Best Running Shoes For Women
There comes a day in every runner’s life where they have to retire their old running shoes. After miles and miles of races, training, that one time they were chased by a dog… the lining has become worn down, there are holes in the lining, and it’s time to move on.
If you are looking to start up a new running routine, or need to retire an old pair of faithful shoes and replace them with new ones, shopping for new running shoes can be overwhelming. When shopping for new running shoes, it’s important to consider what types of terrains they will be used for, and what type of running shoe would benefit your type of foot, build, and running goals. Do you need something with a lot of arch support? Do you want a thick padded sole, or would you prefer something lightweight?
If you are unsure of what type of running shoe will best help you on your runs, it may be in your best interest to have your foot measured. Many local shoe stores that specialize in fitness gear have staff that are trained on how to properly measure a foot for a running shoe. The staff member will measure the length and width of your foot, the height of your arches, and the pressure points of where you put most of your weight. From there, they will be able to recommend the best type of running shoe that is tailored specifically for you. To help expedite this process and get you back out there, we have researched the top ten best women’s running shoes available today.
- Hoka Arahi
- Excellent arch support
- Innovative design
- ASICS Gel-Venture 5
- Excellent traction
- Large toe-box
- Saucony Cohesion 10
- Great fit
10 Best Women Running Shoes
The design of this shoe, 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.
This is where the Hoka really shines. Using a Met-Rocker design (that’s what give the shoe its curved sole shape), it provides ample support through the gate cycle. The 3-D Puff Print frame and padded tongue makes 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.
As far as price is concerned, these are a little more expensive than other shoes making this list. They are not the most expensive running shoes on the market, and their innovative design makes them well worth the price tag.
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 down hills faster and more efficiently. They wanted to offer a running shoe that provided more cushion than many of the other running shoes that were currently on the market.
These shoes were designed to be able to run in mountain races in the Alps. If you are looking for a shoe that can scale any type of terrain on your runs, or you just want a running shoe that can offer you the most cushion and support than most of the other running shoes that are currently on the market, than Hokas are your new brand of running shoes.
- Excellent arch support
- Innovative Design
- Runs a little small
ASICS GEL-Venture 5
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.
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.
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 in running shoes 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.
- Excellent traction
- Large toe-box keeps toes from going numb
- Can run a tad too narrow
Saucony Cohesion 10
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.
As stated before, 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 from a running shoe. 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.
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.
- Wears well
- Great fit
- Toe box is a bit too big
New Balance 690v2
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.
The 690v2 Trail Running shoe 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 fall in the middle of the road in terms of price. They cost about the same price as one would spend on a pair of good running shoes. For the quality of the shoe and the praise it has received from users, this is an excellent price for this product.
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.
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 in a running shoe. 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.
- Great arch support
- Comfortable material
- Toe guard helps to prevent jamming toes
- Skinny toe box
- Runs ½ size too small in some cases
Adidas Performance Energy Cloud
This is a simple shoe this isn’t too flashy they way that some women’s running shoes can be. If you just wanted a simple black running shoe (and sometimes that’s hard to find) this will suit your need 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 shoe: the three stripes. The top is comprised of mesh and synthetic materials, and it has a simple black and white rubber sole.
The simple mesh material is light and breathable, and leaves your foot feeling like it’s not even wearing a running shoe. 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.
Imagine the price that you would be willing to pay for a good pair of reliable running 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 running shoes, and the least expensive running shoes.
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 running shoe that you are buying one of the best quality shoes on the market.
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 cushion 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.
- Simple design
- Incredibly flexible
- The lining has a tendency to bunch up
- Some users report that they squeak too much
Adidas Performance Rockadia
These shoes look like they are a cross between a running shoe and a hiking boot. 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.
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 other running shoes, and therefore do not keep feet as cool and comfortable. They also have a removable sole to accommodate any number of orthopedic inserts.
These shoes run just slightly under the average for running shoes. 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 of running shoes 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.
- Great grip on difficult terrain
- Comfortable fit
- High backs can rub back of ankles without tall enough socks
- Unreliable sizing
NIKE FS Lite Run 4
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.
The lightweight and breathable materials on the upper part of the shoe 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 no offer much in terms of traction, making these shoes excellent for sidewalk, track, and trail running, but little else.
Imagine the price that you would be willing to pay for a great pair of running shoes: these cost a little bit more than that. They aren’t the most expensive running shoes that you will find on the market, but they are considered to be price a little bit higher than other shoes.
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.
