Best Neutral Running Shoes for Men & Women Reviewed

From the outside looking in, the world of running seems fairly straightforward. All you need is a pair of shoes, some clothes to run in, the space to move, and the time to get a run in. Runners, however, know that there is a lot more to it than grabbing any ‘ole pair of shoes and hitting the pavement. A basic sneaker will work in the beginning, but anyone who tries to run in unsuitable footwear for long will quickly feel it in their feet, knees, and hips. A proper running shoe can be almost as unique as the runner wearing it and shoe companies are very aware of this. Footwear designers take everything into account such as padding for comfort,  cushioning to alleviate load-rate, fashion elements, and the support needed for people with different gaits.

A person’s gait is the pattern of how they walk. This can be affected by a number of things, but the factor most important to designers is a person’s arch and if their foot turns in a bit at the ankle. These factors affect a person’s pronation type, which is the term for where the midfoot will strike the ground when walking. Some people strike along the outer edge while some strike in the center and varying angles in between. Not having the proper support for their personal pronation level will lead to serious problems for frequent runners.

Featured Recommendations

ASICS GEL-Venture 5
  • ASICS GEL-Venture 5
  • 4.8 out of 5
    Our rating
  • GEL Cushioning System
  • Removable Foam Sockliner
  • Price: See Here
New Balance 990V4
  • New Balance 990V4
  • 4.6 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Pigskin/Mesh Upper
  • Made in the USA
  • Price: See Here
ASICS Gel-Contend 4
  • ASICS Gel-Contend 4
  • 4.5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Gel Cushioned Rearfoot
  • Padded Tongue and Collar
  • Price: See Here

Neutral running shoes are those designed for people with a neutral pronation who often strike towards the center of the foot when walking or running. Their ankle bones turn in slightly when standing and many in the running community consider this pronation to be ideal, as it requires little support – also called neutral support – and leads to fewer possible complications.  Runners with neutral pronation do best with mild support, as too much can cause their pronation to change to something more severe. The footwear listed here is considered best for those runners who have neutral pronation, or a neutral gait. Their features and prices range widely but they all share the mild support needed for a neutral runner.

 

10 Best Neutral Running Shoes

 

1. ASICS GEL-Venture 5

Having bright and supportive overlays, this footwear provides stability and flexibility at the same time. Furthermore, the GEL cushioning system gives you the shock-absorbent technology you need for a comfortable run. Multi-surface traction helps with easier transitioning from road to dirt and the outsole is trail-specific. This makes these perfect for both hard surface and trail running.
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Synthetic/Mesh Upper
The upper gives you great breathability; thereby, giving you a wonderful and healthy environment for your feet while you run. Additionally, the mesh helps to provide decent flexibility, as well.

Removable Foam Sockliner
For those in need of orthotic support, a removable sockliner is in place. This makes these quite attractive, in terms of usability. Furthermore, the existing sockliner is decent in providing comfort.

Cost and Value
Easy on the wallet, this footwear is very enticing for running, especially when considering the great build. They have pleasing aesthetics and have supportive overlays to add to the shoe's stability. This is a pair perfect for beginners and seasoned runners alike.
Pros

Synthetic/Mesh Upper

GEL Cushioning System

Removable Foam Sockliner

Trail-specific Outsole

Multi-surface Traction

Cons

Better for wide feet

2. New Balance 990V4

New Balance is another company with a reputation for affordable daily sneakers that, also, designs running shoes with specific runners in mind. The 99OV4 is intended for runners with neutral pronation and a need for a sold ankle cuff. They come in a range of colors and are the latest addition to New Balance's Made in the U.S. line.
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Leather and Mesh Uppers
Mesh has become a key material in modern running shoes, prized for its light weight and ability to let a foot breathe. Unfortunately, it is not particularly supportive, which is why New Balance mixed the mesh with leather. The design combines breathability with the structure of leather.

Dual Density Collar Foam
Running footwear can break down in the oddest places, one of which is the collar around the runner's ankle. With dual-density construction, the collar on the 99OV4 will last long past others.

