Best Neutral Running Shoes 2023
Buyer's Guide | Fleet Feet
Runners looking for the best neutral running shoes are in luck: All of the best running shoe brands make outstanding neutral shoes as part of their lineups.
This list of neutral running shoes is not exhaustive, and there are other great running shoes out there for you. But if you’re new to running or unsure of what to look for, this is a good place to start.
Here are some of the best neutral running shoes for most people:
- Brooks Ghost 15
- Mizuno Wave Rider 26
- HOKA Clifton 9
- On Cloudgo
- New Balance Fresh Foam 880 v13
- ASICS GEL-Nimbus 25
- Saucony Ride 16
- Altra Torin 7
- Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 40
- Karhu Ikoni
[ This article is part of the Fleet Feet Buyer's Guide for The Best Running Shoes 2023. Find all the best running shoes from the top brands for all situations.]
Brooks Ghost 15
It's no surprise the Brooks Ghost 15 is one of the best neutral running shoes—Brooks built it to be cushioned, comfortable and versatile.
The Brooks Ghost boasts an accommodating fit for a variety of foot shapes and sizes. An engineered upper is light and airy, but secure around the midfoot and heel for an instantly comfortable feeling as soon as you step into them.
Brooks uses updated DNA Loft v2 foam to deliver a lightweight, bouncy and soft ride. DNA Loft v2 is lighter than the foam in the previous model while promoting smooth transitions and providing unbeatable cushioning that will last through daily mileage.
The neutral ride, comfortable fit and light overall weight make the Brooks Ghost 15 a great all-around running shoe for most people, and it's one of the best running shoes for beginners.
Read more in our Brooks Ghost 15 review.
Mizuno Wave Rider 26
The Wave Rider has long been a dependable training partner thanks to its responsive feel and durability.
The Wave Rider 26 is powered by Mizuno's poppy Enerzy foam that springs you forward with each step and cushions landings mile after mile. A bio-based Wave plate helps disperse impact and promotes smooth transitions from heel to toe.
“I like that the Wave Rider is firm enough to propel me forward, with just enough flexibility in the forefoot to avoid feeling stiff,” One reviewer says in our Mizuno Wave Rider 26 review. “The feel is pretty similar to the Wave Riders that we know from the past, but the updated foam and overall materials continue to make small improvements.”
With a lightweight, breathable jacquard mesh upper that fits like a glove, you're going to love the balanced, neutral support of the Mizuno Wave Rider 26.
HOKA Clifton 9
A new midsole compound and refreshed upper give the HOKA Clifton 9 a boost while maintaining its position as one of the best neutral running shoes you can find.
The original Clifton made waves with its blend of max cushioning and minimal weight, and the newest model retains those same characteristics. HOKA pumped the Clifton 9 full of even more light and energetic EVA foam that's as capable at quick paces as it is for long, slow days.
Designers retooled the shoe’s engineered mesh upper for an even better feel and secure fit. But the soul of the Clifton remains the same: You get a protective ride and buttery transition while staying light on your feet. Fleet Feet runners praised the newest version in our HOKA Clifton 9 review, with one saying “The changes to the Clifton 9 seem to be micro improvements. I think if you’ve been a fan of the Clifton in the past, you will love this shoe and find that it’s not much different.”
The On Cloudgo gives you style and performance for the run.
The Cloudgo look comes from On’s innovative CloudTec technology. Designers carved each Cloud element beneath the shoe to collapse on landing for precise, comfortable cushioning but spring back into shape for a firm, consistent response when you take off. Because of this unique design, the Cloudgo is not only great for running but for fitness classes and workouts where you’re changing direction quickly.
A bed of Helion foam above On’s signature CloudTec outsole absorbs impact upon landing and energizes toe-offs to deliver fast, smooth transitions on the run. The Helion foam works with the Speedboard to create a snappy ride that lasts over quick efforts and marathon-length races, which our reviewers loved in the On Cloudgo review.
Overall, the meticulous design and outstanding performance make the On Cloudgo one of the best neutral running shoes you can buy.
New Balance Fresh Foam 880 v13
The New Balance Fresh Foam 880 v13 is as dependable as a running shoe can be thanks to a straightforward fit and premium Fresh Foam X cushioning.
New Balance's premier dual cushioning gives the 880 an adaptable ride. Fresh Foam X feels soft when you land while the denser foam under the forefoot provides a smooth transition as you push off. Plus, it's proven itself in a variety of New Balance running shoes, meaning you can rely on it mile after mile.
