Best Running Shoes For Women
It is quite obvious that men and women have different body shapes, right? Because of this, our weight sits differently and we tend to have different gaits. While technically, men and women could wear the same running shoes, there are a few anatomical differences that make each sex feel more comfortable in a gender-specific shoe. A woman’s running pattern is usually lighter in weight, wider in the forefoot, and narrower in the heel. Women typically weigh less than men and can feel just as comfortable with less cushioning. Aside from the technicalities, women’s running shoes are usually offered in brighter or more feminine colors. Whether you have been running for years or just getting into a routine, you will find the perfect shoe for you on this list.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 15 hrs of research
Top Ten Running Shoes for Women
1. Adidas Performance Energy Cloud
The lining has a tendency to bunch up
This Adidas addition was designed for runners that are looking for something easy and lightweight that doesn’t offer as much support as the other models that have made this list. If you are the type of runner that doesn’t like to feel encumbered by padded collar and tongues, this is the ideal shoe for you.Read more
The simple mesh material is light and breathable and leaves your foot feeling like it’s not even wearing these. The sole of the shoe is made from a thick and resilient rubber that offers maximum flexibility. They are perfect for training in the gym, on the sidewalk, track, or for trail running. Due to their limited support and traction, they are not ideal for the more difficult trails.
These are simple sneakers for women; these aren't too flashy the way that some women’s shoes can be. If you just wanted black shoes (and sometimes that’s hard to find) this will suit your needs perfectly. It also comes in other neutral colors such as grey, maroon, and navy blue. And they all sport that classic feature of any Adidas shoes: the three stripes. The top is comprised of mesh and synthetic materials, and it has a simple black and white rubber sole.
Adidas has become a household name in the athletic footwear world since founded in 1949 in Germany. Their shoes have been worn by Olympic athletes from all over the world, and have a dedicated user following. You know that when you purchase an Adidas brand shoe that you are buying one of the best quality shoes on the market.
Imagine the price that you would be willing to pay for a good pair of reliable shoes from a well-known company: these shoes probably cost about that much. They fall right in the middle of the road between the most expensive sneakers, and the least expensive option.
To be put simply, these shoes aren’t for everyone. Every runner is different- some require a lot of foot and ankle support and a lot of cushions and shock absorption, and others would like to run as if they aren’t wearing any shoes at all. These shoes fit the latter preference. They are lightweight and provide an excellent rubber sole to keep feet protected.
2. NIKE FS Lite Run 4
Perfect for Neutral Runners
Some runners require a lot of support, and some runners do not require any support. These shoes fall right in the middle of that category- they are designed for the neutral runner. They offer a little support in the ankle and the arch, while still remaining flexible.Read more
The lightweight and breathable materials on the upper part of the shoes keep feet cool and comfortable on long, hot runs. The collar and tongue are lightly padded to offer a little bit of support without sacrificing flexibility and agility. Black and white rubber soles do not offer much in terms of traction, making these shoes excellent for sidewalk, track, and trail running, but little else.
Nike is known for having somewhat a distant style, and without looking at their patented ‘swoosh’, you know that these shoes are Nikes. They are simple and sleek and look almost aerodynamic. The tops remain unencumbered by needless design features that can sometimes cut into the tops of feet. Upper materials are made from synthetic and mesh. They are offered in simple black and white colors to bright and crazy neons.
Everyone- even the most seasoned couch potato- has heard of Nike. Founded in 1964, they may not be the oldest company to make this list, but they are certainly the most well known. Nikes have been worn by famous basketball players in the NBA and Olympic gold medalists from all over the world. Runners who choose Nike know that they are receiving tried and tested quality products.
Imagine the price that you would be willing to pay for a great pair of shoes: these cost a little bit more than that. They aren’t the most expensive that you will find on the market, but they are considered to be price a little bit higher than other shoes.