Cost and Value
The 99OV4 is a bit pricey which means casual runners (or those unsure of what they need) might be better off trying less expensive shoes until they are certain that running is for them. For those who are sure, however, this is a good investment shoe.
Pros
  • Lightweight and Supportive
  • Dual-enforced Ankle Collar
  • Huge Range of Colors
  • Fits True to Size
Cons
  • A bit pricey

3. Nike Revolution 3

Another great pair for long-distance running, the Nike Revolution 3 have a lightweight, yet sturdy build. They are highly breathable and deploy no-sew overlays. There are a plethora of colors to choose from and the foam midsole provides both stability and comfortability throughout each run. Moreover, this is a pair of which you can be proud of wearing.
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No-sew Overlays
The overlays are minimal and provide both stability and lightweight features. In addition, there is a quaint uniqueness factor about them which helps to set this footwear apart from other standard running shoes.

Soft Foam Midsole
This midsole absorbs shock well. But more than that, however, the midsole is rather sturdy and will hold up for a long time; yet, the design brings you comfort, as well.

Cost and Value
Pricing is around the midrange of cost association. Made of high-quality materials and having a design to withstand many miles ahead, this is great running footgear. Moreover, this is a pair which looks good and, also, will fit into both a beginner's and seasoned veteran's criteria for a worthy running shoe.
Pros

Soft Foam Midsole

Mesh Upper

Rubber Outsole

No-sew Overlays

3-inch Shaft Height

Cons

Thin shoelaces

4. Brooks Ghost 10

4. Brooks Ghost 10
Brooks is a popular choice amongst runners and the Ghost 10 does not disappoint. Having a mesh upper, rubber outsole, Omega Flex grooves, BioMoGo DNA midsole, and a segmented crash pad, these are loaded with great technologies. In other words, this pair is comfortable to wear while out on your run and have high performance in mind. Furthermore, this footwear is perfect for those who run long distances, as well.
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Segmented Crash Pad
This technology not only helps to retain your balance but, also, aids in providing the ultimate in comfortability. The segmented crash pad adjusts to each footfall, no matter the angle. As such, these provide ample security for your feet.

Omega Flex Grooves
Flexibility is a must-have when considering great running shoes. These Ghost 10's give you that with Omega Flex Grooves technology in the forefoot.

Cost and Value
At the upper end of the price range, this is a pair for serious runners. They are made of high-quality materials and built to last for many miles. Furthermore, these are perfect for long-distance running, as well. If you are serious about running, then this is a pair you might consider.
Pros

Mesh Upper

Rubber Outsole

Segmented Crash Pad

Omega Flex Grooves

BioMoGo DNA Midsole

Cons

A bit pricey

5. ASICS Gel-Contend 4

5. ASICS Gel-Contend 4
The Gel-Contend 4 is another gel-insole shoe with a few twists up its sleeve. It features a padded tongue and collar to avoid ankle chafing while on runs, a rubber sole, and a mesh upper that is both lightweight and extremely durable. In addition, there are a plethora of colors to choose from.
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Rearfoot Gel Cushioning
Asics makes frequent use of gel cushioning in the rearfoot area of their shoes and for good reason. This alleviates the pressure of heel strike when running, which translates into a more comfortable running experience.

Slip-Resistant and Mostly Non-Marking
The footwear is marketed as neither slip-resistant nor non-marking, but the reviews are clear: Asics's rubber soles are fairly slip-resistant, which makes them ideal for wet-weather runs, as well as, sports that may take a person onto wet surfaces. They have, also, been reported as almost entirely non-marking, which allows them to translate well onto a court if necessary.

Cost and Value
Even at their most expensive, these are reasonably priced. If a runner is looking for solid footwear at an affordable price, these are a great choice to go for.
Pros
  • Gel Cushioned Rearfoot
  • Slip-resistant and Non-marking
  • Affordably Priced
  • Padded Tongue and Collar
Cons
  • Size runs small

6. Adidas Performance Edge Lux

6. Adidas Performance Edge Lux
Some athletic designs have every bell and whistle mixed in. Others, like the Edge Lux, like to keep things simple. This design takes the idea of a neutral runner to a new level. It offers a mild amount of arch support and a trademarked Bounce core to aid in absorbing shock during footfalls. Beyond that, it is designed for the runner who likes to keep things simple.
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Low Shoe Weight
The Edge Lux weighs in at only eight ounces for a size seven shoe. A light shoe weight means less strain on the runner and allows for more foot flexibility and motion during runs or other forms of exercise.

Sock-Like Construction for a Snug Fit
Adidas used a very limited number of structural features when they designed the Edge Lux. Instead of heavier and more cumbersome options, they chose to use a snug sock-like construction that would comfortably hug a wearer's foot. Many reviews even claim that it can be used without laces, though this is not recommended for runners!

