The best women’s running shoes in 2019: Nike, Adidas, Brooks, Asics and more

Whether you’re doing a 5K or an ultra, the best women’s running shoes will help you smash your PBs

best women's running shoes

If you're a female runner, a pair of the best women’s running shoes is the most important kit you can buy (apart from a fitted sports bra of course). No matter how experienced or new to running you are, using a 10-year-old pair you fished out the back of the wardrobe, or buying a bargain pair of women’s running shoes from a local supermarket, could lead to injury and an abrupt end to your running journey.

If you don’t pronate (when your feet turn inwards as you run) then you’re known as a neutral runner – this means you don’t need support inside your trainers. It’s still important that you consider a variety of different options before you settle on the best running shoes for you though: feet can be varied, so you’ll need to find a match that’s right.

What’s the best women’s running shoe?

One of the most popular running shoes for women so far this year is the Nike Zoom Pegasus Turbo. Not only are they stylish, the ZoomX foam makes you feel like you’re bouncing along as you run. They combine the Pegasus features we all love, but are even speedier.

Can a woman buy men’s running shoes?

Yes – some women prefer men’s shoes for running. However, research indicates that women tend to have different weights, gait patterns and foot architecture to men, with narrower heels in relation to their forefoot, which can cause heel slippage.     

Women’s running shoes are therefore usually lighter, softer and ergonomically designed to fit a female-shaped foot. That said, if you have bigger feet or wide toes, you might prefer to run in unisex shoes, which can offer a wider toe box to prevent hotspots and blisters. You'll find some of the best below.

When choosing a pair of women's running shoes, make sure you have room at the top of your toes for your feet to expand when they get hot. Go up at least half a size from your normal shoe size. Also, if you suffer from niggles, or achy knees, cushioning may help – you probably don’t want to choose a stripped down, minimalist shoe. 

We've clearly marked the advantages of each women's running shoe below, to help you find exactly the right pair for your particular running style, experience level and budget. Whether you’re planning your first park run or a marathon, here are the best running shoes for women right now…

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1. Nike Zoom Pegasus Turbo women’s running shoe

Record breaking speed with ZoomX foam and uber stylish – at a price that the average runner can afford (just)

Specifications
Best for: Intervals, 5Ks, daily training, longer runs
Level: Beginner to elite
RRP: £159.99
Reasons to buy
+Lightweight+Great energy return+Secure fit from the upper due to Flywire cables
Reasons to avoid
-Large investment for beginners-May not suit runners with wider feet

Nike leads the global research and development of running shoes. The Zoom Pegasus Turbo women's running shoes features Nike ZoomX foam (used in the Breaking 2 attempt to run a marathon in under two hours), which gives exceptional energy return, and helps you feel attuned to the surface you’re running on. The Pegasus was already hugely popular with all runners – but now with the Turbo you get added responsiveness, and plenty of speed. As soon as you slip on this shoe, the lightweight upper gives a wraparound snug feel. Don’t feel like you can’t keep these on for summer trails, either. The Pegasus will transition easily to drier summer trails due to excellent traction provided by raised rubber sections on the outsole. Priced at under £160, the Nike Zoom Pegasus Turbo women’s running shoe is, for most runners, the best you can buy.

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2. Hoka One One Clifton 5

Signature Hoka One One cushioning makes this a shoe you can run in every day, whatever your session

Specifications
Level: Beginner to elite (it’s a popular brand for the world’s best ultrarunners)
Best for: Daily training, summer races, longer runs, injury-prone runners
Reasons to buy
+Lightweight+Plush fit+Breathable upper+Excellent cushioning for longer runs
Reasons to avoid
-Can feel too narrow in toe box-Can take a while to get used to cushioning or ‘bounce’

Women with larger feet often feel that these oversized shoes aren’t for them, but once you’ve run in Hokas you’ll never go back. You can’t fault the EVA midsole, and even though these women’s running shoes look bulky, they are deceptively lightweight. This model has a slightly more open mesh upper that gives much better ventilation, so your feet stay cool as temperatures rise.

