If we ladies learned anything from growing up watching Cinderella, it’s that the right shoes can change your life!
The right running shoes help you zip faster, feel lighter, and run farther then you could before.
So what are the best running shoes for women?
Glad you asked.
I have lined up 35 favorite running shoes and offer a quick review of each one.
As to which one is the best depends on so many things.
Do you run on the street, track or trail?
Are you looking for a trusty training shoe or a race day rocket?
Do you Supinate, overpronate or have a “normal” gait?
Do you have wide feet, narrow feet or are you the goldilocks in the middle, with a “just right” width?
It’s easy to see what is perfect for one gal may not be the right fit for another.
That’s why this list of the 35 best running shoes for women includes trail runners, stability shoes, race shoes, everyday trainers, minimalist shoes, maximalist styles and just about every running shoe style in between.
TOP 35 Best Running Shoes for Women 2018
Best for Speed Training - Nike Zoom Pegasus Turbo
Review: Built for speed, these Nike Zoom Pegasus Turbo women’s running shoes are extremely responsive.
The energy returning Zoom X foam was built to return a whopping 85% of your energy back to your stride.
The mere 6.9 ounce weight and secure 10 mm forward motion drop of these shoes will have you moving at the speed of lightning.
- Nike Zoom X Foam midsole with 85% energy return.
- Flywire lacing system secures shoes to your foot for a custom fit.
- Heel collar angled away from your Achilles tendon for ultimate comfort.
Get turbocharged with these ultrafast, super responsive running shoes. My vote for best women’s running shoes 2018.
Best for Mid-Level Support and Cushion - Brooks Ghost 11
Review: These top rated women’s running shoes, the all new Brooks 11 Ghost offer just the right amount of support and cushion, without going overboard.
The BioMoGo DNA midsole foam gives these kicks a good amount of bounce, while the DNA Loft layer in the heel adds plushness and a soft spot to land.
Light Stability is provided by the wrap around TPU heel counter while the forefront remains free and flexible.
- Neutral shoe designed for medium to high arches.
- BioMoGo midsole for energy return.
- Soft flexible forefront combined with Omega flex grooves on the sole for a ride that moves with your foot.
Comfortable and light running shoe with just the right amount of support.
Best for Orthotics - Saucony Echelon 6
Review: This plush neutral running shoe is for runners with low to medium arches. The shoe has plenty of volume and can easily fit an orthotic or accommodate larger or wider feet.
The shoe is also offered in a wide width. The external heel counter keeps the heel locked in while the Sauc-fit supports the midfoot.
- Available in wide width.
- Wide platform and ample depth accommodate runners who use orthotics.
- 8mm sock liner adds plushness and a touch of support.
- Lace openings make the shoe hard to lace up, they are narrow slits.
High volume, roomy running shoe, perfect for runners with orthotics.
Best for Everyday Training - Nike Odyssey React
Review: Nike Odyssey React is both responsive and comfortable, plus the midsole foam is long lasting, and retains its bounce even after 300 miles.
The sole has extended rubber coverage compared to other models and will resist wear well. The long lasting nature of these shoes makes them a great choice for everyday training and you can rack up the miles in confidence because the bounce will last.
- Light breathable jacquard upper.
- Long lasting React midsole foam.
- Light stabilization provided by mid height heel counter.
- Larger forefoot that the Epic react.
Best Nike running shoes for women for everyday training.
Best for Plantars Fasciitis - Asics Gel Kayano 25
Review: Back to the basics! This model 25 of the Asics Gel Kayano is similar in design and quality to models 22 and back.
The Model 25 Kayano’s are a little roomier and made with more attention to detail and quality of material used.
The Metaclutch external heel counter and the Guidance trusstic system underfoot guide rail give this Asics plenty of support.
The Flytefoam Lyte heel and Flytefoam propel in the forefoot give the shoe plenty of bounce and a little arch support that’s needed to help alleviate Plantars fasciitis.
- Flytefoam heel and forefoot for spring back and underfoot cushion.
