Whether you’re tackling a half-marathon or just a normal run, finding a good pair of running shoes for women is essential before your feet hit the pavement.
A study from Tulane University School of Medicine found that 60% of female runners stumble upon some sort of running injury because of old, worn, or improper running shoes.
Now that you're researching the best running shoes for women, what else will you need? According to running coach and blogger at Lazy Girl Running, Laura Fountain, you won't need much more than a comfortable t-shirt and leggings to get started.
We’ve spent hours testing and researching hundreds of the best womens running shoes. The ones we found are the absolute best. We considered their comfort, breathability, fit, price, and style.
Now, on to our list.
The Altra Women’s Olympus 2 wasn’t selected as the bes t trail running shoe for nothing, the increased traction, zero drop, and eva top layer all work together to optimize comfort on any uneven, rugged terrain.
Run slightly large, so keep that in mind when purchasing.
The completely revamped Vibram outsole with a softer, more flexible upper dramatically enhances the traction you’ll be able to get for a comfortable wear both uphill and downhill.
The 100% fabric and leather combination does not make these the most breathable running shoe.
The lace up Altra Women’s Olumpus Trail Running shoe features a FootShape toe box, padded collar, and 36-mm stack height which make these a great option for trail running (surprise, surprise). Additionally, traction and durability improvements have also lead to a reduction in weight for a faster, more aerodynamic ride. Finally, an a-bound bottom layer will put a spring in your step, with the eva top later taking the bite out of rugged terrain.
At right around $150 (slightly more or slightly less depending on the size/color you choose) these shoes are great if you’re really in search of a good option for trailing running, but most definitely one of the pricier options on our list.
The Adidas Boost provides the perfect balance of support, breathability, and energy return.
Some reviewers reported the fit of this shoe turned out to be a bit too restricting.
The rubber outsole will help you to grip both wet and dry surfaces for a comfortable wear. Additionally, extra added cushion will make these shoes your go to for even the longest of runs.
The textile and synthetic blend of materials is actually far more breathable than you would expect, this is actually one of the categories reviewers were most impressed with when it comes to the Adidas Boost.
The molded synthetic midfoot and heel overlays for stability and support. Additionally, Torsion System provides added midfoot integrity you don’t typically see in a running shoe. Additionally, the built in energy-returning properties of the Adidas Boost (yes, it’s a thing) will keep every step charged with an endless supply of light and fast energy.
Depending upon the size and color you select, this running shoe will run you right around $129. While that doesn’t make this the most expensive option on our list, it definitely is the best value.
With a lightweight construction and increased cushion for a smooth ride from heel to toe, the Brooks Ghost will help you take your performance to the next level with every run.
Great shoes once broken it, it just might take you a few runs (and a lot of blisters) to get there.
The BioMoGo DNA and DNA cushioning work together for provide the perfect balance of softness and durability, feels lighter and more comfortable than ever.
No matter how your foot lands, the integrated system of shock absorbers will cushion every steep for a smooth, stable ride.
The mesh body is so lightweight and breathable that you’ll barely feel like you’re wearing anything at all. Oooh la la!
Neutral support, medium to high arch, and DNA LOFT heel crash pad for softer landings. Additionally, by placing stretch and structure where you need it most, the newly engineered Ghost 11 will practically disappear on your foot.
Depending on the size and color you choose, these tennies will run you anywhere between $85 and $200. At the lower end, this shoe is an excellent value. Anything over $120-$150 and the value definitely starts to decrease.
While there’s a lot to love about the Women’s Cohesion Running shoe from Saucony, comfort and breathability are at the top of the list. With more room in the toe box than your typical running shoe, mesh body for increased breathability, and an extra shoelace hole for a no-slip fit, you really cannot go wrong with this running shoe.
Some reviewers feel that version 10 offers less support than previous models; however, the majority of reviewers still have nothing but good things to say about this shoe.
Heel grid system offers stable cushioning, while the wide toe box is roomier than most so feet feel relaxed and not squished. No break in period on these bad boys, Saucony’s got you covered on that from day 1!
Designed with 100% mesh for increased breathability and airflow, Saucony definitely created the Women’s Cohesion Running show with comfort in mind.
Extremely light, but also provides substantial support for overpronation both in terms of arch and side design. Another little added feature reviewers love is the added hole for your shoe string, if you so desire, which results in a no-slip feeling fit.
Depending on the color and size you select, this shoe will likely cost you between $50 and $80—which is an excellent value and by far at the low end for a quality running shoe.
Supportive and stable without the bulk. These are great sports shoes for women with flat feet.
Narrow toe box.
