The best women’s running shoes in 2019: the top 10 shoes to pick up on Black Friday, whether your goals next year are a 5K PB or an ultra challenge

Black Friday deals mean those shiny new trainers you’ve dreamed of all year are suddenly affordable. This is the time of year to pick up a bargain, so here’s our 10 of the best women’s running shoes

best women's running shoes

If 2019 has been the start of a beautiful love affair with running, and you’ve well and truly got the running bug, you’ll know by now that a good pair of shoes is the most important kit you’ll ever own (apart from a fitted sports bra of course!). Many of the latest models that have hit the shelves in 2019 are, let’s face it, not exactly cheap. At the extreme end you can buy the Nike ZoomX Vaporfly Next%, with its record-breaking speed, but at £239.95 it’s hard to justify investing so much in one running item (even though we all desperately want them!). However, there are plenty of deals out there in the lead up to Christmas, and you’re in the perfect position to finally invest in the trainers you’ve been dreaming of.

Choosing the right trainers

Hopefully you’ve already taken yourself along to a specialist running shoe shop and had your gait looked at. It’s important to find out if you are a neutral runner or you pronate. This is where you need extra support on the inside of your feet to stop them rolling inwards and putting stress through your leg joints.  

Women’s running shoes are specifically designed for a woman’s foot. Therefore they’re 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.

With any running shoe, make sure you have at least a finger’s width of space at the top of your toes for your feet to expand when they get hot. Most runners will go up at least half a size from your normal shoe size. If you have a history of injuries, then cushioned shoes can help provide greater impact on each foot strike.

With 2020 beckoning, and new goals, we’ve set out which shoe will help with your personal needs, experience and aims, so whether the new year is shaping up to be one for speed, and 5K PBs, or you’re looking to tackle longer challenges, here are the best bargains from the top shoes for women right now…what are you waiting for?

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1. Nike Zoom Pegasus Turbo 2 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 R&D of running shoes, and the Pegasus Turbo 2, like its predecessor, features Nike ZoomX foam. This model has been updated with a feather-light upper, while innovative foam brings revolutionary responsiveness to your long-distance training. You’ll find it feels lighter and more streamlined than the Pegasus Turbo. You’ll still feel the exceptional energy return and plenty of speed. As soon as you slip on this shoe you’ll feel the difference in the lightweight upper. There’s plenty of speed in this model, but it’s a versatile shoe that will transition just as well to longer training and marathons.

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2. Hoka Clifton 6

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’

The Clifton 6 has shed some weight, but it remains as soft and comfortable as the Clifton 5. 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 shoes look bulky they are deceptively lightweight. If you want to keep running, forever, their cushioning is going to seriously help preserve your joints. As a daily trainer, the Clifton 6 provides a comfortable ride, you won’t get any hotspots and it is a great recovery run shoe. Ideal for those starting a spring marathon.

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3. Reebok Floatride

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

The Reebok Floatride remains a steal as we come to the end of 2019. With its Energy Foam midsole you’re guaranteed lightweight responsive cushioning. It’s an everyday shoe, with a light mesh upper providing support and ventilation. It’s not flashy but it has all the basics including excellent cushioning for urban outings, and a very natural feel. It’s also the perfect shoe for the gym and cross-training. As the most expensive trainer prices rise to nearly £250 per pair, these offer excellent value, especially as they look just as great in a café as in the gym.

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4. New Balance Fresh Foam Lazr 2 HypoKnit

Superior comfort and a dynamic fit from the HypoKnit upper

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

Another great value shoe that is exceptionally comfortable, flexible and versatile. They are undeniably as stylish as they are a performance shoe. The HypoSkin upper provides a dynamic, engineered fit that’s stretchy and is designed to mould to the natural bendiness of your foot. The integral tongue allows a seamless interior to the upper in the front of the shoe. 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. This shoe looks both speedy and attractive and has been a favourite in 2019 for its secure, comfortable fit.

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5. UnderArmour Hovr Infinite

A cushioned experience with accurate tracking of all running 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 built-in tech the Infinite offers (a sensor embedded into your insole) means you will connect instantly to your phone, without the faff of having to wait for your GPS watch to find a satellite. This has been a successful shoe since its launch in early 2019 as it offers plentiful cushioning to reduce impact from the ground, and the compression-mesh Energy Web gives great bounce with each stride. The thick layer of HOVR foam have made this a great marathon shoe. The EVA sockliner contours specifically to your foot, giving 100 percent support. High impact zones on the outsole are effective, with carbon-rubber traction pods under the heel to enhance confidence. Another great spring marathon shoe that will go the distance.

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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

A great value and lightweight shoe, coming in at only 8oz, the Brooks Launch has been one of the most popular light neutral running shoes of 2019. They are so light you don’t feel them, and with the BioMoGo DNA midsole cushioning and rebounding rubber you get a springy ride. They are ideal for runners with high arches due to extra support, with a midfoot transition zone shaped to go from heel to toe quickly. The one-piece mesh upper and internal bootie allow your feet to breathe. Available in grey, purple and a fun green with shamrock/clover pattern they are also great to look at. Overall, you will love the light, easy wear of these, which makes them a speedy shoe.

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7. Adidas Ultraboost 19

Seamless support and endless energy with the award winning Boost midsole

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 19s are Ultraboost reinvented, to give you an energy fuelled run. They also fit your feet like a glove. They have been successful this year due to the high level of comfort, plus the energy return given by an extra 20 per cent Boost in the midsole. You’ll feel like you are flying. The combination of the all new 360 PrimeKnit, which feels very supportive, with the 3D printed heel counter 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, that’s flexible but also supportive.

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8. Saucony Kinvara 10

This well-loved shoe has held its ground in 2019, being durable and super lightweight

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 is the shoe for you if you are focusing on shorter distances next year, with a lot of technology at a decent pricepoint. The EVERUN topsole plus EVA+ midsole gives maximum energy return and a cushioned ride. The 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. Definitely for those runners who are thinking of speedier runs!

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9. HOKA Unisex Evo Carbon Rocket

Having come down slightly in price, these quick-fuelled rocket shoes with a firm carbon plate will see you flying without breaking the bank

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

Yes, they are slightly more expensive, but well worth the investment. With just a 1mm heel-to-toe offset you will feel your feet flying on the road or track. 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. The amazing colour combination is another reason to snap these up!

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10. On Cloudswift

A light swift shoe that delivers high performance in urban environments due to Helion superfoam

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

We still think this is one of the most beautiful shoes of 2019! And it has outperformed many of its rivals again and again. New On Helion foam technology aims to bring more durability to the shoes without additional weight. The sole features 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 is a technical road shoe that fulfils the dreams of the urban runner; yes, you will run a 5K PB in these!