The best women's running shoes can ensure your feet are adequately supported and protected as you exercise. Whether you have just started jogging recently or are about to participate in your next race, wearing the best running shoes for women is essential to avoid injuring your feet.
This guide focuses on the best running shoes for women specifically, but we also have a guide to the best running shoes in general, which covers men's and unisex options. If you're going off-road, you might also want to check out our best trail running shoes roundup.
We also have a guide on how to clean running shoes and what running shoe mistakes to avoid to spare yourself from discomfort and injury later on. More and more people are getting into running at the moment. As well as being an activity that can take place outside and in a socially distanced way, it's also one of the best exercises to help you get fit when you're unfit.
Best women's running shoes to buy right now
As our 5-star Adidas Ultraboost 22 review says, "The new female-specific Ultraboost 22 is not a marketing ploy designed to get women to splash the cash." It is a scientifically developed shoe based on anatomical data of the female foot and gait cycle that has been designed and tested by women for women.
The result is the best women’s running shoes around by a mile, whether you’re a total newbie to running or a seasoned marathon runner. The midsole scores extremely high on cushioning and responsiveness, while the upper is flexible, snug and supportive, so you can put in the miles in total comfort and confidence.
Yes, it’s pricey, but it’s a price worth paying for a shoe that’s built primarily with the female body in mind, and it’s perfect for heavy runners who want to look after their joints or for use on long milage days.
It should be noted that the Ultraboost 22 is not a race shoe, but then it wasn’t designed for speed. However, I’d be excited to see how Adidas take everything it has learnt about the female foot and incorporates it into other shoes going forwards. Ground-breaking stuff, in short.
When your shoes are as versatile as the Mach 4 – click on its name above to read our full review – you can run long in them and rely on them to look after your legs. They're also able to take on tempo or harder sessions and still feel fast.
If you like max cushioning, something Hoka One One is especially famous for, you'll appreciate the stack height of the Mach 4, and better still, these ultra-light women's running shoes can help you both in terms of comfort and injury prevention too. But thanks to its springiness, the Mach 4 can also enable you to go fast, offering the best of all worlds.
Some other running shoes with carbon plates might feel too firm, so if you want some softness without a squidgy feeling, then opt for the Mach 4. At RRP, this shoe is also a little cheaper than similar models from other brands, such as the women's version of the Saucony Endorphin Speed.
There’s really not much left to add beyond a strong suggestion that you put these very near the top of your next potential shoe purchase list.
Read our full Hoka One One Mach 4 review
We’d recommend the Gel-Kayano 29 to people who love to run the most, but even beginners can enjoy the benefits of these amazing shoes. They feel well-cushioned underfoot, offer a high level of support and stability, and the stretch-knit material looks and feels good.
The ASICS Gel-Kayano 29 are sure to become the go-to running shoes for many runners and athletes. Featuring the FF BLAST PLUS foam cushioning, these trainers give serious bounce and support to the foot, making long runs feel a lot smoother, easier and more energised.
Read our full ASICS Gel-Kayano 29 review
Created for women by women, the Under Armour Flow Synchronicity trainers are specifically designed for women runners and athletes. It takes into account women's heel, arch and foot height, and the trainers have a stylish netting-like design and material in a feminine light pink colour.
When initially trying them on, they sat nice and tightly to the foot despite the height of the shoe sitting quite low on the ankle, which can put off people who like their shoes to feel super secure. Despite this, the UA Flow Synchronicity trainers are incredibly supportive, especially for those who overpronate.
The shoe's insole corrects overpronation and focuses on the back of the foot towards the ankle and heel. It takes a little getting used to when you first start wearing them, but they quickly become comfortable and are suitable for 5-10K distances.
The UA Flow Synchronicity trainers are cushioning, and as they sit tightly to the heel and ankle, they're more open around the toes and feel very light on the feet. When tested during a UK heatwave, they were relatively breathable and didn't absorb too much heat when running.
Overall, they're a comfortable cushioning pair of trainers that are great for training over short distances and supporting those who overpronate or have difficult arches.
The Saucony Ride 15 is a durable, stable and highly supportive neutral trainer that will help you run in comfort mile after mile. Redesigned with more foam for better cushioning, it’s also super lightweight, so it will never weigh you down on long runs.