The cushion in the heel is unbeatable and a great shock absorber. Like we said before, the GEL-Cushioning System is seriously the best, especially if you have flat feet. Your feet will love the comfort this cushion provides especially if you often have pain while running. This is especially helpful to overpronators because it offers a beneficial platform that helps maintain a more neutral step.
ASICS has integrated a ComforDry™ X-40 sockliner which provides moisture management and a high level of breathability.
Nobody's perfect - these shoes do run a bit small in the toebox. The good news is, you can order a half-size up and choose from three different width options.
The price is competitive to most running shoes out there. ASICS is the best brand on the market, so we think the price is fair and definitely worth it. Many reviewers mentioned, "Completely worth the money, plantar fascilitis is getting better".
Supportive and comfortable without the extra bulk.
For neutral runners so if you need a lot of support these shoes aren't for you.
A molded sockliner mimics your foots shape for added support and comfort. Reviewers mention, "They're like walking on clouds."
The mesh material that these shoes are made of is soft and breathable which allows air to continuously flow through the shoe. This is a good thing because hot, sweaty feet can cause unwanted blisters.
The fit feels like you're wearing a sock with a sole, literally. If you don't like a lot of bulk weighing you down, you'll definitely love these shoes.
Ouch. These Nikes are a bit pricey but not too much more than the average. They're not cheap, but if you're willing to spend the extra dollars, you'll have endless color options and sexy looking feet.
For 18 years the Nimbus series by ASICS has been one of the highest performing footwear brands on the market. From comfort, to fit, to design, the Nimbus brings it all categories across the board.
The only complaint we have about this model is that it’s lacking in breathability. While the mesh body will allow for some airflow, the synthetic material is a bit stifling.
The FluidRide Midsole provides the ultimate combination of bounce back and cushioning to reduce weight and provide exceptional durability. Additionally, the Rearfoot and Forefoot gel cushioning system absorb shock during heel impact and toe-off phases, which allows for movement in multiple planes as the foot transitions through the gait cycle. Finally, the use of seamless materials reduces the potential for irritation and friction caused by stitches and seems found in many brands of running shoes, which is what propels the Nimbus 18 to the top of the list when it comes to comfort.
Designed with a mesh body and a rubber sole, the Nimbus 18 does offer some breathability. However, the new gradient material used in the more recently updated Nimbus 20 offers much more breathable coverage if that’s super important to you.
FluidFit upper technology combines multi-directional stretch mesh with stretch reinforcements that adapt to the athlete’s foot, creating a truly customized glove-like fit. Additionally, the exoskeletal heel counter provides exception heel fit for added support.
Depending on the color and size you select, these shoes will run you anywhere from $60 to $160. If you can snag these for $60, do it. But even at the $160 price point these shoes are on par with others on the market of similar quality and durability.
Keep in mind, your standard running shoe size is typically a half size bigger than your normal, everyday shoes. Your running shoes should fit snug in the heel and midfoot with enough room for your toes to wiggle around. A good test is to press your thumb down around your toes. Your toes should be between a half thumb and full thumb’s width from the top of your shoes. If you are still unsure about what size shoe you should get, you can always get sized. Many running stores have experts who can size you. Some even let you take the shoes on a test run around the block. How cool is that? There are also some great tutorials that show you the best way to fit your shoes properly.
For comfortable, injury-free running, your running shoes should be slightly larger than your normal, everyday shoes. Your feet should be able to wiggle around but it should still feel slightly snug in some areas. There should be a glove-like fit around your midfoot. This area should be snug while still being comfortable. And, there should be little or no slipping at the heel. A shoe that is too loose or too tight at the heel will leave you with blisters after even a short run. The bottom line: you shouldn’t have to break in your running shoes. They should feel comfortable the moment you put them on.
Most people think they can keep running in their shoes until they essentially fall apart. However, this isn’t the case. The cushioning in your running shoes is made of air cells that absorb the impact while you run. Eventually, these air cells run out of air. This means that as you run, your feet are no longer protected upon impact. You may as well run barefoot at this point. Running without some sort of protection can cause serious injuries, like stress fractures.
So, how do you know it’s time to swap for a brand new pair? Just like a car, it’s important to keep track of your mileage on your running shoes. Sound crazy? It’s not. Most running shoes last anywhere between 300-500 miles. So if you run 15 miles a week, a decent pair of shoes should last you 6 months.
This question is frequently asked (and frequently debated). The short answer is: yes you can wash them. Sweat, dirt, and mud accumulates after every run, eventually you have to wash them (especially if they start to smell). However, it’s important not to wash them often. This can cause your shoe to breakdown faster.
