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The 5 Best Running Shoes for Women of 2022

We tested running shoes from Brooks, Nike, Saucony, Hoka, Asics, and others to help you find the best
Best Running Shoes for Women of 2022
Side-by-side testing of the best women's running shoes on the market.
Credit: Ally Arcuri
By Ally Arcuri ⋅ Review Editor
Thursday October 20, 2022
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more

Since 2014, our team has tested over 100 of the best and most popular running shoes for women. We recently bought 12 of today's top models for our latest head-to-head testing. We have pounded miles of pavement, judging every detail of these kicks along the way. We tested each pair on roads, tracks, treadmills, and light trails, taking in-depth notes on the most influential characteristics. We ran through scorching heat, pelting rain, and sunshiny days while ruthlessly judging responsiveness, landing comfort, stability, upper comfort, and weight. From budget buys to long-distance runners and lightning-fast milers, we've found the perfect kicks for your individualized needs and budget.

Feel prepared when hitting the pavement by checking out our reviews of top running gear, including everything from the best sports bras to the best women's running shirts, and even top-rated running socks, and much more. For longer runs, stay hydrated with various products, like best running hydration packs for women.

Editor's Note: We updated this review on October 20, 2022, to add additional models to our lineup and to re-test updated versions of some classics.

Related: Best Running Shoes for Men

Top 12 Product Ratings

Displaying 1 - 5 of 12
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Awards Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award  Best Buy Award Top Pick Award 
Price $139.08 at Amazon
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$140 List
$140.00 at REI
$109.95 at Amazon
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$120 List
$120.00 at REI
$140 List
$140.00 at REI
Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Comfortable, responsive, many size options available, durable, traditional fitWell-cushioned, protective, available in multiple width options, stable and supportiveStable, comfortable, durable, responsive, well-constructedLightweight, comfortable, affordable, responsiveLightweight, well-cushioned, stable, comfortable
Cons Heavier than some, somewhat pricyHeavier than some, support structures might feel too rigid for some runnersSlightly heavy, might feel too rigid to someLess laterally stable, somewhat narrow fitWide footprint, 5mm takes some getting used to
Bottom Line This smooth-riding, highly responsive, and traditionally shaped running shoe is your one-hit wonder when it comes to running shoes, from speed days to long effortsThis all-around fantastic shoe will support your musculature and provide comfort no matter the distance of your endeavorsThis traditional running shoe provides exceptional support and comfort, great durability, and a predictable running shoe fitThis lightweight and responsive shoe is our go-to for faster-paced runs where we crave the sensation of flyingThis well-cushioned and comfortable running shoe provides lightweight comfort and protection for your joints as you pound pavement
Rating Categories Brooks Glycerin 20... Brooks Adrenaline G... Brooks Ghost 14 - W... Saucony Kinvara 13... Hoka One One Mach 5...
Responsiveness (25%)
7.0
7.0
7.0
8.0
6.0
Landing Comfort/Cushioning (25%)
9.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
Stability (20%)
8.0
9.0
8.0
5.0
8.0
Upper Comfort (15%)
9.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
Weight (15%)
5.0
5.0
6.0
9.0
8.0
Specs Brooks Glycerin 20... Brooks Adrenaline G... Brooks Ghost 14 - W... Saucony Kinvara 13... Hoka One One Mach 5...
Weight (per shoe, size 7) 8.61 oz 8.11 oz 7.79 oz 5.86 oz 6.42 oz
Heel to Toe Drop 10 mm 12 mm 12 mm 4 mm 5 mm
Width Options Regular, Wide Regular, Narrow, Wide, Extra Wide Regular, Narrow, Wide Regular, Wide Regular
Style Traditional Moderate cushioned Traditional Neutral Neutral
Sizes Available 5-12 5-13 5-13 5-12 5-11
Upper Material Synthetic mesh Mesh Engineered mesh Engineered mesh Engineered mesh
Midsole Material EVA foam EVA DNA loft, BioMoGo DNA EVA PROFLY foam
Sole Rubber Rubber Rubber Rubber Rubber Rubberized EVA


Best Overall Women's Running Shoe


Brooks Glycerin 20 - Women's


77
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Responsiveness 7.0
  • Landing Comfort/Cushioning 9.0
  • Stability 8.0
  • Upper Comfort 9.0
  • Weight 5.0
Weight Per Shoe (Size 7): 8.6 oz | Heel-to-Toe Drop: 10mm
REASONS TO BUY
Responsive
Incredibly comfortable cushioning
Lightweight
Durable
Great width options
REASONS TO AVOID
Still heavier than some
Pricey

The Brooks Glycerin 20 was recently released with some incredible updates. From the infused nitrogen for added responsiveness and the overall lower weight, the Glycerin is back and better than ever. With plenty of well-rounded cushion, a traditional fit, and a silky-smooth body, the Glycerin earned its spot atop our podium. Brooks offers width and heel collar options to ensure that the shoe you choose suits your feet and stride perfectly. If you are looking for a 10mm drop road shoe that will be with you for long-haul training and more, this is the shoe for you.

