The 11 Best Gym Shoes For Women in 2021

The kicks you need to kick butt in the gym

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The right pair of gym shoes can make a big difference during a workout. Shoes crafted from breathable mesh can keep you cool and comfortable as you tackle long runs. Shoes cushioned with responsive padding can help you stick the landing during CrossFit exercises. And shoes with textured soles can help you stay on your feet as you skillfully navigate studio workouts.

Put simply, gym shoes aren’t just shoes—they’re a piece of workout equipment designed to support you. Thankfully, there are enough high-quality options on the market that you’re bound to find a pair designed with your go-to exercises in mind.

Here are the best gym shoes for women.

Our Top Picks
These shoes prioritize comfort and breathability with their memory foam and mesh design, no matter your preferred fitness activity.
Though a pricier pick, these running shoes feature DNA cushioning and shock absorption to prove they're worth the splurge.
An affordable option that doesn't skimp on quality or style, it provides the right amount of cushion as you tackle your day.
A lightweight shoe that won't weigh you down and ensures optimal performance as you hit the pavement or treadmill.
Ideal for everyday wear or hiking, it features plenty of traction for when you're either on or off the road.
High-intensity training is made a little easier thanks to the low-cut design and added cushioning that'll support your lifts.
Designed specifically for studio classes, it offers tailored support for your heels and arches for optimal mobility.
Fans of high-intensity interval training can take advantage of this pick's unique leather upper and shock-absorbing heel.
Best for Gym to Outdoors:
ASICS Gel Venture 7 Running Shoe at Amazon
In addition to a removable sockliner, it features impact-absorbing cushioning and an outsole tailored to managing movement.
Those with high arches know to keep pressure off the foot's ball, and this pick does just that with its flat heel and cushioning.

Best Overall: Adidas Cloudfoam QT Racer Shoe

Cloudfoam QT Racer Shoes

Lightweight, comfortable, and versatile, Adidas’ Cloudfoam QT Racer is ready to help you get through just about any workout. The shoe’s breathable mesh upper promises to keep air flowing as you tackle long, challenging workouts. And its rubber outsole is designed to protect your foot without weighing you down.

Step into the Adidas Cloudfoam QT Racer, and you’ll feel Adidas’ Cloudfoam Memory sockliner hugging your foot. The liner molds to your foot over time, cushioning your step in the places you need it most. This personalized padding works alongside the shoe’s thick rubber outsole to ensure every step you take feels soft, smooth, and totally supported. 

The Adidas Cloudfoam QT Racer is currently available in sizes 5 through 11. 

Best Splurge: Brooks Women's Ghost 12 Shoe

Brooks Women's Ghost 12 Shoe

Brooks’ Ghost 12 offers a thoughtful blend of comfort, support, and flexibility—a combination that makes it an awesome shoe to work out in. The shoe’s upper is crafted from a stretchy mesh material, which hugs your foot to offer that coveted barely-there fit. But despite its nimbleness, the Brooks Ghost 12 doesn’t skimp on protection. The shoe’s textured rubber outsole was designed to hold up in a variety of situations—road-running and cross-training included.

True to form, the Brooks Ghost 12 isn’t just lightweight and protective—it’s also comfortable. The interior of the shoe is lined with two kinds of cushioning—Brooks’ soft DNA LOFT and its responsive BioMoGo DNA—which combine to create a just-right experience. As if that weren’t enough, the shoe is also equipped with a Segmented Crash Pad, which absorbs shocks to keep your strides smooth and your runs comfortable.

The Brooks Ghost 12 is currently available in sizes 5 through 11.5 and in standard and wide widths.

Best Budget: UMYOGO Women’s Running Shoe

UMYOGO Women’s Running Shoe

Looking for comfort and support on a budget? You’ve found it in UMYOGO’s Running Shoe. The eye-catching sneaker is lightweight, flexible, and durable—and its reasonable price point only sweetens the deal.

The UMYOGO Running Shoe is crafted from breathable, stretchy mesh. The flexible material hugs your foot, offering a snug fit without sacrificing range of motion. This, combined with the shoe’s durable rubber outsole, makes the UMYOGO Running Shoe a particularly versatile pick. Wear it to the gym, on a run, or to your favorite studio workout—it’s hard to go wrong when you’re wearing a shoe that’s both flexible and protective.

The shoe comes in sizes 5.5 through 10.5.

