Home Guides Best Running Shoes for Women 2020
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MOST VERSATILE

MOST VERSATILE

MOST VERSATILE

Nike Zoom Pegasus 37

Nike Zoom Pegasus 37
With a special set up just for women, the new Nike Pegasus 37 with React Foam is at ease both on long slow runs and at faster paces.
With a special set up just for women, the new Nike Pegasus 37 with React Foam is at ease both on long slow runs and at faster paces.
Jim Coulson
Fast Road and Trail Runner. Career Firefighter.

MOST COMFORTABLE

MOST COMFORTABLE

MOST COMFORTABLE

Brooks Glycerin 18

Brooks Glycerin 18
The Glycerin is the plushest, most comfortable running shoe right now.
The Glycerin is the plushest, most comfortable running shoe right now.
Michael Mason-D'Croz
Long distance runner, shoe expert.

FOR STABILITY

FOR STABILITY

FOR STABILITY

Asics Gel Kayano 27

Asics Gel Kayano 27
If you are unstable on your ankles, or you like the feeling of a high cushion shoe that guides your stride to avoid injury - the Kayano is our choice.
If you are unstable on your ankles, or you like the feeling of a high cushion shoe that guides your stride to avoid injury - the Kayano is our choice.
TJ Jones
Road and trail runner, stability shoes expert.

LIGHTWEIGHT

LIGHTWEIGHT

LIGHTWEIGHT

New Balance 890 v8

New Balance 890 v8
Combines comfort with a low weight and an affinity for increasing the pace.
Combines comfort with a low weight and an affinity for increasing the pace.
Taylor Gupton
Cross-country and track coach

THE BOUNCIEST

THE BOUNCIEST

THE BOUNCIEST

Saucony Triumph 18

Saucony Triumph 18
If you are looking for plush cushioning but still want energy return, the Triumph 18 is a must-try.
If you are looking for plush cushioning but still want energy return, the Triumph 18 is a must-try.
Brandon Law
Marathon Runner and 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 Zoom Pegasus 37

Weight
9 oz.
Drop
10 mm.
Category
Cushioning

Nike Zoom Pegasus 37

Reasons to buy
  • Versatile consistent cushion for long runs, tempos and intervals.
  • Durable midsole and outsole capable of withstanding many miles.
  • Comfortable lightweight upper.
“The running shoe that can do it all: from slow training days to fast workouts. With a new React foam and gender-engineered cushioning, it's hard to go wrong with the Pegasus. ”
Recommended for
The Pegasus 37 is a wonderfully Versatile shoe cushioned enough for beginners and has a snappy ride for picking up the pace. This is a do it all kind of shoe that works for any runner.
Jim Coulson
Fast Road and Trail Runner. Career Firefighter.
Read the full review of Zoom Pegasus 37
or buy them here: Men / Women
Also consider

Brooks Ghost 13

Weight
10.1 oz.
Drop
12 mm.
Category
Cushioning

Brooks Ghost 13

Reasons to buy
  • Stable ride
  • Luxurious upper
  • Smooth ride transitions
  • Versatile ride
“One of the most comfortable mid-priced neutral trainers on the market, the Ghost is a long favorite of our team. ”
Recommended for
Whether you’re a beginner just starting out or a seasoned marathon runner looking for a dependable trainer to eat up training miles, the Brooks Ghost 13 is a reliable option.
It’s an incredibly well-balanced trainer best suited to everyday easy-paced runs.
Brandon Law
Marathon Runner and Shoe Expert
Read the full review of Ghost 13
or buy them here: Men / Women
Also consider

Asics Gel Kayano 27

Weight
11.4 oz.
Drop
12 mm.
Category
Stability

Asics Gel Kayano 27

Reasons to buy
  • Flytefoam Propel Cushioning
  • Visual Redesign
  • Very Stable Ride
  • Durable
“Offering maximum support and maximum cushioning, the Kayano has been a long favorite of women around the world. ”
Recommended for
I would recommend the Kayano 27 to a runner who would like a daily trainer with reliable stability that’s built to last.
TJ Jones
Road and trail runner, stability shoes expert.
Read the full review of Gel Kayano 27
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

New Balance 890 v8

Weight
8.4 oz.
Drop
4 mm.
Category
Cushioning

New Balance 890 v8

Reasons to buy
  • Sleek, edgy aesthetics
  • Snug, sock-like fit
  • Lightweight
  • Quick heel-toe transition
“Looking for a lightweight but comfortable shoe to wear when increasing the pace? Look no further than this New Balance. ”
Recommended for
Runners with a neutral foot-strike that are looking for a lightweight performance trainer to round out their shoe rotation.
Taylor Gupton
Cross-country and track coach
Read the full review of 890 v8
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
Also consider

Hoka One One Clifton 6

Weight
9 oz.
Drop
5 mm.
Category
Cushioning

Hoka One One Clifton 6

Reasons to buy
  • Smooth Ride
  • Improved Durability
  • Upgraded Mesh Material
“The Clifton 6 sheds some weight and moves to a softer midsole foam giving it a soft, smooth and highly cushioned ride.   The ride combined with an upgraded upper made of higher quality and more durable materials than in previous years make this a shoe worth looking into.”
Recommended for
This shoe is for all runners from beginner to advanced. It works best for daily training and long races.
Sean Felty
Long Distance Runner, Neutral Shoe Expert
Read the full review of Clifton 6
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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