Best women's running shoes 2022 for speed, comfort and support

We run through the best women's running shoes of all abilities and running styles

best women's running shoes: Two female athletes running on a sea front wearing the Hoka Arahi 6 shoes
(Image credit: Hoka One One )

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 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.

Don a pair of the best running headphones to boost motivation and distract you from the pain, and perhaps splash out on a running watch to help you see your progress, then hit the pavement.

Best women's running shoes to buy right now

Detail shots of the Adidas Ultraboost 22T3 Best Buy badge

(Image credit: Jo Ebsworth)
Best women's running shoes overall

Specifications

Best for: long runs, jogging, daily trainer
Level: Beginner to intermediate runners

Reasons to buy

+
Supreme comfort and cushioning
+
Specifically designed for the female foot
+
Snug fit gives a locked-in feel
+
Great for heavier runners wanting to protect joints

Reasons to avoid

-
Not suitable for speed work or racing

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.

Hoka One One Mach 4 on white backgroundT3 Approved badge

(Image credit: Hoka One One)
Best women's running shoes for speedwork (and racing)

Specifications

Best for: long training runs; short, fast intervals
Level: Beginner to elite

Reasons to buy

+
Outrageously lightweight for the tech included
+
Smooth and soft ride
+
Cheaper than many similar competitors

Reasons to avoid

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Lacks the firmness of carbon/nylon plates
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Rubberised foam outsole may not last as long

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

UA Flow Synchronicity on carpeted floor

(Image credit: Bethan Girdler- Maslen/T3)

3. UA Flow Synchronicity

Best women’s running shoes for arch support and overpronation

Specifications

Best for: 5-10k distances, arch support, overpronation
Level: Beginner to intermediate

Reasons to buy

+
Comfortable and lightweight
+
Supportive on the ankles and inner part of the foot
+
Breathable

Reasons to avoid

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Sits low on the foot so makes those who like tight shoes feel a little unsupported

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.

Saucony Ride 15 review: Detail shot of the shoesT3 Approved badge

(Image credit: Jo Ebsworth)
Best women's running shoes for cushioning

Specifications

Best for: Mid-to-long-distance training, cushioning
Level: Beginner to intermediate runners

Reasons to buy

+
Increased cushioning in a lightweight package
+
Solid, stable and supportive underfoot
+
Delivers a softer yet firm, responsive ride

Reasons to avoid

-
Runs narrow on the forefoot
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Won’t help you beat a PB

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.

Brooks Glycerin 19 women's running shoes in a gardenT3 Award

(Image credit: Sophie Higgs)
Best women's running shoes comfort

Specifications

Best for: long training runs
Level: Beginner to elite

Reasons to buy

+
Extra cushioning provides extra soft sensation
+
Very lightweight
+
Snug, padded fit in the upper
+
Durable outsole

Reasons to avoid

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Narrow toe box
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Narrow fit for some

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 Blissfeel women's running shoes in a gardenT3 Approved badge

(Image credit: Sophie Higgs)
Best women's running shoes for style

Specifications

Best for: Daily training, jogging
Level: Beginner runners

Reasons to buy

+
Stylish
+
Supports the arch and the ankle 
+
Bouncy midsole

Reasons to avoid

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Very tight toebox 
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Upper could be more breathable
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Be careful with sizing

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

Reebok Floatride on white backgroundT3 Award

(Image credit: Reebok)

7. Reebok Floatride

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 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 Zoom Pegasus Turbo 2 on white backgroundT3 Award

(Image credit: Nike)

8. Nike Zoom Pegasus Turbo 2

Best Nike women's running shoes

Specifications

Best for: Intervals, 5Ks, daily training, longer runs
Level: Beginner to elite

Reasons to buy

+
Lightweight
+
Great energy return
+
Secure fit from the upper due to Flywire cables

Reasons to avoid

-
Pricey for beginners
-
May not suit runners with wider feet

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.

Hoka One One Clifton 8 on white backgroundT3 Award

(Image credit: Hoka One One)

9. Hoka One One Clifton 8

Best women's running shoes for everyday training

Specifications

Level: Beginner to intermediate
Best for: Daily training, longer runs

Reasons to buy

+
Even lighter midsole
+
More rubber for durability
+
Well-cushioned

Reasons to avoid

-
Chunky Hoka-misole takes a while to get used to if you haven't experienced it before
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The Mach 4 is just better for the same purpose

The Hoka One One Clifton 8 is an excellent women's running shoe. The latest iteration of the Clifton series kept all the features that made the Clifton 7 great, such as the comfortable upper and the ample amount of cushioning, but also brought improvement in the form of the lighter midsole and added rubber for more traction.

Better still, the Clifton 8 looks fresh but distinctively Hoka: it's chunky but not in a bad way and without being heavy either, which is an achievement in itself. The improved, lighter EVA midsole feels a little less bouncy than the previous iteration, which has a (not positive) effect on energy returns, but this doesn't mean that running in the Clifton 8 will make you sluggish.

And since you probably won't be using the Clifton 8 for racing, it's not the end of the world that it's not super responsive. At least it's comfortable: the also updated breathable mesh upper feels snug but not restrictive, doing its job of keeping the midsole under your feet just fine.

There is only one slight issue: Hoka One One has another all-rounder shoe that's just better than the Clifton, which is the Mach 4, the best women's running shoes at the moment. And since the Mach 4 exists, it really doesn't make sense to get the Clifton 8 unless you really dislike how the former looks. Should you find a good Clifton 8 offer, it's certainly worth considering.

ASICS Gel-Kayano 27 on white backgroundT3 Award

(Image credit: ASICS)

10. ASICS Gel-Kayano 27

Best stability running shoes for women

Specifications

Level: Mainly beginners, but also as recovery shoes for any level
Best for: Everyday runs, long runs, overpronators, people looking for extra support

Reasons to buy

+
FlyteFoam is as good as ever
+
Gender specific Trusstic system
+
Firm heel counter

Reasons to avoid

-
Slightly on the heavy side

Next up is our pick of the best running shoes for women is the ASICS Gel-Kayano 27. The Gel-Kayano series is a fan-favourite stability shoe, and the 27s deliver even better performance than their predecessors.

The Dynamic Duomax technology provides ample support on the medial side, and so does the external heel counter, locking the feet in position to help reduce pain and discomfort during runs. This helps make the Gel-Kayano a comfortable shoe for daily running, especially for overpronators. 

This design features Space Trusstic technology in the midsole (specifically the narrow part of the sole that connects the forefoot and the heel area), which provides added stability and reduces the overall weight of the shoe.

Despite this, the Gel-Kayano 27 is not a light shoe, partially thanks to the extra stabilisation elements such as the external heel counter and the added padding, which is essential to deliver that 'Gel-Kayano feel'. Don't let this put you off, though, as this shoe will certainly help you run more injury-free.

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. 

Tina Chantrey
Tina Chantrey

Tina is fitness editor for Women’s Running magazine and published two books in 2020, The Little Book of Zen and Reflexology: Your Personal Guide. She is a UKA running coach, England Athletics Mental Health Champion and has her own running group, #runTLC. Follow her on Instagram @runtlc.uk

With contributions from