Saucony Ride 10
This versatile road shoe is our pick for the best overall, appealing to most women who favor 5Ks and half-marathons. Upgrades, including a more responsive and flexible sole, plus a more comfortable upper, meet staples like moderate cushioning and neutral support to deliver your new daily driver.
Brooks Ravenna 8
Wallet-friendly does not mean cheap in the case of the Ravenna, which delivers plenty of stability for women with low to medium arches. Cushioning is on the higher side, and energy return is improved, so new PRs are just around the bend for both novices and veterans.
Nike Zoom Pegasus 35 Turbo Running Shoes
Step into the best-looking shoe that tracks, treadmills, and finish lines have seen in a while. Nike made this shoe super lightweight and infused with ZoomX foam that delivers 85 percent energy return — all of which makes long distances achievable.
Asics GT-2000 6 Running Shoe
To reduce overpronation in feet with lower arches, a stability shoe that adds medial support is a must. It's not the lightest or most flexible, but this shoe provides the support you need to achieve natural mechanics and prevent fatigue-induced injuries.
Hoka One One Clifton 4 Running Shoes
Hoka leads the way in distance-ready shoes. Ample cushioning from heel to toe protects your joints as the miles add up from marathons and ultras alike. Plus, supreme impact absorption makes these a favorite among distance runners.
Whether you run for health, an escape, endurance, to jam out to tunes, achieve personal goals, chat with friends, and be they 5Ks, half or full marathons, or races for a cause, you need the right shoes to support your journey. If you're not wearing the right shoes for your feet, your hips, and for your gait, your body will take an unnecessary beating. That's why you should know the basics about support and cushioning before you just lace up some decade-old sneakers and head out the door. It's time to invest in some quality running shoes for women!
1) Support: Most feet naturally pronate (roll inward) to some extent when you run. A high arch pronates just a little, but no added arch support is needed — for this, a neutral shoe is best. A medium to low arch overpronates, so a shoe with added medial arch support is needed — those are called stability shoes. The third kind of foot mechanics, supination (where the foot rolls slightly outward), is pretty uncommon.
2) Cushioning: This is up to personal preference, but it's generally understood that more cushioning provides better impact absorption, which protects your joints better. A shoe with maximum cushioning is ideal for longer distances when your body will take more of a beating. On the other hand, a sneaker with less cushioning may be lighter and faster, but it won't be quite as soft and comfortable.
Knowing your preference for support and cushioning is a good starting point, and we've pointed out some additional details that are important to consider. So, whether you're jogging around the block before work or adventuring across town and back, check out our picks for the top 10 women's running shoes of 2018 — some are best-sellers, some are athlete favorites, and some are in our gym bag or on our feet right now.
Learn More About Our Top Five Picks:
1. Saucony Ride 10 Running Shoe — Check Price
Pros: Versatile, comfortable, responsive
Con: Too soft for marathons
Saucony's Ride 10 is a solid update on a decade of reliability and success. It may not have a flashy design or any claimed groundbreaking technology, but it's extremely well-rounded and caters to a majority of runners who favor sub-half marathon distances, making it our pick for the best overall.
Newer runners and those with more experience will love this shoe. The shoe’s neutral arch support is made for those who are blessed with higher arches. A moderate amount of cushioning can handle distances around 10 miles easily, and a relatively lightweight construction (8.4 ounces) is made for speed for shorter runs, whether speed training or going all-out on a 5K.
Updates worth noting include a new engineered mesh upper that expands slightly in case your feet swell up toward the end of a long run, as well as a TRI-FLEX outsole that's more flexible than before. Saucony also kept last year’s new Everun topsole, which provides a smoother landing and more energy return with each step. These slight but thoughtful updates on a tried-and-true model make the Ride 10 our choice for the best overall.