Using a baby wipe or damp cloth, wipe the outside of your shoes to remove any tough dirt or grime. Before throwing your shoes into the washing machine, you want to make sure to remove the insoles and liners, too. It’s best to wash them separately. You can also choose to remove the laces or keep them on. Sometimes removing the laces cleans them more effectively because the entire lace can be cleaned. To wash your running shoes, you can place them directly into the washing machine with detergent. No, we’re not kidding. Just be sure to wash them on the shortest, most gentle, cycle. And, don’t even think about putting them into the dryer! Instead, stuff your shoes with paper towels or a cloth, and let them dry for a couple of hours. Stuffing them helps keep the shape of your shoe.
There are a few running shoe brands that consistently stand out from the rest. Their reliability has earned them trustworthy reputations among passionate runners everywhere. According to The Active Times, Asics, Brooks, New Balance, and Newton are some of the best. The best brand for you really depends on the needs of your feet. If you are looking for a minimalist shoe, Newton is the best in this category. For those with wider feet, New Balance is a good option because of the big toe box design. For the rest of you who are somewhere in between, try either Brooks or Asics. Brooks is known for their reliability and consistency while Asics is known for their comfort.
The ASICS GEL-Nimbus 17 Lightweight Women’s Running Shoe are the perfect long distance shoe for neutral runners who want a lightweight shoe. This lightweight long distance shoe has shed some serious weight making it lighter than ever before. We also appreciate the new FluidRide midsole and extended Rearfoot and Forefoot GEL-Cushioning system, which improve the already comfortable ride. The nearly seamless FluidFit upper aids in preventing blisters which sets these babies apart from the crowd. So, you can appreciate a blister-free run.
The lightweight GEL-Cushioning in these shoes reduces the shock during impact and toe-off phases, allowing for a smooth transition throughout your stride and less chance for injury. A good portion of the top of these top rated women's running shoes is made with breathable mesh ensuring your feet are well ventilated and less sweaty during those long runs. These shoes come with FluidFit upper technology, which uses a combination of multi-directional stretch, mesh and stretch reinforcements to create a glove-like fit.
Not only do these running shoes come in half sizes, but they also come in three different widths: narrow, medium, and wide. However, they do run a bit small so be sure to order up a half size. The $101 price is somewhat on the competitive side, of course, but these lightweight shoes are definitely worth it. ASICS is best known in the running community for being extremely dependable and made with quality.
However, if you are one who loves to hit the trails, you might want to look into getting a trail running shoe. We have the best ones, here.
The ASICS GEL-Kayano 21 are supportive and stable without all of the bulk. These are the perfect running shoes for women with flat feet. Mild to moderate over pronators love this secure and stable shoe, especially if you have flat feet. ASICS integrated their Trusstic System, which significantly reduces the weight of the shoe while retaining the structure. To top it off, these shoes include the famous GEL-Cushioning System, which in our opinion, is the best cushion on the market.
The cushion in the heel is unbeatable and a great shock absorber. This is especially helpful to over pronators because it offers a beneficial platform that helps maintain a more neutral step. ASICS has also integrated a ComforDry™ X-40 sock liner, which provides moisture management and a high level of breathability.
These shoes do run a bit small in the toe box. The good news is, you can order a half-size up and choose from three different width options. The $110 price is competitive to most running shoes out there. ASICS is the best brand on the market, so we think the price is fair and definitely worth it. Many reviewers mentioned, "Completely worth the money, plantar fasciitis is getting better".
The Nike Free 4.0 Flyknit Running Shoe have a snug fit, are extremely lightweight, and have a stylish look that you can wear anywhere. This shoe comes in more than 50 different colors. If that doesn't blow you away, maybe the environmentally friendly rubber outsole will. We loved the sock-like fit that conforms to your feet allowing for extreme flexibility. However, since these lightweight shoes give your feet the "barefoot" feel, you may be want to be careful with those long runs. A molded sock liner mimics your foots shape for added support and comfort. The mesh material that these shoes are made of is soft and breathable which allows air to continuously flow through the shoe. This is a good thing because hot, sweaty feet can cause unwanted blisters.
The fit feels like you're wearing a sock with a sole, literally. If you don't like a lot of bulk weighing you down, you'll definitely love these shoes. These Nikes are a bit pricey but not too much more than the average. They're not cheap, but if you're willing to spend the extra dollars, you'll have endless color options and sexy looking feet.
The Adidas NEO Women's Lite Racer is lightweight, comfortable, and super affordable. The tops of these best-selling shoes resemble a honeycomb and feature a mesh upper for maximum breathability. Inside is the Fit FOAM removable cushioned insole that’s made of elastic rebound foam. This insole conforms to your foot providing comfort and stability. The NEO running shoe is available in ten colors including: black, white, navy, coral, and even multi color. The best news of all is these shoes will only cost you $60. Which are a lot more affordable than other running shoes on the market.