The Best Women’s Running Shoes

June 28, 2019

If you're a female runner, a pair of the best women’s running shoes are 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.

Saucony Women's Kinvara 6 Running Shoe

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.

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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, but the ZoomX foam also 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.

Saucony Women's Kinvara 5 Running Shoe

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…

1. Nike Zoom Pegasus Turbo women’s running shoes

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

Nike Women's Zoom Pegasus 35 Turbo Running Shoes

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:

  • Large investment for beginners
  • May does not suit runners with wider feet

Nike leads the global research and development of running shoes. The Zoom Pegasus Turbo women's running shoes feature 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. The Nike Zoom Pegasus Turbo women’s running shoe is, for most runners, the best you can buy.

2. Hoka One One Clifton 3

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

HOKA ONE ONE Mens Clifton 3 Running Shoe

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 colorway, 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.

3. Reebok Forever Floatride Energy

The best cheap women's running shoe

Reebok Forever Floatride Energy Women's Running Shoes

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 gives 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.

4. New Balance Fresh Foam Lazr 2 HypoKnit

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

Under Armour Women's HOVR Infinite Running Shoe

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
  • The Tongue may crease when laces first tightened
  • Limited dark colorways

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 mold 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.

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

Under Armour Women's HOVR Infinite Running Shoe

Level: Beginners through to competitive

Best for: Longer runs where you want lots of cushioning

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

6. Brooks Launch 6

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

Brooks Women's Launch 6

Level: Beginners and regular runners

Best for: Short to mid-length daily runs

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

7. Adidas Ultraboost 19 women's running shoes

Run for longer with seamless support and endless energy

adidas Ultraboost Shoes Women's

Level: Beginner to advanced

Best for: All distances, all classes, all outfits

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

8. Saucony Kinvara 10

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

Saucony Women's Kinvara 9 Running Shoe

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. EVERUN topsoil 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.

9. On Cloudswift

Helion superfoam makes this the best technical running shoe for women

On Running Cloudswift Women's Road Shoes

Level: Any

Best for: Urban running where you need light shoes and high traction on wet roads

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.