10 Best Running shoes for Women Tested & Reviewed
Bette Midler famously said, “Give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world.” However, with so many products out there, finding the perfect shoe can be overwhelming. We can easily spend hours scanning Amazon or jumping from one shoe store to another looking for a shoe with the right look, fit, and reputation–this ends up being exhausting for us women. So, we have compiled “the best-of list” to help you find the best running shoes for women. Shopping for the best running shoes for women can be a painless experience and this is the place to start (and streamline) the process, giving you more time to get out there and conquer–whether it be on the track, treadmill, or trails.
So, what makes a truly great running shoe for women in 2018? Of course, there’s comfort, style, durability, and support… But these days, this question is even more difficult to answer–it all depends on who you are and what you want. For this reason, we bring you the “Best of 2018” Collection for women’s running shoes. We have ten of the best of the best, but they each win in their own way. From minimalists to maximalists, splurgers to cheapskates, and sprinters—all of these make the list. Many may wonder why Adidas didn’t make the list, but we were not impressed with their lineup of shoes in the last few years.
- Brooks Levitate 2
- Salewa Lite Trail
- Great for trails
- Asics Gel Kayano 24
10 Best Running shoes for Women
Brooks Levitate 2
These running shoes haven't been out on the market long, but already they have become a favorite among many female runners. They are lightweight, responsive, and provide excellent shock absorption.
They incorporate a DNA AMP midsole to deliver optimal comfort, cushioning, and energy return during your runs.
This model also incorporated a heel wrap to provide your achilles with additional protection, so it's one less thing you have to worry about. They are also flexible, lightweight, breathable, and highly durable.
As far as price, these are really expensive--but definitely worth the investment.
• Lots of color options available
• Shock absorption
• Heel wrap
Salewa Lite Trail
These shoes have adequate traction from easy to average technical trails and are lightweight, breathable and comfortable. They are highly durable and can withstand rugged terrain. they provide the stability and support you need on those trails, without sacrificing comfort and breathability.
These are pricey, but worth it if you need a durable trail shoe.
• Micheline Lite Train Sole
• Perfect for trails
• Not for super technical trails
• Not stylish enough for some women
ASICS Gel Kayano 24
The Kayano 24 also brings back the FlyteFoam ASICS introduced in the Kayano 23. The FlyteFoam provides adequate cushioning, without adding significant weight to shoe. While you won't be able to hit your top speed, this cushioning provides you with the ideal comfort for longer rubs.
While their sizing still runs on the smaller side, the ASICS Kayano 24 have improved their toe box--widening in order to address complaints with the previous toe box standard.
These shoes use Fluidfit material, which provides you with a shoe that perfectly fits your foot.
The comfort, stability, and durability these shoes provide are perfect for longer runs, where time isn't your main concern, as well as for logging those extra miles you need during your training period.
- GEL cushioning and Dynamic Duomax cushioning provides excellent shock absorption
- FlyteFoam for additonal cushioning
- FluidFit marerial for perfect fit and interior irritation reduction
- several color options
- Sizing runs small
- High cost
- A bit too bulky for speed
5. Hoka One One Clifton 4
- For long distance
- Lots of color options
- Great shock absorption
- Neutral shoe
- Encourages natural running
- Only for runners with high arches
6. Saucony Ride 10
The incorporated air mesh in the upper portion of the shoe provides additional breathability, and will maintain your feet cool and dry for your entire run.
These shoes provide great shock absorption and are best for short to mid-range runs (10K).
- Breathable upper mesh
- Midsole foam for additional comfort
- Narrow toe box
- Traction could use some improvement
9. Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 34
Their flexible fabric ad additional cushioning provide you with a comfortable and perfectly fit running shoe.
This durable, comfortable, and flexible shoe also comes at a reasonable price with various color options to choose from.
- Shock absorbent cushioning
- Improved fit thanks to the additional flywire cables that adjust with the lacing system
- Several color options
- Rocks seem to get caught in the shoe's outsoles
7. ASICS Gel Nimbus 19
This model introduces a new sole--ASICS new, lightweight, FlyteFoam midsole. This Flytfoam midsole maintains the same great cusion and bounce--and also weighs less than the previous cushioning system that was used.
