Best Women’s Running Shoes in 2017 – Guide & Reviews
The best women’s running shoes combine comfort, durability, heavy-duty materials, a light weight and custom fitting. This is so you have the most comfortable workout possible.
Athletic shoes for women is a huge segment of the apparel industry as more and more consumers demand great-fitting shoes. Because people want to get the best workout possible while feeling comfortable, a lot of research goes into the best women’s running shoes made by top manufacturers.
As you examine the best women’s running shoes on the market today, keep in mind you get what you pay for with regards to quality. Lower-cost shoes may fall apart sooner than higher-cost shoes.
Because this is a huge market, many manufacturers create several different types of athletic shoes. This guide helps you to find the best women’s running shoes you can buy.
Best Women’s Running Shoes - Things to Consider
A lot of high-tech materials and workmanship go into the best women’s running shoes. You also must consider your comfort level, shoe size, how often you plan on wearing these shoes and if you plan on using them for everyday wear aside from just running.
Evaluate Your Feet
Take a look at your feet and see what they need. Do you have high arches, low arches or fallen arches? Do have long toes or short toes? Should you invest in a wide shoe, narrow shoe or standard width? The size and shape of your feet determines the shoe that fits you the best.
Look at the tread wear patterns on your old shoes. Do the heels wear out first, or the toes? This can help determine your type of gait. Someone who walks on their toes rather than heels may need a different kind of shoe for better comfort.
Stand on a dry paper bag with moistened feet to see the structure of your arch. If a lot of moisture shows up in the middle of your foot, you may have flat arches compared to high arches.
You can always get a professional opinion from your doctor. A medical professional can test your feet for weight distribution, wear patterns and your gait.
Notice Your Gait
Your gait refers to how you step. There are four different types of steps to a natural gait that can help you find out what type of running shoes to buy.
A supine step means the outermost part of your foot hits the ground first. This is very rare in most instances. A neutral step places most of the weight towards the middle of the step. A pronated step occurs when the innermost part of the foot receives the greatest impact. A super-pronated step happens when the innermost step is more extreme.
Figure out which kind of step you have to find the best possible running shoe. Chances are you have a neutral step or pronated step. You can see your type of step by looking at the wear patterns of your shoes. A neutral pronation is the best kind to have, because it absorbs the most impact of your step.
Arches are, perhaps, the most important structures of your feet. They support the internal structures of your feet from the heel to the toes. A neutral arch is the most common, although running can exacerbate any problems with the arch. That’s where orthotic running shoes come in handy. Someone with high arches needs a different kind of support.
A food doctor or a shoe specialist can examine how your arches impact your running. This can lead to better shoes for your runs.
Types of Running Shoes
You have three basic categories of running shoes, including road-running shoes, trail-running shoes and cross-training shoes. Road-running shoes are light and flexible, and they cushion your feet from the hard pavement and packed surfaces of roads.
Trail-running shoes have cushioning, but also treads to keep you upright over rocky, muddy and dirty terrain. Cross-training shoes are designed for the gym where more contact with the floor is preferred over anything else.
Once you determine the type of running shoe you want, there are subcategories that deal with your gait and step.
Subcategories of Running Shoes
Neutral shoes provide some cushioning and support for people who tend to move outward in their gait. Super-cushioned shoes have up to 50 percent more cushioning for people who need it.
Stability shoes are good for people with a more inward step because they have a firm area to reinforce the arched part of the middle of the sole.
Motion-control shoes have a firm heel for people with severe pronation to one side or the other. Minimalist shoes don’t have a lot of features, nor do barefoot shoes, as both of these varieties encourage the most natural running posture possible.
Now that you know what to look for when it comes to running shoes, it’s time to read about the five best women’s running shoes you can buy today.
- ASICS Women's GEL-Kayano 22 Running Shoe
- Dimensions: 15 x 21.5 x 56 inches
- Rubber sole
- Removable insole
- Reebok Women's Crossfit One Running Shoe
- Weight: 8.5 ounces
- Synthetic sole
- External TPU heel counter
- Adaptive NanoWeave strap
- Saucony Women's Cohesion 7 Running Shoe
- Dimensions: 12 x 8 x 4 inches
- Rubber sole
- Comfort midsole
- PUMA Women's Cell Turin Running Shoe
- Dimensions: 11 x 4 x 7 inches
- Synthetic sole
- Decoupled heel
- Salomon Women's XR Mission Running Shoe
- Dimensions: 14 x 10 x 5 inches
- Rubber sole
- Quicklace system
The laces tighten around your lower ankle for additional support if you need it.
The front and rear of the shoe contains gel cushioning to alleviate the shock to your feet. Cushioning the shock leads to less pain in your legs and back following a long jog or a tough workout in the gym.
