Home Guides Best Running Shoes for Women 2021
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MOST VERSATILE

MOST VERSATILE

MOST VERSATILE

Nike Air Zoom Winflo 7

Nike Air Zoom Winflo 7
The newest Nike Winflo can adapt to any kind of run for many different runners.
The newest Nike Winflo can adapt to any kind of run for many different runners.
Sarah Dean
5k Runner, Personal Trainer

BEST VALUE

BEST VALUE

BEST VALUE

Asics Gel Contend 7

Asics Gel Contend 7
The Gel Contend 7 goes above expectations and you get more than you're actually paying for.
The Gel Contend 7 goes above expectations and you get more than you're actually paying for.
Olivia Yoder
Ultrarunner, personal trainer and soccer coach.

FOR LONG DISTANCES

FOR LONG DISTANCES

FOR LONG DISTANCES

Asics GlideRide 2

Asics GlideRide 2
Not for everyone, but if you want to make long runs fun - try the GlideRide 2.
Not for everyone, but if you want to make long runs fun - try the GlideRide 2.
Olivia Yoder
Ultrarunner, personal trainer and soccer coach.

LIGHTWEIGHT

LIGHTWEIGHT

LIGHTWEIGHT

New Balance FuelCell Propel v3

New Balance FuelCell Propel v3
Combines comfort with low weight and an affinity for increasing the pace.
Combines comfort with low weight and an affinity for increasing the pace.
Olivia Yoder
Ultrarunner, personal trainer and soccer coach.

FOR FASTER EFFORTS

FOR FASTER EFFORTS

FOR FASTER EFFORTS

Asics Magic Speed

Asics Magic Speed
If you are looking for a fast, reactive shoe that can also go the distance, try the Magic Speed!
If you are looking for a fast, reactive shoe that can also go the distance, try the Magic Speed!
Kristin Lassen
Fast Runner and Stability Shoe Expert

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.

These are the running shoes we recommend for women. Which ones do you run in ? Let us know in the comments!

Best Women's Running Shoes

These are the shoes we recommend for women. There's a selection of neutral, stability, plush, responsive... a little for everyone with a special eye for women.

First choice

Nike Air Zoom Winflo 7

Weight
10 oz.
Drop
10 mm.
Category
Cushioning

Nike Air Zoom Winflo 7

Reasons to buy
  • Great value
  • AirZoom pods for cushioning and responsiveness
  • Premium design looks great on the foot
“The Nike Air Zoom Winflo 7 gives runners an affordable, trusted, specialist running shoe with high cushioning for long runs and daily training.”
Recommended for
The Winflo 7 is for neutral runners, looking for a cushioned shoe for the longer run, to be used as a versatile daily trainer.
Aimed at runners looking for a shoe that blends great technology, fantastically sleek, modern looks and a good value price tag.
If you want responsive Zoom foam...
Sarah Dean
5k Runner, Personal Trainer
Read the full review of Air Zoom Winflo 7
or buy them here: Men / Women
Also consider

Asics Gel Contend 7

Weight
99 oz.
Drop
12 mm.
Category
Cushioning

Asics Gel Contend 7

Reasons to buy
  • Felt great first time wearing them
  • Soft all over mesh
  • Plenty of room in the toe box
  • Price is great
“The Gel Contend punches way above its weight with a budget friendly shoe that offers many of the technologies usually only available to more expensive shoes. ”
Recommended for
The Gel-Contend 7 is built for someone who is just starting to run. This shoe would be great for 5k-10k ranges. I used this shoe for for some cross training and had zero complaints. These are very lightweight and perfect for wearing all day.
Olivia Yoder
Ultrarunner, personal trainer and soccer coach.
Read the full review of Gel Contend 7
or buy them here: Men / Women
Also consider

Asics GlideRide 2

Weight
99 oz.
Drop
99 mm.
Category
Cushioning

Asics GlideRide 2

Reasons to buy
  • Extremely Durable
  • Well made Upper
  • Makes running miles and miles FUN!
  • Rocker promotes constant forward motion for easy miles
“I thought Asics did a superb job on these. They are not going to be for everyone, but give them a chance and I promise you’ll enjoy your experience in them. The new rocker technology is unique.  At first feeling, the rocker was a tad odd, but once I got used to it I grew to love it. It was a lot of fun to run in. My first “real” pair of running shoes were the Asics Gel Nimbus14.  I was hooked on Asics being my “brand.” I ended up giving up on Asics a few years ago...”
Recommended for
This is a great shoe for mid to long-distance runs. A great option for someone who likes a high stack height but not over cushioned.
The GlideRide 2 falls under the maximalist category but it is by no means a cushy shoe.
It’s designed to take on miles with ease and would be a great...
Olivia Yoder
Ultrarunner, personal trainer and soccer coach.
Read the full review of GlideRide 2
or buy them here: Men / Women
Also consider