If you are unsure of what type of shoes that you will need- whether it is one that offers maximum foot support or one that offers very little- these good running shoes for women would be the ones to try. They offer excellent foot support for the runner that wants good shoes to take on runs around the neighborhood, at the park, or in the gym.
3. New Balance 690v2
Great arch support
Toe guard helps to prevent jamming toes
Skinny toe box
For the runner that wants shoes that can keep up with them on even the most difficult of trails, these shoes are an excellent fit. New Balance is a trusted brand in the athletic world, and runners know that they are getting a high-quality product that will last them for many miles.Read more
The 690v2 offers a rubber sole that has an EVA molded midsole that conforms to your foot over time, and toe protection to avoid jamming your toes at the end that causes uncomfortable and numb toes on long runs. The mesh top also helps to keep feet cool and comfortable on those hot days. Traction on these shoes is moderate, making them ideal for sidewalks and park trails, but not a great fit if you run on challenging and steep terrains.
These shoes come in both simple and neutral colors as well as bright neon colors to appease all tastes. The mesh top is simple and sold, and the rubber soles have a unique camouflage pattern to them.
New Balance is another well-known brand in the athletic world and has a loyal following of users. It was founded in 1906, and was originally called the “New Balance Arch Support Company”. You know that when you purchase a New Balance piece of athletic gear that you are getting the best quality to help you achieve your personal running goals.
These shoes fall in the middle of the road in terms of price. They cost about the same price as one would spend on a pair. For the quality of the shoe and the praise it has received from users, this is an excellent price for this product.
Since they were originally called the New Balance Arch Support Company, you know that these shoes will provide excellent arch support if that is something that you need. At an excellent price point from a trusted company, and ample community praise for this style of shoe, it would be an excellent addition to any training program.
4. Hoka Arahi
Excellent arch support
Runs a little small
This addition may look a bit unorthodox, and not exactly what you would expect this type of shoe to look like. However, some of the best things often come in unexpected ways. If you are able to get past the peculiar look of these shoes, you will most likely fall in love with the support they can offer on long runs.Read more
This is where the Hoka really shines. Using a Met-Rocker design (that’s what give the shoes its curved sole shape), it provides ample support through the gate cycle. The 3-D Puff Print frame and padded tongue makes the foot feel secure and in place without feeling too constricted. The mesh top of the shoe offers maximum breathability to keep feet cool and comfortable. Additionally, they offer fantastic arch support for those with high arches.
The design of these shoes, as mentioned before, it a bit peculiar. It has a very thick and slightly curved sole. They come in many colors, often with neon colors or neon accents.
Hoka is a relatively newer company compared to some of the older and well-known brands making this list. They were founded in 2009 by two men from a leading brand shoe company and were designed to help the users run downhills faster and more efficiently. They wanted to offer the best shoes for women that will provide more cushion than many of the others that were currently on the market.
As far as price is concerned, these are a little more expensive than other shoes making this list. They are not the most expensive on the market, and their innovative design makes them well worth the price tag.
These shoes were designed to be able to run in mountain races in the Alps. If you are looking for shoes that can scale any type of terrain on your runs, or you just want some that can offer you the most cushion and support than most of the other ones that are currently on the market, then you should try these.
5. Brooks Ghost 11
Thirteen color choices
Runs slightly narrow
Heel to toe drop is drastic
This next shoe is the winner of the Runner's World Editor's Choice award. It features segmented crash pads that absorb shock and provide great energy return. The main difference that you will find between this model and previous models is an increase in cushioning under the heel.Read more
One of the main differences that you will notice between the Ghost 10 and the Ghost 11 is the softness under the heel in the 11. This aids in providing softer landings and smooth transitions. The BioMoGo DNA midsole and DNA loft heel provide a level four of cushioning, according to Road Runner Sports. The heel to toe drop is 12mm, making this a great option for heel strikers. The mesh upper of the shoe provides a sock-like fit with great flexibility and breathability. One point of comfort that could be improved is the toe box.
