Categorized | Athletic Training

10 Best Running Shoes for Women

woman running in grass field during sunset

There’s one piece of gear that can make or break any run: your shoes. But with so many types of sneakers on the market, finding the best running shoes for women that will work for you can be a challenge. Whether you’re drawn to lightweight sneakers, more heavily cushioned models, or shoes that offer plenty of arch support, our guide to the best running shoes for women can help you find the perfect pair.

Comparison Table

Product FAQ

photo of gray-and-orange New Balance Encap shoes on floor

Image Source: Unsplash

How Do I Know What Type of Shoe Is Best for Me?

Think about the type of running you do. Do you hit the treadmill for a few miles each day? Are you a weekend trail warrior? Are you new to running? About to train for yet another marathon? Knowing what type of runner you are will help determine what kind of running shoe is best for you. Be sure to select a pair that will support your activity level.

How Much Should I Worry about Biomechanics?

Individual biomechanics — like gait, foot type, and arch height — come into play when picking out the best running shoes for women. Runners who overpronate, meaning their feet roll in when striking the pavement, may benefit from shoes that offer more stability. If your feet roll out upon impact, shoes with more cushioning may help. Examining the wear pattern on the soles of your existing running shoes can provide clues about your gait.

How Should I Shop for a Running Shoe?

It’s generally best to try on running shoes during the afternoon or evening because your feet swell during the day. Be sure to wear your usual running socks when trying on shoes. It’s also a good idea to go to a specialty running store that’s staffed with expert sales assistants who can help you find just the right shoe and just the right fit. Often, these sales assistants will talk with you about your history of injuries and your level of activity. They may evaluate your gait by watching you run.

What’s a Good Fit for a Running Shoe?

Wearing shoes that are too tight can lead to blisters and other injuries. Select a pair of running shoes that is large enough to accommodate foot swelling, while also giving your toes room to move during the run. There should be a half to a full thumbnail’s length between your big toenail and the end of the shoe. Keep in mind that shoe sizes vary among brands, so don’t assume that you know what size you need. Have your foot measured by a sales assistant each time you are purchasing a new pair of shoes.

Should I Consider Fashion When Selecting a Running Shoe?

Running shoes come in a variety of colors and styles, but don’t get caught up in the looks of the shoe you buy. The best shoes will fit you well, support your biomechanics, and hold up to your activity levels, regardless of what color they are or how they look.

Can I Try Out Shoes Before I Buy?

While you’re at the running store, ask if you can take a lap around the block in the shoes before you buy them. If that’s not a possibility, consider jogging in place for a few minutes, or even doing a few jumping jacks, just to get a sense of how the shoes feel while you’re exercising.

What Else Do I Need?

When purchasing a new pair of running shoes, you might also consider purchasing insoles or orthotics. Many runners enjoy the support and comfort that a good insole can offer, and there are a variety of over-the-counter insole options available. Some insoles can even help correct biomechanical issues, such as overpronation.

How Do I Know When It’s Time to Replace My Running Shoes?

Running shoes are generally good for 300 to 500 miles. So if you’re logging somewhere in the neighborhood of 80 miles a month, you probably want to buy a new pair of shoes every four to six months. Beyond your mileage, worn treads, tears, holes, or other visual signs of wear are also a sign it’s time for a new pair of shoes. Are you starting to notice little aches and pains in your feet and joints? That’s another indication that it may be time to purchase a new pair of shoes. Don’t put off replacing your running shoes. Older, worn shoes offer less support and can contribute to injuries.

How We Reviewed the 10 Best Running Shoes for Women

To develop our list of the best running shoes for women, we started by reviewing many of the top-selling sneakers on the market. We evaluated each one, taking into consideration cushioning, support, durability, and overall value. We included in our list of the best running shoes for women several pairs that are specially designed for hiking and other rugged conditions.

Overall Price Range of Running Shoes

The best running shoes for women often cost between $$$ and $$$. It’s important not to cut corners or skimp on this purchase, as a poor-quality or ill-fitting pair of shoes could leave you uncomfortable or injured. But price isn’t the only factor you should consider. When shopping for a pair of running shoes, work with an experienced salesperson who can help you select the pair that will best suit your individual biomechanics and running style. Sometimes a less expensive shoe will be the one that will best meet your needs.