The Glycerin 20 is more comfortable and responsive than ever. But runners looking for a featherweight option for races might not love how traditional this shoe is. There are lighter, more responsive options out there, though we strongly feel like the Glycerin will accommodate most runners. With all of its updates came a price increase with the Glycerin, making it a slightly more expensive option. If it suits your needs and budget, the Glycerin 20 is a fantastic running shoe that runners of all shapes and sizes can find success in.

Read more: Brooks Glycerin 20 - Women's review

running shoes womens - best overall women's running shoe
The Glycerin quickly won us over and became our favorite overall shoe for women's road running.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

Best Bang for the Buck


Saucony Kinvara 13 - Women's


72
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Responsiveness 8.0
  • Landing Comfort/Cushioning 7.0
  • Stability 5.0
  • Upper Comfort 7.0
  • Weight 9.0
Weight Per Shoe (Size 7): 5.9 oz | Heel-to-Toe Drop: 4 mm
REASONS TO BUY
Lightweight
Comfortable
Affordable
Responsive
REASONS TO AVOID
Neutral style is less supportive
Narrower midfoot won't suit everyone

A lightweight running shoe doesn't automatically mean it will be a standout performer across the board. In the case of the Kinvara 13, though, you get the best of all worlds and then some. This shoe is lightweight, responsive, comfortable, and comes at an affordable price, which is why it earns our coveted honor for its value. The Pwrrun+ base is shock-absorbing, and the FormFit sole enhances its responsiveness, making this an excellent option for racing or fast workouts when speed is a priority. This shoe continues to be our first choice for tempo runs, track workouts, and middle-distance race days. The heel and collar are snug and don't slip when in motion. Both features have been reconfigured to provide better comfort and durability. The sock-like fit of the Kinvara makes the shoe feel like a natural part of our bodies. Its weightlessness also adds to this liberating sensation. The laces stay tied tight for the long haul, and the tongue is perfectly padded. With this version, Saucony redesigned the lace bed for added comfort and it really shows. They are now making the Kinvara with a single piece of mesh on the upper, which creates an even more flexible shoe. This version is more durable than the versions of the Kinvara that we have tested in the past, further cementing its standing as an incredible budget buy.

Runners looking for an ultra-plush, pillowy landing base will find the neutral and minimalistic Kinvara 13 to be lacking. Because they are flexible and less rigid, they also don't score as high in the lateral stability department, especially now that the upper is made of only a single piece of engineered mesh. However, the structure is strong enough to provide some support and we never felt like our feet were blowing out the lateral mesh. Runners who land heavily might not be as successful as we were — heavy steppers typically need a bit more underfoot cushion to protect their joints. The Kinvara offers a more lightweight style landing, so be sure to keep in mind your own running style when determining which pair of runners might suit you the best. The Kinvara is a superb choice if you're looking to dip your toes into a more minimalist style but aren't sure you want to commit. The shape is reminiscent of a traditional runner but with all of the goodies of a neutral and responsive shoe. Plus, if you're motivated by style, the Kinvara 13's bold color schemes and sleek countenance will have you looking fast and fly on your runs, in the gym, and beyond.

Read more: Saucony Kinvara 13 - Women's review

running shoes womens - best bang for the buck
Every time we put these responsive and lightweight running shoes on, we feel motivated to hit fast paces.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

Best for Lateral Support


Brooks Adrenaline GTS 22- Women's


75
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Responsiveness 7.0
  • Landing Comfort/Cushioning 8.0
  • Stability 9.0
  • Upper Comfort 8.0
  • Weight 5.0
Weight Per Shoe (Size 7): 8.1 oz | Heel-to-Toe Drop: 12 mm
REASONS TO BUY
Supportive
Comfortable cushioning
Super smooth footstrike
Responsive
Durable
Great width options
REASONS TO AVOID
Heavier than others
Reconfigured heel cup won't please everyone

The Brooks Adrenaline GTS 22 is an updated version of one of Brooks's longest-standing, most-popular shoes. With a redesigned midsole and collar, it seems like the engineers behind this shoe thought of everything. The midsole now boasts 100% DNA LOFT for responsive and consistent comfort. The beveled heel cup tapers to better accommodate the natural anatomy of the ankle, and the number of width options available ensures that most runners will be able to find their perfect fit. As with past iterations, the Adrenaline is a traditionally-shaped and supportive, 12-millimeter drop road running shoe. We find that the built-in lateral Guiderails provide great support, especially as your legs fatigue. If you are in the market for a versatile running shoe that can take you from sprints to marathons to light trails and beyond, look no further because the Adrenaline 22 is our choice for the best overall women's running shoe.

