Best Running Shoes for Women in 2021
Are you a runner? If so, you need a pair of the best running shoes for women.
One of the best tricks to running is to wear good shoes. Without the right shoe, you’ll only be hurting yourself.
The shoes you get depends on your feet and if you have specific conditions that make running more difficult. We’ve looked up everything from the best shoes for bad knees to running shoes for wide feet and for those of us on a budget.
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Also see: Best Running Shoes for Men
Here are the best running shoes for women.
#1 Hoka One One Bondi 6 Running Shoes
Hoka One One Bondi 6 is a great choice for bad knees. It offers stability, a wonderful cushion, and a wide toe box for roominess. Features include:
- Rubber sole
- Breathable open engineered mesh upper with seamless synthetic overlays
- Breathable textile lining for abrasion-free wear
- Padded insole for cushioning
- Durable full-length EVA midsole to absorb shock and offer stability
- Durable sole with rubber inserts for grip
#2 ASICS GEL-Cumulus 22 Running Shoes
The ASICS GEL-Cumulus 22 Running Shoes is a recommended choice for neutral runners who want a soft, flexible everyday trainer with a great fit. This update features a one-piece upper mesh that’s combined with a seamless 3D print construction, which balances support and comfort around the foot — giving you an excellent fit right out of the box.
- Rubber sole
- 3D Print Upper – Increases forefoot and comfort
- FlyteFoam Propel Technology – ASICS energetic foam formulation that provides supreme bounce thanks to a unique elastomer compound.
- Rearfoot and Forefoot GEL Technology Cushioning System – Attenuates shock during impact and toe-off phases, and allows movement in multiple planes as the foot transitions through the gait cycle.
- AHAR Outsole – Acronym for ASICS High Abrasion Rubber. Placed in critical areas of the outsole for exceptional durability.
#3 Mizuno Wave Inspire 16 WAVEKNIT Running Shoes
If you’re a runner with high arches, choose a shoe with lots of cushioning to help counter the foot from rolling inward. Our top choice is the Mizuno Wave Inspire 16 WAVEKNIT.
- This favorite stability trainer with a WAVEKNIT upper is a workhorse. Use for fast track workouts All the way up to a marathon distance
- Smoothride support wave brings an ideal balance of cushion and lightness in every step
- Premium Sockliner for increased cushioning and comfort
- All new WAVEKNIT upper for a soft and breathable fit
#5 New Balance W1540v3 Running Shoes
New Balance W1540v3 is our top choice for runners with plantar fasciitis. It has all the support and comfort you’ll need and has received rave reviews from people with plantar fasciitis. Features include:
- Textile and Synthetic
- Made in US
- Rubber sole
- ENCAP midsole technology provides support and maximum durability
- Manufactured in the US for over 75 years and representing a limited portion of our US sales
- ROLLBAR with Medial & Lateral TPU Posts for ultimate motion control
- Synthetic/mesh upper
- Material Composition: Synthetic/ Mesh
One of the most common questions runners wonder when buying shoes is if the shoes will be okay for a bad knee.
There’s no reason why your next run should be painful. Whether it was trauma to a knee, arthritis, or another problem, some shoes can ease pain and discomfort.
Look out for shoes that have enough padding to take the impact out of your knee. Proper shoes should absorb most of the shock. Also, look for a shoe that stabilizes the heel. Finally, get a midsole that resists collapse to keep the foot and knee in proper form and stop over-pronation (a common cause of knee injuries).
- Shock absorption: Want to reduce the pounding on your knees? The shock absorbing soles will help.
- Stabile design: The sneakers are tight around your ankles, helping prevent ankle rolls and other injuries.
- Smooth ride: The cushioning ensures a smooth run.
Best Everyday Trainer: Asics Gel Cumulus 22
ASICS GEL-Cumulus 22 Running Shoes
Boasting FLYTEFOAM Propel technology for excellent bounce and energy, this shoe also has rear and forefoot GEL technology for premium level shock absorption. Their GUIDANCE LINE technology helps you run efficiently, while the internal heel counter holds your foot in position no matter how far you go. The shoe also works with your natural gait and the EVA sockliner molds to the shape of your feet for added comfort. The tough outsole reduces wear at key impact areas, and the engineered jacquard mesh upper keeps things cool. Reflective details on the outside of the shoe ensure you’ll be noticed, even at lower light levels.
- Comfort: Flexible everyday trainer with a great fit.
- Design: This new heel design has deeper forefoot flex grooves and a softer midsole foam to give you a soft ride.
- Smooth ride: Better isolate impact
Best for High Arches: Mizuno Wave Inspire 16
Runners with naturally high arches understand the necessity of choosing a foolproof shoe.
People with high arches are prone to many injuries without proper support, including pain at the ball and heel of the foot and instability. These problems can lead to more severe injuries like sprains or accidents.
To prevent these problems, choose a shoe with lots of cushioning to prevent the foot from rolling inward.
We recommend Mizuno Wave Inspire 14. It offers excellent arch support and is still lightweight. Wear the Wave Inspire 14 and feel supported and stable so that you can finally beat your last PR.
