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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.

Asics Gel Cumulus 20 - Pair
The Asics Gel Cumulus 20 is a smooth fitting and sturdy feeling daily trainer with an emphasis on rearfoot+forefoot cushioning for shock absorption. It’s priced competitively for what it offers, and follows in the footsteps of a successful line of shoes. Read full review »

Pros

  • Premium tech at a standard price
  • Redesigned stylish upper
  • Durable outsole and upper

Cons

  • Can feel too sturdy/stiff for midfoot runners
The Nike Epic React is a lightweight all around daily training shoe that can take on every workout you can throw at it; from long runs to speed work on the track. With a form fitting FlyKnit upper that seems to conform to the foot after several runs, the Epic React is designed to last more than the conventional 500 miles, touting incredibly durable Epic React foam. Read full review »

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.
New Balance Fresh Foam Beacon - Pair
The New Balance Fresh Foam Beacon is a lightweight daily trainer that is softer than other Fresh Foam shoe options. It can be a versatile shoe and is one of the best New Balance releases in years. Read full review »

Pros

  • Very light with a ton of cushioning
  • Soft cushioning that has a touch of responsiveness
  • All-knit comfortable upper

Cons

  • Exposed foam will limit durability, but not by much
Saucony Liberty ISO - Lateral Side
The Saucony Liberty ISO gives the right amount of support with a fast and responsive ride. It is an impressive debut in the performance stability realm of running shoes. Read full review »

Pros

  • Fast shoe with just the right amount of support
  • Unique upper. Best use of ISOfit yet
  • Durable sole

Cons

  • Price
Hoka One One Arahi 2 - Pair
Hoka One One Arahi 2 maintains the stable, well-cushioned ride that the shoe debuted with last year, infusing lightweight cushion with support and stability.

The upper fit is very similar to what I've experienced previously from HOKA, yet this year's Arahi is more breathable. Read full review »

Pros

  • Reworked upper more breathable
  • Comfortable ride
  • Responsive and light despite high stack height
  • Noticeable counter to overpronated foot motion

Cons

  • Roomy heel
  • Narrow midfoot fit
  • Slightly heavier than last version
Brooks PureCadence 7 - Medial Side
The Brooks PureCadence 7’s fantastic sole unit and decent upper prepare this lightweight, low-drop shoe to support you over many miles, all for a great price.

This version has (just) a touch more room in the width, but going up a half size is still recommended for the length. Read full review »

Pros

  • Superb sole: cushion, responsiveness, traction
  • Snug midfoot
  • Lightweight
  • Smooth around the ankle with solid heel counter
  • Supportive yet not restrictive

Cons

  • Slight room in the heel
  • Height in forefoot causes me to scuff the front
Hoka One One Clifton 5_Pair
This is another solid update to the Clifton platform. It provides a soft and smooth ride. The upper has undergone a slight redesign enhancing both comfort and durability. Overall the Clifton 5 is a great option for both daily training and racing. Read full review »

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Smooth Ride
  • Breathability

Cons

New Balance 890v6 - Pair
The 890 returns with a list of improvements from its predecessors. The shoe has a lot of the same attributes that made it a solid daily performance shoe but is definitely more attractive than ever. Read full review »

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.

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.


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