Home Guides Best Running Shoes for Women 2022
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MOST VERSATILE

MOST VERSATILE

MOST VERSATILE

Asics Gel Cumulus 24

Asics Gel Cumulus 24
It’s a daily trainer that will work for all types of runners and distances.
It’s a daily trainer that will work for all types of runners and distances.
Olivia Yoder
Ultrarunner, personal trainer and soccer coach.

BEST VALUE

BEST VALUE

BEST VALUE

Nike Downshifter 11

Nike Downshifter 11
It will see you through training runs of up to 10km on a variety of surfaces and keep your feet protected and happy.
It will see you through training runs of up to 10km on a variety of surfaces and keep your feet protected and happy.
Sarah Dean
5k Runner, Personal Trainer

FOR STABILITY

FOR STABILITY

FOR STABILITY

Mizuno Wave Inspire 18

Mizuno Wave Inspire 18
Highly recommended if you are looking for a cushioned stability shoe that can handle a ton of miles.
Highly recommended if you are looking for a cushioned stability shoe that can handle a ton of miles.
Olivia Yoder
Ultrarunner, personal trainer and soccer coach.

LIGHTWEIGHT

LIGHTWEIGHT

LIGHTWEIGHT

Saucony Kinvara 13

Saucony Kinvara 13
a minimalist shoe that is built for speed.
a minimalist shoe that is built for speed.
Olivia Yoder
Ultrarunner, personal trainer and soccer coach.

FOR WOMEN ONLY

FOR WOMEN ONLY

FOR WOMEN ONLY

Lululemon Blissfeel

Lululemon Blissfeel
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

Asics Gel Cumulus 24

Weight
10.1 oz.
Drop
8 mm.
Category
Cushioning

Asics Gel Cumulus 24

Reasons to buy
  • Versatile daily trainer
  • Locked in feel
  • Softness throughout shoe
“The ASICS Gel Cumulus is a great choice if you are looking for a plush, versatile everyday trainer. It’s not made for speed sessions but does well for all other running workouts. You will get your money's worth with this shoe. With many miles on them, there is virtually no sign of wear. ”
Recommended for
This shoe is for the runner who loves all-over comfort. It’s a daily trainer that will work for all types of runners and distances. If you are on your feet all day this would be a highly recommend shoe that will surely please.
Olivia Yoder
Ultrarunner, personal trainer and soccer coach.
Read the full review of Gel Cumulus 24
or buy them here: Men / Women
Also consider

Nike Downshifter 11

Weight
10.00 oz.
Drop
10 mm.
Category
Cushioning

Nike Downshifter 11

Reasons to buy
  • Great price
  • Good looking shoe
  • Lightweight
  • Comfortable straight away and on longer runs
“The Nike Downshifter 11 is a great, people pleaser, of a running shoe. It’s comfortable, lightweight and at an attractive price; one of my favourite budget running shoes out there at the moment. ”
Recommended for
The Nike Downshifter 11 is a superb shoe for anyone starting out in running or training, or those looking for a budget running shoe.
Sarah Dean
5k Runner, Personal Trainer
Read the full review of Downshifter 11
or buy them here: Men / Women
Also consider

Mizuno Wave Inspire 18

Weight
10.60 oz.
Drop
12 mm.
Category
Stability

Mizuno Wave Inspire 18

Reasons to buy
  • Seamless upper
  • Secure heel counter
  • Great traction
  • Durable
“The Mizuno Wave Rider 18 is the brand's most trusted go-to stability trainer. It’s a dependable shoe and I thought the shoe was extremely comfortable. I thoroughly enjoyed testing out my first Mizuno shoe. The biggest changes are the recycled materials used and the seamless upper. I would recommend this shoe and if you are one of the die-hard Mizuno fans this updated version will not disappoint. ”
Recommended for
The Mizuno Wave Inspire 18 is for the individual that needs a decent amount of stability with a higher heel drop. It’s a great choice for the runner who overpronates and needs a shoe to help guide them. It is a versatile daily trainer that will enhance your performance. It will tackle various...
Olivia Yoder
Ultrarunner, personal trainer and soccer coach.
Read the full review of Wave Inspire 18
or buy them here: Men / Women
Also consider

Saucony Kinvara 13

Weight
7.2 oz.
Drop
4 mm.
Category
Cushioning

Saucony Kinvara 13

Reasons to buy
  • Lightweight
  • Comfortable upper
  • Made from recycled materials
“The Saucony Kinvara 13 is a fantastic choice for a super lightweight daily trainer. It's a minimalist shoe that is built for speed. With an upgraded upper that is flawless, Saucony nails it with this new version. ”
Recommended for
This shoe is for the individual who is looking for a shoe for speed workouts and runs averaging under the 1-hour mark. It's an overall versatile shoe that can be used for various workouts and on race day.
Olivia Yoder
Ultrarunner, personal trainer and soccer coach.
Read the full review of Kinvara 13
or buy them here: Men / Women
Also consider

Lululemon Blissfeel

Weight
8.90 oz.
Drop
9 mm.
Category
Stability

Lululemon Blissfeel

Reasons to buy
  • Supple cushion
  • Snug, comfortable fit
  • Smooth roll into toe-off
  • Stable base
“Blissfeel provides the secure fit and supported ride of a stability shoe yet with the quick toe-off of a speed shoe. This is an everyday running shoe that feels great on-foot”
Recommended for
Blissfeel is tailored to high-end comfort and function for a woman’s particular gait and foot, yet does not stand out for any one type of runner or workout. Wear this for its comfort and supported, smooth ride.
Kristin Lassen
Fast Runner and Stability Shoe Expert
Read the full review of Blissfeel
or buy them here: Men / Women
Also consider

Brooks Launch GTS 9

Weight
8.60 oz.
Drop
10 mm.
Category
Stability

Brooks Launch GTS 9

Reasons to buy
  • Smooth ride
  • Lacing options
  • Lightweight
  • Reasonable price
“The Brooks Launch GTS 9 is a durable, lightweight, supportive shoe with a fast feel. It combines remarkable cushion, stability, and durability for the price.”
Recommended for
Wear this shoe if you seek light stability in a lightweight shoe. This shoe shines in speedwork yet without the stiffness of a plate and has enough cushion for comfortable medium-length long runs.
Kristin Lassen
Fast Runner and Stability Shoe Expert
Read the full review of Launch GTS 9
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 Asics Gel Contend 7 are a fantastic find for a budget friendly running shoe. They go above expectations and you get more than you're actually paying for.”
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

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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