This shoe also delivers exceptional traction and has increased it's lightweight feature.
- Excellent traction
- Gel insoles combined with Flytefoam midsoles, for increased cushioning and comfort
- Light weight
- Several color options
- not impermeable to water in the heavy rain
- Narrow toe box
2. Brooks Ghost 10
This shoe's mid-sole incorporates Brooks specially designed BioMoGo DNA foam to provide runners with increased shock absorption, pressure displacement, energy transfer, and--of course--comfort.
The crash pad used in the Ghost 9's were also kept for the 10's. The use of this full-length crash pad provides runners with further shock absorption and provides you with a stable run--no matter how far you are going.
The same Seamless Engineered Mesh Brooks used with the Ghost 9 is also used on the 10. However, the Ghost 10 updated it to provide runners with a little more stability, flexibility, and breathability.
- BioMoGo DNA foam for additional comfort and stability
- Full length crash pad for maximum shock absorption
- Several color options available
- Great price
- A bit permeable in heavy rain
4. Hoka One One Women’s Bondi 5
They are made with Synthetic-And-Mesh that makes them both breathable and lightweight.
Their SpeedFrame construction increases shock absorption and comfort, while also reducing irritation in your forefoot
These shoes also come equipped with a wide fit--perfect for those longer runs!
- SpeedFrame construction to reduce irritation caused by long distance running.
- several color options
- Wide fit
- Sizing runs small
- Some users don't like their bulky look
10. Under Armour Speedform Fortis GR
4D Foam is used for comfort, as well as a more natural running experience.
Charged cushioning absorbs shock so you can run longer and farther.
Lightweight overall construction.
Thicker rubber in high-wear zones increase the shoe's durability and longevity of use.
The build of the upper is durable, stretchable, lightweight, and breathable.
- SpeedForm construction eliminates distractions often experienced with upper portions of other shoes
- Upper gets added support from seamless overlays
- Heel contains a lock down strap for an even more improved fit
- Some felt it was a bit expensive
- They run large
Finding the best running shoes for women and typically depends on each of our own specific needs. Nowadays we have both stylish and effective options, which makes the list to choose from even longer. Whatever your requirements are, however, it is important to make sure you test out your shoes on a treadmill–or whatever surface you prefer to run on–especially if you purchase them via an online retailor.
Before setting out to purchase your next pair of running shoes make sure you make of list of things you know you need in a shoe, set your budget, and then begin to do some research. There’s nothing wrong with keeping it simple. If you want to go all out, though, by all means: go for some paint-splattered ASICS. Happy shoe shopping and cheers to running harder, faster, and stronger!
Female running enthusiasts who are looking for versatile running footwear need to some important aspects–such as the shoe’s outsole, midsole, and outer body. The outsole is composed of two types of rubber and is responsible for supporting the movement of your feet as well allows your heel to run efficiently. The midsole is composed of two types of cushioning materials that properly support the running shoes and the outer body is composed of a combination of heavy-duty leather and lightweight mesh. The upper part of the shoes provides you with stability, comfort, and the proper fit; it is made up of the heel counter, Achilles notch, and toe box.
Criteria Used When Searching For The Best Running Shoes For Women
Support Levels Of The Midsole
Women tend to have wider Q-Angles (hips) when running, which often leads to overpronation. So, we listened to what women had to say about the shoe’s support levels when it came to midsole control. Taking a women’s biomechanics into consideration can help alleviate unnecessary stress on the foot and help prevent injuries. In fact, reports indicate that women suffer from runner’s knee almost at twice the rate than males, which is why support levels were crucial when compiling our list.
Amount of Flex and Toe-off
In general, women tend to have 15% lower body mass than men, this means running shoes must have a deeper groove that can provide greater flexibility, which, translates to a smooth and natural toe-off motion through the running patterns of the foot. Seasoned runners agree that a little less foam in the overall cushioning of a running shoe goes a long way for female runners.
