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the Best Women's Running Shoes

Updated on September 2, 2014

Choosing the right running shoe can be a tricky affair as hundreds of models are available from brands like Nike, Adidas, New Balance, Asics, Mizuno, etc. The most important thing is to choose the right shoe for you, the one that feels comfortable, durable and suits your budget.

How to choose the best running shoe for you?

If you follow some of these guidelines you will certainly restrict your choice to 4 or 5 models and a couple of brands because this way the models less suited to you will be left out, so here we go

1-the right size

This may sound a bit basic but trust me lots of women end up buying the wrong shoe size as they buy the same size of walk-around shoes.

As a good rule of thumb you want a running shoe that has a full thumb's width beyond your big toe because your feet tend to swell after running some miles ( specially in the summer) so this way the shoe will accommodate this.

these might be not for me..
these might be not for me..

2-Try your shoes before you order them

From my experience using online stores like amazon is the best place to buy your running shoes as you will most of the times get a decent discount over the retail price. Despite almost every online store accepts returns and/or refunds to save you time and money you should first visit a large retail store and walk a bit wearing them just to see how they feel.

The reason is different brands have different sizes as for example a size 7.5 in Asics shoes may feel very different from a 7.5 in Nikes.

So just go to your local store, take note of the correct size and model and order online, how simple is that?

3- Know your foot type

Neutral?underpronator?overpronator? if you have spent some time looking for a pair of running shoes these words may sound familiar.

Pronation describes the inward rolling motion of the foot after it lands when you`running, as different pronation movements are common to runners the brands have created shoes that accommodate those.

You`ll find many articles on this matter online, however in case of doubt Its advisable to take a foot type test usually available in large retail stores for free.

In case you still don`t know your foot type just go with neutral shoes as they tend to mimic the natural movement of your stride and keep you injury free

4-Buy Female Specific running shoes

Until recently brands considered women running shoes as smaller sized versions of men`s shoes however research has shown that significant the structural and hormonal differences between genders must be taken in account.

For example women tend to have narrower heels compared to the forefoot therefore a tighter heel area is desired for the running shoe to stay snug and comfortable in that area.

Usually women weight less than men therefore a different kind of cushioning therefore a softer sole material is used for women running shoes because the male version of the same is build to support harder pounding.

5-you get what you pay for

Even if you find an absolute bargain online remember that if its too good to be true than probably it is. A good pair of running shoes costs between 80 and 160 USD so anything too far from that range is not a wise choice:

-too cheap and you`ll end with some fitness generic models that will only harm your joints and knees as those models are made from poor materials : they are usually too heavy and ill ventilated.

-much more than 160 USD and you are buying too much bling and hype because you wont get twice as much quality comparing to a 80 USD model

Estimate how much you are willing to spend and follow your budget , a good pair of running shoes ( that will last 500 miles or more) cost around 100 dollars.

Considering all these lets take a look at some of the best models available in the market for both neutral and overpronator runners ( you will also find these under support sections of running stores).

Neutral Running shoes for Women

These are the running shoes best suited for women with a neutral foot-strike or slight pronation: your foot does not roll inward or outward significantly.

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ASICS Women's GEL-Nimbus

Asics is one of the most respected names in this space so no wonder they have been making some of the best running shoes for decades. The gel nimbus is currently in its 15th edition meaning 15 years latter the model is still out there with minor changes and updates every season.

This running shoe has a lot of foam and Gel between your foot and the road ( the forefoot is one inch thick!), but all this cushion means you wont have a light or flexible ride although it never gets stiff or uncomfortable. However what impresses most is how much you`ll feel the cushion under your arches as opposed to the sides of your feet which makes for a very comfortable and soft ride.

Be warned that the forefoot box of the nimbus is pretty wide so make sure you try them before ordering as it might not be the running shoe for you have narrow feet.

Make sure you browse amazon for the best price as more exotic color or sizes can be found at more than 50% discount


-very comfortable for mid and long distances

-very breatheable mesh

-bright and good looking colors


-they run a bit small

-can be pricey depending on your shoe size

-may feel a bit heavy for faster workouts

Click thumbnail to view full-size

Brooks Women's Ghost 7

The brooks ghost 7 is a great shoe for everyday running as it is well balanced and scores high in all areas: comfort, speed, quality.

