The Best Women’s Running Shoes, According to a Running Coach

Step into your best run yet with the Brooks Glycerin 19 shoes

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Whether you’re running on a treadmill, jogging through the neighborhood, or training for your next road race, proper shoes can make a huge difference in your overall comfort, performance, and injury risk.

Reviewed & Approved

A durable and protective shoe with a plush cushioning, the Brooks Glycerin 19 Running Shoe is our best overall running shoe. For a budget-friendly running show, we’d recommend ASICS Women's Gel-Excite 8 Running Shoe.

When selecting running shoes, the most important factor is comfort, which is very subjective and varies from runner to runner, says New York-based sports podiatrist, Dr. Rob Conenello, DPM, FACFAS, FAAPSM. You should also think about your running style, foot type, and injury history.

We reviewed dozens of running shoes from the top brands for comfort, fit, features, performance, materials, technology, style, and durability. We also consulted female runners, as well as running shoe experts, for recommendations and reviewed the American Podiatric Medical Association's list of shoes that have received their Seal of Acceptance.

Here are the best women's running shoes on the market, according to a running coach.

Best Overall: Brooks Women's Glycerin 19 Running Shoe

Brooks Women's Glycerin 19

Courtesy: Brooks

  • Plush cushioning

  • Lightweight and flexible

  • Durable and protective

  • Versatile for short or long runs

  • Expensive

  • Limited color options in wide widths

For a high-performance, comfortable, and dependable running shoe, the Brooks Glycerin is our top pick. They’re lightweight, but also provide the comfort and support you need when running high mileage.

Plush cushioning adapts to each step, helping protect your knees from pounding the pavement. Additionally, the shoe’s transition zone assists with shock absorption and evenly disperses impact. The two-way stretch mesh allows for good flexibility and breathability, keeping your feet dry and comfortable.

Available in a variety of colors, widths, and in sizes 5 through 12, these versatile and durable shoes are a solid choice for running and other exercises, as well as all-day wear.

Materials: Mesh upper | Cushioning: DNA Loft foam | Closure: Lace-up

Best Budget: ASICS Women's Gel-Excite 8 Running Shoe

ASICS Women's Gel-Excite 8

Courtesy: Amazon

  • Affordable

  • Very responsive

  • Excellent cushioning

  • Breathable

  • Limited choices for wide sizes

  • Runs narrow

Asics’ GEL-Excite running shoes are a perfect fit for female runners looking for a high-quality, comfortable, and lightweight running shoe that’s also affordable. Despite its lower price tag, the Excite still has some of Asics’ most popular features, including GEL technology and AmpliFoam midsole cushioning.

The result is a cushioned underfoot for plush comfort and a stronger rebound with each step. The Excite’s fully engineered mesh upper delivers excellent ventilation, keeping feet cool and dry.

Available in sizes 5 to 12 and in wide or medium widths, they’re stylish and also work well as casual, all-day wear shoes.

Materials: Mesh upper, rubber outsole | Cushioning: GEL technology, AmpliFoam | Closure: Lace-up

Best for Flat Feet: Asics Women's Gel-Kayano 28

Asics Women's Gel-Kayano 28


  • Lightweight and breathable

  • Good support and stability

  • Very responsive

  • Reflective detailing

  • Expensive

  • Limited colors in wide and narrow

Another popular favorite among runners, the lightweight Asics Gel-Kayano running shoe provides the superior support, stability, and shock absorption that runners with flat feet need. The shoe’s Guidance Trustic System, as well as a stiff Dynamic Duomax foam, helps to control overpronation that’s common with flat-footed runners.

The sleek and breathable mesh upper adds to the locked-in fit, while also keeping your feet fresh and comfortable. A heel counter clutches the heels, so you don’t have to worry about your feet slipping and sliding when you’re running on steep terrain.

Available in women’s sizes 5 through 13 and widths medium and wide, the durable Kayano is a solid choice for female runners.

Materials: Mesh upper, rubber outsole | Cushioning: Dynamic Duomax foam | Closure: Lace-up

Best for Wide Feet: New Balance Women's 840 v4 Running Shoes

New Balance 840v4 women's running shoes

Courtesy of New Balance

  • Exceptional cushioning

  • Good for wide feet

  • Very supportive

  • Plenty of room for orthotics

  • Some find them too bulky

  • Tongue shifts for some

If you have wide feet, you may already be a fan of New Balance shoes, since the brand is well-known for accommodating various widths. With a range of widths including narrow, medium, wide, and extra-wide, they’re ideal for runners who have had foot issues such as numb toes, blisters, and corns.

The shoe’s spacious toe box prevents pinching and rubbing, and they're wide and deep enough to fit insoles or custom orthotics, if necessary. Beyond roomy comfort, the New Balance 840 shoe provides the exceptional cushioning and support you need for running, walking, or all-day wear.

