10 Best Running shoes for Women Tested & Reviewed
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.
- ASICS Gel Kayano 24
- Brooks Ghost 10
- Under Armour Speedform Fortis GR
- Saucony Ride 10
- Brooks Levitate 2
- Hoka One One Clifton 4
- Salewa Lite Trail
- Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 34
- Hoka One One Bondi 5
- ASICS Gel Nimbus 19
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Other Factors to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
10 Best Running shoes for Women
1. ASICS Gel Kayano 24
- 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
ASICS does not disappoint with their new Gel Kayano model. Replacing last year's ASICS Gel Kayano 23 this new model is better than ever. The exceptional comfort, paired with a more than reasonable price, makes these shoes one of the contenders for the best running shoe for women in 2018.Read more
The 24th edition of the ASICS Kayana brings along many properties from the previous model. The sole is identical to the Kayano 23, and they 24 also incorporates the same Gel technology in the heel portion of the shoe. This Gel technology, paired with the Dynamic Duomax cushioning ASICS incorporates, provides the runner with ideal shock absorption and keeps the pronation of your feet in check.
The Kayano 24 also brings back the FlyteFoam ASICS introduced in the Kayano 23. The FlyteFoam provides adequate cushioning, without adding significant weight to the shoe. While you won't be able to hit your top speed, this cushioning provides you with the ideal comfort for longer runs.
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 model.
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 you are looking to log those extra miles you need during your training regimen.
The Kayano are a fairly priced pair of shoes that deliver exceptional quality for their cost.
2. Brooks Ghost 10
- 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
The Ghost 10 is an exceptionally durable and comfortable shoe, perfect for neutral runners. While the Ghost 10 did not change too much from its previous addition, the improvements that Brooks makes are strong.Read more
This shoe's mid-sole incorporates Brooks specially designed BioMoGo DNA foam to provide runners with increased shock absorption, pressure displacement, energy transfer, and. not least of all, 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 their wearers with a stable run no matter how far you are going.
The Ghost 10 updated their Seamless Engineered Mesh to provide runners with a little more stability, flexibility, and breathability.
As Brooks continues to provide innovation to their runners the value of their product continues to grow and with that the price of their investment becomes all the more fair.
3. Under Armour Speedform Fortis GR
- 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
With a 4D Foam layer, these shoes conform to the natural shape of your foot, making them super comfortable, while charged cushioning helps you keep going strong for more miles. These shoes are extremely durable and likely to last you a long time.Read more
4D Foam is used for comfort, as well as a more natural running experience. The charged cushioning absorbs shock so you can run longer and farther. These UnderArmor shoes have a overall lightweight construction. They are made with thicker rubber in high-wear zones increases the shoe's durability and longevity of use. The build of the Under Armour Speedform Fortis GR's upper is durable, stretchable, lightweight, and breathable.
The quality of these shoes makes them very much worth the price and there extremely high durability means that they will last a long time before they need to be replaced.
4. Saucony Ride 10
- Breathable upper mesh
- Midsole foam for additional comfort
- Narrow toe box
- Traction could use some improvement
With the Ride 10 running shoes, Saucony delivers an excellent product. These shoes are durable, comfortable, and breathable--and reasonable priced. Perfect for short to mid-range runs, these shoes will not slow you down and offer you a high level of comfort during your runs.Read more
The ride 10 offers additional cushioning and features a midsole foam for additional comfort--without having to sacrifice its lightweight features or flexibility.
The mesh incorporated in the upper portion of the shoe provides additional breathability and will keep your feet cool and dry for your entire run.
These shoes provide great shock absorption and are best for short to mid-range runs.
As mentioned above the quality of the shoe being provided evens out to the Ride 10 being reasonably priced.
5. Brooks Levitate 2
Lots of color options available
These shoes may prove a bit pricier but they easily justify their price They come in lots of color options to choose from and are specifically designed to address the needs any runner.Read more
These running shoes haven't been out on the market long, but were quick to gain popularity with runners who know a good shoe when they see one. They are lightweight, responsive, and provide excellent shock absorption.
They incorporate a DNA AMP midsole to deliver optimal comfort, cushioning, and energy return during an intense run.