What We Reviewed


Sale
PUMA Women's Hybrid Rocket Runner Sneaker
  • Run-Train Performance Sneaker
  • Ignite
  • PUMA

Features

With two different cushioning technologies, the Puma Hybrid Rocket is designed to give runners speed and bounce. The unique lacing system on this shoe gives it a snug fit and look like none other. Deep grooves in the sole separate the forefoot, midfoot, and the heel.

Pros

  • Extra cushioning
  • Unique lacing system for a snug fit
  • Comfortable sock-like feel

Con​s

  • Limited color selection
  • Deep grooves in the sole may collect pebbles and debris

Sale
HOKA ONE ONE Women's Clifton 4 Running Shoe
  • Wider fitting forefoot promotes enhanced comfort
  • Lightweight, breathable mesh with thin synthetic overlays
  • Ultralightweight, seamless SpeedFrame construction reduced the likelihood of forefoot irritation
  • Breathable fabric lining offers in-shoe comfort

Features

This shoe boasts superior cushioning and a curved, oversized sole that allows for a full range of motion. The upper part of the shoe keeps the foot secure and stabile while the interior is lined with breathable fabric. With its modest weight, this is a comfortable shoe for any distance, but it’s particularly popular among marathoners and distance runners. Some runners use the Hoka One One Clifton 4 on days off or as a recovery shoe.

Pros

  • Superior comfort
  • Good recovery shoe
  • Lightweight
  • Wide selection of colors
  • Popular among marathoners

Con​s

  • Oversized sole may take getting used to

Sale
Nike Women's Air Zoom Pegasus 33
  • Cushion midsole provides a plush, cushioned ride
  • Zoom Air units enhance deflection impact and cushion the foot

Features

A lightweight shoe with breathable mesh and midsole cushioning, the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus works well for running short and medium distances and for other athletic activities. The shoe is designed to help runners achieve a full range of motion. It comes in a wide range of colors.

Pros

  • Ultralight
  • Breathable mesh
  • Wide range of colors

Con​s

  • Stiff

Sale
Salomon Women's XR Mission Running Shoe,Celedon/Papaya/Pop Green,9 M US
  • Colorful mesh upper for breathability and visibility
  • Quick-lace vamp for secure fit
  • Padded collar for comfort
  • Gripping outsole for traction

Features

With plenty of toe room, the multi-purpose Salomon XR Mission is great for running on both pavement and trails. This is a popular shoe that offers a lot of traction and is suitable for running short to mid-length distances. This shoe boasts good arch support and a unique lacing system.

Pros

  • Ample toe room
  • Great for pavement and trails
  • Good arch support

Con​s

  • Unique lacing system may take getting used to
  • Stiff

361 Women's Sensation 3 Running Shoe Sneaker Black/Silver 6 M US
  • Lightweight and seamless double jacquard mesh for maximum ventilation and comfort and forefoot offers a newly designed vamp with more volume promoting natural foot movement and increased efficiency
  • Morph suit sleeve construction contours to the foot providing a supportive superior fit, pressure Free Tongue is designed to provide excellent comfort avoiding any chance for irritation during flexion
  • Dynamic stability is achieved by pairing a medial Post with our integrated lightweight qu!k spine shank for support
  • Qu!k flex 4Foot engineering provides for a natural and balanced toe off and enhances ground Contact for better acceleration
  • Powered by full length qu!kfoam midsole to provide excellent cushioning and a smooth comfortable ride

Features

This medium-weight shoe offers comfort and stability, making it ideal for long runs and speed work. Established runners will appreciate the 361 Sensation’s minimalist tongue, a unique feature that reduces pressure on the upper foot. This breathable shoe accommodates a variety of foot types.

Pros

  • Plenty of toe room
  • Comfortable all-day wear
  • Versatile
  • Medium weight

Con​s

  • Minimalist tongue may take getting used to
  • Laces are overly long
  • Limited color selection

Sale
ASICS Women's GEL-Venture 5 Running Shoe
  • Rugged neutral runner in mesh with bright overlays
  • GEL Cushioning System
  • Removable foam sockliner accommodates orthotics
  • Trail-specific outsole with multi-surface traction
  • High-abrasion rubber

Features

This shoe offers a great deal of support, making it a good choice for anyone running distances or spending time on their feet during athletic activities. A removable liner makes it possible to wear orthotics with this shoe.

