Couch to 5K

Best running trainers on a budget for a beginner?

Having hijacked my mother's hiking trainers for the past few weeks, I promised myself if I made it to week four I'd treat myself to a pair of running shoes of my own. However, now we're closer to the time, I'm struggleing to decide exactly what I need to buy.

I've only got a modest budget (of up to around the 35-40 pounds mark), so I'm after a pair of beginners shoes (if they even make them) that will last me until I can warrant going getting a gait analysis plus solid pair nearer the new year. However, this is where my problems start!

As a note, please excuse the non-technical language, before even glancing online I presumed most trainers were created equal and hadn't even spared a moment to think about all the different types of tread, padding plus breathability!

Now, I've been looking at the Asics's patriot trainers, which are generally advertised (or as far as I've seen) as a good all round shoe for beginners. The only problem is that going to have a look at them yesterday (although they are lovely, and felt good on my feet) they don't have the gel-inserty bit in the middle of the shoe like for instance the Asic's women's gel 1150 have, or a few of the cheaper Karrimor running shoes have. What exact difference will this make?

Having a quick word with the sports direct sales lady didn't do me much good, as she was in a rush (and I was a bit flustered by the whole affair really- being surrounded by really skinny sales assistants), so I've really not been able to figure out exactly what I need to be looking for. She just told me to look for something breathable, and gave me a funny look when I tried to ask questions.

Honestly, I'm even more confused now from when I started. I hadn't realised shopping for trainers could be quite this complicated!

If it helps, I'm currently on week three (will be moving to four this saturday), and I run most days now- I do a slightly different routine where I run two days on a trot and then have a day off as oppose to the normal run-day off-run affair, so they'll be used slightly more than three times a week. I mainly run on a mixture of tarmac plus grass (around a playing field- so not really off-road), and I also have just started taking up skipping on my days off. So I'd like to be able to skip in these trainers as well as run. I'm not overly bothered by the colour, although I will be running later on this year in the mud no doubt, so off-white would be preferred (although not essential by any means as 99.9% of the trainers I've looked at so far are white).

Does anyone have any suggestions for what brands/types/things to avoid/things to go for I should be looking for? Thank you in advance, the more I look into this the more confused I'm becomming by the whole affair! Who knew buying trainers could be this complicated.

Here's a few links to the ones I've looked at so far:



(Sorry, I wasn't sure if I could include links or not, if not please remove them! Wasn't 100% sure of the rules of this community!)

10 Replies

I would go and get your gait analysied. You don't need to buy the trainers they suggest but it will give u an idea of your natural gait. If you are neutral then you are on a winner as lots more shoes for you to choose. If you over or under pronate then u know to look at trainers in this bracket. But running longer distances in trainers that don't suit you will not do you any favours.

Oh and lots of the sports shoes have summer sales on now so good luck


When buying a pair of running shoes (trainers) you would be ill advised to buy a pair just because they are less money than another pair which fits and suits your running gait. After all your footwear is what is carrying your whole body weight around the streets etc and not just walking they are being pounded so it is important that once you start going longer distances you get the right ones for you, to help prevent future injury. Get your gait checked find the right shoe for you then go on line and see if you can get them for a better price, Amazon & Sports Direct have a good selection and I'm sure there are other suppliers out there too. You spoke about Asics and thats what I use and love them, they are lightweight, supportive with gel heals and dry very quickly too which in our climate is important. The gel will help reduce the impact and will help reduce the likes of shin splints and knee injuries. Wish you luck with your jogging and shoe hunting, let us know how you get on.


I went to dw sports & had my gait analysis, telling the assistant that my budget was £50. the ones that felt the best were asics gt-2160s (sounds like a sports car hehe) anyways, he was happy to give me the model no saying that I wouldnt find them cheaper anywhere else (they were £75) & I managed to pick them up from ebay from an ebay sports shop for around £30, but I did have to bid on a few pairs before I got them.

also, remember that your running trainers need to be a little bit bigger than your normal size, otherwise you may lose a toenail or 2 ~ this comes from experience!

good luck. x


I've got them and I'm really happy with them...the shop only had the white version in, so I went online to get the grey goretex ones, but at least I knew what I wanted!


Thank you both!

The big problem is that after having a look around for places that do gait analysis, the only shop near me happens to be a small independent running shop. I really just don't feel right 'using' them like this: they're only a small singular shop, and are also (from the looks of google) my town's only running shop.

I'm going to go pop in tomorrow to have a look, but I don't want to waste their time and money knowing that I (more than likely) won't be able to afford most of their stock.


I would go to the small independent shop, be straight with them about your budget. If they are any good they will be pleased to help, knowing that a happy customer will come back again and again (hopefully with a bigger budget next time!) and probably recommend them to others. They certainly won't be offended by your enquiry.

Good luck !


Yep I would do just exactly that, explain your budget and hope they have something that will be in your price range, if you are a student they may do a student discount for you, its worth a try.


nikes all the way for me! can't express my love for nikes enough, got a great pair of nike dart 9's from sports direct for £25 and they were great beginner shoes.


Definitely try the local independent shop. They tend to be run by enthusiasts who will also know about local routes and clubs too.

That said , I got my running trainers from Sweatshop after I got a discount voucher from them for doing my first Parkrun. They were very good, did a gait analysis and let me try lots of shoes to choose the ones which felt best for me. They have shops across the country and a website.


Well, it turns out a friend of mine was travelling to Nottingham today, so I hitched a ride and went to Sweatshop. I got a touch carried away, but they did a full gait analysis, and I walked away with a pair of trainers for just short of fifty pounds.

I do admit I got slightly carried away, and spent a touch more than I would have perhaps wanted to, but they're extremely comfortable and as the shop was empty the bloke was happy to let me have a good jog around (gosh, they feel COMPLETELY different from my hiking shoes- they're FAR nicer to jog in). I can also take them back if they don't suit within the next 30 days even if I've run in them, so I think I got a good deal in the end!

I'd have gone to the independent anyway today, but I wouldn't have felt quite as guilty walking out of Sweatshop with nothing if that'd have been the case. I just have to jog in them now- which I don't think is going to happen tonight after I was dragged to a Chinese buffet! I'd love to go out, but unfortunately my stomach isn't quite agreeing with me at the moment!

Thanks guys!


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