Some users found the early HOKA models had too-narrow toe boxes, but this new Clifton model feels more spacious. You can get this model in a wide fit, too. The 5 is available in a stunning wrought-iron colourway, and the Clifton 6 is due to launch in June, so not long to wait before you can get your hands on the latest, more refined, model.

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3. Reebok Forever Floatride Energy

The best cheap women's running shoe

Specifications
Level: Good entry level shoe, yet versatile enough for competitive runners
Best for: Speed work, interval training, track, gym, activewear
Reasons to buy
+Lightweight+Excellent value for a performance shoe+Encourages a natural stride
Reasons to avoid
-May feel narrow in the toe box and heel

Reebok give you its Floatride Energy Foam midsole for lightweight responsive cushioning. A mesh upper provides support and ventilation so you can take each stride in comfort, and the heel counter locks in your foot for stability. Excellent cushioning for urban outings, and a natural feel. You can feel confident using these for cross-training as they will perform to expectations. As trainer prices rise and rise, these offer excellent value, especially as they also look great with skinny jeans and a white tee.

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4. New Balance Fresh Foam Lazr 2 HypoKnit

The best women's running shoe for sprint training, with superior comfort and a dynamic fit

Specifications
Level: Looking for PBs
Best for: Speed sessions on the track or a fast 5K
Reasons to buy
+Super comfortable sock-liner/integral tongue+Secure heel+Great fashion accessory
Reasons to avoid
-Tongue may crease when laces first tightened-Limited dark colourways

When it comes to sprint training, the New Balance Fresh Foam Lazr 2 HypoKnit women's running shoes lead the way. The HypoSkin upper is stretchy and has been designed to mould to the natural bendiness of your foot. Expect these to be exceptionally comfortable and flexible; you’ll end up going further than you planned on your first outings. The integral tongue allows a seamless interior to the upper in the front of the shoe, while the data-inspired midsole design and the Fresh Foam technology offers plenty of comfort for high-impact activity. The hexagonal shaping of the outsole also provides impressive traction. They’re surprisingly light for a well cushioned shoe. Both speedy and attractive, the New Balance Fresh Foam Lazr 2 HypoKnit trainers are worth serious consideration.

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5. UnderArmour Hovr Infinite women's running shoes

This wider-fit women's running shoe gives a cushioned experience and tracks your performance tooking of all metrics

Specifications
Level: Beginners through to competitive
Best for: Longer runs where you want lots of cushioning
RRP: £120
Reasons to buy
+Digital connection to performance through UA's Record Sensor technology+Plush feel in the heel and tongue
Reasons to avoid
-Lacks a snug feel-Data connection may be temperamental

The UnderArmour Hovr Infinite women's running shoe makes you feel like you can run forever. Plentiful cushioning reduces impact from the ground, while the compression-mesh Energy Web gives great bounce with each stride. There's also an EVA sockliner that's contoured specifically for a women’s foot, too, so you get 100 per cent support, which eliminates blisters. High impact zones on the outsole are effective, with carbon-rubber traction pods under the heel to enhance confidence. Meanwhile, UA's inbuilt Record Sensor data tracks, analyses and stores virtually every running metric you could want to help you improve your running.

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6. Brooks Launch 6

A lightweight women’s running shoe that combines the speed of a racing flat with cushioning

Specifications
Level: Beginners and regular runners
Best for: Short to mid-length daily runs
RRP: £95
Reasons to buy
+Good arch support+Great for travelling as so light+Fun designs
Reasons to avoid
-May come up half a size too big

Weighing only 8oz, the Brooks Launch 6 is an incredibly light neutral women's running shoe. You will hardly notice you have them on. They feature BioMoGo DNA midsole cushioning and rebounding rubber – which creates a springy feel, while still feeling supportive – and particularly suit runners with high arches due to their extra support. The midfoot transition zone is shaped to go from heel to toe quickly. The one-piece mesh upper and internal bootie feel very airy, helping your feet breathe, which makes the Brooks Launch 6 shoes particularly suitable to take you through the drier summer months. Available in grey, purple and a fun green with a shamrock/clover pattern, they're also great to look at. Overall, we love the light, easy wear of these women's running shoes.