The toe box is quite narrow and is uncomfortable for some foot shapes. Working our way down the shoe, the segmented crash pads provide impressive shock absorption and energy return. The rubber sole provides decent traction for road running. This model is lighter than its predecessors and weighs about 8.8-ounces per shoe. Most reviewers agree that the shoe tends to run small and you should order up a half size.
These shoes are just as fierce as they look. The mesh overlay causes a visual effect. In some colors, the material looks heathered and in others, it looks pixelated. Each style has a traditional lace-up system that allows you to dial-in the fit. There are thirteen color combinations available, making this an appealing shoe for all runners.
Brooks got their start back in 1914. They ran their business from a small factory that made bathing and ballet slippers. After this, Brooks tried its hand at baseball cleats, roller skates, football cleats, children’s shoes, and softball cleats. Brooks’ real big break came in 1972 when an Olympic runner sported their shoes in a marathon. Since then, they have zeroed in on making some of the best on the market today. Their office is located in Seattle and is full of running fanatics. You can find Brooks shoes in over fifty different countries worldwide.
The price of this shoe fluctuates with the size and color that you choose. Generally, it is a fairly expensive option, but the features of this shoe make it well worth it. The durable rubber sole, great energy return, comfort, and style make this shoe stand out from the rest.
Can you even imagine what the Brooks Ghost 30 will be like? We wouldn’t be surprised if they will do the running for you. The Ghost 11 is a great choice for anyone looking for a bit more cushioning, a sock-like fit, and a high heel to toe drop. While there are a few minor setbacks regarding this shoe, nothing was offensive enough to leave it off this list.
6. NIKE In-Season TR 6 Cross Training
Some users report the toe box is too wide
You can’t go wrong with a pair of Nike running shoes. This model of shoes is incredibly light, seamless, and offers many practical architectural features to enhance the way that you run.Read more
These shoes for women are incredibly light, yet they still offer ample support without sacrificing flexibility and agility. The dual-density foam midsole is incredibly durable, supportive, and conforms to the shape of the runner's foot over time. Unlike some of the others to make this list the TR 6 is designed with an internal strap that delivers support for multi-directional movement.
The dome-like grips on the sole promote agility for quick turns for faster movements. These shoes are great for urban running, for trail running, and for outdoor activities such as CrossFit or obstacle courses. Due to inferior traction, these are not ideal for treacherous terrains or inclement weather.
As with many other styles of Nikes, these running shoes for women are offered in simple black-on-black options, and they are also available in many different bright colors to suit everyone’s style. The top is a breathable mesh textile and the rubber sole has a basic design using color themes from the top of the shoes.
Unless you have been in a coma since Nike’s founding in 1964, you have probably heard of this brand. They have been worn by professional athletes, Olympians, and remain one of the most trusted brands in athletic wear for casual athletes all over the world.
These shoes run about the same as most other Nikes that you would find on the market- which runs about the middle of the road. They are not the most expensive ones on the market, but they are by far the least expensive.
For urban runners that want something lightweight but also offers a decent amount of support in the arches as well as in the sole, these shoes are an excellent addition. Often when you choose a more lightweight shoe, you often have to sacrifice support, but you don’t have to in this instance.
7. New Balance 1080v7
Well designed sole for improved gate performance
Reduced agility and flexibility
Much like the Hoka Arahi, the New Balance 1080v7 offers a similar curved sole design that offers support all the way through the gate cycle. If you can look past the unusual sole design, these shoes are an excellent addition for runners that are looking for a smoother ride.Read more
Comfort is the name of the game when wearing these shoes. The thick soles offer the maximum of support, the tongue and collar are heavily padded to prevent blisters and chafing, and a plush mesh insole conforms to the shape of your foot over time. Also, the excellent traction makes these great shoes to take out on difficult terrains, and transition seamlessly to running along a sidewalk or an easy park trail.
