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 !

Don’t forget to check out our selection of the best running shoes, constantly updated.

Featured in this roundup

Editor rating
User's rating
PROS: Epic React foam is the real deal. Period. These are not gimmicky lifestyle shoes. They are made for real runners., The Flyknit upper is very form fitting, and never felt sloppy, even during sharp turns and pivoting., The ride is responsive, yet soft, and never sloppy. The Epic React works well as an all around shoe., At 7.8 ounces for a men's size 9 US, you'd be hard pressed to find a shoe with this much cushioning-to-weight ratio.
CONS: Rigid heel counter was noticeable at first impression, but didn't notice while running., Some runners with high volume, or exceptionally wide feet, may find this Flyknit upper constricting.

Recommended for:  The Epic React really is a shoe for any runner, whether it be the casual hobby jogger or the elite runner aspiring to the Olympic Trials, this is Nike's best training shoe ever. The FlyKnit upper has a very form fit feel, but it does stretch enough for runners with wider forefeet. The midsole Epic React midsole is the best blend of soft, but responsive, that any company has come up with, and If it truly lives up to its advertised durability, then its not a bad investment either.
Editor rating
User's rating
PROS: Premium tech at a standard price,  Redesigned stylish upper,  Durable outsole and upper
CONS: Can feel too sturdy/stiff for midfoot runners

Recommended for:  Hobbyist to serious runners with neutral to underpronation seeking a stable show with proven technology would do well with these shoes.

The $120 MSRP puts this shoe in reach for most runners, and the quality behind it will make the shoe last at or above most shoes of the same price.
Editor rating
User's rating
PROS: There are quite a few new updates which have all improved the shoe,  The new two part midsole,  Provides cushion, responsiveness, and control throughout your whole run
CONS: The color options are not visually appealing,  The sole unit can feel bulky during runs,  Price

Recommended for:  I would recommend this shoe for someone who needs maximum stability while training for a longer race like a half or full marathon.
Editor rating
User's rating
PROS: Engineered mesh upper that has excellent, comfort, breathability, and durability.,  New last improves the fit from previous versions.,  RevLite foam midsole material
CONS: Heavier than previous version.

Recommended for:  Runners that want an inviting option for everyday high mileage training, but also an up-tempo shoe that is ideal for fartlek’s, tempo run, or long intervals.
Editor rating
User's rating
PROS: Lightweight,  Soft, yet responsive ride,  Versatile,  Smooth heel-to-toe transition,  Improved outsole for traction
CONS: Pro-lock technology in the midfoot upper is unnecessary and can restrict natural foot movement if not adjusted properly.

Recommended for:  Neutral runners seeking a reliable go-to trainer with unrivaled versatility and comfort; marathoners seeking the perfect lightweight race shoe that balances cushion with responsiveness to produce optimal performance over the marathon distance.
Best Price$141$90$120$97$87
Type Cushioning, Lightweight Cushioning Stability Cushioning, Lightweight Cushioning, Lightweight
Weight 8.4 oz. 10.10 oz. 11.85 oz. 110 oz. 7.6 oz.
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