Best Neutral Running Shoes

In a Hurry? Editors choice:
Nike Air Zoom Vomero 11
Test Winner: Nike Air Zoom Vomero 11
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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.

Standout Picks

Brooks Women's Launch 5
It is only fitting that this list starts off with a Brooks running shoes as they are perhaps the best in the world at it. Their Launch 5 is not only the best neutral running shoe in the world; it may just be the best running shoe in the world, period.
Salomon Unisex S-Lab Sense 6
Salomon actually designed their Sense 6 Running Shoe to be unisex; meaning it is designed for both males and females. While it may not be an ideal neutral running shoe for runners with wide feet, it sports several key features to make it a comfortable and durable ride.
Mizuno Women's Wave Creation 17 Running Shoe
One of the best features of the Wave Creation 17 Running Shoe is its unprecedented durability. In all high-wear areas of a running shoe, there are superior materials to enhance the lifespan. Plus, the outsole is engineered to provide traction on a multitude of surfaces.
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adidas Performance Women's Supernova Glide 8 W Running Shoe
Not only is the Supernova Glide 8 Running Shoe from Adidas a terrific shoe for training, it is also ideal for long summer runs. Adidas integrates boost technology to provide exceptional shock abortion and energy boosts during your strides.
Amazon Link
New Balance Women's 990v4 Running Shoe
From strictly a performance end, this next neutral running shoe will be a blessing for all neutral runners. Yet, as this is New Balance, some users were noticeably disappointed with the appeal of the 990V4. But, granted that is irrelevant to you, you have nothing to worry about.
Brooks Men's Ghost 10
No buying guide regarding running shoes would be complete without a mention of the Ghost series from Brooks. Their Ghost 10 is probably their best iteration yet and if you take the word of some users who have tested this shoe, it feels like running on a cloud.
Nike Women's Air Zoom Vomero 11 Running Shoe
Nike is one of the most well-known brands in all of sports and there is a reason why. Their Air Zoom Vomero 11 Running Shoe is a strong example of why their popularity is rightfully earned among professionals and everyday runners.
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Under Armour Women's Charged Bandit 3 Running Shoe
It is Under Armour’s time to shine and while their Bandit 3 Shoe is not flawless, it does offer a nice blend of breathability and response. In addition, with the integration of an anti-microbial sockliner, it controls odors very well.
adidas Ultraboost All Terrain Shoes Men's
What is very intriguing about this neutral running shoe is that it features a water-repellent coating and is ideal for all seasons. Not too many running shoes can make that claim and without a doubt, this is the biggest selling point of the Ultraboost Running Shoe.
ASICS Women's GEL-Nimbus 17 Running Shoe
It goes to show how impressive this list is when these neutral running shoes acts as the caboose. The customized glove-like fit that is delivered adapts to the athlete’s foot and the rearfoot and forefoot gel cushioning provides an optimal amount of shock absorption.
Amazon Link

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Breathability

Quick question, have you ever went on a run or walk with shoes 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 accomplishes this is with mesh material. Typically, it is integrated on the top of the neutral running shoe as this is the most optimal place for it. But, a 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 neutral running shoes 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.

Durability

When it comes to analyzing and assessing the durability of neutral 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 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 neutral running shoes 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.

Comfort

If the way neutral running shoes fit 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 shoes. 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.

Fit

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 neutral 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 neutral 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.

Top 10 Picks

1. Brooks Launch 5

Where to buy
Brooks Women's Launch 5
Amazon Link

It is only fitting that this list starts off with a Brooks running shoes as they are perhaps the best in the world at it. Their Launch 5 is not only the best neutral running shoe in the world; it may just be the best running shoe in the world, period.

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Size and Fitting
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.

Comfortability
As soon as you start running with these neutral running shoes, you will know why comfort is highly raved by fans. Both the collar and tongue provide optimal padding; in addition to the interior softness of the fabric.

Durability
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.

Breathability
Whether you decide to go on long or short runs, the lightweight mesh upper will keep your foot dry and cool.

Visual Design
While Brooks is known for its high-quality running shoes, they also tend to design them visually appealing to the eyes. Launch 5 is a great example of this and includes a strong amount of vibrant colors to choose from.

Overall
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.

2. Salomon Sense 6

Salomon Unisex S-Lab Sense 6
Amazon Link

Salomon actually designed their Sense 6 Running Shoe to be unisex; meaning it is designed for both males and females. While it may not be an ideal neutral running shoe for runners with wide feet, it sports several key features to make it a comfortable and durable ride.

Read more

Size and Fitting
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 neutral running shoes are designed with racing in mind, it is a bit narrow.

Comfortability
The elegant combination of the dual-density compressed EVA midsole and the EnergyCell cushioning system deliver a comfortable and enjoyable ride.

Durability
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.

Breathability
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.

Visual Design
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.

Overall
Possibly the only reason you may want to pass on these neutral 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.

3. Mizuno Wave Creation 17

Where to buy
Amazon Link
Mizuno Women's Wave Creation 17 Running Shoe
Amazon Link

One of the best features of the Wave Creation 17 Running Shoe is its unprecedented durability. In all high-wear areas of a running shoe, there are superior materials to enhance the lifespan. Plus, the outsole is engineered to provide traction on a multitude of surfaces.

Read more

Size and Fitting
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.

Comfortability
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.

Durability
As mentioned, a ton of praise needs to go to Mizuno for the durability of this neutral 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.

Breathability
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 neutral running shoe is a bit too heavy.

Visual Design
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.