2. Brooks Ravenna 8 Running Shoe — Check Price
Best for Support
Pros: Budget-friendly, supportive
We chose the Brooks Ravenna 8 as the best budget buy because it offers the level of added support, cushioning, and energy return that traditionally puts shoes in a higher price category. It’s the winner of Runner’s World’s “Best Buy” award, too.
This shoe is a classic do-it-all option. With a good amount of cushioning in the forefoot and even more in the heel, plus added medial stability that supports low and medium arches, your joints are protected and mechanics maintained when mileage reaches 20-plus. Sounds stiff and clunky, right? Wrong.
These shoes are definitely on the heavier side (9 ounces), but they're more flexible and responsive than many stability shoes, thanks to a new blown rubber midsole that provides a sort of rebounding feel. Don’t buy a cheap shoe with a short life and risk injury just to save some dollars — this sneaker is so well-built that it's a steal in this price range.
3. Nike Zoom Pegasus 35 Turbo Running Shoe — Check Price
Best New Style
Pros: Stylish, springy
Cons: Pricey, stiffer than others
These shoes feature the perfect blend of style for gym- and streetwear, cushion and support for long distances, and durability that'll stand up to an intense training regimen.
To deliver a secure, locked-down feel, Nike used its signature Flywire cables in the upper, which hug your foot like a snug glove. Support is neutral, so high arches are a must if you plan to use these for running long distance, as intended. If you’re looking for a fast, flexible shoe, this isn't it. However, if you want a distance hog, look no further — these shoes feature ZoomX foam that delivers 85 percent energy return which is the greatest of any Nike foam.
Plus, if you're a believer of "looking good, feeling good," you'll probably never want to take these off.
4. Asics GT-2000 6 Running Shoe — Check Price
Best for Overpronators
Pros: Top-notch arch support, cushy underfoot
Cons: Heavy, less responsive
If you have low arches, overpronation can wreak havoc on your body, which takes the fun out of running. To protect your muscles and joints, a shoe in the stability class is a must, as they're made with added medial arch support to reduce overpronation and promote more natural mechanics. Asics calls their added stability their Impact Guidance System. Though it might not be the sexiest, lightest, or most responsive, the sixth generation of Asics' GT-2000 is our pick for the best shoe for women who overpronate.
Aside from continuing with the best pronation control, Asics made some notable updates. A new midsole compound, called Flytefoam, is lighter and longer-lasting than before. Meanwhile, rearfoot gel technology, in addition to significant underfoot cushioning, softens your landing, no matter how flat-footed you run. Because they're a bit heavy (9.8 ounces), this shoe’s sweet spot is up to the half-marathon range, so don't go running full marathons in this pick.
5. Hoka One One Clifton 4 Running Shoe — Check Price
Best for Distance
Pros: Super soft, lightweight
Con: Not ideal for tempo training
Hoka is known and loved among distance runners for their plush, distance-capable shoes. The Clifton, the road version of their fan-favorite Challenger ATR, isn’t Hoka's most-cushioned road shoe. Nevertheless, it’s still softer than many competitor's most plush shoe, and it's this supreme impact absorption that makes the Clifton a common sighting at marathon finish lines.
At just 7.9 ounces, it’s much lighter and faster than you’d expect something so cushy to be. Arch support is neutral, so higher arches are a must. It has a heel-to-toe drop that's lower than many (just 7.3 millimeters), which can help minimize the risk of injury by encouraging a more natural foot motion. Plus, this year, Hoka catered to the masses — with paint on the top half of the massive foam outsole, the Clifton looks more like a traditional running sneaker and less like a moon shoe.
More of Our Top Picks:
Running shoes aren't one-size-fits-all, and with so many solid choices, all boasting different features and technologies, every runner has to consider their own specific needs. If you're one of the few supinators (underpronators), check out some options here. But if you're a speed-racer, a fashionable fitness freak, or just an admitted newbie, give these second-place winners a look.
