The 12 Best Women’s Running Shoes of 2021, According to a Running Coach

Outfit your feet right with the most comfortable sneakers for your needs

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Our Top Picks
They’re lightweight enough for shorter runs, but also provides the comfort and support you need when running high mileage.
Despite its affordability, it still has some of Asics’ popular features, including GEL technology and midsole cushioning.
They provide the stability and shock absorption that flat-footed runners need, while the breathable upper adds to the locked-in fit.
Ideal for runners who have had foot issues such as numb toes and blisters, the shoe’s roomy toe box prevents pinching and rubbing.
Best for Plantar Fasciitis:
Hoka One One Bondi 7 Running Shoes at Zappos
An obvious choice for women who have experienced plantar fasciitis, its EVA cushioning allows for excellent shock absorption.
It features high-energizing cushioning that can withstand all the pounding of long training runs while providing ventilation.
Mizuno's Wave Plate technology in the midsole disperses the impact of landing, making it a favorite among neutral runners.
Best for women with narrow feet, the shoe’s performance knit upper hugs the foot, allowing for a precise fit and extreme comfort.
They feature just the right amount of support for those with high arches, thanks to their trademark GEL cushioning system.
A pick that can handle rough terrain, the protective rubber toe cap and mud guard keep you safe from trail obstacles.

Whether you’re running on a treadmill, jogging through the neighborhood, or training for your next road race, what you wear on your feet makes a huge difference in your overall comfort, performance, and injury risk. With so many running shoes to choose from, it can be tough to figure out what’s best for your running style, foot type, and injury history.

Choose women’s running shoes from trusted, high-quality brands and that have innovative features and will help you run in comfort and style.

Here are the best women's running shoes on the market.

Best Overall: Brooks Glycerin 18 Running Shoes

Brooks Glycerin 18 Running Shoes

For a high-performance, comfortable, and dependable running shoe, the Brooks Glycerin shoe is an excellent pick. They’re lightweight enough for shorter runs, but also provide the comfort and support you need when running high mileage.

The shoes' plush cushioning adapts to each step, helping to 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.

Best Budget: Asics Gel-Excite 7 Running Shoe

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 a casual, all-day wear shoe.

Best for Flat Feet: Asics Women's GEL-Kayano 27 Running Shoes

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.

Best for Wide Feet: New Balance Women's 840 V4 Running Shoe

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.

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

Hoka One One Bondi 7

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.

Best for Long Runs: Brooks Women's Ghost 13 Running Shoes

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.

Best for Neutral Runners: Mizuno Women's Wave Rider 24 Running Shoes

A long-time favorite among neutral runners, the Mizuno Wave Rider is a durable, dependable shoe that works well for both shorter and distance runs. With the right combination of cushioning and responsiveness, the shoe’s Enerzy 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.

Best for Narrow Feet: New Balance Women's Fresh Foam 1080v10 Running Shoes

New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v10

Another outstanding shoe from New Balance, the New Balance 1080 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.

Best for High Arches: Asics GEL-Cumulus 22 Running Shoes

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 to 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.

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

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 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.

Best for Overpronators: Brooks Women's Addiction 14 Running Shoes

Another high-performance, reliable shoe from Brooks, the Addiction running shoe 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.

Best for Achilles Tendonitis: Saucony Ride 13 Running Shoes

Saucony Ride 13 Running Shoes

A great all-around running shoe, the Saucony Ride 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 shoe's 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 tendon.

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

Final Verdict

With just the right balance of cushioning and support, the Brooks Glycerin 18 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

Type:

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.

Support:

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, California. Durability is also key, since your shoes will take a beating as you’re pounding the pavement or hitting the treadmill.

Fit:

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,” says Dr. Sheth. “Making sure that there is enough airflow and you’re not getting warm is important, too.”

Cushioning:

All running shoes have some cushioning for shock absorption and comfort, but runners with a history of knee or foot issues may want extra cushioning to fend off injuries.

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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