Overall
Despite its 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.

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4. Adidas Supernova Glide 8

Where to buy
Amazon Link
adidas Performance Women's Supernova Glide 8 W Running Shoe
Amazon Link

Not only is the Supernova Glide 8 Running Shoe from Adidas a terrific shoe for training, it is also ideal for long summer runs. Adidas integrates boost technology to provide exceptional shock abortion and energy boosts during your strides.

Read more

Size and Fitting
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.

Comfortability
Thanks to the Torsion System, these neutral running 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.

Durability
Adidas engineered this shoe with its 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 lightweight.

Breathability
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.

Visual Design
It is impossible to not recognize an Adidas shoe as they have their staple logo integrated on the side. Overall, these are a sharp-looking neutral running shoes, with enough color variety to satisfy most users.

Overall
One notable downside is some runners claimed the break-in period for these neutral running 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.

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5. New Balance 990V4

Where to buy
New Balance Women's 990v4 Running Shoe
Amazon Link

From strictly a performance end, this next neutral running shoe will be a blessing for all neutral runners. Yet, as this is New Balance, some users were noticeably disappointed with the appeal of the 990V4. But, granted that is irrelevant to you, you have nothing to worry about.

Read more

Size and Fitting
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.

Comfortability
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.

Durability
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.

Breathability
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.

Visual Design
These neutral running 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.

Overall
Is it rather unfortunate that the visual design is far from spectacular? Well, it depends on who you ask. From a technical standpoint, these neutral running shoes are top-of-the-line. But, it is up to you to decide if the appeal is enough to warrant a pass.

6. Brooks Ghost 10

Where to buy
Brooks Men's Ghost 10
Amazon Link

No buying guide regarding running shoes would be complete without a mention of the Ghost series from Brooks. Their Ghost 10 is probably their best iteration yet and if you take the word of some users who have tested this shoe, it feels like running on a cloud.

Read more

Size and Fitting
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.

Comfortability
Brooks integrates their infamous BioMoGo DNA midsole to ensure there is an optimal amount of cushioning inside this neutral running shoe. On top of this, there is also a segmented crash pad that lends its hand in making smoother transitions.

Durability
For the most part, runners seem to be in mutual agreement that 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.

Breathability
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.

Visual Design
It is a matter of opinion, but you would be hard-pressed to find a Brooks neutral running shoe that is unappealing. The Ghost 10 is certainly no different and there are a plethora of fantastic options.

Overall
Brooks has stayed on top of the food chain because they continue to adapt their neutral running shoes to better fit the needs of runners. Their Ghost 10 running shoes are yet another improvement and an absolutely stellar neutral running shoes.

7. Nike Air Zoom Vomero 11

Where to buy
Amazon Link
Nike Women's Air Zoom Vomero 11 Running Shoe
Amazon Link

Nike is one of the most well-known brands in all of sports and there is a reason why. Their Air Zoom Vomero 11 Running Shoe is a strong example of why their popularity is rightfully earned among professionals and everyday runners.

Read more

Size and Fitting
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.

Comfortability
This is advertised as the most comfortable version of this brand of the neutral running shoe and with plushier materials than its predecessor and an ideal combination of cushioning and speed, which is not far from the truth.

Durability
Much like 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.

Breathability
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.

Visual Design
Nike was not shy when it came to 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.

Overall
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.

Amazon Link

8. Under Armour Bandit 3

Where to buy
Under Armour Women's Charged Bandit 3 Running Shoe
Amazon Link

It is Under Armour’s time to shine and while their Bandit 3 Shoe is not flawless, it does offer a nice blend of breathability and response. In addition, with the integration of an anti-microbial sockliner, it controls odors very well.

Read more

Size and Fitting
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.

Comfortability
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.

Durability
There are certain high-impact zones on neutral 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.

Breathability
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.

Visual Design
There may not be a laundry-list of color options available but among the ones that are, the visual appeal is quite endearing.

Overall
No, this is not a flawless neutral 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.

9. Adidas All-Terrain Ultraboost

Where to buy
adidas Ultraboost All Terrain Shoes Men's
Amazon Link

What is very intriguing about this neutral running shoe is that it features a water-repellent coating and is ideal for all seasons. Not too many running shoes can make that claim and without a doubt, this is the biggest selling point of the Ultraboost Running Shoe.

Read more

Size and Fitting
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.

Comfortability
What makes this neutral 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.

Durability
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.

Breathability
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.

Visual Design
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.

Overall
Indeed, this is a unique neutral 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.

10. Asics Gel Nimbus 17

Where to buy
Amazon Link
ASICS Women's GEL-Nimbus 17 Running Shoe
Amazon Link

It goes to show how impressive this list is when these neutral running shoes acts as the caboose. The customized glove-like fit that is delivered adapts to the athlete’s foot and the rearfoot and forefoot gel cushioning provides an optimal amount of shock absorption.

Read more

Size and Fitting
The “glove-like” fit is achieved with the power of ASICS FluidFit upper technology as it features a multi-directional stretch that adapts to an athlete’s foot.

Comfortability
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.

Durability
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.

Breathability
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.

Visual Design
In all honesty, the included color options for these neutral running shoes are quite outlandish. To be blunt, this will either strongly appeal to you or appall you.

Overall
A more impressive running shoe could not have capped off this list and it goes to show the quality of the neutral running shoes above. The Gel Nimbus 17 is designed for a casual runner but features advanced technology.

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Sources

  1. Glen Morgan, 823 best neutral running shoes, Article