The gel is also lightweight so it doesn’t add a lot of weight to the shoe, nor does it impede the the flexibility or stability of the structure.
The manufacturer touts the Kayano 22 as a lighter shoe than its predecessors without losing any of the stability. The Kayano 22 is 15 percent lighter thanks to the FluidRide system.
The FluidRide system also promised 20 percent more bounceback for an easier shock absorption. There is less stitching and fewer materials in this shoe because it’s not made of two-piece construction from the sole to the top.
Impact Guidance System
The Impact Guidance System within the shoe helps your natural gait as you run. The IGS runs from heel to toe to make a stable shoe for your gait.
It’s part of Asics’ commitment to quality from one of the world’s best running shoe manufacturers. The IGS incorporates the shoe’s overall construction, the shock absorbers, laces, heavy-duty uppers and the mesh overlays.
Mesh overlays on top of the shoe give you more breathability. The breathability whisks sweat away easier because you get better airflow and better evaporation.
The mesh also helps your socks dry faster after it rains or if you splash in some puddles. Evaporating liquids makes your shoes even lighter since the wind dries things up more quickly.
Asics believes the high-quality materials in the shoe make it one of the most durable running shoes on the market. The rubber soles, treads, gel packs and seamless construction make this shoe one of the leaders in the market for women’s running shoes. The stylish colors are just an added benefit you get from such a high-quality shoe.
- Lots of cushioning
- Works for neutral gaits
- Wide price range depending on size
- Sizes tend to run small
- Comes in many sizes
- Lots of colors
- Laces around the ankles make for a tighter fit
Asics’ commitment to quality comes through in this high-tech shoe, and there’s a lot to like about the Kayano 22. It works with all types of gaits, although it works best for a neutral, natural gait. Consumers like the comfort when they find the right size.
There are some drawbacks. The front part seems to be narrow for people’s toes, while the entire shoe runs about a ½ size too small. If you normally wear a size 8, consider getting a 8 ½ to compensate for the somewhat smaller sizes.
The synthetic rubber sole helps cushion your feet as you run while providing stability with every step. Cushioning pistons provide extra support where you need it most.
Reebok touts three blended zones that make your feet extra comfortable. First, there’s the cushioning foam layer that absorbs the shocks of each impact while running. Next, you have a transitioning layer that blends the bottom foam with the top layer.
Then you have a type of responsive foam that helps propel your feet during the toe-off. Each layer is designed to make your run more efficient so you save energy with each step.
Fine Mesh Weave
Fine mesh weave occurs over several places, including the tongue, the midsole and around the sides of the shoe. The weave whisks water and sweat away with ease. The mesh has finer holes in it compared to the Asics one, so you get more holes per square inch.
The finer mesh helps keep the fabric of the shoes together better while still providing breathability with every step. Finer mesh is also more aerodynamic even though it adds weight to the shoes.
Extra Heel Support
There is extra heel support in these shoes in two different ways. First, there’s the extra cushioning that elevates the heel above the rest of the foot. Then there’s the rubber backing across the Achilles tendon that backs up your entire foot to create a more stable fit. The rubber strip also reinforces the fabric that joins the upper and lower sections of the shoe.
The treads add cushioning where you need it most, which is along the heel, toes and ball of your foot. A reinforced strip of rubber goes from the front to the back as a way to support the arch and instep. Thanks to the rubber in the treads, you get a soft landing along with durability.
The heavy-duty laces are different compared to other running shoes that tout lighter-weight laces so no extra weight comes on the shoe. The laces stand up to the rigors of outdoor running, all kinds of weather, running on the trail and everyday use. Reebok’s shoes usually have heavy-duty construction, and this shoe is no exception.
- Lots of cushioning
- Weave fabric for whisking away sweat and rain
- Sturdy construction
- Takes some time to break in because the shoe is kind of stiff.
- Grips the floor well
- Synthetic rubber soles
- Sturdy heel for extra support
- Extra ties for around the ankle
Like Asics, Reebok has a winner with this high-tech women’s running shoe. Consumers report the shoe fits great and the sizes are accurate. The shoe may be a bit stiff, and some buyers also say this shoe is well worth the price even though some consider this product to be on the lower end in terms of pricing and affordability.
The heel supports are separate from the front supports along the sole, so you have a better overall support system. You get five colors with this shoe along with the basic white or gray weave fabric.
The decoupled heel has a circular support area on the sole to cushion all parts around the heel. The transition area to the midsole and the toes is minimal so you have two zones of support in the shoe.
The thickest part of the heel is along the back for extra cushioning of the Achilles tendon to help alleviate the shock placed on that part of the shoe.