They are a little more unusual and a little more unorthodox than other shoes to make this list. They are offered in two fun and bright colors- bleached lime glow/ vintage indigo, and arctic fox/poisonberry. The top is made from a blend of synthetic and mesh with matching laces.
Prices for this shoe vary a lot when determining what size you will need. However, even the lower price points are significantly higher than many of the other shoes to make this list. Comfort is the name of the game when it comes to these good sneakers for women - but comfort comes at a price.
As stated earlier, New Balance is another well-known brand in the athletic world and has a loyal following of users. It was founded in 1906, and was originally called the “New Balance Arch Support Company”. In addition to an incredibly comfortable and well-designed shoe, you know that when you purchase a New Balance piece of athletic gear that you are getting the best quality to help you achieve your personal running goals.
How much are you willing to pay for comfort? The New Balance 1080v7 shoe is perhaps one of the most comfortable shoes for running available on the market, but they come at a steep price. Also keep in mind that when you opt for maximum comfort and support, you are also sacrificing agility and flexibility. These are things to keep in mind when selecting this shoe.
8. ASICS GEL-Venture 5
Large toe-box keeps toes from going numb
Can run a tad too narrow
For the runner that wants a shoe that offers fantastic support, is capable of running those difficult and rocky trails, and is incredibly durable, the ASICS GEL-Venture 5 is a perfect fit.Read more
What’s great about these shoes is the Gel-Cushioning system in the sole that provides a nice cushioning that also conforms to your foot over time. The thick heel provides excellent shock absorption and is made from high-abrasion rubber. Trail-specific outsole is designed to take the runner through any type of treacherous terrain, and the mesh top makes for a cool and comfortable foot.
Some runners love bright flashy shoes with neon colors and others yearn for more neutral colors. Luckily, these shoes are available in both colorful models and neutral color options. They have a thick padded sole and an average toe-box.
These shoes fall on the high side of the price scale than other shoes. However, the versatility and support that these shoes offer make them well worth the price.
ASICS is a Japanese company that translates to “a healthy soul in a healthy body”, and has been making quality shoes for various sports and athletic activities since 1949. They continue to be one of the most trusted names even today and have many runners that refuse to train in any other brand.
For runners that would like a shoe that is able to take them from the sidewalk to the side of a mountain, that offers excellent support and breathability, and are willing to pay a little bit more, they will not be disappointed with these shoes.
9. Saucony Cohesion 10
The toe box is a bit too big
These simple and unassuming shoes are a great addition to any training program. They offer great cushioning and support, and they have the trusted name of Saucony behind them.Read more
The low profile on the ankle offers more flexibility of motion, however it provides less ankle support. Be sure to consider if additional ankle support is something that you want. The mesh top is light and breathable to keep feet cool and comfortable on those long runs on hot days. Traction on the sole is moderate and would be ideal for sidewalks, and easy park trails.
The Cohesion 10 comes in various shades of grey with exciting neon trim along the sides and on the soles. They sit a little bit lower than some of the other shoes on this list- which offer runners more flexibility of movement. The collar and tongue are plush and comfortable and prevents irritation from rubbing. Saucony’s Hell Grid technology offers stable cushioning.
These shoes are one of the most modestly priced shoes on the list, especially for such a recognized name such as Saucony.
Saucony has been making quality athletic shoes for 120 years, making them one of the oldest shoe manufacturers on this list. Since its founding, the company has earned a myriad of awards and recognition within the running industry and continues to be one of the top choices of runners around the world.
For such a modest price, these shoes are an excellent addition to any training regime. They do all of the things that runners look for in a great trainer- they provide cushioning, breathability, and support, while also allowing for flexibility.