With a full-length EVA Strobel board and Abzorb foam midsole that helps disperse impact, you’ll get outstanding bounce back and shock absorption.

The shoes come in women’s sizes 5 through 13 and in a variety of colors.

Materials: Mesh upper, rubber outsole | Cushioning: EVA foam and Adzorb foam | Closure: Lace-up

Best for Plantar Fasciitis: Hoka One One Bondi 7 Running Shoe

Hoka One One Bondi 7

Courtesy of Zappos

  • Well-cushioned

  • Breathable

  • Good arch support

  • Range of sizes and colors

  • Medium may be too narrow for some

  • Expensive

Another well-cushioned shoe, the Hoka One One Bondi running shoe is an obvious choice for women who have had foot issues such as plantar fasciitis. With thick, wide soles, Hoka shoes don’t get too many points for style, but they definitely make up for it when it comes to comfort and performance.

The Bondi features EVA cushioning throughout the entire shoe, which allows for balanced landings and excellent shock absorption. The Ortholite molded insole enhances the cushioning, comfort, and support while beveling on the heel allows for a smoother transition in your stride.

The shoes come in a variety of color combinations and in sizes 5 through 11 with medium to wide widths.

Materials: Mesh upper, synthetic outsole | Cushioning: EVA foam | Closure: Lace-up

Best for Long Runs: Brooks Ghost 14

Brooks Ghost 14


  • Lightweight

  • High-energizing cushioning

  • Secure but flexible fit

  • Breathable and well-ventilated

  • Runs small

  • Limited color options in wide and narrow widths

Distance runners love the Brooks Ghost for its superior support and cushioning, as well as its lightweight feel. Ideal for neutral runners, the shoe features high-energizing cushioning that can withstand all the pounding of long training runs.

The durable, plush DNA Loft cushioning extends from heel to forefoot, ensuring a smooth motion with each stride. Additionally, the shoe’s engineered air mesh upper provides a secure but flexible fit and good ventilation, so your feet stay cool and dry no matter how many miles you’re putting in.

This versatile shoe comes in narrow, medium, or wide widths and in women’s sizes 5 through 13.

Materials: Mesh upper, rubber outsole | Cushioning: DNA Loft foam | Closure: Lace-up

Best for Neutral Runners: Mizuno Women's Wave Rider 25 Running Shoe

Mizuno Women's Wave Rider 25

Courtesy: Mizuno

  • Responsive

  • Flexible and supportive

  • Plush cushioning

  • Very breathable

  • Runs small

  • Too much mesh for very cold weather

A long-time favorite among neutral runners, the Mizuno Wave Rider 25 is a durable, dependable shoe that works well for both shorter and longer distance runs. With the right combination of cushioning and responsiveness, the shoe’s Enerzy foam feels plush on landing but provides excellent rebound for a bouncy, energetic feel.

Mizuno's signature Wave Plate technology in the midsole helps to disperse the impact of landing and creates a smooth transition from heel to toe. They’re available in women’s sizes 6 to 12 in medium or wide widths.

Materials: Engineered mesh or Waveknit upper, carbon rubber outsole | Cushioning: Enerzy foam | Closure: Lace-up

Best for Narrow Feet: New Balance Women's Fresh Foam 1080v11 Running Shoe

New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v11

Courtesy: Zappos

  • Stellar cushioning

  • Lightweight

  • Various widths

  • Stylish

  • Runs small

  • Expensive

Another outstanding shoe from New Balance, the New Balance 1080v11 Fresh Foam running shoe has the perfect blend of support and cushioning. For women with narrow feet, the shoe’s performance knit upper hugs the foot, allowing for a precise fit and extreme comfort.

The shoe feels lightweight and not at all bulky, due to the full-length Fresh Foam X midsole that packs in a lot of cushioning. The full-length midsole provides plush comfort and excellent energy return, while the blown rubber forefoot enhances the premium underfoot feel and allows for smooth transitions.

Available in a variety of widths and in women’s sizes 5 to 13, these shoes are a comfy choice for runners and walkers.

Materials: Jacquard upper, rubber outsole | Cushioning: Fresh Foam | Closure: Lace-up

Best for High Arches: Asics Women's Gel-Cumulus 23 Running Shoe

Asics Women's Gel-Cumulus 23


  • Excellent support and shock absorption

  • Good for distance running

  • Responsive

  • Very breathable

  • Too narrow for some

  • Limited color options in wide widths

The Asics GEL-Cumulus running shoes have just the right amount of support and cushioning that those with high arches need. Asics’ trademark GEL cushioning system provides stellar cushioning, support, and shock absorption throughout the entire shoe. The shoe’s engineered mesh upper is breathable, so you can rest assured that your feet stay cool and dry, even during long, hot runs.

