Ever heard of “shrink ’em and pink ’em” ?

That’s how shoe companies jokingly brief their designers to create a women’s version of a shoe. Or at least this was the standard until a few years ago.

Last year, women represented 58% of all the 5k races in the USA, 61% of half-marathons and 43% of all marathons.

Finally shoe companies are realizing women are a large part of the running population and  that women bodies are different than men’s.

Wider Q-angles, lower body mass and different feet shape are just some of the physiological differences that grant women different needs when talking about the ideal running shoe.

While the need for women’s specific running shoes isn’t immediately obvious, there are several factors about a typical woman’s biomechanics that require consideration during the design phase of running shoes.

Women’s Biomechanics

Wider Hips Mean Extra Stress

The first factor is that women have larger hips than men, making it more common for women to pronate outside of the normal range.

According to a report by Runner’s World runner’s knee tends to strike women nearly twice as frequently because of the added stress.

To remedy this issue, a little extra support either through slightly different midsoles or outsoles can go a long way.

Lower Body Mass

In general, women have about 15% lower body mass than men, though this can vary among individuals.

This lower body mass means that shoe designers must consider how much foam is necessary in the midsole (women will likely need a little less), meaning that women’s shoes tend to be slighter lower, softer, and lighter than the men’s version.

In addition, groves in women’s shoes tend to be slightly deeper, making it easier to flex the midsole on toe-off and accounting for the lower body mass.

Foot Shape

Engineers also should consider the fact that men’s feet tend to be broader and longer on average.

Women’s feet, on the other hand, have different shape characteristics, especially in the arch, toe, and ball of the foot. To ensure that the sole unit is responsive and fits the foot properly, these factors should be considered.

These are the running shoes we recommend for women.

Which ones do you run in ? Let us know in the comments !

Featured in this roundup

Editor rating
10/10
User's rating
PROS: Very plush fit,  Durable outsole,  Seamless upper,  Comfortable lacing system
CONS: Heel counter might be too rigid for some,  Pricey shoe

Recommended for:  The Asics GEL-Nimbus 18 is a shoe for high mileage runners who need a soft and forgiving cushioning system on a stable ride.
Editor rating
9/10
User's rating
PROS: Light feeling,  Lower to the ground than last year's model,  Very breathable upper with a wider toe box,  Well cushioned, while not being pillowy,  Incredible grip for a road shoe
CONS: Large heel-toe drop,  May not have enough cushion for heavier runners,  The upper can let in more water than you may like.

Recommended for:  This shoe is made for all neutral runners looking for a high mileage trainer.
Editor rating
9/10
User's rating
PROS: Adidas’ STABLEFRAME plus Boost foam midsole offers a near perfect ride for mild to moderate overpronators.,  A solid plastic shank in the midsole of the medial heel keeps the support base unwavering no matter how long the run.,  The upper is nicely locked down in the midfoot which maintains a snug feel…,  and opens up in the toe box (a pro if “roomy toe box” is on your list of must-haves).,  Somewhat lightweight, lighter than the previous model.
CONS: This shoe is a bit stiff but not bad considering the support that it offers.,  The molded height aspect of the toe box is a “con” for my particular preference; it stands 1/8” higher than what I’d call typical for a running shoe, and my foot needs a more snug toe box.

Recommended for:  This is a great shoe for those wanting both a superbly cushioned ride and an overall stable shoe offering the support needed particularly for high-mileage training. It’s also a shoe that I’d recommend to heel strikers, particularly those who come down hard on the medial aspect, or to forefoot strikers who are looking for a stability shoe whose cushion keeps the ball of the foot from getting sore as the miles clip on.
Editor rating
9/10
User's rating
PROS: New flytefoam system in sole unit gives superior light ride.,  Seamless Fluidfit upper. Form fitting material giving excellent snug feel.,  Over abundance of cushioning and stability throughout.
CONS: Price.,  Flexibility issues may bother some.

Recommended for:  This is a shoe for athletes with moderate to severe over pronation. It is a high mileage trainer recommended for beginners working toward a half marathon and up.
Editor rating
9/10
User's rating
PROS: Seems very durable,  Perfect fit (At least for me!),  Comfortable upper,  Tons of color choices
CONS: Not lightest option in category,  No fancy tech,  Laces on size 12 were very short

Recommended for:  This shoe is for somebody looking for a lightweight, medium drop, firm trainer with medium-high arch.
 
Rating
10/10
9/10
9/10
9/10
9/10
Best Price$74.95$82.75$91.00$49.88$59.95
Type Cushioning Cushioning Stability Stability Cushioning, Lightweight
Weight 11.40 oz. 10.60 oz. 11 oz. 11.50 oz. 9.40 oz.
  Read Full Review Read Full Review Read Full Review Read Full Review Read Full Review



By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

Close