The accommodating fit and responsive ride make it a great choice for new and experienced runners, which our reviewers loved in the New Balance Fresh Foam 880 v13 review.
The 880 v13 is a true workhorse: It's cushioned enough to handle itself on long runs but light and responsive enough to pick up the pace. Whether you're just starting out or training for your next marathon, the Fresh Foam 880 v13 can keep up.
ASICS GEL-Nimbus 25
Now with even more cushion, ASICS took the classic Nimbus and made it even softer.
The new GEL-Nimbus 25 maintains the comfortable fit and easy ride that so many runners love. ASICS designers added about 5 mm of their FF BLAST PLUS ECO foam to the midsole and used a brand new Pure-GEL pad in the heel that is lighter than its previous gel to absorb impact and soften your landings.
Fleet Feet runners said the premium cushioning makes this neutral running shoe ideal for easy miles, recovery runs or long days on your feet in our ASICS Gel-Nimbus 25 review.
Saucony Ride 16
The Saucony Ride 16 is a classic, no-fuss neutral running shoe that's as good for beginners as it is for experienced marathoners.
Part of the Ride’s mass appeal is its easy fit. The upper of the Ride 16 fits a variety of foot shapes thanks to its great midfoot lockdown and breathable upper.
Saucony’s PWRRUN cushioning sits underfoot. The foam is soft when you land and responsive when you push off, making the ride as low maintenance as the fit. The geometry of the Ride 16 allows your foot to sit into the shoe, as opposed to on top of it, giving you a more supportive fit and smoother ride.
Read more in our Saucony Ride 16 review.
Altra Torin 7
The Altra Torin 7 provides a springy, cushioned and natural ride that’s perfect for walking, running or standing all day.
The Torin is one of the best-selling neutral running shoes from Altra because it delivers on its promise of a comfortable and accommodating fit. Where some shoes taper toward the toe box, Altra’s FootShaped toe box is more square to mimic the actual shape of a human foot. The shape lets your toes splay naturally when you land and push off powerfully during toe-off, so your feet stay comfortable for all the miles to come.
The Torin 7 now has even more of Altra’s EGO™ MAX midsole foam, which provides a bouncy and soft feeling underfoot. Runners loved the comfort and cushion that this shoe had when they slipped it on in our Altra Torin 7 review. It also has Altra’s signature Balanced Cushioning (or zero drop), which puts the heel and forefoot at an equal distance from the ground to encourage better alignment and better form.
The Altra Torin 7 sports a roomy toe box and 0 mm heel-to-toe drop to give you a natural sense of control during your run.
Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 40
The Nike Pegasus is consistently one of the best running shoes every year. Because of its straightforward fit and versatility, it can be spotted not only toeing the starting line on race day but on athletes of all types.
Nike’s React foam in the midsole gives you a smooth and responsive ride while two Zoom Air units at the forefoot and heel add a pop to your step to keep you feeling energized for miles.
A breathable and lightweight upper keeps your feet comfortable and blister-free. For fast turns and cross-training workouts, flexible circular knit mesh works with Nike’s new midfoot wrap to hug your foot for total support during your run or workout.
If you’re looking for a neutral running shoe that you can use for just about anything, the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 40 fits the bill. Its lightweight cushioning and dialed-in fit make the Pegasus 40 an ideal choice as your go-to daily trainer.
The Karhu Ikoni may be one of the most slept-on daily trainers in the neutral running shoe category. Designed based on millions of 3D foot scans captured during Fleet Feet’s fit id® outfitting process, the Karhu Ikoni is one of the most comfortable fitting neutral running shoes you’ll put on.
A bed of lightweight Aerofoam feels super plush and responsive and is supported by a half-length Fulcrum rocker in the midfoot. This combination helps to roll the foot through its heel-to-toe transition and makes runs and walks feel effortless with each step.
A unique Ortix footbed gives the sensation of arch support underfoot, and Karhu’s M-Lock lacing system in the upper feels like the palm of a hand gently holding the top of your foot down.
Plus, it comes in a HiVo (high-volume) version for wider or taller feet so you can enjoy the Karhu Ikoni without your feet falling asleep on longer runs. In our review, testers loved how lightweight and cushioned the Ikoni is, and we think you will too.
How We Chose the Best Neutral Running Shoes
We used data from our fit id® outfitting process, interviews with designers and real-life wear testing to determine the best neutral running shoes.
You can shop with confidence at Fleet Feet: We offer free shipping on all orders over $99, and you have 60 days to return any gear if you don’t like the way it looks, fits or feels. Plus, with our price-match guarantee, you can make sure you never pay too much for a new pair of running shoes.
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