The best running shoes for women share the same class-leading features with the best shoes overall—they’re lightweight, comfortable, cushioned, and just supportive enough where you need it most. But that locus of support is where some of the biggest differences between men’s and women’s running shoes can be found. Check out our picks below, or scroll deeper for more in-depth reviews of the shoes that earned especially high rankings from our female testers. Plus, you’ll also find expert tips and advice for buying your next pair.

The 10 Best Women’s Running Shoes

    Foot Shape

    Women’s feet aren’t just smaller, narrower versions of men’s feet—there are differences in overall shape that affect shoe fit. Women’s feet tend to be comparatively wider in the forefoot, with a narrower heel. Running shoe makers consider this statistical difference when designing their shoes for women. For example, a brand may build the same model of a shoe with a different heel shape and sometimes different heel materials between its men’s and women’s version.

    The Hip Factor

    Researchers have also found that because women tend to have wider hips than men, their feet are more likely to strike the ground toward the outside of their shoe soles. The inward rolling of the foot that results from this is known as pronation, which explains why more women are believed to overpronate than men. Some women’s running shoes account for this increased tendency with different materials used for support through the sole.

    running shoes for women
    Lakota Gambill

    How We Tested

    We selected all the women’s running shoes in this roundup based on feedback from the women on our 250-runner-strong wear-test team, the expertise of our test editors, and the mechanical data collected in our RW Shoe Lab. Every shoe was evaluated over the course of at least 100 miles, with attention given to overall performance, comfort, ride, longevity, and value. Based on our extensive testing, the options below are currently the best running shoes for women so far in 2022.


    ―BEST DAILY TRAINER―

    Lululemon Blissfeel

    Lakota Gambill
    Blissfeel
    Lululemon lululemon.com
    $148.00

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    • Built on a women’s last
    • Moderate cushioning and high rebound

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    • Some testers wanted more arch support

    The Blissfeel is Lululemon's first running shoe and it’s specifically designed for women. The heel angle, for example, is eight-degrees, which is conducive for a woman’s heel-strike (a man’s is generally around 15 degrees). The shoe is flexible with a slight snap and doesn’t skimp on the cushioning. One tester compared this new shoe on the block to the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus, known for being a cushioned workhorse of a trainer. The midsole is a single layer of thick foam, and the outsole is made of a soft, blown rubber in the forefoot and more durable rubber in the heel. The upper is breathable and flexible, with a molded heel collar that sits quite low on the ankle.

    Full Review


    —BEST CUSHIONING—

    Brooks Glycerin 19

    Lakota Gambill
    Brooks Women's Glycerin 19
    Brooks amazon.com
    $150.00
    $119.95 (20% off)

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    • Plush interior lining

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    • Runs a little short

    Once regarded solely as a heavily cushioned recovery trainer, the Glycerin has gradually metamorphosed into an everyday, every run workhorse. Evidence for that lies in the feedback we got from our wear-testers, where they raved about the 19’s versatility, and our impressions logged in both long runs and speedwork. One diehard Ghost fan even dared to say the Glycerin knocked that shoe off its pedestal—or at least off her shoe rack.

    Full Review



    ―BEST FOR RACING―

    Puma Deviate Nitro

    Lakota Gambill
    Deviate Nitro
    Puma puma.com
    $160.00

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    • Carbon-fiber plate boosts speed
    • Nitrogen-infused foam adds responsiveness

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    • Heel padding caused some friction for testers

    One of the most exciting shoes of 2021 came from an unexpected brand: Puma. Yes, for real. Puma has been working behind the scenes to re-establish itself as a manufacturer of serious performance running shoes. The Deviate Nitro is the first indication that the company is on the right track; we’re stilling loving this shoe well into 2022. Like just about every other brand, Puma wanted to build a shoe with a carbon-fiber plate to earn some cred. This is it. Like other carbon-plated speedsters, the Deviate Nitro also leverages lightweight, bouncy foam—it’s TPE, not the pricier, springier Pebax that some other brands use—which makes you want to kick your heels to your butt. The foam is nitrogen-infused, giving it a responsive sensation underfoot, and it proved durable in our testing. That foam choice also means the shoe isn’t quite as soft or as fast as some of the latest top-end racing shoes. But at just $160, it’s an affordable and versatile option that you can use for both training and racing.

    Full Review


    ―MOST DURABLE―

    Adidas Ultraboost 22

    Adidas
    Ultraboost 22
    Adidas adidas.com
    $152.00

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    • Delivers 4 percent more energy return than the Ultraboost 21
    • Outsole provides reliable traction

    adidas football base chart for women shoes 2018

    • Lace cage made the upper stiff in the saddle area

    The iconic Ultraboost has turned 22. This iteration’s women’s version is designed by a team of women who’ve combed foot scan data from across the globe. Adidas created a new women-specific last with a narrower heel and lower instep. A closed rubber pattern on the medial area of the outsole serves as a stability component to help alleviate overpronation caused by a greater Q angle. (The Q angle is the angle formed by the quadriceps and patella tendon that affects pelvis, leg, and foot alignment. Women tend to have larger Q angles than men.) The Ultraboost 22 also delivers more energy return—4 percent more than its predecessor—according to the Adidas shoe development team.