The Ride 15 does have a narrow forefoot, but once you get the right width, you’ll love the secure combination of the midsole and upper, which work together to provide a locked-in feel from top to bottom.
Overall, Saucony’s decision to completely overhaul the Ride 15 has definitely paid off on this occasion. This new iteration might just become one of your favourite and trusted go-to daily trainers.
Read our full Saucony Ride 15 review today.
These shoes are for those long miles when you want to prevent fatigue as long as possible and ensure a comfortable run. From the first miles, they adapt to your feet and provide premium comfort, with the soft feeling of the upper being sustained however long you run. With both superior cushioning and a soft, padded upper for comfort, you won't notice you are wearing them.
While this isn't a fast shoe, we suspect if you are a fan of Brooks as a brand and are looking for a training shoe for your weekend long runs, you are going to think these are pretty special. These are an excellent choice for long runs and recovery days and offer a superior cushioned run.
It's worth mentioning that this model has a lot of fans, not just amongst runners, with many healthcare workers and those in similar professions who spend long shifts on their feet, giving them a five-star rating.
P.S.: ever wondered what's the difference between the Brooks Glycerin 19 vs Brooks Launch 8? We'll tell you.
Read our full Brooks Glycerin 19 review
Lululemon entered previously uncharted territories with its new Blissfeel running trainers.
The Blissfeel is... a good start. You can feel that the last was designed for women as the shoes fit really well. Lululemon also made sure the Blisfeel feels stylish and comes in a few exciting colourways, so you can pick one that matches your style the best.
However, the running experience is far from perfect. The toe box is narrow and shallow and feels restrictive, even for runners with relatively narrow feet. To add insult to injury, the upper is not too breathable either, so there are some overheating issues in the shoes, even after shorter runs.
On the bright side, the lack of ventilation makes the Blissfeel ideal for cold-weather runs when your feet just can't warm up, no matter how many layers of socks you put on. The outsole is flexible and bends well; chalk another one for the Blissfeel.
We'd recommend the shoes for those who aren't looking for performance running shoes and like stylish shoes for running/walking. Keep an eye out for sizing, though, and go a size up if you prefer your shoes less snug.
Read our full Lululemon Blissfeel review
The Reebok Floatride is our current top pick if you're looking for the best cheap ladies' running shoes. They're not flashy, but they have all the basics you need from a great everyday running shoe, including excellent cushioning for urban outings and a very natural feel.
The energy foam midsole delivers lightweight, responsive cushioning, while a light mesh upper provides support and ventilation. It’s also the perfect shoe for the gym and cross-training.
Dedicated runners will want to invest in something more advanced, but these offer excellent value for a basic running shoe, especially as they look just as great in a café as in the gym.
Check out our Reebok discount codes to bag a great price.
Nike leads the global R&D of running shoes, and the Pegasus Turbo 2 takes the top spot in our round-up of the best running shoes for women. Like its predecessor, the Turbo 2s feature Nike Zoom X foam, but you'll find the Turbo 2s feel lighter and more streamlined than the Pegasus Turbo.
You’ll still feel the exceptional energy return and plenty of speed, but this model has been updated with a feather-light upper. At the same time, innovative foam brings revolutionary responsiveness to your long-distance training. As soon as you slip this shoe on, 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.
How to choose the best women's running shoes for you
The best women’s running shoes are specifically designed for a woman’s foot. Therefore they’re usually lighter, softer and ergonomically designed to fit a narrower, smaller 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 end of your toes to allow room for your feet to expand as they get hot. Most runners will go up at least half a size from their normal shoe size. If you have a history of injuries, cushioned shoes can help provide a greater impact on each foot strike.
About at-home gait analysis
In simpler times, we’d recommend you take yourself to a specialist running shoe shop to have your gait looked at before purchasing a new pair of running shoes. 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 from rolling inwards and putting stress through your leg joints.
If you haven't had this checked yet, don't stress: there’s an at-home test you can do in the meantime, and then this guide will help you choose the best women’s running shoes for you. We’d still recommend you get your gait professionally checked when you could.
For now, simply dip your foot in water and then stand on a piece of dry paper. If the imprint of your foot has some spacing around the arch of your foot, this is ‘normal’; however, if you have no indentation, this suggests overpronation, and a large indentation suggests supination (or under-pronation). Whichever of these is you, look out for the best women’s running shoes recommended for these foot types.