With its Flytefoam technology, the midsole cushioning cushions and supports feet over long distances, while also providing excellent bounce and energy. The roomy toe box also helps disperse weight from the heel, which is helpful for those with high arches.

Available in women’s sizes 5 to 13 and in medium and wide widths, the Cumulus also comes in a variety of color combinations.

Materials: Textile and synthetic upper, synthetic rubber outsole | Cushioning: GEL; Flytefoam | Closure: Lace-up

Best for Overpronators: Brooks Women's Addiction GTS 15 Running Shoe

Brooks Women's Addiction GTS 15 Running Shoe


  • Good support and motion control

  • Lightweight and breathable

  • Room for orthotics

  • Plush cushioning

  • Too stiff for some

  • Runs small

Another high-performance, reliable shoe from Brooks, the Addiction GTS 15 works well for moderate overpronators, women with flat feet, and those who have had foot issues such as plantar fasciitis. They’re ideal for treadmill or road runners, and provide exceptional shock absorption, cushioning, and stability, even when you’re running or walking long distances.

Unlike other motion control shoes that tend to feel heavy or bulky, the Addiction is surprisingly lightweight and very breathable. The Addiction comes in sizes 5 to 12 and in narrow, medium, wide, and extra-wide widths, so it works for women with narrow heels as well as for those who need extra space for wide feet or orthotics.

Materials: Engineered mesh; synthetic outsole | Cushioning: BioMoGo DNA | Closure: Lace-up

Best for Achilles Tendonitis: Saucony Women's Ride 14 Running Shoe

Saucony Women's Ride 14 Running Shoe


  • Good shock absorption and protection

  • Responsive

  • Flexible

  • Very breathable

  • Narrow toebox

  • Limited options for wide widths

A great all-around running shoe, the Saucony Ride 14 has excellent shock absorption and an outstanding cushioning system. For those who have dealt with Achilles tendonitis, the shoe’s 8-millimeter heel offset can help ease the pain.

The shoes' soft cushioning is designed to absorb impact while maintaining a responsive bounce to keep you moving forward. And its rubber outsole provides great traction as well as added optimal flexibility to promote a natural running feel and to provide additional protection for your Achilles tendon.

They’re available in women’s sizes 5 through 12 in medium or wide widths.

Materials: Synthetic upper, rubber outsole | Cushioning: PWRRUN+ | Closure: Lace-up

Best Lightweight: Under Armour Women's Flow Velociti Wind Running Shoes

Under Armour Women's Flow Velociti Wind Running Shoe

Dick's Sporting Goods

  • Very flexible

  • Good traction

  • Durable

  • Minimalist feel

  • Expensive

  • Not protective enough for long runs

To cut back on weight, Under Armour stripped the Flow Velociti of a rubber outsole, designing the midsole bottom's traction to adjust to any surface. The one-piece, single-layer foam midsole is responsive, delivering cushioning and flexibility.

The synthetic-and-mesh upper stitched with yarn reinforces the shoe's durability. That yarn is an essential element since knit helps to mimic the foot's shape, offering a spider web, bouncy feel to the shoe.

They’re available in women’s sizes 5 through 12. and come in Jet Gray/Meteor Pink or White/Beta, neon colors contrasted on either a black or white background.

Materials:  UA Warp material, synthetic outsole | Cushioning: UA Flow midsole cushion | Closure: Lace-up

Best for Trail Running: Salomon Speedcross 5W Trail Running Shoes

Salomon Speedcross 5W Trail Running Shoes

Courtesy of Amazon

  • Excellent protection and support

  • Good traction

  • Lightweight and flexible

  • Secure fit

  • Runs big

  • Not waterproof

If you do a lot of trail running and are looking for a comfortable running shoe that can handle rough terrain, check out Salomon’s Speedcross 5 trail runners. Known for their stability, durability, and rugged style, these lightweight shoes have plenty of cushioning and flexibility to keep you comfortable on the run.

The protective rubber toe cap and mudguard, as well as the anti-debris mesh upper, keep you protected from rocks, roots, and other obstacles you might encounter on the trail. The tough lug pattern on the rubber outsole is designed to give extra traction, keeping you stable regardless of the terrain or weather conditions.

They come in sizes 5 to 12 and in wide or medium widths, as well as in a variety of colors.

Materials: Mesh upper; rubber outsole | Cushioning: EVA foam | Closure: Quicklace system

Best Cushioned: Saucony Women's Triumph 19 Running Shoe

Saucony Women's Triumph 19 Running Shoe


  • Deep, plush cushioning

  • Springy midsole

  • Comfortable upper

  • Durable

  • Expensive

  • No narrow sizes

If you’re looking for a max-cushioned running shoe that’s lightweight and springy, you should definitely consider the Saucony Triumph 18. Unlike many other max-cushioned running shoes that can feel bulky and weighed down, the Triumph is bouncy, thanks to the responsiveness of the PWRRUN+ cushioning. As a result, your legs feel fresher for longer when you’re pounding the pavement, making these kicks an excellent choice for distance running.

