The 9 Best Running Shoes For Women, According to Our Editors
Any runner knows that comfortable running shoes can make all the difference between a good workout and a truly great one. If you've been searching for the perfect pair to help crush your fitness goals, look no further than our complete guide to the best running sneakers for women, which features a range of silhouettes, all perfect for a wide variety of workouts, body types, and support needs.
We personally love sneakers that we can wear for both running and other athletic activities, like boxing, HIIT, or, honestly, just running errands. So, we found running sneakers for women that can do everything — from long road runs to trail runs, marathons, high-intensity interval workouts, and more. Best of all, for running sneakers, these shoes are surprisingly stylish, making them pairs you'll actually be excited to wear for all of your weekly workouts. There's a lot that goes into finding the perfect running shoe, which is why we've broken down exactly what to consider — and which shoes have the POPSUGAR seal of approval — below.
How to Pick the Best Running Shoe
First and foremost, when you're shopping for running sneakers, it's important to determine what type of running shoe you're looking for, as different shoes are designed to address different needs. There are two main types that often get discussed: neutral and stability. Neutral running shoes generally feature less cushioned support and allow the foot to move naturally while running. Alternatively, stability running shoes are generally designed to help offset the inward rolling of the foot after it hits the ground, minimizing the potential for injury (and also making the shoe a bit heavier). Then you can tak into account things like where you'll be running (the road, trail, or treadmill) and whether or not you want to do other workouts in these sneakers, too.
Another thing to note? The sizing of your running sneakers. Many people wear the wrong-sized running shoes without even realizing — thus causing extra discomfort (and in the worst cases, blisters or injury) when they run or engage in any high-impact activities. Professional runner Stephanie Rothstein Bruce had previously advised POPSUGAR readers on a few things to take into account when finding your perfect running shoe size, including that it's important to allow for a "little extra room" in the shoe as "your feet will expand a tiny bit as they get warm" while you're running. It's also essential to check the soles of your running shoes to ensure that the arch feels natural; if your foot slides in without resistance, it's a good indicator that they fit properly.
Even with all of this in mind, arguably the best way to find your ideal running shoe is to simply experiment with different styles and test them out firsthand on yourself. Everyone has different feet shapes, sizes, arch support needs, and even preferred running styles, so what works for one person might not be the best choice for someone else.
To give you a little shopping inspiration, we've also rounded up our picks for the best running shoes for women that are editor-backed and truly the best of the best. No matter if you're just getting started with running or you've been in the race for years, these versatile running shoes are sure to give you what you're looking for — plus, they all come from top fitness gear brands like Hoka, Lululemon, Puma, and more. Now, all you have to do is pick your favorite and hit the road!
— Additional reporting by India Yaffe and Haley Lyndes
Best Cushioned Running Shoes For Women
Hoka Clifton 8 Sneakers ($171, originally $185)
These Hoka running shoes are a great match for beginners. Featuring a breathable mesh upper for intense cardio sessions, these neutral running sneakers are designed to keep feet cool. The design is meant to give each step a smooth transition, making running a breeze. Hoka sneakers are favorites of POPSUGAR's own editors; just read our review of the Hoka One One Clifton 7 Running Sneaker to learn more.
Editor Quote: "Last year, the white colorway went viral and was incredibly difficult to find. Did I scour the internet only to eventually find them at my local running shop? Maybe. There are so many cute colorways to match whatever your style is. I've found these to be comfortable for long city walks as well as days spent at the gym. Hoka gets pretty specific in terms of what shoe is best for what activity, so I'd recommend making sure the style is right for your favorite activities before buying!" — Melissa Hayes, Marketing Manager
Best Road Running Shoes For Women
There's a lot to enjoy about this top-rated On running shoe. It has a thick-yet-lightweight midsole and a temperature-controlled design that will keep you on track for both long and short runs. This sneaker is made for road running and offers the brand's highest level of cushioning for a smooth ride. It's also engineered to encourage forward momentum, helping to roll your foot forward on every stride. Read our editor-backed review of the On The Cloudmonster Running Shoe for the full product details.
Editor Quote: "Not to be dramatic, but I'm obsessed with these sneakers for training and racing. The first time I took off running in them, I couldn't believe how they propelled me forward thanks to their ultrahigh stacked CloudTech foam pods (which measure a tall 30 millimeters, by the way)." — Marisa Petrarca, Contributing Editor, Commerce
Best Trail Running Shoes For Women
If you're looking for a sneaker that will make trail running feel, well, blissful, this Lululemon running shoe is it. It's an upgraded, trail-ready version of Lululemon's original Blissfeel Running Shoe, which was designed specifically for women's feet. It has outdoor-proof features that protect you on the trail but isn't so rugged that you can't also wear them to the gym. The athletic silhouette has a flexible upper that moves with you while you run, and its cushioned soles soften every step. One note: It's a narrow shoe, so make sure to size up if you have wider feet. Read our editor-backed review of the Lululemon Blissfeel Trail Running Shoe for more details.
