Running footwear: A starting point

Investigating running as an exercise format can be daunting initially, the first equipment choice often revolves around footwear.

Footwear is a particularly personal choice, and I’d strongly recommend all those interested in starting running, or altering their footwear choices – to consult their local running store. Where safe, local running specialists are well experienced in explaining a myriad of new terms to runners.

Deciphering the relevance of terms such as ‘support’ or ‘cushioning’ – mixed in with brand specific materials referred to as ‘gel’ or ‘foam’ can prove a touch confusing.

Each major running brand tends to sell a shoe referred to as ‘neutral’. These products are often relatively lightweight and tend not to contain corrective or specifically supportive designs for those with specific podiatric afflictions. 

Neutral runners make up the largest portion of the running population, with 30-40% of runners overpronating (rolling too far inward), and the remaining 5-10% underpronating (predominant use of outside of foot).

Assessing your running style is best done with a local running store specialist, or a podiatrist. For a generalised understanding, the wet foot test is the best option to google.

When providing reassurance to friends or family members looking to begin running, it’s worthwhile to remind them that their footwear doesn’t need to be the most expensive, or lightest option. Comfort and correct fit is key when starting your local neighbourhood running journey.

In the spirit of brand spread and impartiality, the following neutral running shoe options are listed alphabetically.

For financially inspired shoppers, it’s worthwhile noting that many of the options listed below are numbered as part of a series of releases – thus earlier editions of a shoe are often available online at reduced prices.

Asics Gel-Cumulus 22 ($200)

The Japanese multinational began in 1977 in Kobe, often best known for the latin phrase which the brand name represents – anima sana in corpore sano, which translates as “Healthy soul in a healthy body”. Asics markets the Cumulus as an appropriate mixture of cushioning and flexibility, a daily runner with comfort in mind.


Adidas Ultra Boost Solar Glide ($140-$200)

The largest sportswear manufacturer in Europe, the German giant has had an impact on the sporting world since 1949. Whilst the Ultra Boost tends to be the flagship running and sports fashion model, the most regularly utilised daily runner tends to be the Solar Glide. The Adidas lineup often features relatively minimalistic uppers and ‘heel counter’ sections (firm surface at back of shoe), providing an alternative for those in search of a lightweight option.

M: adidas Solar Glide Shoes – White | adidas Australia
W: adidas Solar Glide 19 Shoes – Black | adidas Australia

Brooks Ghost 13 ($189-$220)

The Seattle based running brand began as a manufacturer for a broad range of sports, focusing specifically on running from 2001 onward. The Ghost 13 model is marketed as a mix between comfort, breathability and cushioning. 

M: Brooks Running Shoes, Clothing & Sports Bras
W: Brooks Running Shoes, Clothing & Sports Bras

Hoka One One Clifton 6 ($230)

A French company, Hoka One One initially gained substantial market attention through ‘maximalist’ running shoes. This style of design went entirely against the ‘minimalist’ trend of the late 2000’s, with the larger outsole selling well in the trail running world, where lightweight comfort at odd angles on unpredictable terrain was a focus. Hoka footwear may fall in the ‘try before you buy’ bucket, given the maximalist feel is often a matter of personal preference.

Clifton 6 – HOKA ONE ONE

Mizuno Wave Rider 24 ($220)

The Japanese sportswear and equipment manufacturer initially specialised in baseball and golf products, established in 1906 in Osaka, the brand now services a substantial range of sports. The 24th edition of the popular Waver Rider the line, the shoe’s distinctive wave-shaped heel wedge is marketed as a point of difference for individuals transitioning smoothly throughout their stride.

W: Wave Rider 24

New Balance Fresh Foam 880v10 ($200)

The Boston based footwear specialist boasts 114 years of experience, the proprietary ‘Fresh Foam’ has led New Balance’s running footwear line since 2013. The 880v10’s are New Balance’s moderately cushioned daily running recommendation.

M: Fresh Foam 880v10 Men’s
W: Fresh Foam 880v10 Women’s

Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 37 ($180)

The world’s largest sportswear manufacturer has a history steeped in running tradition, first making their mark in the running footwear market. The fan-favourite Pegasus is in its 37th iteration, a durable lightweight option for daily use.

M: Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 37 Men’s Running Shoe
W: Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 37 Women’s Running Shoe

Saucony Ride Iso 2 ($199)

The only brand in the list founded pre-1900 (1898) the company’s distinctive name is derived from a nearby creek in the Pennsylvania town in which the brand was born. Similar to many ‘neutral’ market options, the Ride Iso 2 mixes cushioning and substantial durability for daily running use.

Ride ISO 2 Collection | Neutral Running Shoes for Men & Women

(The listed options are opinion-based, and Athletics Victoria receives no revenue from the links above)

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