If you are unsure of what type of shoe that you will need- whether it is one that offers maximum foot support or one that offers very little- this would be the shoe to try. It offers excellent foot support for the runner that wants a good shoe to take on runs around the neighborhood, at the park, or in the gym.
- Brand Recognition
- Perfect for Neutral Runners
- Unreliable sizing
- Some complain the laces are too tight
New Balance 1080v7
They are a little more unusual and a little more unorthodox than other running 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.
Comfort is the name of the game when wearing these shoes. The thick soles offer the maximum of support, the tongue and collar is 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 a great shoe to take out on difficult terrains, and transition seamlessly to running along a sidewalk or an easy park trail.
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 this shoe- 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 running shoes 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.
- Incredibly comfortable
- Well designed sole for improved gate performance
- Brand Recognition
- Large toe box
- Reduced agility and flexibility
- Unreliable sizing
NIKE In-Season TR 6 Cross Training
As with many other styles of Nikes, these shoes 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 shoe.
These shoes 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 other running shoes 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 running shoes are not ideal for treacherous terrains or inclimate weather.
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 running shoes on the market, but they are by far the least expensive.
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.
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.
- Sleek design
- Some users report the toe box is too wide
- Runs a little narrow
- Some users find arch support uncomfortable
Brooks Launch 5
The Launch 5 looks to be the classic running shoe: it has a wide toe bed, a black synthetic mesh with a colorful underlay, and a dense rubber sole. It is available in black, teal, purple, and grey. It’s a great shoe for those who like bright and fun colors, but don’t like their running shoes to look too flashy and bright.
This shoe offers comfort and stability. The one-piece mesh design with removable bootie allows for maximum breathability that leaves the foot cool and comfortable. The thick sole offers great supplementary ankle support and the treads allow the running to take these shoes on runs along busy sidewalks to moderately treacherous terrains.
These are one of the more expensive shoes to make this list. Brooks makes great quality shoes, so for the price these shoes to last for many miles of outdoor adventures.
Brooks may not be the most recognized brand to make this list, but they have been around for a very long time. They were founded in 1914 as a company that made shoes for many different types of sports. Today, they are a brand that many seasoned runners flock to when they want a great pair of running shoes that they know will last them a very long time.
The price is a little bit more than other running shoes to make this list, but the quality, design, and user reviews make them a shoe that is definitely worth a look.
- Sleek design
- Comfortable fit
- Arch support can tend to be intrusive
- Some users report they are not as breathable as other running shoes
Criteria Used For The Evaluation
Performance- how well do they protect your feet?
Performance: that’s probably the most important thing when searching for that perfect shoe. You want to know that your arches, toes, and ankles are supported and protected for those difficult journeys. Is there a shoe 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.
Design- how do they look?
These criteria 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 shoe out there to make you run faster.
Brand Recognition- how dependable is this brand?
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.
Versatility- where can you take these shoes?
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.
Other things to consider when selecting a pair of running shoes
The shoe industry is a thriving market and manufacturers release updated versions of their various brands of running shoes every year. The oversaturation of shoes makes it feel overwhelming to be able to narrow it down to the right shoe for you. Let’s face it- picking out a new pair of running shoes is an important decision. Those shoes are going to be with you through miles and miles of adventures. They will be with you through rain or shine, hot days and snowy days. You want to make sure you don’t end up with a shoe that gives you blisters or that doesn’t offer the best support.
In these instances, it doesn’t hurt to ask your small group of friends and family what type of running shoe that they prefer. What you will find in your research is that runners tend to be very loyal to a particular brand. Once they discover a brand that is dependable and durable, it’s hard to get them to try anything else.
In closing- heed the advice given on this list. Make sure that you get measured for a perfect fit, ask your friends and family what types of shoes they have grown to depend upon, and never give in to shoe gimmicks. The only thing that is going to help you run faster is your resolve to train harder.
Q: What makes the best running shoes?
Honestly, whatever shoe you feel the most comfortable and confident in is the best running shoe 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 running 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 of running shoe is good for you.
Q: I have flat feet. What type of running 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 running shoes that have good arch support. The shoes on our list here are all amazing running shoes 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 running 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 running 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 running shoes last?
Much like an automobile- a pair of running shoes value 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 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 running 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 of running shoe.
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 foot isn’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.
A good pair of running shoes can take you anywhere. Whether you choose to wear them for extra arch support, fashion, walking, or for that little bit of encouragement to get out, they are always a great investment. It is important to think about what you will be using them for and which brand and style will suit you best.