A great thing about this shoe is how it holds your arch perfectly and the lack of fatigue you`ll feel on your legs even after long runs as this is a shoe built to be comfortable for long periods of time.This comfort can be expected the moment you buy these shoes as most female runners seem to be amazed by the lack of the typical breaking symptoms like blisters or joint aches- you just put them and run.


-middle-of- the-road fit that accommodates different foot shapes

-good for injury prone runners

-great for heel strikers


-narrow toe box

-mid-foot strikers might find better options in the market

Click thumbnail to view full-size

Saucony Women's Kinvara 5

You want the looks, the quality and the price? The Saucony Kinvara is probably the best bang for the buck in the neutral category and one of the best choices for those hot summer runs.

It is light, transmits a great road feel and has a chafe-resistant lining that keeps your feet always comfortable even if you wear them without socks.

Another great thing about the Kinvara 5 is its heel to toe drop of just 4mm, and why is that important for running?because your foot and body movement will be more natural so they weight you put on every strike is more evenly distributed through your entire body.

All in all this is the most minimalist you can get in a running shoe without sacrificing comfort and stay injury free, so do yourself a favor and try the kinvaras.


-great comfort despite its featherweight

-the best shoes to run without socks

- many cool fluorescent color schemes options available


-a bit too light for longer runs if you are a beginner

-wont last as much as heavier shoes like the Asics nimbus

-encourages a mid-foot landing so not ideal for a heel striker

Women`s running shoes for overpronation

If you overpronate it means your foot tends to roll inwards on every strike so a shoe with support features is the right option because you`ll be more comfortable,have better chances to avoid injury and experience a higher running efficiency.

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ASICS Women's GEL-Kayano 20

The Asics Gel Kayano is basically the pronation version of the nimbus therefore you can expect nothing but the very best quality from this shoe.

It fits to the foot like a glove and has a unique mid-sole padding that creates a "bounce-back" effect making the shoe extremely comfortable without loosing that feel of the ground.

One of the most impressive things about so much shoe and cushioning is the whole weight of the package: at just 9.3 ounces is lighter than most of the running shoes out there that don`t offer half the ride the kayano does.


-Very soft pillow-like ride


-Ideal if you are recovering from injury


-a bit pricey

-may feel a little unresponsive for fast workouts

Nike Lunarglide 5

The Nike Lunarglide +5 is a shoe that has just the right amount of support without feeling too corrective to your foot-strike.

One of the coolest things about this shoe is the Flywire threads with the eyelets for a snug grasp on the foot and the ingenious internal wedge that creates more resistance as the foot rolls inward-basically the more you roll inward, the more the system works so your foot movement is only corrected as needed.

At only 7.8 oz this is a well balanced shoe making it a great all-purpose trainer : for pounding a lot of miles to speed workouts. It has also a good heal to toe drop ( 10mm) allowing for a great cushioning whether you`re a heel or mid-foot striker.




-all-purpose shoe


-not the lightest for racing

-limited color choices

Click thumbnail to view full-size

New Balance Women's W1260v4

New balance has always been synonym of comfort and durability and the 1260v4 meets the expectations.

This shoe is made from a very breathable mesh and has durable synthetic overlays making it specially comfortable for longer runs . If you have frequent issues with your forefoot this is the best shoe you can get as the no-sew welded seams provide plenty of silk like comfort.

As for the support features its dual-density foam collar keeps the heel in place while the premium lightweight mid-sole ( called Acteva lite) does the trick at the midfoot section.


-great support and cushioning

-breathable even in the hottest days



-does not fit true to size

-a bit heavy


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    Post Comment

    • davidrio profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from Lisbon

      Thank you for the comments, as I am mainly a road runner I am more familiar with those kind of shoes as I have tried the male version of all and my running club female mates use these, as for INov8 and Hoka unfortunately they are not sold in my country so can`t really test them :)


    • CyclingFitness profile image

      Liam Hallam 

      4 years ago from Nottingham UK

      My partner is new to running and read this article. She was a little disappointed not to see anything trail related on your list as most of the shoes are focused towards road running however she tends to stick to country trails away from traffic

      Any recommendations?

      Personally I'm a little disappointed not to see anything on here from the awesome Inov8 brand which is taking the running world by storm or Hoka whose shoes are so well cushioned that many runners choose them for ultra endurance events.


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