The arch, ball of the foot, and toes of women have different shapes and sizes when compared to male feet. In addition, men’s feet tend to be wider and longer on average. This is why it’s important to provide our readers with a selection that reflects the individual needs of a female’s natural foot shape. Responsive sole units can ensure a proper fit and a more customized overall feel.
Every runner deserves a solid, durable running shoe and the most durable running shoes are constructed from the ground up. To determine the overall durability of a running shoe we took a look at the outsole, midsole, and upper constructions. Durable running shoes have an outsole made of materials that will hold up to outdoor elements, rugged terrain, and are capable of withstanding hard impacts. Midsoles need to maintain a solid level of comfort, even when miles begin to pile up. The upper portion of the shoe should also be breathable AND made of strongly constructed materials. It’s crucial to us that we listen to what female runners from all walks of life had to say in regards to how much wear and tear their shoes could take after they’ve put several miles on them–this way we could provide you with the most accurate information in regards to durability.
Form and Function
Unlike most running blogs and jogging shoe retailers, we didn’t comprise our selection based on looks alone. While we understand that everyone likes making a personal selection when it comes to choosing what they put on their feet, we made sure that our picks come with the most cutting-edge features and shoe-tech currently on the market. Yes, these selections look fashionable and come in a wide variety of colors and styles that fit every runner’s personal sense of style, but performance is still a top priority.
Safety should always come first. With that in mind, we made sure to include selections that fit any situation you may encounter. While it may be “trendy” to have a specific marathon shoe, it may not be the ideal situation to take those very shoes on a rugged trail run. Having the choice to make an educated selection based on what type of running each shoe it best suited for will give you the best fit, response, and protection. After all, the easiest way to deal with an injury is to never have it in the first place.
Why is running so popular among women?
More women today are running than ever before. This is evident by the outpour of running products for women that are now available. Women have many great reasons why they choose to run, below you will learn about just a few them.
Women like running because it is simple to do and only requires a running outfit and a good pair of running shoes. When running, you do not have to be in perfect form at once. The form can be developed with constant practice.
While there are many other types of aerobic exercises you can engage in, running takes the cake when it comes to effectively burning calories and improving your cardiovascular endurance. Running also provides an effective workout that encourages the heart to work harder by squeezing blood towards the heart every time you make a stride.
Running does not harm your joints and instead, it bolsters cartilage through increased oxygen flow, by flushing out toxins, and strengthening ligaments around the joints. It also helps prevent Osteoporosis, which is a much higher risk for overweight women who do not engage in any physical activity.
Runners can testify about the benefits running delivers when it comes to their stress levels. According to one runner, his running effectively released tension in the neck, shoulders, and back. As everything starts to loosen up, it makes him think clearly. In fact, mental health experts used running to help in the treatment of clinical depression and various psychological disorders.
Experts concur that exercise, when done regularly, can reduce the risk of various kinds of cancer including breast, colon, lung and endometrial. A study concluded that people who are active have lesser chances of developing colon cancer. Moreover, vigorously active women (those who do aerobics, sports, running) have a lower risk (30-percent) of breast cancer. Joggers have protection against stroke, diabetes and heart disease. Additionally, running can lower blood pressure, increase good cholesterol, and strengthen immunity to viruses and colds.
One surprising benefit of running is the opportunity to extend your life span. In recent years, a study was conducted between two groups of people over 50 years–one group was composed of runners while the other was composed of non-runners. These individuals were asked to fill out a questionnaire every year concerning certain activities for 21 years. The study concluded that the group of runners had a lower of occurrence of disability and illness with lower numbers than the other group, every year of the study.
Since running is so beneficial to women it is also important to have the proper footwear. You can be stylish and have the proper shoe for you, without having to sacrifice any features.
One important thing you need to know is your pronation level. Pronation occurs when your arch lengthens–this results in an inward roll of the foot upon contact with the ground. When the foot rolls inward instead of outwards it is overpronation, which can lead to injury. Running neutral or supination (outward roll) needs neutral shoes. Moderate overpronation requires support shoes, and for severe overpronation a motion control shoe is necessary.