The toe area is more flexible to encourage the natural movements of your foot as you run. The flexible toe area curves upward to support the natural curvature of that area. This makes your running gait more natural.
Breathable mesh fabric is all over these shoes, and not just on the front or sides. Breathable mesh sits around the back of the heel, below the ankles, along the tongue and over the toes.
Just about anywhere on the top part of the shoe, you find breathable mesh fabric to make the shoe even lighter. The weave connects with single stitching along all parts of the shoe.
Reflective elements along the back and sides of the shoe allow you to be seen in low lighting conditions when there’s approaching traffic. These elements blend in with the heels, laces and sides so you barely notice them during the day. Reflective materials make it safer to run during pre-dawn or dusk hours as you head home after your run before or after work.
Saucony touts all-synthetic construction materials for durability. The cushioning supports run from heel to toe-off to create an optimal running shoe. The synthetic rubber soles providing cushioning support, while the synthetic fabrics help keep the elements away from your socks and feet.
- Breathable mesh fabric everywhere
- Brand not as well-known
- Not available in wide sizes
- Breathable mesh throughout
- Reflective areas for low lighting
For a lower-priced shoe, the Saucony Cohesion 7 is a good choice. You get everything you expect from a running shoe, and you have more breathable mesh fabric compared to the competition. In terms of a lightweight shoe, this is a fairly good model to buy if you need extra support on the heels.
Puma is another great brand of running shoe, and Cell Turin running shoe looks sleek with a lot of design elements not found in other brands. There’s breathable mesh everywhere.
The parts joining the breathable mesh are made of synthetic leather, so there are some sturdy elements to the shoe.
This shoe has a low profile and not a lot of materials in it, so you get a more aerodynamic look and feel. This shoe comes in two color schemes.
Without a lot of design elements and materials, you get a lighter shoe. A leather T-toe provides a solid base for the breathable mesh, while two leather strips anchor the middle of the shoe in another cross-section. With the white fabric, it almost looks like a traditional-looking golf shoe only it’s much more aerodynamic for runners.
Separate Heel and Toes
The toe section separates from the heel, but then there’s a narrow connection point along the sole. The heel contains a more solid rubber cushion in the middle. Meanwhile, the toes have rubber trapezoids for extra grip. The rubber strip joining these two sections is minimal to give the shoe better flexibility as you run.
This shoe looks aerodynamic and it has a low profile. That means it cuts through the air better during every step. Fewer materials means you expend less energy per step, and that adds up over the entire length of a run. Rather than a high ankle, the materials around the ankle are much more low-key.
Even though the design looks compact, the shoes are true to their size. You get what you see on the package. If you wear a 9, you get a 9. The shoes seem a little tight at first, but many customers report you just need a few days to break them in for some serious running or walking.
No Pinching or Chafing
If you want to have a lack of pinching or chafing, customers suggest going up a half size. That way, you have more wiggle room and you can customize your fit with insoles or extra socks.
- May need insoles to alleviate ankle chafing
- Tight fit in the toes
- Not a lot of materials
- Good rubber soles
Puma is a great company for running shoes. If you like a minimalist shoe without a lot of extras, this shoe is a good one to try. No running shoe is perfect, so you may have some adjusting to do before you take these shoes out for a really long run. For the price, these are decent shoes for your workouts.
The heel is unique along the soles, and there is extra padding along the ball of your foot. This shoe comes in nine color styles, all of which look great.
The synthetic rubber soles make these shoes stand out from the pack. The heel has a separate pad for the very back of your heel and then the middle portion. This saves materials and makes the shoe lighter while providing support where it counts.
The laces of Salomon’s shoes are very thin, but they are sturdy. A lace pocket system keeps the extra laces out of the way, and the laces stretch and expand to create a custom fit for your size. Sturdy strips of material keep the laces intact all the way up the tongue.
The Sensifit system provides stretch up and down the instep as your foot stretches and contracts throughout your stride. This system has extra support where it counts the most as it protects your instep from the ravages of long runs.
The outsole grips dirt, grass and mud well when you take your course off-road. A protective toe grip helps keep you balanced throughout your trail run and gives you a strong foothold as you change elevations along the terrain.
The breathable mesh fabric changes consistency throughout the shoe. Along the ankles and front, the mesh is more open and less fine, while near the sides, tongue and laces the breathable mesh is much less noticeable.
- Good soles
- Fit a half a size off, so order a half size bigger
- Removable insole may change how you wear the shoe
- Great sole for off-road running
- Toe grip for easier running uphill
Salomon has a great shoe for the price. The price goes up depending on your size, but that’s normal for this type of shoe. The soles and laces are the two major selling points of this pair of running shoes. For a brand not as well-known as others, this pair comes through as a design that looks and wears as good as the competition.