6. New Balance Fresh Foam Zante v4 Sneaker — Check Price
Best for Versatility
Pros: Versatile, responsive, comfortable
Con: Insufficient cushion for marathons
New Balance really nailed it with this shoe — there’s very little that’s not to love. The Zante V4 is the newest update in their “soft and cushioned” category, which means there's plenty of impact protection for distances up to 13.2 miles. However, distance isn't its only strong suit.
With a small 6-millimeter drop, a total claimed weight of 7.5 ounces per pair, a flexible Hyposkin upper that adapts to your foot, and a more aggressive toe spring, it’s also an impressive tempo trainer that can set records on the track. For runners with high arches looking for a daily driver, look no further.
7. Adidas Ultraboost X Running Shoe — Check Price
Best for Fashionable Runners
Pros: Stylish, innovative, comfy
Cons: Expensive, may be too flexible for some
Adidas has done it again with the Ultraboost X — a shoe that performs just as good as it looks. Its standout feature is a free-floating arch, where the stretchy upper is actually separated from the midfoot under your arch, but connected at the heel and forefoot. This gives the wearer an incredibly snug feeling that, when coupled with a thick saddle around the midfoot, cradles your foot and locks it in place. The upper’s Primeknit is quite breathable, too, so odors won't develop if you put them to good use.
Sure, these Ultraboost Xs are pricier than many other running shoes, but they have more than one use to justify the extra coin — with around 10 other color choices, they look fly AF at all times, whether you’re zipping through town in a 5K or strolling to meet friends for brunch and mimosas.
8. Altra Torin 3.0 Running Shoe — Check Price
Best Zero-Drop Training Shoes
Pros: Natural feel, great cushioning, lightweight
Con: Only right for women with good form
One of Altra’s best-selling road shoes, they call it their “core neutral road trainer.” It features the brand's beloved foot shape and a wide toe box, which allows your foot to sit more naturally on the sole rather than cramming your toes in like the F train at rush hour.
To differentiate from the crowd, this shoe features a zero drop from heel to toe. Translation: The height of the platform remains the same throughout the entire base, which enables a more natural, proper form, rather than forcing your foot to roll toward push off. This style is what attracts minimalists and those with good, natural technique, but it’s not for everyone — wearing these with poor form will not be a good time.
If you're an experienced runner with high arches, the neutral support, significant cushioning, and lightweight construction (just 6.5 ounces per pair!) will propel you to more efficient training sessions, whether faster intervals or increasing mileage is your objective. They come in this sweet limited-edition "Run NYC" version, so get ‘em while they’re hot (and available)!
9. New Balance Fresh Foam Gobi v2 Running Shoe — Check Price
Best for Trails
Con: Not great for the road
If running is your sport and nature is your second home, trail running might become an intervention-worthy addiction. New Balance built on the success and platform of the Fresh Foam Zante with this trail stomper by adding some huge diamond-shaped lugs that can grip uneven rock surfaces like a vice.
The Gobi has a firmer feel than many competitors, which helps you run confidently when the trail gets sketchy and your legs turn to Jell-O. There isn’t a ton of added stability here, though, so it’s only right for higher arches. However, if you’re in the market for a casually styled trail-running shoe, you’ll be hard-pressed to find something so well-done at under $100.
10. Brooks Ghost 10 Running Shoe — Check Price
Best for Beginners
Pros: High cushioning, supportive, breathable
Con: A bit heavy
For years now, the Brooks Ghost has been a favorite among newcomers, and it even appeals to lifelong runners who favor reliability. That’s why it has won six Editor’s Choice awards from Runner’s World.
The Ghost is a typical first shoe for runners who visit a dedicated running store for gait analysis and learn that they're blessed with high arches. These runners don’t need a true stability shoe, but they can benefit from a generally stiffer shoe with a little bit of medial support, as fatigued muscles can harm your form and lead to injury at higher mileage.
Rookie or veteran, everyone will appreciate the higher-than-average cushioning underfoot. After all, who wouldn’t benefit from a little bit of help at mile 20?
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