Best for Running: Under Armour Charged Assert 8 Running Shoe

Under Armour Charged Assert 8 Running Shoe

When you’re running, you want enough padding to keep your strides cushioned and comfortable. But you don’t want to feel weighed down by the support. Under Armour knows this, and its Charged Assert 8 Running Shoe offers that precise blend of comfort and flexibility many runners are looking for.

The Charged Assert 8’s upper is crafted from polyester and elastane—a fabric blend that’s stretchy, breathable, lightweight, and of course, comfortable. Leather details overlay the front and back of the shoe, keeping your foot stable and in place while protecting it from gravel and other debris. And the shoe’s midsole is cushioned with responsive compression foam, which supports each step without slowing you down.

The Under Armour Charged Assert 8 Running Shoe comes in women's sizes 5 through 12.

Best for Walking: New Balance Fresh Foam 1365 V1 Walking Shoe

New Balance’s Fresh Foam 1365 V1 is a walking shoe that’s ready to take you anywhere. The shoe’s breathable mesh upper will keep your feet cool and comfortable, no matter how long your walks get. And its rubber-reinforced outsole was designed with durability in mind. Subject the shoes to the wear and tear of everyday use, or take them off-road. The textured outsole promises to offer trail-ready traction.

Inside the New Balance Fresh Foam 1365 V1, you’ll find a foam midsole that feels both plush and responsive. You’ll also find a thick polyurethane insert, which offers further support, cushioning the foot each time you take a step.

The New Balance Fresh Foam 1365 V1 Walking Shoe comes in women's sizes 5 through 12.

Best for Weightlifting: Reebok Nano 9 Cross-Trainer Shoe

Reebok Nano 9 Cross-Trainer Shoe

When weightlifting, you want your feet to stay firmly planted. And Reebok’s Nano 9 Cross-Trainer Shoe will give you the stable support you’re looking for. The shoe’s stretchy Flexweave upper will hug your foot, giving you a snug, protective fit that won’t limit your range of motion. And its midfoot is equipped with a support cage, which will keep your feet feeling stable and secure as you lift.

What’s nice? The Reebok Nano 9 isn’t only useful when weightlifting. The shoe is lined with responsive cushioning, which will offer comfort and support, no matter what activity you’re tackling. And its durable rubber outsole makes it versatile enough to wear both inside and outside the gym.

The Reebok Nano 9 Cross-Trainer Shoe is currently available in sizes 5 through 11.

Best for Studio Workouts: Ryka Influence Cross-Training Shoe

Ryka Influence Cross-Training Shoe

When tackling studio workouts, you want a shoe that offers both agility and traction. And Ryka’s Influence Cross-Training Shoe does just that. The shoe, which was specifically crafted with studio classes in mind, is lightweight enough to move around in. But its durable outsole offers plenty of grip, helping you stick the landing as you jump, spin, and move around.

Inside the Ryka Influence Cross-Training Shoe, you’ll find a dual impact foam midsole that cushions the foot to offer responsive support. You’ll also find an anatomic insole, which offers further support in the places you need it most—like along your heels and arches.

The Ryka Influence Cross Training Shoe comes in sizes 5 through 11.

Best for HIIT: Puma Tazon 6 Cross-Trainer Shoe

Puma Tazon 6 Cross-Trainer Shoe

Puma’s Tazon 6 Cross-Trainer Shoe is a performance sneaker, designed to help you maximize your workouts. Many gym shoe uppers are crafted from flexible mesh, but the Tazon 6’s are made entirely of synthetic leather. This leaves the shoe feeling sturdy and protective, but not at the expense of range of motion.

The shoe’s sturdy midfoot saddle offers added support and stability, and its durable rubber outsole offers the traction you need to stay grounded during your workouts.

The shoes' interior is what makes it particularly great for HIIT. Its heel is equipped with ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA), a shock-absorbing material that will cushion the impact of your favorite high-intensity exercises. Rest assured knowing you’ll stay supported as you tackle runs, jumps, and more.

The Puma Tazon 6 Cross-Trainer Shoe comes in sizes 5.5 through 11.

Best for Gym to Outdoors: ASICS Gel Venture 7 Running Shoe

ASICS Gel Venture 7 Running Shoe

The ASICS Gel Venture 7 is a performance running shoe fit for taking you from the treadmill to the trail. The shoe’s upper is made of synthetic leather and breathable mesh, so it feels sturdy yet lightweight. The shoe's ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) midsole is comfortable and supportive. And its textured rubber outsole was designed to hold up in a variety of conditions, keeping you on your feet whether you’re off-road or in the studio.