This model also incorporated a heel wrap to provide there wearer with additional protection. They are also flexible, lightweight, breathable, and highly durable.
If you are budget is more restrictive then these are probably an option you'll have to pass on but if you can afford the Brooks Levitate 2 then they are well worth the investment.
6. 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
This shoe has quickly won the hearts of many long-distance and marathon runners. It may look bulky in big, but in reality, it is lightweight, comfortable, and highly breathable.Read more
The Hoka One One Cliffton 4 have lots of color options and features that come with them. They are lightweight and soft. While it is cushioned, it's not over implemented in the design and also offers excellent shock absorption. It is a neutral shoe, so you will need to have high arches for it and they encourage a natural foot motion during your runs.
These shoes are on the more costly side but were placed on this list because we believe that their performance justifies their cost.
7. Salewa Lite Trail
Micheline Lite Train Sole
Perfect for trails
Not for super technical trails
Not stylish enough for some women
This trail shoe is an excellent option for you ladies that love to hit those trails. Facing the outdoor elements requires a shoe that can withstand anything thrown its way, and this one has proven to have what it takes.Read more
These shoes have adequate traction suited for easy to average technical trails. They are highly durable and can withstand rugged terrain. The Salewa Lite Trail provide the stability and support you need on those trails, without sacrificing comfort and breathability.
The price may be a bit high, but their durability will reduce the need for repair and placement, making the Salewa Lite Trail an excellent investment.
8. Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 34
- 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
The Pegasus 34 running shoes do not disappoint and keeps the best feature of its' previous model as well as incorporates new additions all runners will love.Read more
The Pegasus 34 running shoes are slightly more lightweight than their predecessors. They implement the same midsole technology as the 33's and also they come equipped with an improved mesh toe box and incorporate more hidden flywire.
Their flexible fabric and additional cushioning provide you with a comfortable and perfectly fit running shoe.
The Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 34 are a durable, comfortable, and flexible shoe also comes at a reasonable price. The Air Zoom also comes in a wide variety of colors.
9. Hoka One One Bondi 5
- 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
The Hoka One One Women's Bondi 5 running shoes have proven to be one of the best long-distance running shoes currently available for women. While they still look a bit bulky or awkward, don't let that fool you. These shoes deliver exceptional heel to toe cushioning--providing you with comfort and protection you need when logging in those long distance run miles.Read more
These shoes are made for long distance runs, especially marathons. They are made with
ysnthetic 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!
If you are shopping on a budget then the Bondi 5 is probably not a great pick for you but the quality shoes that Hoka One One provide means that this shoe is worth your consideration even if it costs a bit more.
10. ASICS Gel Nimbus 19
- 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
The ASICS Gel Nimbus 19 running shoes do not disappoint this year and come with some new and improved enhancement that every runner will appreciate.Read more
The Nimbus 19 is perfect for all runners alike, but they specifically tailored for use by long distance runners.
This model introduces a new sole--ASICS new, lightweight, FlyteFoam midsole. This Flytfoam midsole maintains the same great cushion and bounce and also weighs less than their older cushioning system.
This shoe also delivers exceptional traction.
These shoes have a decent price for the features it has as well as the improvements made from the previous model.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
...support levels were crucial when compiling our list.
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.
...running shoes must have a deeper groove that can provide greater flexibility...
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.
...it’s important to provide our readers with a selection that reflects the individual needs...
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.
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.
...this way we could provide you with the most accurate information in regards to durability.
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.
...each shoe it best suited for will give you the best fit, response, and protection.
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.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
While we see more brands offering unisex sizes, it is important to be picky about every little thing when it comes to the overall comfort of the shoe. If there is even one irritation, no matter how small, make sure it isn't something that won't turn into a bigger problem.
Sure shoes eventually break in, but not always enough to make up for a noticeable miss in the overall fit.
When you narrow down your choices, really take a little time to research what others are saying about their own experience with thos shoes.
While you might find some feedback that doesn't seem to apply to you personally, you will find some that does.
Other Factors to Consider
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.
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.
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.
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.
Frequently Asked Questions
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.
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.
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.
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.
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