10. Adidas Performance Rockadia
Great grip on difficult terrain
High backs can rub back of ankles without tall enough socks and cause discomfort
The trusted brand of Adidas also offers a fantastic option for trail running. It provides ample support to arches and ankles, has a sleek design that comes in a variety of colors, and is incredibly comfortable.Read more
For runners that want to take the runs off the sidewalk and up the side of a mountain, these shoes will make for a seamless transition. The thick rubber soles offer excellent grip as well as shock absorption. The textile and synthetic material is not as breakable as some of the others, and therefore do not keep feet as cool and comfortable. They also have a removable sole to accommodate any number of orthopedic inserts.
These snickers look like they are a cross between running shoes and hiking boots. All three different color options come as a base of black and have either purple, pink, or orange trim. The heavy-duty soles are colored to match the trim on the shoes.
These shoes run just slightly under the average for this type of shoe. They are made from quality materials and have received excellent user reviews, making them a great deal for the slightly lower price point.
As stated before, Adidas is just one of those brands that have a lot of credibility and clout within the athletic world. Even novices that are just looking to buy their first pair have probably heard of Adidas before. And you don’t become such a household name by making below-grade athletic gear.
If you are a runner that loves to switch up the types of trails you run and don’t want to be limited by the difficulty of terrain and weather conditions, these shoes would be an excellent choice. These shoes just beg to splash through a puddle on a long run after a thunderstorm.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
Comfort may be the most important thing when searching for the perfect shoes. You want to know that your arches, toes, and ankles are supported and protected for those difficult journeys. Are there sneakers out there capable of making you run faster and jump higher? Absolutely not.
However, bad shoes that cause blisters, shin and knee pain, numb toes, and are just generally uncomfortable can most certainly make you run slower. Smashing through fatigue and training walls is hard enough- you want to make sure your shoes offer great support to help you reach your goals.
For overall comfort, you'll want to pay close attention to the midsole of the shoe. Many sneakers feature EVA foam or some other type of cushioned midsole. Additionally, the materials of a shoe can make or break a shoe. A shoe with a mesh upper will provide great breathability and keep your feet from sitting in a sauna as you run.
This criterion might not seem incredibly important, however, it’s an unfortunate reality that women’s running shoes have been known to sacrifice design for functionality. Many unnecessary straps or nonfunctional shoelaces can actually serve to dig into feet and hinder performance. And make sure that you don’t fall for any fleeting gimmicks.
Some of the more seasoned athletes out there still remember of the sting of when the Reebok Pump did not make them jump higher. Keep in mind that just like there is no pill out there to make you smarter, there is also no magic shoes out there to make you run faster. However, if the shoe you are interested in comes in your favorite color, you will feel happier and more confident every time you lace them up.
Brand Recognition was also an important aspect to take into consideration when selecting the best women’s running shoes. Many of the top companies have been perfecting their shoe game for over 100 years and have perfected it down to a science. It’s also comforting to know that some brands are worn by professional athletes and Olympians, so you know that you are getting the best quality.
While keeping an eye on more recognized brands, it was also important not to discount some of the newer companies. The newer companies that are making an impact often do what the veterans are afraid to do, and that is to take risks. The unique design of the HOKA is making a huge impact on runners, and some of the bigger names are even beginning to mimic their innovative design.
Value, the one thing that everyone thinks about but doesn't want to talk about. We don't need to look at this section with such negativity. You are investing in your health and your future, this is a good thing. When we determined the value of each product, we didn't just look at the price. We looked at the comfort, features, durability, customer reviews, and the brand itself. If a shoe that costs more money is poor in features and durability, it has less value.
Sometimes we can be tricked by marketing schemes or brand names into thinking that a product with a certain label is worth more than another. However, that couldn't be more false. We looked into the value of each shoe to help you see which features are worth investing in. The outcome will be different for each runner.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
If you are looking to cut down your mile time or successfully run with fewer injuries, you need to focus on more exercises than just running. Running uses many muscles and to improve your speed, stamina, and form, you should indulge in other forms of exercise as well. Incorporating exercises such as lunges, squats, and dead-lifts are a great way to increase the strength in your legs and become a better runner overall.