- Trusstic Guidance system prevents overpronation.
- External heel counter adds stability.
- Toe box is larger than some Asics fans are used to.
Review: This barefoot style shoe from Merrell sports a natural foot shape, with 0 drop for a natural stride.
The hyperlock heel counter keeps your foot secure, while the flex-connect EVA midsole is engineered with flex grooves that move in two directions for superb agility.
The super flexible and well ventilated mesh upper add to the shoes agility and conform the shoe to your foot so you feel like you are running without anything on.
Looking for more minimalist shoes? Check here.
- Foot shaped layout.
- Sticky and durable outsole.
- 0 drop shoe.
- Toe area could be a bit wider.
Best women’s minimalist running shoes thanks to 0 drop and a low to the ground, insanely flexible build.
Best for Bad Weather Road Running - Inov-8 Roadclaw v2
Review: The recently updated Roadclaw 275 v2 lives up to its name. It clings to the road in all condition ns thanks to the famous Inov-8 grip underfoot.
The focus of this Inov-8 shoe is support and cushion, with an eye to weather resistance.
The Powerflow+ midsole is 10 % better at attenuating shock and returns 25% more bounce back to your stride than other midsole materials.
- External heel counter adds stability.
- Added bounce and shock absorption thanks to Powerflow + midsole.
- Durable grippy Inov-8 blown rubber sole.
- Laces are awkward and the eyelets could use some reinforcement.
Comfortable road running shoe with great all weather grip, and a little cushion and stability.
Best for Everyday Casual Running - Hoka One One Clifton 4
Review: The Hoka One One Clifton 4 is well cushioned without being overdone.
The shoe is designed for neutral runners and thanks to the light breathable mesh upper, and a sole with strategically placed high abrasion rubber the shoe is surprisingly light at just 7.5 ounces.
The molded sock liner and EVA midsole give the shoe it’s “cush”, while the beveled heel and metarocker give a smooth heel to toe movement.
- EVA midsole and sock liner for just the right amount of padding.
- Light on your feet 7.5 ounces.
- Great for everyday wear and those who are on their feet all day.
- A little less cushion than the previous model.
Best women’s road running shoes for women who want moderate cushion and need a neutral shoe.
Best for 5k to 10k Length Runs - Mizuno Wave Shadow 2
Review: Light, the Mizuno Wave Shadow 2 is springy and responsive, and makes a great shoe for distances between 5 and 10 k.
It is not overly cushioned, as it is a neutral running shoe designed to be nimble and quick.
The cushion and spring back come from the Cloudwave, a wave shape plate that compresses as you land and takes up shock and returns energy back to your gait.
- Cloudwave midsole technology for energy return.
- Just 7.4 ounces.
- X10 durable and abrasion resistant rubber outsole make it practical to use this shoe everyday.
Best neutral running shoes for women for everyday training and mid length distances.
Best for Long Distances - Adidas Ultraboost
Review: adidas Ultraboost shoes excel at energy return. The ultraboost foam, flexible rubber outsole and low weight of these shoes will have you bounding ahead with a spring in your step mile after mile.
This is a neutral running shoe with a durable sole that has a feather weight and is designed for high mileage.
Looking for more running shoes that will go the distance? Click here!
- Adidas Ultraboost ultra responsive cushion.
- Continental rubber outsole withstands high mileage.
- Primeknit upper conforms to your foot keeping the shoe secure.
- Wider in the toe than Adidas fans are used to.
Best long distances running shoes because they are a durable and lively ride.
Best Running Shoe for Heavy Set or Overweight Women - New Balance 860v9
Review: This shoe provides a high level of stability and cushion which makes it a great running shoe for overweight runners and those who overpronate or have flat feet. Look here for more running shoes for heavy runners.
New balance uses their proprietary T beam technology in this stability shoe. T beam is a flexible TPU shank mid foot that supports the arch, prevents twisting, adds stability, and will not compress or collapse under pressure.