Cost and Value
The Edge Lux starts out at a very reasonable price and then spans the price range all the way to the upper midrange. If a pair is purchased at the low end of the price range, however, it is definitely worth the cost.
Pros
  • Textile Upper
  • Rubber Outsole
  • Range of Color Options
  • Soft, Snug Fit
  • Lightweight
Cons
  • Price varies widely

7. Saucony Cohesion 11

7. Saucony Cohesion 11
The Cohesion 11 from Saucony is another shoe that leaves off the bells and whistles in favor of solid construction and no-nonsense efficacy. They might run a little small, but if that is taken into account, they are long-lasting and durable, making them a great option for casual runners.
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Durable and Long-lasting
By all accounts, these will last and last. They are ideal for casual joggers who need solid footwear for their jogs and runs without investing a large sum on more complex shoes with features they might not have a need for.

Good Traction
Though they are not marketed as non-slip, many users agree that these have excellent traction, so long as the sole is in good condition. And given the durability of these, often more than a year even with heavy use, the traction should remain ideal for some time.

Cost and Value
If a pair can be found for their lower price, these are one of the most affordable on this list. They are excellent daily runners that will hold up for a long time under mild use; saving money over time, in addition to the money saved on the initial investment.
Pros
  • Textile/Synthetic Upper
  • Rubber Outsole
  • Very Affordable
  • Good Traction
  • Durable and Long-lasting
Cons
  • Run small

8. Mizuno Wave Sayonara 3

8. Mizuno Wave Sayonara 3
This is speed-focused footwear which is ideal for those training for racing events. It is vegan-friendly, is made with a synthetic and mesh upper, utilizes Parallel Wave technology, has a padded tongue and collar, and provides a roomy 3.1-inch shaft height. With all of the aforementioned technologies and build makeup, this is a worthy shoe for a runner's delight.
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Speed-focused Trainer
This footgear is built to be lightweight and places its primary focus on gaining you every bit of speed possible. Made with a minimal friction upper, your feet will feel good during the run.

Padded Tongue and Collar
When comfort matters, people sometimes forget about the tongue and collar as being part of that equation. Well, this padded tongue and collar will help to wrap your ankle area in a way which lessens the nuisances of rubbing.

Cost and Value
Coming in at the lower price range, Mizuno has done well in creating a running shoe which gives you comfort and speed. This is footwear worthy of the investment and a good choice for those wishing to add to their footwear collection.
Pros

Synthetic/Mesh Upper

Vegan-friendly

3.1-inch Shaft Height

Parallel Wave Technology

Padded Tongue and Collar

Cons

Minimal forefoot support

Size runs small/narrow

9. Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 34

9. Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 34
Nike is one of the most well-known shoe brands on the market. Their Air Zoom Pegasus is no exception to their practice of quality footwear that is meant to support the athlete wearing them without sacrificing style or all-around comfort. This particular model comes in a range of color and color combinations, and features the kind of support and cushioning needed by the neutral runner.
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Responsive Heel Cushion
Heel strike can be an issue for runners and Nike takes that into account with their response heel cushion. This feature, combined with their neutral arch support and cushioned midfoot, will leave a neutral runner's feet in comfort during a good run.

Underfoot Crash Rail
The Pegasus, also, features an underfoot crash rail that runs the length of the shoes. This feature is intended as another shock-absorbing measure which will keep more pressure from telegraphing to the knees and ankles during a run.

Cost and Value
These are relatively affordable for quality running shoes, particularly those made by Nike. Some sizes and color options can run into higher price ranges, but the base price makes this model a good value.
Pros
  • Mild Arch Support
  • Under Foot Strike Rail
  • Cushioned Midsole and Heel
  • Range of Color Options
Cons
  • Size runs small

10. Adidas Cloudfoam Vs City

10. Adidas Cloudfoam Vs City
For those who enjoy pavement running, Cloudfoam Vs City from Adidas might be just what you are searching for. The traction of the rubber outsoles is perfect for road running and the Cloudfoam midsoles provide decent cushioning with this in mind. In other words, there is a chance you could feel as though you are walking on clouds, even though you are running across the pavement.
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Synthetic/Mesh Upper
The upper is made to bring you flexibility and breathability; that is, your feet will remain cool while you burn up the road in comfort. Utilized in conjunction with the 3-strip overlays, this pair is durable, as well.

Cloudfoam Midsole
This midsole is designed specifically for the hard impacts of road running. With Cloudfoam technology at the helm, you can be certain your feet will feel great with each passing mile.