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7. Adidas Ultraboost 19 women's running shoe

Run for longer with seamless support and endless energy

Specifications
Level: Beginner to advanced
Best for: All distances, all classes, all outfits
RRP: £159.95
Reasons to buy
+Lots of colourways to choose from+Also great for walking in+Slipper-like fit+Enhanced Boost makes them even bouncier
Reasons to avoid
-May feel wide if you have narrow feet-Come up small, so go up half a size to normal

The Adidas Ultraboost 19 women's running shoes will fit your feet like a glove. The UltraBoost has been massively successful due to its high level of comfort, plus the extra 20 per cent energy return given by the Ultra Boost midsole, which makes you feel like you are flying. They really feel different to other trainers, particularly with the combination of an all-new 360 PrimeKnit upper, which feels very supportive, and a 3D-printed heel counter, which provides much more stability. The outsole is about as strong as you will get for a road shoe, with Continental Rubber ensuring superior traction, even in rain. You get a snug and highly breathable all-over fit, resulting in a shoe that’s flexible but also supportive.

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8. Saucony Kinvara 10

This well-loved women's running shoe just got more responsive

Specifications
Level: Beginner to advanced
Best for: 10Ks and half marathons
Reasons to buy
+Lightweight and responsive+Versatile for cross-training+Supreme comfort
Reasons to avoid
-May find it fits half a size too big-Wide toe box-Limited colourways

This latest evolution of the Kinvara will impress, not just on style alone. An EVERUN topsole plus EVA+ midsole gives maximum energy return and a cushioned ride. Meanwhile, an engineered mesh upper locks your foot in place, making it a delight to run in. There’s just a 4mm offset from heel-to-toe, so you get a natural feel with every stride, rather than relying on the shoe’s cushioning. Expect smooth landings and to feel in touch with the road beneath you.

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9. HOKA Unisex Evo Carbon Rocket

These quick-fuelled rocket running shoes are the best racing flats out there

Specifications
Level: Serious speedster
Best for: Short, fast races such as 5K and 10K, speed work
RRP: £160
Reasons to buy
+Lightweight+Stable upper+Good shock absorption+Breathability+Great street appeal with fresh design
Reasons to avoid
-May struggle to find your size-May find the carbon plate feels stiff so expect a firm ride-Big investment for a shoe you may not use frequently-Outsole may wear quickly

With just a 1mm heel-to-toe offset you will feel your feet flying in the HOKA Unisex Evo Carbon Rocket women's running shoes, whether that’s at a summer track race or a fast and furious road 5K. These go-fast shoes don’t have the signature HOKA cushioning, but the flat carbon plate, shaped like a tuning fork, that sits 8mm above the rubberized foam outsole gives a firm yet cushioned racer. The plate is designed for flexibility under the metatarsals, so expect your feet to be supported. These are a firm ride due to the plate and only 1mm drop, so may not suit all runners if you prefer a well-cushioned ride.

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10. On Cloudswift

Helion superfoam makes this the best technical running shoe for women

Specifications
Level: Any
Best for: Urban running where you need light shoes and high traction on wet roads
RRP: £135
Reasons to buy
+Urban style without compromising performance+Great breathability+Snug but flexible fit in the upper
Reasons to avoid
-Stones will wedge in the outsole

The On Cloudswift is a beautiful, contemporary shoe that looks like a work of art. New On Helion foam technology aims to bring more durability to the shoes without additional weight. The sole has deep grooves designed to bring more bounce to your run – stones can get wedged in these but it’s never an issue. The upper fit is exceptional, due to the sculpted casing that draws the sides up as you tighten the laces, and the engineered-mesh sock lets your feet breathe. There’s plenty of room in the forefoot, and the whole of the upper feels flexible and soft. The Cloudswift women's running shoe is a technical road shoe that fulfils the dreams of the urban runner; yes, you will run the city in these.