- TruFuse Midsole cushion supports low arches and added weight.
- Dual density medial posting support the foot arch.
- TPU heel counter offers stability in the heel and prevents overpronation as you strike.
- Available in wide and EXTRA wide.
- Surprisingly, some found the toe area too narrow.
Best running shoes for overweight women who need a stability shoe or who overpronate.
Best for Natural Motion - Saucony Kinvara 9
Review: This shoe is light on stability and support, which puts your foot in closer connection to the ground.
With its barely there weight and minimal drop, this shoe allows your foot to move naturally. The shoe does provide some underfoot cushion which excels at giving back the energy you put into each stride.
- Spritely and energetic Everun midsole.
- Flexfilm layer upper adds light structure and strength to the upper without adding weight.
- Neutral firm running shoe.
- Slightly more narrow than the Kinvara 8.
Responsive running shoe with natural movement.
Best Race Day Shoes for Under pronation - Altra Duo
Review: This shoe is high on cushion, with minimal stability features. It is built for speed and works well for supinators and under pronators.
It has a foot shaped platform with plenty of room for natural toe splay, is super lightweight and manages to include ample plushness thanks to the Max-LT midsole cushion.
Find more great shoes for under pronation here
- Max-LT Midsole cushion is responsive and light.
- Shoe weighs just 5.3 ounces- great for race day.
- Zero drop, foot shape shoe encourage a natural gait.
Speedy, well cushioned running shoe for the neutral runner. Best cushioned running shoes for women who under pronate.
Best for High Arches - Brooks Glycerin 16
Review: This ultra soft, well cushioned neutral running shoe was made for runners with medium to high arches.
The DNA Loft midsole cushion underfoot makes for a luxurious ride while the stretch bootie upper ensures they fit your foot perfectly and securely.
Find more great running shoes for high arches here.
- Super plush DNA loft midsole cushion.
- Soft form fitting upper for a cozy fit.
- Built to support medium and high arches.
Great running shoes for women with high arches.
Best for Well Cushioned Neutral Shoes - Mizuno Wave Rider 22
Review: 3 cushion and shock absorbing features stand out to me causing me to choose this neutral running shoe as the best cushioned shoe in the lineup.
The U4ic midsole, that has a soft heel , the Cloudwave plate in the midsole that compresses as your foot strikes, taking on shock, and the U4icX heel all work together to make this shoe very plush.
- Cloudwave midsole plate provides cushion and impact protection.
- U4icX midsole in the heel provide an added layer of cushion.
- 12mm drop neutral running shoe.
Great shoe for Peroneal Tendonitis thanks to ample cushionGreat shoe for Peroneal Tendonitis thanks to ample cushion and a 12mm drop. Find and a 12mm drop. Find more shoes for Peroneal Tendonitis here.
Best for Trail Running - Salomon Speedcross 4
Review: This highly cushioned trail running shoe from Salomon provides protection from the elements, plenty of underfoot padding, and light stability.
It can be used for everyday training and is well suited for heel strikers. The shoe guards against mud and rain with a built in mud guard that encircles the upper, the water resistant material used in the upper keeps rain and water out, and the sole of the shoe has strong grip in wet and muddy conditions.
Looking for trail runners for flat feet click here.
- Mud guard protection surrounds the shoe upper.
- Quick lace system for easy on and off, plus lace pocket to tuck laces out of the way.
- Molded EVA shaped foot bed provides foot shaped comfort and underfoot padding.
Best trail running shoes for women in all weather conditions.
Best for Short Runs - Nike Free RN Flyknit
Review: These barefoot style running shoes have more stretch in the upper than previous versions, while maintaining the flexible sole that offers good connection to the ground and plenty of feedback while you run.
The ultra-flexible design of the shoe allows your foot to move naturally as the shoe moves with you.
- Rounded heel rolls in a smooth natural motion as it hits the ground.
- Flyknit upper is now more stretch and form fitting, like wearing no shoes at all.
- Flexible sole moves with your foot.
