Our Top 10 Lists help shoppers quickly and easily find what they need. Using an intense review and approval process (which you can learn more about here), we break down the best styles according to what consumers most commonly search for and want.
We're not exaggerating in the slightest when we tell you that the right pair of running shoes can make you a better runner. Whether you're a regular runner or are contemplating becoming one because your favorite studios and gyms are currently off-limits, having the right pair of shoes is everything. Wear an uncomfortable pair, and you're destined for shin splints, aching arches, pinched toes, or—even worse—a painful injury. To help you avoid each of these not-so-ideal scenarios, we've created an algorithm-approved list of the absolute best running shoes for women out there, complete with a breakdown of why they're the very best money can buy.
Some Things To Consider Before Buying
Before we get to the good stuff, we think it’s important to mention that running shoes are an investment—especially those in the $150-and-up range. If it's your first time shopping for a pair, we recommend heading to your local running store to get a gait analysis. This is a special assessment intended to measure your gait—typically on a treadmill—to catch any misalignments in your knees, hips, or ankles and to observe how you're landing. From there, the store will be able to make a shoe recommendation that's best suited to your needs. However, if you're uncomfortable going to a physical store or simply don't have the time, we're created a shopping guide rounding up the top-rated and best-selling running sneakers of 2021 to help you out. Whether you have flat feet, run long distance, or are just beginning your journey, we've got a pick for you.
Our Method For Finding The Best Women's Running Shoes
The list ahead is backed by best-selling buzz, editorial mentions, and real user reviews, which is why we can guarantee that these 10 styles will provide you with sturdy support and a smooth run whether you're training for a marathon or simply taking a leisurely lap around the neighborhood. From Nike to New Balance to HOKA, keep scrolling to shop the Top 10 women's running shoes on the market and pound the pavement in style.
Up next, check out the 10 Best Women's Workout Shoes. Opening image: @on_running
Top 10 Lists serve as unbiased shopping guides to the most trusted product recommendations on the internet. Products are scored and ranked using an algorithm backed by data consumers find most valuable when making a purchase. We are reader-supported and may earn a commission when you shop through our links.
Brooks Ghost 14 GTX Running Shoe
BEST RUNNING SHOE FOR ROADS AND PAVEMENTS
WHY YOU NEED IT: Due to its durable sole and weather-proof material, this is the ideal sneaker for people who love hitting the pavement for their runs.
USER REVIEW: "Love how comfortable they are and also fit my orthotics perfectly! Being waterproof is also awesome for the Tassie wet winter we have had! The dog still gets his walk and I keep dry!!"
Hoka One One Ahari 5 Running Shoe
BEST RUNNING SHOE FOR STABILITY
WHO'S IT FOR: This running shoe is specifically designed to combat over-pronation. With Hoka's J-Frame™ technology, the foot is supported with firm foam where it typically rolls inward.
USER REVIEW: "These are my 5th pair of Hoka shoes. This time I purchased the new style with more support which my feet need. I walk a lot for exercise and typically my feet hurt when I have finished 3 or 4 miles. The first day I wore these, I walked 5 miles and my feet weren't even tired. These shoes help to keep me active!"
On Running Cloudflyer Running Shoe
BEST RUNNING SHOE FOR LONG DISTANCES
WHY YOU NEED IT: Thanks to pillowy cushion and an adaptive heel cap, this running shoe will help to keep your stride aligned.
USER REVIEW: "I jumped on the bandwagon and tried ON ... and am so thankful. The shoes are amazing! I wear them to the gym 5-6 days a week and just to walk around outside of the gym. They are a little narrow, but are easily adjustable and have been working great. I researched shoes for plus size runners for a few weeks and the Cloudflyer kept popping up. They are living up to the reviews!"
Brooks Adrenaline GTS 21 Running Shoe
MOST SUPPORTIVE RUNNING SHOE
WHO IT'S FOR: According to rave reviews, these sneakers offer plenty of support for flat feet—even on the longest of runs.
WHAT IT DOES: Support is key when it comes to a great running shoe. This Brooks sneaker comes with LOFT cushioning that absorbs impact, allowing for distraction-free alignment and guiding you through a smooth transition from heel-strike to toe-off.
On Running Cloudstratus Running Shoe
BEST RUNNING SHOE FOR MEDIUM TO LONG RUNS
WHY YOU NEED IT: On Running's Cloudstratus sneakers feature a star lacing system to move pressure away from your toe joints to ensure your foot remains comfortable throughout your whole run.
USER REVIEW: "It’s amazing! Even if you are walking all day long, no pain what so ever! It’s as if you are walking over a cushion."
New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 V11 Running Shoe
BEST RUNNING SHOE FOR ALL-PURPOSE TRAINING
WHO IT'S FOR: For the gal who loves a little variation in her workout routine, this is an excellent pick. These cushioned running shoes offer a sleek design that's fit for any and every workout.
THINGS TO KNOW: According to rave reviews, these sneaks feel like running on a cloud.
Nike React Infinity Run Flyknit 2
BEST RUNNING SHOE FOR ANY DISTANCE
WHY YOU NEED IT: Not only is this running shoe chicer than the average, but it can also handle any distance thanks to Nike's responsive React foam and breathable Flyknit material.
USER REVIEW: "I have been running in ASICS Kayanos for years, but I decided to give these a try and love them. I am prone to plantar fasciitis, so I need good cushioning and support, and these work great. The cushioning is amazing, AND they’re super cute!"
Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 38 Running Shoes
BEST BREATHABLE RUNNING SHOE
WHO'S IT FOR: Need something super lightweight and breathable? This top-rated sneaker is your best bet.
USER REVIEW: "The shoe is super comfortable. I like that there are no seams on the toe area so no irritation occurs on your foot. They have a good arch support. My athletic daughter has a pair and she puts an orthotic sole in the show but I find it perfect with the supplied insole. I use them my 2 hour daily walk through hills on uneven paths and terrain. These are my 4th pair."
Hoka One One Clifton 8 Running Shoe
MOST COMFORTABLE RUNNING SHOE
WHY YOU NEED IT: These comfy running shoes are suited for all distances and runners.
USER REVIEW: "They feel amazing, are lightweight, come in wonderful colors, and have great cushioning! They are my recovery and long-run shoes!"
Adidas Ultraboost 21 Running Shoe
BEST RUNNING SHOE OVERALL
WHO IT'S FOR: If you like a little pep in your step, the UltraBoost 21 is a top-notch choice. It comes with a spring-like rubber sole that promotes neutral heel-strike to toe-off movement with every stride, providing you with the bounciest, best run ever.
USER REVIEW: "First time I’ve ever worn new sneakers and haven’t gotten blisters somewhere from breaking them in. I’m a huge fan of the adidas boost technology. Only sneaker I buy for running! Super lightweight and feels like you’re running on a cloud! I’m ordering a second pair."