1. WET FOOT TEST
This is done by placing any of your foot in a bucket with water and stepping on a piece of cardboard afterward. Take the piece of cardboard with the resulting footprint and match it with the much similar shape found in the pronation control chart. This will determine which type of shoes is fit for you.
2. THE WEAR TEST
Observe the forefront area of the shoe’s outsole (from your current shoe you are using). The wear that is concentrated at the pinky toe area tells that neutral shoe is needed. If the wear is toward the big toe area, you may need a support shoe.
3. TREADMILL TEST
To perform this test you will need to film your strides while on a treadmill. You can then watch the resulting video in slow motion to see the levels of inward rolling of the feet during your running cycle. If the foot and leg are in a straight line, no additional support is needed for your feet. However, if your leg and foot are at a different angle you will need additional support. When looking for the best women’s running shoes, it is advisable to choose pronation support according to the foot that shows the most degree of pronation.
Types of Shoes
These shoes are built for those biomechanically neutral runners. Cushioned shoes have a small amount of added stability than that of stability or motion control shoes. If your foot is characterized by high arches and does not overpronate, cushioned shoes are definitely for you.
Stability shoes give slightly overpronate runners mild to moderate support. If you want something that is both cushioned and durable, then these are the shoes for you. Although pronation is a foot’s natural motion, many runners pronate more than the normal. Therefore, runners need shoes to support their overpronation. Stability shoes are recommended for people with regular foot arches. These shoes are also for those that demonstrate mild to moderate overpronation and do not have any concern with motion control.
This type of shoe offers the most support along with rigid, efficient, and reliable control and stability. These shoes are best in support and the most rigid shoes with efficient control and reliable stability features. The motion control shoes are recommended for runners with low arches and exhibiting moderate to excessive overpronation. The shoes are also for heavier runners that require shoes with high durability.
These shoes are made for fast-paced training. Runners who do marathons can also use lightweight shoes. Compared to the standard shoe, lightweight shoes respond better while also offering cushioning and stability.
These shoes are light and have minimal cushioning. Racing shoes are made for fast training and short distance racing.
Natural motion shoes support the barefoot running style. These shoes allow foot muscles and joints to move naturally and encourage a mid-foot strike.
Trail shoes are for off-road running and ideal for rugged terrain. They have great traction and proved protection. Many of them also offer waterproof properties so your feet stay dry.
Spikes running shoes are either cross-country spiked shoes or track spiked shoes. Track spikes can further be classified as distance spikes, sprint spikes, and jumping spikes. The cross-country spikes offer superior grip over grass, mud, and snow. Spiked shoes are lightweight and have less cushioning.
Running shoes are distinctly designed and categorized to serve every purpose. It will be less difficult to get the best shoes by applying shoe categories on your selection.
Important Things You Should Consider When Choosing Your Running Shoes
Whether you’re selecting your first pair of running shoes or your next pair of long-distance runners, we’re sure that you are excited to go out and start running! Before you do, take a moment and take a look at some of the information we compiled from runners just like you that were making their selections. These questions may help you pick a running shoe that’s perfect for your needs.
What Type Of Running are you into?
The terrain on which you run on is one of the most important factors to consider when choosing a pair of shoes. You’re going to want to look for a more aggressive outsole that can provide you with additional grip if you come across wet terrain or loose dirt and dust. Additionally, a more breathable upper will give you the breathability you need as the temperatures rise. Remember, that comfort levels have shown to aid in achieving both long term and short term running goals. Likewise, if you are planning for longer distances, such as marathons, make a selection with stronger cushioning that lasts longer before it starts to give. Having the right shoe for the job can make all the difference in the world.
Make A Selection Based On Your Foot Type
While a minimalist running shoe might be all the rage, it may not be the best selection for you. This is why making a selection based on your foot type is crucial for a smooth and pain-free running shoe. If you have higher arches, then look for a running shoe that gives extra support in the midsole. This will ensure that your feet don’t roll inward when they strike the ground. If you have flatter feet then running shoes with more cushioning is the way to go. Having extra material to absorb impact on ground strike will translate into more distance and less fatigue. Runners with a more neutral foot type can make selections that are considered more “middle of the road”. Make sure you also check the way that your old shoes wear on the outsole, this can tell you a lot about the way you step.