Saucony Kinvara 12

Weight
7.5 oz.
Drop
4 mm.
Category
Cushioning

Saucony Kinvara 12

Reasons to buy
  • Widest toe box in the Kinvara to date
  • Highly Breathable
  • Lightweight
  • Responsive
“The 12th iteration of the Saucony Kinvara doesn’t deviate in any major ways from the Kinvara lineage: it’s still a supremely reliable, lightweight and responsive shoe that can handle long miles.  If you appreciated the Kinvara 9, 10, or 11, you’ll probably like the 12, as well. The most loyal Kinvara devotees will be able to detect a slightly firmer ride and a barely-noticeable reduction in the weight of the upper. ”
Recommended for
Like previous models, the Kinvara 12 is versatile and feels good on any and every run, from easy shake-outs to long threshold workouts.
It performs well as a daily trainer, speed trainer, and long run shoe. The K12 is ideal for neutral competitive runners with a fairly efficient stride.
Taylor Gupton
Cross-country and track coach
Read the full review of Kinvara 12
or buy them here: Men / Women
Also consider

Brooks Ghost 14

Weight
10 oz.
Drop
8 mm.
Category
Cushioning

Brooks Ghost 14

Reasons to buy
  • Abundance of cushioning
  • Luxurious upper
  • Smooth ride
  • Very stable
“One of the most comfortable mid-priced neutral trainers on the market, the Ghost is a long favorite of our team. ”
Recommended for
If you're looking for a dependable trainer for comfortable daily runs and you don't mind a bland ride, the Ghost 14 is a great choice.
Brandon Law
Marathon Runner and Shoe Expert
Read the full review of Ghost 14
or buy them here: Men / Women
Also consider

Brooks Glycerin 18

Weight
10.2 oz.
Drop
10 mm.
Category
Cushioning

Brooks Glycerin 18

Reasons to buy
  • Super soft cushion
  • Responsive ride
  • Soft, flexible upper
  • Great traction
“The Glycerin is the softer, more comfortable big sister of the Brooks Ghost. Premium materials and premium cushioning for a shoe that begs to log long miles. ”
Recommended for
This shoe is made for any neutral runner looking to get some cushion for your runs. Great shoe for beginners or heavier runners.
Michael Mason-D'Croz
Long distance runner, shoe expert.
Read the full review of Glycerin 18
or buy them here: Men / Women
Also consider

Hoka One One Clifton 8

Weight
8.9 oz.
Drop
5 mm.
Category
Cushioning

Hoka One One Clifton 8

Reasons to buy
  • Comfortable upper with secure lockdown
  • More versatile than the previous version
  • High level of cushioning
  • More snappy forefoot
“The Hoka One One Clifton 8 is a multi-purpose daily trainer with a smooth and stable ride. Its rocker midsole eases you through transitions and saves you energy over long distances.    Version 8 has a more padded tongue, better outsole rubber placement and it has a slightly faster feel because of its stiffer forefoot.”
Recommended for
If you're a runner looking for a highly cushioned, versatile daily trainer and you don't mind a bulky silhouette, the Clifton 8 is the shoe for you.
The Clifton 8 has a comfortable upper but it has a bucket seat foot frame which results in a prominent arch sensation.
Brandon Law
Marathon Runner and Shoe Expert
Read the full review of Clifton 8
or buy them here: Men / Women
Also consider

New Balance FuelCell Propel v3

Weight
8.9 oz.
Drop
6 mm.
Category
Cushioning

New Balance FuelCell Propel v3

Reasons to buy
  • Versatile daily trainer for long and short runs
  • Improved upper
  • Breathable and Comfortable
“Looking for a lightweight but comfortable shoe to wear when increasing the pace? Look no further than this New Balance. ”
Recommended for
This shoe is for the individual who is looking for a daily training shoe that will be able to fit all their needs.
There is nothing wildly impressive about the shoe but it's a solid choice that will not disappoint.
Olivia Yoder
Ultrarunner, personal trainer and soccer coach.
Read the full review of FuelCell Propel v3
or buy them here: Men / Women
Also consider