Cost and Value
This pair is easy on the wallet when compared to other footwear on this list. Additionally, they are made with a decent build and are structurally sound. Moreover, city runners can benefit from this highly durable, yet comfortable footwear.
Pros

Synthetic/Mesh Upper

Rubber Outsole

Cloudfoam Midsole

Flexible

3-Stripe Overlay

Cons

Minimal arch support

The more frequently someone runs, the more important proper running shoes becomes. Having footwear that over supports the arch or compensates for a gait foreign to the runner, can lead to problems that will not have existed had the shoes not been worn at all. If a runner isn’t sure what their pronation or gait is, many sports supply shops have people that can help them find out. Barring that, podiatrists are often reliable people for determining what kind of running shoe is best for each individual. Once the proper fit is determined, it is only a matter of finding a pair in the right style and right price range before happy feet are hitting the street.

 

Criteria Used to Evaluate the Best Neutral Running Shoes

Support Features

Because runners with neutral pronation are not in need of the same kind of support structures that other pronation types are, the shoes on this list were evaluated based on whether or not they offered any forms of additional support or padding, and whether those supports were necessary or only added to the weight and cost of the shoe without benefit to the buyer. Footwear with overly high arches or unnecessary supports was eliminated, thus leaving the shoes best matched to a neutral runner. One of the biggest concerns would be the weight of the shoe, the cost of a durable pair, and the shock absorption offered. Most of the footwear features specific shock-absorbing attributes to give the buyers run a smoother and less aggressive rhythm and cause less pressure on the knee, ankle and hip joints.

 

Weight

Many non-runners underestimate the effect that a shoe’s weight can have on a runner. Shoe designers, however, are very aware of this factor and it was high on the list of criteria that each shoe on this list was matched to. In many cases, an exact weight is offered, though of course, the weight varies depending on size. To reduce weight, many of these are primarily made of mesh with rubber soles, though each model has its own style and method of integrating these two materials. The base weight was not the only consideration, however. When possible, each was evaluated based on the features it offered and whether or not they were worth the weight they added to the shoe, allowing for a weight and function judgment to be made.

Variety of Usability

These are, for the most part, intended for running and little else. Most people cannot designate just one activity per pair of shoes, however, and this was taken into account when choosing the shoes to list above. Each was designed specifically for running and may be mildly uncomfortable for activities where the foot moves in a markedly different manner, but there are numerous other activities that buyers have successfully involved these in, as well. Squash, boating, and basketball are just a few that were listed, leaving the door open for many other options in between runs; albeit, doing so will lower the life-expectancy for running usability.


Frequently Asked Questions

 

Q: Do the shoes fit true to size?
A: 
For the most part, these fit true to size. In cases where there is a chronic issue with them being a size small, it is mentioned in the review. Athletic shoes are, generally, recommended to be a half size larger than dress shoes to allow for the foot’s movement. So, that factor was taken into account, as well.

Q: Are the shoes waterproof?
A: 
A few pairs on this list do qualify as all-weather, so to speak (temperature wise); but as the majority of them are mesh, it is hard to deem them waterproof. A waterproof spray is, usually, recommended for any footwear that will often be worn outdoors.

Q: How long will a pair last?
A: 
That depends on how often the shoes are worn and how much use they see in each wear. But, generally speaking, the shoes on this list will last a consistent runner a year or more before either the insole or the traction on the bottom fails and the shoes need to be replaced.

Q: Where can I find out my pronation?
A: 
A podiatrist is the best bet for determining what kind of pronation a person has, but shoe stores and sports supply stores often have people available to help determine this, as well.

Q: Are neutral running shoes good for people with plantar fasciitis?
A: 
For the most part, no. There is often not enough arch support or heel cupping for those who suffer from plantar fasciitis. Some of the shoes listed above have removable insoles so that suitable insoles for plantar fasciitis can be added and there are many wonderful insoles on the market. Straight from the box, however, neutral pronation shoes are likely not going to have enough support.

Sources

  1. Thorin Klosowski, What's the Difference Between All These Running Shoes?, Webpage, Jan 01, 1970
  2. Luff, C., Find the Right Running Shoes: How to Pick the Best Running Shoes for Your Foot Type, blog; article, May 12, 2018
  3. medicinenet.com, Medical Definition of Neutral foot type, blog; definition, Sep 14, 2016
  4. asics.com, What is Pronation, and Why Does it Matter?, blog; article,


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