- Lightweight shoes: These shoes feel lighter then they are.
- Soft cushioning: Your heels and joints will feel extra support in these shoes
- Stabile shoes: You’ll get maximum stability throughout your run.
Best for Wide Feet: Altra Olympus 3.5
Finding the right shoes for wide feet is hard enough, let alone finding good quality shoes for running.
While you may be able to get away with squeezing your feet into a slightly less-than-comfortable heel, you should avoid this when running. The friction in a tight fit will cause pain.
You can avoid blisters and raw skin with one simple, adequately spaced shoe.
You’ll want to find a shoe with wide toe boxes. Something that will let toes stretch out and allow you to master the perfect form.
The Altra Olympus 3 meets all these requirements so that your feet will be comfortable while you run.
- Affordable price: These shoes are excellent for running but won’t break the bank.
- Cushioned support: These shoes are extra cushioned and comfortable.
- Durable design: The shoes can take you 400 miles or more.
- Soft ride: These shoes will let you run for miles without pain.
Best for Plantar Fasciitis: New Balance W1540 V3 Pros
Plantar fasciitis is a common running injury. Runners who overwork themselves by adding on too many miles too soon, avoid stretching, or do not take adequate rest days can develop this painful heel inflammation.
If you have a mild case of plantar fasciitis and have a dedication to running, and a doctor’s support, you can still run. But you need to take care of your feet.
Keep it light on the heels. Make sure the shoe you purchase has good cushioning, shock absorption, and a good arch with heel support.
Don’t overlook New Balance W1540 when considering the best option for plantar fasciitis. It has all the support and comfort you need.
It has received rave reviews from people with plantar fasciitis and bunions. Podiatrists also recommend this shoe.
New Balance W1540 V3 Pros
- Breathable design: The ventilation lets your feet breathe while you run.
- Joint pain prevention: Runners with flat feet or other joint pain claim they can run pain-free with these running sneakers.
- Size variety: These shoes come in normal, wide, and extra wide sizes
- Strong support: Your ankles will feel gripped and supported.
Running Shoe Categories
Running shoes are a personal choice that depends on the type of running you enjoy. What works for one athlete may not work for you.
The first step when looking at running shoes is to determine what kind you need based on your running style.
Here are the most common type of running shoe categories:
- Cross-training shoes: If you enjoy running on the treadmill or participating in Crossfit workouts, a cross-training shoe will likely be the best choice for you. There is typically less support and less cushioning, which is okay because the terrain is more user-friendly than concrete or trails.
- Road-running shoes: These shoes are for people who like to pound the pavement. These shoes are typically light, flexible, and stable with excellent cushioning.
- Trail-running shoes: If you’ve even run cross-country, we hope you had a good pair of trail-running shoes. Trail-running shoes are for people who like to run through the woods. They support the body through soft terrain (and sometimes mud) and rough terrain such as rocky paths. This type of shoe typically has a thick tread, which provides solid traction, extra stability, and cushioned underfoot protection.
Identify your ideal type so that you don’t waste time or money on a pair of shoes that don’t give you the support you need.
Running Shoe Buyer’s Guide
When you buy a new pair of running shoes, consider the following features to help you make the right pick.
Find a pair of shoes that offers a decent degree of cushion.
There are two main types of cushioning to look at:
- Heel cushion: Heel cushioning is imperative for comfort and to help reduce the impact when you run. Some shoes offer a softer cushion on the outer edge of the foot or a rounded outer heel, which can help smooth your landing.
- Midsole cushion: The midsole rests between the outsole and the upper sole to cushion the runner’s impact and help guide them through the stride. Look for a midsole cushion that isn’t too soft nor too firm.
Cushioning is particularly important if you have joint pain or conditions like plantar fasciitis.
There’s a reason you don’t want to run in flipflops or even athleisure sneakers. They lack stability, making it easy to roll an ankle.
Stability is crucial in running shoes. Find a shoe that braces your foot and helps guard against excess motion.
Depending on the running you do, you may need more or less stability.
Shoes with superior stability tend to have a firm post to reinforce the arch side of your midsoles, which is an area prone to overpronation.
If you’re not a runner, you’ve likely never heard the term “toe box” before. For runners, this part of the shoe is crucial.
A toe box is the front part of the shoe that surrounds your toes. Running shoes tend to have wide toe boxes with varying degrees of cushioning. This area helps prevent your toes from stubbing into the front of the shoe.
Look for a toe box that allows your toes to breathe and spread out while you run. The worst thing a runner can do is find a shoe with a binding toe box.
Men’s running shoes and women’s running shoes are different. In general, women’s running shoes are lighter than men’s because women typically (but not always) have less muscle mass than men.
Women’s running shoes also typically have a lighter and softer midsole than men’s.
Consider the weight and which weight you prefer. Some women want their shoes as light as possible, while others like a heavier shoe to feel more supported.
Heavier shoes may be best for trail runs too.
If you tend to like a heavier shoe, check out men’s running shoes. Some women prefer the way that men’s shoes feel.
A good pair of running shoes helps you focus on your fitness instead of problems with your feet.
Use our top picks and buying guide to help you decide which pair is right for you.Read More