Many runners like to listen to music as they run. However, as a woman (or a man), running alone with headphones can be quite dangerous, unfortunately. If running to music or podcasts is something you enjoy, just remember to not have the volume up loud enough that you can’t hear what is going on around you. Letting another person know your route or your expected time home is also a great way to stay safe while running.
Other Factors to Consider
Versatility is important, but it is also pretty subjective. Many runners prefer to stick to paved pathways and sidewalks, and wooded trails around their town. Others like the ability to switch gears from urban running to mountain running without changing their shoes. While selecting shoes for this list, we tried to ensure that the running shoes were well suited for both terrains, without sacrificing performance.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: What makes a shoe the best for running?
Honestly, whatever shoe you feel the most comfortable and confident in is the best option for you. Advertising seems to have a placebo effect at times. If Nike convinces you that you can run faster in their TR 6s, you are going to think about that when you put them on and subconsciously push yourself just a little bit more to run faster.
There is no distinct formula that makes a superior shoe because everyone’s feet are different. Are you not sure if you have high arches, or if you have a wider foot? If you have access to a local shoe store, it may be in your best interest to have them take a detailed measurement of your feet to determine exactly what type are good for you.
q: I have flat feet. What type of shoes should I buy?
Flat feet can have major effects on your body when running. Without proper arch support, a runner with flat feet can be more susceptible to shin splints, back problems, or tendonitis. Runners with flat feet benefit from supported and well-fitted shoes that have good arch support. The shoes on our list here are all amazing but aren’t specifically chosen for flat feet. However, a more helpful article for you to find your perfect fit is available here.
q: What are neutral running shoes?
Some runners have a natural inclination to roll their weight to the inside of their foot, and neutral shoes offer a design to neutralize that inclination. These shoes have slightly more padding under the foot, making the shoe more comfortable while staying lightweight enough to enhance speed.
q: Can I wear my these shoes for things other than running?
Technically, yes. Should you? Probably not. There is a psychological effect that comes from the act of lacing up your running shoes. When you put those shoes on, your mind shifts into running gear and you are less likely to skip out on your training session. Furthermore, you shift your weight on your feet differently when you are running rather than when you are just standing or casually walking. The midsole foam conforms to your foot over time, and you would be robbing yourself of additional benefits if the foam wasn’t conformed to a running foot.
q: How long should a good pair of these shoes last?
Much like an automobile- the value of these shoes isn’t determined by how many years you have had them, but rather how many miles you have put on them. A good pair of running-specific shoes can last for a range of about 300-500 miles. Assuming you run about one mile a day, a good pair could last you about one year. If you aren’t getting at least 300 miles out of your shoes before they begin to give you blisters or the soles don’t offer the same around of support- then it’s time to invest in a different brand.
q: What is Plantar Fasciitis and how do I avoid it?
Plantar Fasciitis is a common injury for runners. The Plantar tendon runs along the entire bottom of your foot, from your toes to your heel. The way the tendon is shaped is also the reason that we have arches and our feet aren't completely flat on the ground (in most cases).
When this tendon becomes inflamed, it can be very painful. Heel striking or overstretching can cause inflammation of the plantar tendon. If you have a long stride, each time you land on your heel, at a running speed, you are inflicting a strike up to six times your body weight on your heel.
After so many blows, you will have tears in the muscle and the muscle will begin to pull away from the bone. When this happens, calcium can build up in this area and cause inflammation. If not treated, bone mass can begin to grow in this area and you will end up with a heel spur, which can be even more painful.
There are exercises that you can practice to help prevent Plantar Fasciitis. Many people don’t think about strengthening their feet. A common exercise to strengthen your foot is called a Towel Lift. You lay a towel on the ground and use your toes to pick it up over and over again. Another preventative measure you can take is to wear supportive shoes. Having your arches supported while running can make all the difference.