While the exterior of the ASICS Gel Venture 7 will keep your feet feeling nimble and protected, the interior will cushion them to keep them comfortable. The shoe’s ORTHOLITE sockliner will mold to the shape of your feet, keeping your strides smooth and supported. And its GEL-equipped heel will further that aim, absorbing shock each time you take a step.

The ASICS Gel Venture 7 Running Shoe comes in sizes 5 through 12 and in standard and wide widths.

Best for High Arches: Hoka One One Clifton 7 Shoe

Hoka Clifton 7

Hoka One One’s Clifton 7 is a lightweight shoe that offers ample cushioning and plenty of arch support. Though the shoe boasts a streamlined silhouette, it’s lined with thoughtfully placed padding. Its full-compression ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) midsole cushions the base of the foot. Its plush collar relieves pressure on the Achilles tendon, and its thick outsole ensures you get all the arch support you’re looking for.

Despite its ample padding, the Hoka One One Clifton 7 doesn’t feel heavy. Its breathable mesh upper keeps the shoe feeling lightweight and comfortable. And its flat heel will keep you feeling nimble and balanced each time you take a step.

The Hoka One One Clifton 7 is currently available in sizes 5 to 12 and in standard and wide widths.

Best for Plantar Fasciitis: Orthofeet Coral Stretchable Shoe

Orthofeet Coral Stretchable Shoe

Orthofeet is a best-in-class option for anyone dealing with plantar fasciitis. Each pair of Orthofeet shoes comes with a premium orthotic insole, giving you the chance to wear a pair of gym shoes that were designed with your feet in mind.

Even without the custom insole, though, Orthofeet’s Coral Stretchable would still be a worthy investment. The soft fabric interior and padded collar work together to keep the shoe feeling snug and comfortable. The shock-absorbing outsole promises to keep your strides feeling stable and supported. And the lightweight upper feels flexible and stretchy, giving you support without sacrificing comfort or range of motion.

The Orthofeet Coral Stretchable is currently available in sizes 5 through 12 and in standard, wide, and extra-wide widths.

Final Verdict

Comfortable, supportive, and flexible, the Brooks Ghost 12 offers everything you’d want in a gym shoe—no matter what kind of workout you’re doing. Sure, the price tag may feel like a bit of a splurge, but good gym shoes are worth the investment. And since the Brooks Ghost 12 is versatile enough to wear anywhere, you’ll get your money’s worth in no time.

What to Look for in a Gym Shoe for Women

Breathability

If you want a shoe that’ll keep you cool and comfortable as you tackle lengthy workouts, look for the words “mesh upper.” This phrase simply means the upper part of the shoe (the part that runs along the top of your foot) is crafted from mesh, a lightweight and breathable material. 

Durability

If you love to go on outdoor runs—especially on textured terrain—find a shoe with a durable outsole. Rubber outsoles can typically handle a little wear and tear, especially if they’re designed with “lugs” (indentations that run along the outsole). 

Responsive Cushioning

If your workouts are filled with high-impact exercises—think running, jumping, etc.,—you may want your gym shoes to be equipped with “responsive cushioning.” This kind of cushioning tends to be shock-absorbing, so it can help you stay comfortable as you tackle your most intense workouts. 

Traction

If you plan to move around quickly—especially on slick floors—you’ll want a shoe that can offer you some grip (no one wants to slip mid-Zumba class). Look for rubber outsoles that are lined with textured patterns. And outsoles aside, make sure the shoes are lightweight enough to comfortably move around in.

Padding

No matter what you’re doing, you want your shoe to feel comfortable. Some people will prefer more padding than others, so be sure to pay attention to what feels good on your foot as you work out.

Why Trust Verywell Fit? 

As a seasoned health and fitness writer, Lindsey Lanquist understands how vital quality product recommendations can be. She is careful to recommend products that are reliable, comfortable, and genuinely well-reviewed by those who’ve tried them.

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  1. Van Alsenoy K, Ryu JH, Girard O. The Effect of EVA and TPU Custom Foot Orthoses on Running Economy, Running Mechanics, and ComfortFront Sports Act Living. 2019;1:34. Published 2019 Sep 19. doi:10.3389/fspor.2019.00034