- Runs small, not available in wide width.
The most liberating Nike Running Shoe available with minimal support, cushion or restriction.
Best for a Supportive Trail Runner - Inov-8 Trailroc 285
Review: The Trailroc 285 is a supportive, well cushioned trail runner that is ideal for long distances. Tri-c Sticky Sole is a super grippy rubber compound that gives traction like no other.
The sole features denser, more durable rubber at the heel, softer rubber near the mid foot, and medium firm rubber up front.
The Powerflow+ midsole gives up to 25% more energy return and 10 percent more shock absorption than other midsole materials.
- Dynamic Fascia Band plate prevents Sharp rocks from harming your foot.
- External heel counter and wrap around Met-cradle add stability and lock foot in.
- Meta-Shank plate lines up with metatarsals, allows flexibility and gives impact protection.
- The shoe can be a bit stiff due to the support and stability features.
The women’s support and stability trail runner for long trails and rocky rough terrain.
Best for Supinators and Supination - Asics GEL Cumulus 20
Review: Made for supinators, the Asics GEL Cumulus running shoe is well padded and designed for a neutral gait. This shoe is good for high to normal arches.
The GEL cushion in the heel and under the ball of the foot and the Flytefoam midsole provide the shock absorbing properties while the fluid ride midsole adds some liveliness to your stride.
High abrasion rubber sole does its job on the outside edge and heel of the shoe, where supinators need it most. See more supinator’s running shoes here.
- Guidance line groove corrects gait alignment.
- Durasponge blown rubber outsole takes up shock and is long lasting.
- Fluidride midsole layer is intercepts shock and adds bounce.
- Wider in the toe box than other models.
Best Asics women’s running shoes for supinators, cushioned neutral running shoe with plenty of bounce.
Best for Heel and Ankle Pain - UA HOVR Sonic
Review: These neutral long distance running shoes are good for runners who suffer from heel or ankle pain.
They have added high abrasion rubber at the heel that takes up shock protecting your joints. US HOVR foam and a removable Ortholite insole provide an extra layer of cushion and impact protection.
The stretch knit upper fits snug to your foot for a secure fit and feel.
- UA HOVR Midsole Foam attenuate shock and add spring to your stride.
- External TPU heel counter keeps foot securely in place.
- Ortholite sock liner adds a layer of plushness and is removable to customize your experience.
- Runs about a size too small.
Best women’s running shoes for heel and ankle pain.
Best for Overpronators and Overpronation - Newton Motion 7
Review: This is an excellent shoe for runners who overpronate thanks to the dual density medial post that actually extends further into the forefoot area to prevent late stage pronation.
The Newton Proprietary action-reaction technology in the sole pads your strike and puts spring in your step.
The 4 way mesh upper stretches to conform to your foot for a secure comfortable ride. See more running shoes designed to alleviate overpronation here.
- Dual Density Medial post prevents over pronation.
- Newtonium foam midsole is well padded and makes for a sprightly step.
- Action-reaction technology is like having a trampoline built into your shoe.
- The 2018 model runs larger than the previous two years.
Best running shoes for women with flat feet who want strong arch support.
Best for Stability - Saucony Guide ISO
Review: This is a stable and supportive ride that provides a lot of cushion and prevents overpronation.
The PWRfoam midsole and Everun topsole work in tandem to give a soft, shock absorbing underfoot experience.
The Mid foot medial post and firmer rubber in the inner sole and heel area stabilize this shoe and work together to prevent over pronation.
This is a great stability shoe and if you want to see more shoes like this one look here.
- Mid foot medial post provides stability and support.
- Everun topsole provides plush padding mile after mile.
- Firmer rubber on the sole in high wear areas, more flexible rubber in the forefoot.
- Available in Wide widths.
Great women’s running shoes for stability.
Best for a Responsive Energy Return - Hoka One One Hupana
Review: The name Hupana means Spring Back, which is what these shoes excel at, returning the spring back to your stride due to the active RMAT midsole and outsole layer.
