability over previous iterations
- It is suitable for runners with narrow and wide feet
- The appeal is lacking a bit
- Not the lightest running shoe on the market
Brooks Ghost 10
With the inclusion of a shoelace holder at the top of the tongue, while you are running your feet will stay in place with more efficiency for a superior run.
Brooks integrates their infamous BioMoGo DNA midsole to ensure there is an optimal amount of cushioning inside this running shoe. On top of this, there is also a segmented crash pad that lends its hand in making smoother transitions.
For the most part, runners seem to be in mutual agreement that the Ghost 10 is a well-built shoe that will last a considerable amount of time. Yet, there have been a few users who have noticed some durability issues early-on.
With the Ghost 10, there is a newly engineered mesh upper and it practically disappears on your foot while you are running. On top of allowing optimal airflow, this also adds much-needed stretch.
It is a matter of opinion, but you would be hard-pressed to find a Brooks running shoe that is unappealing. The Ghost 10 is certainly no different and there are a plethora of fantastic options.
Brooks has stayed on top of the food chain because they continue to adapt their running shoes to better fit the needs of runners. Their Ghost 10 running shoe is yet another improvement and an absolutely stellar neutral shoe.
- The omega flex grooves enhance the forefoot movement
- A few users raved about the comfort and feel
- Designed with a newly engineered mesh upper section
- There have been users who have questioned the longevity
- The traction provided on wet surfaces is not ideal
Nike Air Zoom Vomero 11
Nike has hit it out of the ballpark when it comes to the way their Air Zoom Vomero 11 fits runner’s feet. The re-engineered Flymesh material has improved the forefoot fit and there are different width options available.
This is advertised as the most comfortable version of this brand of running shoe and with plushier materials than its predecessor and an ideal combination of cushioning and speed, which is not far from the truth.
Much like the Ghost 10, the majority of runners have praised the durability of the Nike Air Zoom Vomero 11. But, also like the Ghost 10, there have been instances of users claiming otherwise.
Not only does the aforementioned Flymesh material aid in fitting but it also lends a hand in breathability. Because it almost feels like a cloth, it creates a much-needed breathable core.
Nike was not shy when it came designing their Air Zoom with a multitude of colors. There is so much variety available that if you do not find a color that suits you, it is your fault.
If you take away the slight durability concerns that various runners have alluded to, the Air Zoom Vomero 11 is as good as it gets. It is a great blend of speed and cushioning that Nike has been known for.
- The different width options are a welcome sight
- The plush foam delivers miles of cushioning
- A more adaptive and supportive fit is achieved thanks to the Flywire cables
- Some runners expressed issues with durability
Under Armour Bandit 3
Notwithstanding the issues with the narrow toe box that have been addressed by several buyers, the precision fit is a welcome sight by fans. Additionally, the firm external heel counter keeps your heel locked in place.
Thanks to the charged cushioning midsole, you are not only delivered a feasible amount of comfort but the response you receive when you run is incredible.
There are certain high-impact zones on running shoes that are more susceptible to wear and tear than others. Under Armour implements a solid rubber outsole that covers these high-impact zones.
Fans of Under Armour and a plethora of runners around the globe seem to appreciate the upper lightweight material claiming it is very breathable. As a bonus, the integrated sockliner features anti-microbial Ortholite technology.
There may not be a laundry-list of color options available but among the ones that are, the visual appeal is quite endearing.
No, this is not a flawless running shoe and there are potential caveats that could cause issues for you. At its core, however, it is a visually-appealing running shoe with solid longevity and technology.
- Includes an anti-microbial sockliner
- Several runners agree that the breathability is fantastic
- Thanks to the flex grooves, there is flexibility in key areas
- Not an optimal amount of traction on slippery surfaces
- The midsole seems to be lacking in arch support
Adidas All-Terrain Ultraboost
Both the midfoot cage and the molded heel counter do wonders for the fitting as they create both an adaptive fit for your foot and heel. But, one user noted that due to the lack of support, foot-sliding resulted.
What makes this running shoe special is the integrated upper section is not only comfortable but also features a water-repellant coating. To top this off, the Boost midsole provides an ideal amount of energy return.
As this running shoe is ideal for all weather conditions, it is going to hold up better during long winter runs and rainy runs. This is naturally because of its ability to repel water.
Because the Ultraboost running shoe is designed for all-weather running, you would think it would be clammy during summer runs. Still, even on 80-degree days, the fabric remains breathable.
It is very easy to mistake this for an everyday shoe as it does not visually look like a running shoe. In fact, several runners were unimpressed with the tongue design.