Editor Quote: "The sneakers have the same construction and bouncy nature as a classic pair of running shoes, but they're also fitted with more thoughtful details to protect my foot and stride on uneven surfaces. The shoe boasts a rubbery coating that provides extra protection from the elements, as well as a lugged rubber outsole to help with directional traction. I love how easily my foot slides into them, and the fact they're just as stylish as they are practical; the shoes are available to shop in five bright colorways." - Kyley Warren, Assistant Editor, Commerce
Best Knit Running Shoes For Women
This supportive running sneaker is both comfortable and breathable. It's made with exceptional compression so that your feet feel hugged-in and are ready to go as far as your heart desires. Plus, the shoe has FutureFoam technology, which is designed to provide high-quality rebounding with a lightweight feel. Read our editor-backed review of the Athletic Propulsion Labs TechLoom Zipline Sneaker to learn more.
Editor Quote: "I like these sneakers for walking, running, dance cardio, and boot-camp classes; I feel like I'm walking on a cloud, and I could go all day without twisting an ankle." — India Yaffe, Former Associate Editor, Commerce
Best Neutral Running Shoes For Women
Puma Deviate NITRO 2 Running Shoe ($160) Leveled up from the original Deviate Nitros, these comfortable neutral running shoes have added padding around the heel and collar for comfort and support. Its thick layer of cushioning propels you forward as you run, making getting into stride quicker and more efficient. Additionally, these shoes have a great grip that can handle mud, rain, and more with ease. Read through our review of the Puma Deviate NITRO 2 Running Shoe to see why they're such a great buy.
Editor Quote: "They're breathable, fit true to size, and have additional padding around the heel and collar that locks your foot into place to provide top-notch support and protection. I'm getting a better workout thanks to these sneakers — what more could you ask for?" — Haley Lyndes, Former Assistant Editor, Commerce
Best Lightweight Neutral Running Shoes For Women
Lululemon Blissfeel Running Shoe ($74-$99, originally $148) Lululemon's first-ever running shoe, this award-winning silhouette is designed as an everyday running sneaker that's perfect for athletes of all stages — whether you're just starting off on your running journey or an experienced racer. The style is fitted with low-profile foam cushioning that helps cushion landings and provides a little extra bounce with each stride, without lifting you too far off the ground. Per both the retailer and reviewers, shoppers with wide feet are recommended to order up by at least a half size to ensure their feet aren't squished. For more product details and to learn how the style performs in action, read our review of the Lululemon Blissfeel Running Shoe.
Editor Quote: "Overall, would I recommend Lululemon's Blissfeel running shoes? Yes, but I'd definitely take advantage of the 30-day trial period and go for a slightly larger size than usual, given the shoe's narrow design. Lululemon says these shoes were designed "based on the feet of more than a million women," so there's a good chance your feet will like them. You might just need to break them in first." — Maggie Ryan, Former Assistant Editor, Wellness
Best Distance Running Shoes For Women
Nobull Runner+ Sneakers ($110)
Whether you're into distance training or just someone who likes to compete, these neutral running shoes are the perfect sneakers for you. The style is designed to be more energy-efficient than other silhouettes, with a cushioned midsole and bouncy nylon plate so you can spring into every step — and last longer during high-mileage runs. One writer claimed that these shoes are so comfortable, wearing them actually feels like "running on air" in this review of the Nobull Runner+ Sneakers.
Editor Quote: "I tried these sneakers for walks on a treadmill, on pavement, and on dirt trails. I also used them for my HIIT workouts, and they performed equally well when doing burpees, box jumps, and lunges, and when jumping rope. They also felt stable when standing still for strength-training exercises and when using my rower. Whatever I did, my feet felt comfortable and supported." — Jenny Sugar, Former Staff Writer, Fitness
Best Versatile Running Shoes For Women
Lululemon Chargefeel Low Workout Shoe ($69, originally $138) Most running sneakers are great for running, and most cross-training sneakers are good for cross-training, but it's really tough to find a shoe that can do both. As one editor writes in her review of the Lululemon Chargefeel Low Impact Workout Shoe, this style comes "pretty damn close." The Lululemon running shoe has a pressure-focused outsole which helps to deliver ample support and comfort to the entire foot, while its springy midsole is bound to put a little extra bounce in your stride.
Editor Quote: "I've only done one run in Chargefeel so far, but I was really impressed with how it held up for a cross-training shoe. It wouldn't be my first choice for a long run or race (half marathon, 10K, etc.), because I think running-specific shoes do provide more support and comfort overall. But the Chargefeel shoes feel like a solid choice when it comes to short runs or HIIT workouts that include sprinting or running sets." — Maggie Ryan, Former Assistant Editor, Wellness
Best Sustainable Running Shoes For Women
The style is so remarkably comfortable, one editor even said the shoe helped her to "fall in love with running again." Beyond its cool design and supportive fit, we appreciate that this sustainable running shoe is made from recycled materials, so it's a silhouette that you can feel good about wearing for a number of different reasons. Get the full product details in our review of the Zen Running Club Zen ZR01 Running Sneakers.
Editor Quote: "I'd recommend Zen Running Club's ZR 01 shoes to any runner looking for a comfortable, springy shoe made of sustainable materials. While everyone's running shoe needs and preferences are different, my very picky feet liked these shoes immediately, and they've felt supportive through every run so far." — Maggie Ryan, Former Assistant Editor, Wellness