These are neutral road running shoes and do not have an overabundance of structure or arch support, leaving your feet a little freer than other HOKA models.
This shoe will leave you light on your feet as the women’s version of this shoe weighs just 6.3 ounces so you feel like you have wings when you run.
- RMAT midsole and outsole layer for maximum energy return – like running on springs.
- 3 ounce weight for women’s.
- Molded ortholite sock liner for comfort-not overly padded.
A responsive and fun pair of kicks.
Best for Short Duration Speed Work - Puma Hybrid Runner
Review: This is a stable yet energetic running shoe by Puma. The shoe has two technologies that afford excellent energy return, the NRGY beads Midsole and Ignite midsole foam cushion the foot and give back what you put into your step.
The heel cage stabilizes the foot and provides light stability.
- NRGY Midsole beads provide energy return.
- Ignite midsole foam is cushy and comfortable.
- EvoKNIT upper allows air to circulate.
- Adjusting the laces is challenging.
A responsive ride with a bit of stability at an affordable price.
Best for Bunions - Adidas Pureboost Go
Review: A wider forefront and roomier toe box make the adidas pureboost go shoe a great choice for runners with bunions.
The shoe is made with Adidas iconic boost foam midsole that will put some power back into your stride.
The upper is soft, flexible and stretchy forming to custom fit your foot, and the sole is also quite flexible.
- Adidas boost midsole is springy and responsive.
- Stretch knit upper is soft and form fitting.
- Wide, roomy toebox-no more bunion pain.
- Runs large, but that may be a blessing for runners with bunions.
Best for Casual running - Under Armor Micro G Pursuit
Review: The popular Under Armor Micro G pursuit is a well-balanced neutral running shoe that is just the right amount of plushness while also maintaining flexibility.
The EVA sock liner provides cushion, a bit of arch support and some spring back responsiveness. The shoe does well on the road and urban terrain where the tire inspired rubber outsole fits right in.
- Comfortable padded collar and tongue.
- EVA sock liner with light arch support.
- Micro G midsole foam has lively spring back.
Super comfortable, super cute, for short distances and casual running.
Best for Back Pain - Altra Paradigm 3.0
Review: Maximum cushion, ample support and features that permit your foot to land in in a natural position make this Altra Paradigm 3.0 a good running shoe for runners with back pain.
The shoe has a foot shaped toebox that allows your toes to splay naturally as you land. The 0 drop promotes a natural gait, and the high level of cushion absorb pain inducing shock.
Looking for shoes to help alleviate back pain, look here for more reviews.
- Comfy and natural foot shape platform.
- 0 drop for a natural gait- run as nature intended.
- Footpod outsole traces foot bone layout and encourages natural movement.
- Runs small, limited color choice.
The comfortable running shoe that allows your foot to move as nature intended, helping back pain sufferers.
Best for Short Distance Running - Salomon Sonic Aero
Review: The Salomon Sonic Aero is an excellent everyday running shoe for short distances. It is designed with a super sticky contra-grip tread on the outsole which gives grip in all conditions and is designed to be grippy going downhill.
The sole is reinforced with denser rubber around the heel and big toe area so the shoes will last. The shoe has a 10mm drop to move you forward and the quick lace system will have you in and out of the shoe quickly.
- Contra Grip outsole, good for all weather.
- Removable ortholite insole to customize level of cushion.
- Full length Energy cell midsole for lively energy return and comfort.
Great for casual and short distance runs.
Best for Overpronation - Brooks Ariel
Review: Made with maximum support and one of Brooks softest most shock absorbing midsole foams yet- The Brooks Ariel 18 is one of the best shoes for runners who overpronate.
A roomy toebox and breathable air mesh upper make the ride comfortable and cool.
Because of the great padding underfoot and the segmented crashpad, this shoe is not only ideal for Overpronators, but is one of the best treadmill running shoes for women too.
- Extended Progressive Diagonal roll bar prevent overpronation.