Indeed, this is a unique running shoe that will easily appeal to runners seeking a winter running shoe. But, due to its versatility, it is breathable enough to run with on hotter days.
- It is designed to be used in all weather conditions
- The comfort provided has been praised
- Has an incredible amount of traction
- Several users thought the tongue design was unnecessary
- The upper section may not provide enough support
Asics Gel Nimbus 17
The “glove-like” fit is achieved with the power of ASICS FluidFit upper technology as it features multi-directional stretch that adapts to an athlete’s foot.
Truly notable here is the rearfoot and forefoot gel technology cushioning system. With this integrated, this shoe is able to provide proper shock absorption and foot transitions through the gait cycle.
While the rubber in the outsole delivers a strong amount of grip and traction, a few users observed that it began to break down within only a few months.
ASICS designed their Gel Nimbus 17 with an Ortholite material that has a high amount of breathability on top of handling moisture to the utmost degree.
In all honesty, the included color options for this shoe are quite outlandish. To be blunt, this will either strongly appeal to you or appall you.
A more impressive running shoe could not have capped off this list and it goes to show the quality of the running shoes above. The Gel Nimbus 17 is designed for a casual runner but features advanced technology.
- Integrates rearfoot and forefoot gel cushioning
- Fitting at the heel is improved
- Using seamless materials throughout for comfort
- The outsole did not hold up well for a few testers
Criteria Used For The Evaluation
How They Fit Your Feet
Here is the deal; the most important factor for all runners to assess when they are looking for their next pair of running shoes is if they fit properly. Just because you currently wear a certain-sized running shoe, it does not mean you can order that specific size and expect it to fit. It seems contradictory but all running shoes fit differently and first things first, you need to know how a particular running shoe fits. Do runners claim it fits true-to-size or should you go up or down a size you would normally?
But, no matter, here is how a running shoe should fit your foot. First off, there should be little to no slipping at your heel and it should stay securely in place while you run. Features such as a molded heel counter can assist with this. Also, you should have a little wiggle room at the end so your toes can move freely. This also accounts for the width as they should not be so snug that it cuts off the circulation of your foot. So, it may be wise to look for a running shoe with a wide toe box and additional width options.
How Comfortable and Smooth They Are
If the way a running shoe fits your foot is the main factor for them, then consider the comfort they provide 1A. Now, it is important to know that neutral running shoes might not always provide as much cushion as say, a motion control shoe. Still, all running shoes need to be comfortable for you as the purpose is defeated if they are not. Because neutral running shoes adapt to runners with neutral gaits, though, excessive cushioning is not necessary. But, you should still look for a foundation that provides enough cushioning and shock absorption to deliver an enjoyable ride.
Another functionality that can be important is a smooth transition from the heel-to-toe. Features such as a segmented crash pad can help better achieve this transition. Lastly, the amount of energy return that is delivered from a running shoe can also play a significant role. With proper utilized materials, some shoes can minimize the amount of energy that is being lost with each stride you take.
When it comes to analyzing and assessing the durability of running shoes, things can get a little tricky. It sure would be nice if a manufacturer could come out and clarify how long their product might last you. There is a reason why they never do and it is because there are way too many variables at play. It is impossible to provide a reasonable timeframe as factors such as the terrain you run on, your weight, the style of your running, your speed, and the weather in which you run in can affect the durability.
With that in mind, what is the point of assessing the durability, then? Look, despite all these factors, the build quality of a running shoe is still vital to its longevity. A product designed with cheaper materials is going to deteriorate quicker; that is simply common knowledge. As such, premium materials that are used to provide durability in high-wear areas are important to look out for in a solid shoe. Most of all, look for a well-designed outsole with premium rubber as this portion of the shoe will withstand the most abuse over time.
How Breathable They Are
Quick question, have you ever went on a run or walk with a shoe that did not allow your foot to breathe? You will know if it did or did not because if your feet were unbelievably clammy and sweaty, it probably prevented a lot of airflow and breathability. Now, your feet are going to sweat regardless but with a running shoe that allows your feet to breathe and receive airflow, your experience will be more enjoyable.
One of the ways most running shoes accomplish this is with mesh material. Typically, it is integrated on the top of the shoe as this is the most optimal place for it. But, breathable fabric lining and interior materials, combined with materials that can handle moisture, can also enhance the breathability as a whole. In addition, the overall weight of the shoe can come into play. Clearly, the lighter it is the less cumbersome it will be and the better off you will be. Perhaps, on winter runs, this will not matter as much but in the summer, you do not want a heavy shoe with minimal airflow.