    ―BEST FOR STABILITY―

    Asics Gel-Kayano 28

    Amazon
    Gel-Kayano 28
    Asics amazon.com
    $160.00
    $119.95 (25% off)

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    • Less stiff than previous iterations
    • External heel counter plus DuoMax provides stability

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    • Less cushioning in the forefoot

    The Kayano has been a part of the Asics lineup for decades, and it remains one of the company’s most popular shoes. Though designed to deliver support for overpronators, many neutral runners still reach for it because of its legendary comfort. The Kayano 28 is upgraded with FlyteFoam Blast cushioning for a smooth, responsive ride and a new low-profile heel clip for added support. Gel pods remain under the heel and forefoot, giving you extra shock absorption, and the dual-density midsole and medial plate work together to counter overpronation in your stride.


    ―BEST ZERO-DROP OPTION―

    Altra Provision 6

    Amazon
    Provision 6
    Altra amazon.com
    $139.95

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    • Reinforced guide rail in the midsole provides support
    • Innerflex grooves in the sole promote flexibility and smooth transitions
    • Padded heel collar

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    • Runners new to zero-drop will want to ease in

    Stability takes on a new look in the Provision 6, the best version of the shoe we’ve tested yet. Gone are Altra’s “stabilipods,” three-point stabilizers of firm foam on both sides of the forefoot and on the lateral side of the heel. And, the guide rail that wrapped around the border of the midfoot and heel is now virtually hidden and reinforced into the Ego midsole. In this way, the Provision (a stability shoe) looks like a neutral trainer. It also has a two-fingered medial strap, which connects the lacing to the footbed for a more secure hold. Some testers found this construction gave them a better sense of how and where their footfalls landed. Even if you don’t require such a level of control, your foot better resists sliding around inside the shoe.


    ―MOST LIGHTWEIGHT―

    New Balance FuelCell Rebel v2

    Amazon
    FuelCell Rebel v2
    New Balance amazon.com
    $129.95

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    • Bouncier cushioning and smoother ride than the Rebel v1
    • Very durable, lightweight outsole rubber offers excellent grip

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    • Upper provides minimal support

    The Rebel is all about energy return, and that makes it a great pick for uptempo training. The original Rebel tested way above average for energy return in our lab tests, and New Balance claims the v2 is even more responsive, so you can expect a very lively shoe. It’s made with FuelCell foam for a snappy feel underfoot, and it comes with a redesigned mesh upper that maximizes breathability and saves weight.


    ―BEST FOR TRAIL RACING―

    adidas football base chart for women shoes 2018 | Saucony Peregrine 12

    Saucony
    Peregrine 12
    Saucony amazon.com
    $130.00

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    • 5mm lugs shed mud easily
    • Also available in a “Soft Terrain” version

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    • Some testers wanted softer cushioning

    Saucony’s Peregrine line has long been a speedy trail shoe that works well for many types of runners in a wide variety of conditions. It’s just as suited for newbies’ first footprints on a muddy trail as it is for shielding vert-chasers’ toes on rock-strewn singletrack. And, it’s earned multiple awards from our team for its versatility—across terrains, foot shapes, and distances—at a price that didn’t break the bank. It still does all of those things well, though underwent a big change: Saucony shaved over an ounce compared to last year’s Peregrine. Most of that weight savings comes from the upper and topsole. A more durable, sleek mesh keeps the same level of protection without the need for more layered overlays. Underfoot, Saucony peeled off the TPU bead-based topsole and instead used it for the sockliner. The midsole itself still uses less responsive Pwrrun foam, but embedded in it is a new rockplate tuned to be slightly more flexible.


    ―BEST ROAD-TO-TRAIL HYBRID―

    Topo Athletic MT-4

    Topo Athletic
    MT-4
    Topo Athletic topoathletic.com
    $125.00

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    • Grippy Vibram rubber outsole
    • Gaiter attachments and drainage ports for wet conditions
    • Wide toebox

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    • Less suited for deep mud

    If you’re new to trail running or want to try a lower-drop shoe without fully committing to 0mm, the MT-4 is your entry point. Two layers of foam provide all the comfort and protection you’ll need for most off-road excursions. It features a dual-density midsole with a top layer that’s 10-percent softer than the bottom layer. Instead of a rock plate, this denser foam acts as a buffer against hard ground. Still, the overall tester consensus was that the shoe lacked enough cushioning for long runs. “As a runner who mostly sticks to the groomed path, I found the MT-4 had nice ground feel with protection from stray rocks and roots over shorter distances,” said test editor Amanda Furrer.


    —BEST FOR GNARLY TRAILS—

    La Sportiva Bushido II

    Amazon
    Bushido II
    La Sportiva amazon.com
    $128.99

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    • Rubber toe cap and forefoot rock plate for protection
    • Firm, stable ride

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    • Not highly cushioned

    This burly trail crusher brings plenty of structure and support to a responsive platform. But the outsole is what we like most—sticky, aggressive lugs line the perimeter and bottom of the shoe, making it easy to virtually grab hold of uneven terrain. We also appreciated the heavy-duty toe cap, which protects the foot should you kick into rocks and roots. A breathable mesh upper and just the right amount of cushioning in the midsole make this standout shoe versatile enough to manage both long, slow mileage and speedier workouts.

    Full Review