- External TPU Heel counter adds stability.
- Super DNA midsole cushion is 25% more cushioned than other Brooks foam.
One of the best running shoes for overpronation. Also great for running on unforgiving treadmill surface due to enhanced cushion.
Best for Wide Feet - New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v8
Review: New Balance is known for making shoes that feel good and support your foot. The Fresh Foam 1080v8 is no exception.
This roomy shoe is offered in wide and EXTRA wide widths to fit just about any runner.
The fresh foam cushion underfoot is not only comfy, but delivers a good amount of bounce and energy back into your stride, which is why runners like this shoe. If you are a runner with wide feet, give this shoe a try.
- Available in Wide and Extra wide.
- Ortholite insert insole adds a layer of plushness.
- Neutral running shoe, appropriate for under and normal pronators.
Best for Minimal Style Trail Running - New Balance Minimus 10v1
Review: The Minimus line from New balance is easily one of the most popular trail running shoes ever made, and no wonder, they are exceptionally well designed.
Don’t expect a lot of support or stability from these shoes, they are made in the minimalist style with just a little light padding. It is the grippy sole, foot hugging fit and an odor resistant treatment so you can wear them without socks.
Looking for trail runner reviews, click here.
- Super Grippy Vibram outsole for traction in all conditions-including steep downhill terrain.
- Treated to resist odor- can be worn sans socks.
- Midfoot wrap ensures a snug comfortable foot hugging fit.
- Minimal style, very little support or stability, with light padding.
Simply the best Minimal or barefoot style trail runner available.
Best for Everyday Urban Terrain Running - Nike Epic React Flyknit
Review: These shoes are a great choice for training in everyday because the React foam is responsive and plush, yet more durable than Nike ZOOM X midsole foam so the hold up under every day wear.
At just 6.88 ounces, these shoes are also good for training speed work. The shoe has the distinction of using up to 60% less material that the average running shoe, and is an ecofriendly choice.
- Form fitting, foot hugging custom fit fly knit upper.
- React foam is both durable and responsive.
- Heel shelf offers light stabilization.
- Just 6.88 ounces- good for speed work.
Durable and fast, a great trainer for everyday use and speed work.
Review: This trail runner by Merrell has minimal cushion and minimal support, but are snug fitting and have excellent traction and offer good protection from rocks and other trail hazards.
The shoes are very comfortable and fit like a glove in the heel and midfoot area without pinching or binding toes.
- Roomy natural fitting toe box.
- 0 drop for a natural stride.
- Minimal cushion and minimal support for the most natural foot movement.
A natural barefoot style trail running shoe.
Best for Casual Cushioned Running Shoe - Puma Hybrid Rocket
Review: The NRGY beads combined with the Ignite midsole are Puma’s answer to adidas Boost energy returning midsole.
It is very lively and puts a spring in your stride as you jog. The heel is well cushioned which is good news for heel strikers.
This casual running shoe is attractive and looks just as good at the track as it does out running errands
- Soft Bootie upper quickly slips on.
- NRGY beads in the midsole return energy from your stride.
- Ignite midsole foam is luxurious and comfortable.
- Heavily cushioned heel.
- Not everyone is a fan of the look of the NRGY beads.
Fun responsive ride for casual runs.
Best for Marathon Running - Newton Gravity 7
Review: Runners love this shoe because they say it allows them to train for long distances without experiencing pain in the heels, knees, arches or other injury prone areas.
They also praise the shoes durability. The action reaction technology built into the sole plays a part in injury prevention as it is excellent an taking on shock, and the high rebound EVA sole combined with Newton’s own Newtonium foam make a comfortable underfoot feel no matter how many miles your run takes you.
- Newly redesigned high performance laces.
- Action-reaction technology built into the sole.
- Molded internal heel counter for a bit of stability.
- Just 7.4 ounces.
- Expensive, limited color options.
I hope you have found the review of the 35 Best Running shoes for women in 2018 useful.
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Until next time, we will see you on the track or out on the trail!