The Appeal Factor
Wait, does this even matter at the end of the day? You may be thinking this right now and yes, the visual design of a running shoe can hold a certain amount of significance. Is it too much to ask for a running shoe that you visually think looks nice? It should not be and to be honest, why else do you think manufacturers design their shoes with so many different designs? It matters and you know it. Whether you are looking for a running shoe that is outlandish and dynamic or straightforward and bland is your call. Yet, the more color options a seller provides for you the better because after all, variety is the spice of life.
Q: How Can You Tell if You Overpronate?
If you have come here today there is a strong chance that you do not overpronate. However, are you absolutely positive about that? It is important for you to clarify this as if you do overpronate, you need to look into running shoes that account for it. So, here are some key signs that you can look for to see if you suffer from overpronation. First off, right off the bat, if you have low to no arches then you probably overpronate.
But, it may be a bit more complicated than that. You can actually assess the bottom of your current running shoes, after you have run with them for a decent period, to look for certain signs. For example, if there is an extreme amount of wear and tear on in the interior of your shoe, the signs point to you suffering from overpronation.
Q: Are There Warning Signs that Indicate Your Running Shoes Need to be Replaced?
It has already been discussed in-depth that there is a multitude of factors that will determine the lifespan of your next pair of running shoes. But, as a runner, are there at least some signs that will indicate when it is time to replace the current pair you have? In fact, there are and it really comes down to assessing the wear and tear on the outsole and midsole. As the outsole is the portion of the shoe that will make contact with the ground each and every time you take a stride, it is going to suffer through the most abuse.
Every now and then, monitor the outsole and see if the rubber is starting to tear or wear away. As you would assess the tread on a tire, the same goes for the outsole. As far as the midsole is concerned, it is not as easy as looking for damage. Instead, if you notice that the cushion and shock absorption is non-existent anymore, it is time to retire the shoes.
Q: How Should You Store Running Shoes?
Even if you plan on running all-year round, which would either require you to live in the south or own a pair of running shoes adaptable to winter conditions, storing them in a proper place is key. This is especially true if you plan to store them away for the winter. Some users may simply opt to store them on their back or front porch where they exposed to sunlight and heat. However, this is not recommended as heat is an enemy for running shoes.
Instead, try to store them in a cool and dry location. But, it needs to be both. For example, during heavy rainfall your basement may become exposed to standing water and storing them down there may not be ideal. Storing them in a first-story closet, while giving them ample room to keep them relatively cool, could suffice.
Q: Should You Use Running Shoes for Walking?
This is one of the more common questions, it seems, that runners and users have. People are always asking if running shoes are optimal for walking. While it certainly does not work the other way around, you could probably get away with walking in a running shoe. They implement top-of-the-line technology to deliver comfort, breathability and shock absorption. In fact, a neutral running shoe may be ideal for walking because it is not aimed at people who suffer from overpronation. But, you should still avoid doing so.
Wait, everything that was just claimed would indicate you should? Well, here is the issue with all of this. Remember how many factors go into deciding the durability of running shoes? Yeah, the mileage you put them through is another astronomical one. They will wear down at a faster rate if you walk with them on all the time and given their typical price point, you will want to get all the running you can get out of them.
Q: How Can You Determine Your Arch Type?
This question is similar to that of the one referring to overpronation. Many of you will already know your arch type and be knowledgeable of the fact that you need neutral running shoes. Still, there will be some of you who are completely confused and have no idea what kind of running shoe you need. Do not worry; you are not alone in that endeavor as getting the right running shoe is a tricky process.
Yet, if you know your arch type the process becomes much easier. To do so, you should try the infamous “wet test”. Begin by finding a surface that will reveal your footprint when you step on it (such as a shopping bag or large piece of paper). Then, all you need to do is wet the sole of your foot and step on the surface you chose. A pronounced curve indicates a high arch, no curving indicates a flat arch and a slight curve means you have a medium arch. For medium and high arches, neutral running shoes are ideal.
Q: What is the Proper Way to Dry Running Shoes?
Your shoes are going to get wet eventually; that is almost unavoidable. When it happens, though, do not be the person who incorrectly dries them and thus compromises the integrity of them. The major urge to avoid is to dry them in excessive heat. Yes, this means you should avoid a drying machine and direct heat from a heat source. Instead, let them air dry away from direct heat (while removing the insoles). To speed up the process, though, you can also stuff newspaper inside.
It is okay if you are still lost or are a bit confused after reading this guide. This information is a lot to soak in for new runners but if you do come to the conclusion that you desire neutral running shoes, the ten presented to you are as good as it gets.