Finding a great pair of running shoes can be tough. With so many factors to consider, finding a shoe that provides the right balance of weight, stance, color, and price can seem almost impossible. If you’re in the market for a new pair of running shoes, we’re here to help. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned marathoner, these are the best shoes for female runners. Our guide includes tips on the best shoes for both underpronators and overpronators, as well as tips on scoring top-rated shoes at deep discounts. Whether you’re looking to scrimp or splurge on your next running shoe purchase, one of the pairs below should be perfect for your needs.
1. Best Women’s Running Shoes for Beginners: Brooks Defyance 5
If you’re getting serious about running, Brooks is a great shoe brand to consider. The Women’s Defyance 5 is a nice shoe for both beginner and intermediate runners. It’s a fairly neutral shoe with a nice amount of cushioning. It’s also not too stiff, and that combination of flexibility and cushioning will help new runners protect their feet. After all, if your feet are sore after every run, it’s going to be hard to stay motivated. Overall, this is a solid shoe for new runners. While it may not have the most fancy technology, it’s a wonderful shoe for people who are just getting into running and determining what style of running is going to suit them best.
If you want a newer model of this shoe, you could also check out the Defyance 7 or Defyance 8.
- Good all-around support
- Cute design
- Good amount of cushioning
- Breathable mesh upper
- May be too expensive for some
- Not the best for running through puddles
- Some find they are more prone to sole blistering with these shoes, even with proper socks and anti-chafe balm applied
- Somewhat older model
- Arguably a bit better for road running than trail running
2. Best Women’s Running Shoes for Marathoners: Adidas Adizero Adios Boost 2.0
After the 2014 NYC Marathon, Sneaker Report put together a post on the first 100 shoes to cross the finish line. They wrote that “The most popular elite shoe of the marathon was the adidas Adizero Adios Boost 2.0, worn by both men’s and women’s champions, followed by the Nike Lunaracer and longstanding favorite Zoom Streak 3.” So if the Adidas Adizero Adios Boost 2.0 are good enough for the NYC Marathon’s top finishers, then they’re probably going to be great for your marathon plan, too.
So what makes these shoes so great? These shoes offer a blend of lightweight design and “boost” foam to cushion your foot. There’s also a mesh lining designed to allow for the exchange of both air and moisture between your foot and the outside of the shoe. These are great shoes for people who tend to push off with their toes, and the rubber sole is great for both wet and dry runs. Whether you’re training for a marathon, or prefer shorter races like a 5K or 10K, these shoes will be a good fit for you.
- Used by top marathoners
- Trusted brand
- Cushioning helps keep your energy up
- Breathable design
- Heavier runners may prefer something with more cushioning
- Running Times review notes these run narrow and may not fit all women comfortably
- A little expensive
- 9.1 mm drop may be too high for some runners
3. Best Women’s Running Shoes for Overpronators: Saucony Mirage 4
Looking for a minimalist shoe? This pair from Saucony is great for runners who have a tendency to overpronate. The Saucony Mirage 4’s “barely there” midfoot stabilizer got top marks from Fitness Magazine. The drop on this shoe puts it right in the sweet spot to make it appealing to both neutral runners and overpronators. If you tend to run with a midfoot strike, this shoe should feel pretty natural on your foot.
Price: $65.78 and up, depending on size and color selected
- Works well for both neutral and overpronating runners
- Great brand
- Beautiful color options and design
- The next generation of an award-winning shoe
- Redesigned over previous generation to improve breathability and comfort
- Some users have reported cosmetic fraying on upper
- Very stiff sole, may not work for all runners
- May provide more benefit on longer runs
- Some users find toe area quite narrow
- Bulky heel may not appeal to those looking for a low profile sneaker
4. Best Women’s Running Shoes for Underpronators: ASICS Women’s GEL-Blur33 2.0
Runner’s World recommends this shoe for runners who run a quick mile, and notes that it will work best for those with normal or high arches. Since those with high arches are more likely to underpronate, this is a great shoe for those who push off from their smaller, outside toes.
Despite a more minimalist look, Runner’s World notes that this shoe offers cushioning that is on-par with more traditional shoes. It does seem to have better cushioning in the heel than on the forefoot, however, so bear that in mind. As a bonus, these have a lot of reflective potential, great for those who run around dawn or dusk.
Price: $71.99 and up, depending on color and size selected
- Offers nice heel cushioning for heel strikers
- Flat sole designed to increase stability
- Ideal for runners who are more interested in speed than distance
- Balanced weight
- Eye-catching design
- Stiff forefoot may not appeal to all runners
- Not great for those with low arches
- Some testers find them a bit unstable
- Better for roads than trails
- Forefoot could be more cushioned
5. Best Cheap Women’s Running Shoes on Sale: Nike Free 5.0
If you need a new pair of running shoes, but also need to stick to a budget, these are the shoes for you. Runner’s World notes that these shoes have great flexibility and cushioning. They’re also a great buy if you’re starting the transition from bulky shoes to more minimalist shoes, and need a good middle of the road shoe to ease that transition.
While these shoes usually retail for around $100, Amazon is selling select colors and sizes for as low as $59.99. If you love a bargain, these shoes are definitely worth grabbing while they’re on sale.
Price: $59.99 and up, depending on color and size selected
- On sale
- Tons of color options
- Good all-around shoe
- No-sew overlays
- Designed to mold to your foot
- May be too middle of the road for those who prefer ultra thick or ultra thin soles
- Some find these shoes run a bit small
- Not the best crossover shoe for people who like both road and trail runs
- Heavier runners may prefer a shoe with more support
- Primer Magazine‘s review suggests this is a bad choice for those with foot problems