Choosing The Right Size For You
Believe it or not, this is frequently overlooked, particularly by novice runners that are new to long distance running. Both men and women’s feet tend to swell throughout the day. Additionally, women with sodium retention issues may be affected even more so. This is why it’s important to take your time when sizing your running shoes, and never assume your shoe size. It’s best to size your foot at the end of the day or after an extended time walking or running. Most seasoned runners might go a half size larger depending on how many miles they plan on putting on their running shoes at a time.
Be Aware of When Your Shoes Need to be Replaced
Once your shoes have been worn down it is highly important to replace them–even if they don’t look like you need to. It’s essential to have a fresh pair of running shoes that you can count on and that can keep your feet and ankles safe from injury. Additionally, support levels and cushioning greatly diminish when shoes are kept past their time. Keep in mind that typical running shoes should be replaced every 300 to 500 miles, regardless of how they look. Also, if you planning for long distances or on consecutive days, you might want to consider having two pairs of running shoes. This allows the shoes to dry out properly and for the midsole to recover before the next year.
We’ve created a list of some frequently asked questions that arise when searching for a new running shoe that might further help you along the way.
Q: Is there really that much of a difference between women and men’s running shoes?
If you are going short distances and on light walks, not a noticeable difference. However, this guide is focusing on footwear for women, and the fact is that women’s bodies are much different from men’s. Shoe companies understand that women represented 58% of all the 5k races in the US last year, and providing options that are tailored to their needs is important. Significant feedback has shown that when shoe manufacturers take the differences in biomechanics and physiological composition into consideration with their design, it provides women with a better performing shoe.
Q: I’m training for my first 5K race, what should I look for in my first pair?
First off, you should be interval training in a lightweight shoe to help you gain distance and endurance. However, for the 5K itself, you’re going to want a pair of running shoes that have a little more stability and cushioning, even if it means that they are slightly heavier. If you feel that you’re transitioning to more serious running, you must consider having a solid rotation of running shoes instead of just one. Remember that all cushioning (gel, foam, composites) require some time to recover from being used.
Q: What should I look for when I need a significant amount of grip on wet surfaces?
You are going to look for an aggressive tread pattern and deeper grooves that could allow for the water to disperse when you land on a puddle. However, thanks to significant advances in materials, the outsole of most quality running shoes are substantial enough to handle wet surfaces without slippage.
Q: My last running shoes really irritated my skin on longer runs, is there anything I can do to keep this down to a minimum?
This is a common complaint that can be easily remedied. First, look for shoes that have uppers that are as seamless as possible. This keeps skin irritation down be not having seams that can rub on your feet as you run. Secondly, if you know you ankle area is a trouble spot, look for additional cushioning in that region to help keep your feet comfortable. Finally, runner’s best friend: Leukotape. Place on problem spots before they cause discomfort, it stays put through the entire run and won’t unstick because of sweat or rain.
We hope this guide helped you in your search for running shoes that meet your unique running needs.
Here are some sources we used while conducting our research
Women are a large part of the running population, and for quite a long time shoe companies have been very interested in developing shoes and products that can be a great fit for women as well. We looked at a wide variety of sources to ensure quality information tailored specifically for our female runners. We like to utilize trusted outdoor enthusiasts and manufactures when providing our readers with the most up-to-date statistics found in all our buying guides. We are also very interested in taking what everyday users have to say about specific products, and we perform our due diligence to make sure that quality research goes into every guide. Here are some sources which helped us with this guide:
- What is the difference between women's and men's running shoes?, Athletic Website, Jan 19, 2014 ,
- Amazon, Amazon Reviews, ,
- The physiological differences between male and female runners, Running Website, Jan 18, 2016 ,
- REI, Running Website, ,
- Running 101: How To Select The Best Pair Of Running Shoes, Running website, Sep 09, 2014 ,
- How to find the right running shoe, Running website, ,
- Find The Best Running Shoes For You, Running App & Website blog, Jul 09, 2014 ,