Best Neutral Running Shoes – When a brand says that a particular running shoe is ‘neutral,’ it just means that the midsole does not have a medial wedge or a similar support feature. Naturally, by this broad definition, the opposite of neutral happens to be ‘stability,’ in which case you’ll need to read up our buyer’s guide for stability shoes.
But just as how not all stability shoes are the same, neutral running shoes also come in different shapes and cushioning levels. Traditionally, neutral shoes have been differentiated by their price. For example, for every Saucony Ride, you have a higher priced Triumph ISO.
Similarly, the Nike Pegasus is positioned as the mid-priced neutral with the more expensive Vomero over it. Historically, a higher retail price usually translated into increased cushioning and upper plushness over a lower priced variant.
While this generalization still holds true today for a large number of shoes, exceptions are now creeping their way in. For example, a neutral shoe from a mid-priced category might have an equal or a higher amount of cushioning than higher priced models.
The level of support is another factor worth considering. Some neutral shoes are more supportive than the others even within the same price range, and it is hard to tell unless you’ve run in them. Given the complexity of the selection process, we decided that the best way to recommend the best neutral running shoes is to group them by ride character, which then brings us to the three following categories:
Neutral shoes with soft cushioning
This is fairly self-explanatory, isn’t it? This is the cushioned end of the neutral running spectrum where each step sinks into midsole plushness. Shoes in this category either rely on large volume foam, expanded TPU, or a proprietary cushioning tech. The downside? These shoes aren’t very supportive and can feel wobbly under certain circumstances.
Best Neutral Running Shoes – Hoka Clifton 3
The Clifton 3 from Hoka One One gained positive feedback from a lot of runners who thought that it was a comfortable option for the roads. The cushioning system was particularly popular because it was thick yet surprisingly comfortable. Neutral runners were also happy that it was lightweight. Inversely, there were those who felt that it was ½ size small; others noted that the outsole wasn’t very durable.
Best Neutral Running Shoes – Nike Vomero 12
The Nike Air Zoom Vomero 12 neutral road shoe was a resounding success, based on many runners’ reports. Most were able to appreciate its comfortable construction, as well as its durable components. They also believed that it was a step up from the previous iterations in terms of cushioning, durability and overall quality.
Best Neutral Running Shoes – Adidas Energy Boost 3
Many runners were able to get quality service from the Adidas Energy Boost 3. For them, it’s a reliable option for their running sessions. It looked appealing and it felt great for their feet. Inversely, some testers observed that the upper unit was a bit uncomfortable, and a few felt that the durability of the outsole left a lot to be desired. But this neutral road shoe generally performed well for the majority of consumers.
Best Neutral Running Shoes – Adidas Ultra Boost
The Adidas Ultra Boost received a lot of praise for its appealing look, its durable components and the responsiveness of its mid-sole. Many runners were able to stay comfortable throughout their running activities. A lot agreed that the price was expensive, but they also commented that it was worth the investment because of its overall quality. This road shoe became highly recommended by neutral runners.
Neutral shoes with medium-soft and/or supportive cushioning
This class of footwear isn’t as plush as the ones above, but instead delivers a neutral ride with a higher level of support. (Note: Many shoes on this list are due for annual model refreshes shortly. We’ll update this article later this year.)
Best Neutral Running Shoes – Saucony Ride 9
The Ride 9 is Saucony’s go-to versatile trainer that juggles responsive cushioning, flexibility, support, and smooth transitions in one go. Saucony tweaked some of the things in the latest version of the Ride to give a smoother and more responsive feel than the past instalment. It is light enough for up-tempo runs or for marathon racing, but delivers enough cushioning for everyday running. Several experts are already tipping it to be one of the best trainers of the year.
Best Neutral Running Shoes – Nike Zoom Pegasus 33
The long-standing Pegasus line continues to dazzle, even in its 33rd coming. With several additions in tow, the fit and performance have generally made a good impression on runners of different levels. The shoe offers unbelievable comfort, good arch support, excellent breathability, solid traction, a must-have versatility and a head-turner for looks. At a very reasonable price, runners should have a winner in their feet that mixes style and performance that few can match.
Best Neutral Running Shoes – Mizuno Wave Rider 20
Many runners wrote that the Mizuno Wave Rider 20 was a worthy addition to the popular series of road running shoes. Some of them even added that it was able to surpass many of its predecessors. For them, the upper, the mid-sole and the outsole were well-designed. On the other hand, there were those who didn’t acclimate well to it, stating some concerns with its size, width and how it performed for them.
Best Neutral Running Shoes – Brooks Ghost 9
The Ghost 9 is sturdy, reliable, and versatile trainer that seamlessly provides the needs of runners looking for a tempo trainer or a well-cushioned version that can take on the poundings of a daily run. It has a superb arch support and quite responsive for a shoe with more than sufficient cushioning. The reasonable price tag is another reason to grab a pair of this very popular shoe from Brooks.
Neutral shoes, lightweight cushioning
Do you need a lightweight shoe to speed up your training runs? This list is for you, then. These shoes bridge the gap between all-out racing flats and traditional trainers. This way, you get the cushioned protection without the added weight.
Best Neutral Running Shoes – Skechers GoMeb Razor
The Skechers GOmeb Razor is a lightweight, fast, and a responsive everyday trainer built for short and long distance runs. Aside from the sock-like fit, the shoe also offers durability and reliable traction while running on the road.
Best Neutral Running Shoes – New Balance Fresh Foam Zante V3
The Zante v3 is easily one of New Balance’s most popular and sought after shoes. Not only because of the very reasonable $100 price tag, but also because of the magic brought about by the original shoe’s release. It brings a stiffer, more stable, and faster ride than any of the past models. The shoe may not necessarily keep the original’s fans, but should also gain a new following of its own. At its price point, it is hard NOT to see and enjoy what this shoe brings to the table.
Best Neutral Running Shoes – Asics Dynaflyte
The Asics DynaFlyte is gaining momentum when it comes to the comfort and efficacy of the wearer. This neutral shoe gives responsive cushioning that’s going to feel like nothing when taken to the races or daily running sessions. A striking look certainly adds to the appeal of this running shoe.
Best Neutral Running Shoes – Adidas Adizero Boston Boost 6
Runners were generally impressed with the Adidas Adizero Boston Boost 6. It was able to deliver solid performance and service to them. The cushioning felt adequate and the quality of the materials was sound. A few caveats were made about its looks and its supposedly distracting tongue, but that didn’t stop the athletes from enjoying this neutral shoe.