Pros

  • Gel cushioning
  • Ample toe room
  • Good stability
  • Lots of support

Con​s

  • Mesh fabric can be difficult to clean
  • Not waterproof

Sale
Columbia Women's CALDORADO III Trail Running Shoe, Earl Grey, Coastal Blue, 8 B US
  • New seamless abrasion resistant upper with soft forefoot flex zone, cushioning collar foam, fully integrated gusset, and reinforced toe cap for comfort and protection.
  • Fluid Foam midsole for exceptional cushioning, flexibility and support.
  • Patented FluidGuide technology for enhanced midfoot stability and a smooth ride on the trail.
  • Ride heights: 19mm heel / 11mm forefoot. Full length rubber outsole.
  • TrailShield protection plate integrated with forefoot flex grooves. Multi-directional lug patterns provide traction on varied surfaces. 4mm outsole lug height.

Features

With plenty of support and grip and a reinforced toe cap, the Columbia Montrail Caldorado III is a great choice for runners, but it’s also a great choice for hikers. These shoes performed well in mud, rain, and other wet and sloppy weather conditions. The upper part of this shoe is made from a stretchy material that offers a superior fit.

Pros

  • Good for hiking
  • Cushioned heel
  • Waterproof version available
  • Performs well in treacherous conditions

Con​s

  • Limited color selection
  • Sizing runs large

Sale
Saucony Women's Kinvara 9 Running Shoe, Blue/Teal, 8.5 Medium US
  • EVERUN topsole
  • Woven heel support
  • EVA+ midsole
  • Heel stack height - 23mm

Features

Comfortable and lightweight, the Saucony Kinvara 9 is an excellent choice for running long distances and marathons. This shoe boasts an extra layer of cushioning in the midsole, giving it great bounce and flexibility.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Breathable
  • Cushioning
  • Great for long distances

Con​s

  • Limited color options
  • Stiff

Sale
Altra AFW1852G Women's King MT 1.5 Trail Running Shoe, Orange - 8 M US
  • Insole: 6 mm Contour Footbed
  • FootShape Toe box with Fully Cushioned Zero Drop Platform
  • Stack Height: 19 mm
  • Midsole: Altra EGO
  • Outsole: Vibram MegaGrip with 6 mm lugs

Features

These shoes are specifically made for running in mud, snow, and other treacherous conditions. The soles grab soft soil, offering traction in even the most difficult environments, and a velcro strap keeps the shoes snug even when wet.

Pros

  • Great for mud racing
  • Velcro snap keeps shoes snug
  • Reinforced upper mesh
  • Plenty of toe room

Con​s

  • Heavier than some other shoes
  • Limited color selection

Sale
adidas Women's Solar Boost Running Shoe
  • Lace-up mesh running shoe featuring innovative full-length boost foam midsole technology that provides optimal energy return and cushioning
  • Soft engineered mesh upper and overlay for breathability
  • Molded heel and synthetic material around the midfoot gives a secure fit
  • Durable and superior-grip rubber outsoles

Features

Great for super-long runs, the Adidas Solarboost boasts a cushioned midsole and extra heel stability. The upper part of the shoe is structured in a way that keeps the foot secure.

Pros

  • Extra heel stability
  • Cushioned midsole
  • Secure fit
  • Versatile

Con​s

  • More limited arch support than some other shoes

The Verdict

woman lacing up her gray and pink nike low-top athletic shoe

Image via pexels

When it comes to the best running shoes for women, there are lots of great options on the market. Ultimately, it comes down to what you’re looking for. The Hoka One One Clifton 4 is a standout for its superior cushioning and comfort, making it a good option for serious runners looking to go the distance. The Altra King MT offers outstanding performance in muddy conditions. If you’re looking for a shoe that will deliver a solid performance on runs day after day, the Salomon XR Mission, the Saucony Kinvara 9, and the 361 Sensation 3 are among the best running shoes for women. And for those who are just breaking into running, or for anyone looking for a good multi-purpose athletic shoe, the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus and the Asics Gel-Venture 5 are among the best all-round or beginning running shoes for women.

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