With a breathable mesh upper that feels buttery-soft, your feet stay cool and comfortable. The shoe’s internal heel counter provides structure and support in the heel area and keeps your heel locked in. The Triumph also features a wide toe box, which helps to prevent blisters and gives your toes room to splay.

It comes in sizes 5 to 12 and is available in wide or medium, as well as in a variety of cool colors.

Materials:  Mesh upper, rubber outsole | Cushioning: PWRRUN+ | Closure: Lace-up

Final Verdict

With just the right balance of cushioning and support, the Brooks Glycerin 19 (view at Amazon) is an excellent running shoe for both beginners and experienced runners. Durable, versatile, and comfortable, they’re perfect for short or long distances on the roads, paths, track, or treadmill.

What to Look for in Women's Running Shoes


When searching for running shoes, you need to get ones that are appropriate for your running gait and foot type. Visit a reputable running shoe store to get a foot analysis to determine the best ones for you.


While running shoes need to be flexible to allow for a natural gait, you also want good support. “A general guideline is to have a shoe that only bends at the toes, one that you cannot twist out like a dishrag, and something that can hold onto your heel,” said podiatrist Ami Sheth, DPM., a podiatrist in Los Gatos, Calif. Durability is also key since your shoes will take a beating as you’re pounding the pavement or hitting the treadmill.


Check the toe box to make sure it’s roomy enough so your toes can move freely. There should be at least a half-inch of space between your longest toe and the tip of your shoe. “Running shoes shouldn’t feel like they’re pinching or poking,” Dr. Sheth explains. “Making sure that there is enough airflow and you’re not getting warm is important, too.” You can also bring along your running socks or orthotics for an accurate read.


All running shoes have some cushioning for shock absorption and comfort, but runners with a history of knee or foot issues or high arches may want extra cushioning to fend off injuries. Cushioning also works to absorb the shock of impact as you hit the pavement.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is there a difference between men’s and women’s running shoes?

    Most shoe brands carry men’s and women’s versions of the same model of running shoe. Although the shoe models share the same name, they’re definitely not exactly the same shoe. Women’s running shoes start at a smaller size and men’s shoes go up to a bigger size.

    Men’s running shoes also tend to be wider than women’s running shoes, since shoe manufacturers base the shoes on the average shape and width of men’s and women’s feet. That said, the technology remains the same.

  • How often should I replace my running shoes?

    When you should replace your running shoes really depends on a variety of factors, including your sex, weight, pace, and running conditions.

    “It depends on whether you are participating in indoor or outdoor activities, though the typical rule of thumb is to replace athletic shoes after six months or every 450 to 500 miles,” says Dr. William Spielfogel, New York-based, board-certified podiatrist and specialist for The Good Feet Store.

  • How do I clean my running shoes?

    Hand-washing your running shoes can help increase their longevity and functionality. To clean your shoes by hand, you should first remove any dirt or debris with a dry towel. Next, remove the insole, since you’ll wash that separately.

    Fill a bucket or bowl with warm water and then mix in a tablespoon of detergent. Wet a soft scrub brush with soapy water and then scrub the shoe’s outer sole. Use a wet towel or sponge to wipe off dirt and suds. Once you’re done with the bottom, gently scrub the upper using a wet, soapy sponge.

    To clean the insoles, be sure not to soak them in water since doing so could damage the cushioning. Instead, wash the surface using a scrub brush and then wipe it down using a sponge.

    When you’re finished washing everything, let it all air dry. Never leave shoes to dry in direct sun or in front of a heater, since that may damage them. While you technically can throw your shoes in a washing machine, we advise you not to. Most shoes aren't meant to handle a washing machine and can become damaged if washed that way.

  • How should running shoes fit?

    Runners should go up at least a half size from their casual shoe size when choosing running shoes. Check for a thumb’s width of space from the end of your toes to the front of the shoes, to avoid issues such as black toenails and blisters. The midfoot and heel areas should also fit snugly and not slip.

    “The perfect pair of running shoes should always be sized appropriately,” says Dr. Spielfogel. “Be aware that the perfect fit may vary by size from one brand to the next. For example, your perfect-fit size 8 in brand A might be a size 9 in brand B.”

Why Trust Verywell Fit

As a long-time running coach, marathon runner, and fitness writer, Christine Luff has researched, tested, and recommended many running shoes through the years. She suggests getting fitted for the right running shoes and sticking to reputable brands such as Asics, Brooks, New Balance, Nike, Salomon, Mizuno, Hoka, and Saucony.

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3 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  3. How to Pick a Running Shoe. Cleveland Clinic.