Nike React Infinity Run Flyknit

Weight
10 oz.
Drop
8 mm.
Category
Cushioning

Nike React Infinity Run Flyknit

Reasons to buy
  • Incredible cushion to weight ratio.
  • Soft stability without a medial post or overly firm midsole foam.
  • Rocker design provides a very efficient feeling ride.
  • Wider forefoot fit than most Nike shoes.
“New addition to the Nike lineup, the React Infinity Run offers a soft (but not mushy) ride and promises to help protect you from injury. ”
Recommended for
The Nike React Infinity Run is a shoe that will have very broad appeal. It has enough protection and stability to work as a great shoe for beginning runners who are just getting into the sport.
Additionally, the protection of this shoe will appeal to advanced and elite runners looking for a...
Thomas Caughlan
Ultrarunner and 10-Year Running Shoe Tester
Read the full review of React Infinity Run Flyknit
or buy them here: Men / Women

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

That’s how shoe companies jokingly brief their designers on how 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 runners in 5k races in the USA, 61% of half-marathons, and 43% of all marathons.

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

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

Women’s Biomechanics

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.

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. If you overpronate, it is important to find shoes that support your feet and help reduce the chance of injuries.

Some of the more common overpronation injuries include:

  • Plantar Fasciitis
  • Shin splints
  • Heel pain
  • Iliotibial Band Syndrome
  • Lower back pain
  • Bunions

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 through slightly different midsoles or outsoles can go a long way. Furthermore, strengthening your hip muscles can also work to help prevent this injury.

If you still experience pain around your knee when you run, consider getting orthotics. Orthotics can help stabilize your feet and reduce the impact on them as you run. Custom orthotics can be made to your specific feet, needs, and weight.

Lower Body Mass

In general, women have about 15% lower body mass – for the same height – 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.

Hormonal Differences

Women have lower muscle mass than men because women produce less testosterone. This means men tend to bulk up more than women. For example, a woman’s leg has about 60 percent muscle where a man’s leg has about 80 percent muscle.

Another hormonal that differs between the genders is the amount of estrogen in the body. Women have more estrogen, so they tend to have a higher body fat percentage. The good news is that body fat percentage does not affect your performance aerobically because it does not have a direct impact on peak oxygen uptake levels.

However, the downside is lower estrogen levels can increase the chance of stress fractures, which happen when too much stress is applied to a bone. A common site for this to happen in women is on the medial posterior portion of the tibia bone (the inside back portion of one of the lower leg bone).

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. For example, women’s feet are normally wider in the forefoot, higher in the arch, and more narrow in the heel.

To ensure that the sole unit is responsive and fits the foot properly, these factors should be considered when trying on shoes. This also means you may have to try several brands and different types of shoes (neutral, stability, cushioning, etc.) until you find what is right for your feet.

Many women runners have narrow heels, which may cause issues when trying to find the right fit for shoes. If you fall into this category, lacing the shoes differently can help create a snug fit.

    Try this alternative lacing method for narrow heels:

  • Lace shoes as you normally would
  • At next to last eyelet, put each lace through top eyelet (creating small loop)
  • Thread lace ends through opposite loops
  • Finish tying shoes

This helps keep your heels snug and creates a tighter fit at the top of your shoes.

How Women’s Shoes Differ

Women’s running shoes are built wider than men’s in the forefoot area and narrower in the heel because of the shape of women’s feet. However, women’s shoes are sized smaller than men’s — the latter which are normally wider and sized larger than women’s running shoes.

Depending on the brand, you may experience different midsole, heel support, or weight of the shoe. Normally women’s shoes weigh less than men, but the midsole and heel may or may not be made of the same materials because women tend to overpronate more than men.

Can You Run in a Men’s Shoe?

Some women find running in a men’s shoe more comfortable and fitting rather than running in a women’s shoe. Why is that? It is just the individual shape of the foot.

Remember that every foot is different and if you find women’s shoes aren’t fitting right, give men’s running shoes a try. If you wear a size 9 in women’s shoes, this doesn’t mean you will wear a size 9 in men’s shoes, usually a size 7 compares. You will have to try on a variety of men’s shoes to find the right size.

Final Thoughts

Men and women’s running shoes differ in a variety of ways, including the way our bodies react in them. Make sure you have the right running shoes for your body type, foot shape, and running needs for a more comfortable run.

These are the running shoes we recommend for women. Which ones do you run in? Let us know in the comments!


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