A well-supported shoe with ample, yet firm cushioning might not appeal to all runners. Despite its versatility, runners looking to hit super-fast paces in a shoe built for speed might not like the relatively average weight and cushion of the Adrenaline 22. But if you are looking for a shoe that is going to meet the mark on a variety of run types and styles, this comfortable and versatile running shoe is our top recommendation for you.

Read more: Brooks Adrenaline GTS 22 - Women's review

running shoes womens - best for lateral support
The Adrenaline GTS 22 by Brooks kept our feet happy on punishing road runs.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

Best for Speed Workouts and Racing


Saucony Endorphin Speed 3 - Women's


71
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Responsiveness 9.0
  • Landing Comfort/Cushioning 7.0
  • Stability 5.0
  • Upper Comfort 6.0
  • Weight 8.0
Weight Per Shoe (Size 7): 6.6 oz | Heel-to-Toe Drop: 8 mm
REASONS TO BUY
Ultra-responsive
Lightweight
Speedroll technology feels propulsive
REASONS TO AVOID
Narrow fit
Less stable
Less versatile

The Saucony Endorphin Speed 3 is a shoe built for speed. From the turnover-enhancing Speedroll technology to its slim-fitting upper, this shoe is designed for speed. We fell in love with how speedy we felt during our track workouts in the Endorphin Speed. The updated outsole provides better traction, which is awesome for helping you stay upright as you fly around corners. With each women's size 7 shoe weighing around 6 and a half ounces, this pair of running shoes is our top pick for runners who are motivated by speed.

The Endorphin Speed isn't our favorite for long-distance running. It doesn't provide much stability and its non-traditional shape doesn't support super long-distance endeavors. This specialty shoe is also quite narrow, which shrinks the amount of runners who will find comfort while running in it. Because this a road running shoe that is built to be responsive and light, it is far less versatile than others in our collection. If you want a speed-focused shoe to add to your collection, the Endorphin Speed 3 is a great choice. If you are in the market for a more versatile option that you can wear on a variety of run types, this shoe won't be your best bet.

Read more: Saucony Endorphin Speed 3 - Women's review

running shoes womens - best for speed workouts and racing
The shape, fit, and feel of the Endorphin Speed make it a great shoe for race days and speed workouts.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

Best for Plush Comfort


Hoka One One Mach 5 - Women's


71
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Responsiveness 6.0
  • Landing Comfort/Cushioning 7.0
  • Stability 8.0
  • Upper Comfort 7.0
  • Weight 8.0
Weight Per Shoe (Size 7): 6.4 oz | Heel-to-Toe Drop: 5 mm
REASONS TO BUY
Comfortable landing pad
Lightweight
Good combination of responsiveness and comfort
REASONS TO AVOID
5mm drop takes getting used to
Wide outsole won't suit everyone

We gave the Hoka Mach 5 recognition for its plush comfort because of how comfortable this shoe is as a whole. With a huge stack of underfoot cushioning and a rubberized EVA outsole, the Mach offers a great crash pad for each of your footfalls. While not the most responsive shoe out of the bunch, it provides great responsiveness considering its comfort. We are unaccustomed to seeing highly cushioned shoes with any responsiveness, so running in the Mach 5 was a real treat. We love how lightweight they feel in motion. This combined with the minimal, 5mm drop makes for a comfortable and stable shoe that you can go the distance in.

Because of its less traditional shape, the Hoka Mach 5 might not be everyone's cup of tea. Instead of having a 10 to 12-millimeter drop, it has a smaller 5-millimeter drop and an extended outsole. This is in addition to its beveled heel collar, which already adds a unique element. If you want a traditional road shoe to take you through your paces, this isn't it. But if you want a speedy and comfortable road running partner, the Mach 5 is definitely worth checking out.

Read more: Hoka One One Mach 5- Women's review

running shoes womens - with a nice balance of energy return and overall comfort, the mach 5...
With a nice balance of energy return and overall comfort, the Mach 5 is easily one of our top picks when it comes to comfortable mileage.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

Compare Products

select up to 5 products to compare
Score Product Price
77
Brooks Glycerin 20 - Women's
brooks glycerin 20 for women running shoes review
$160
Editors' Choice Award
75
Brooks Adrenaline GTS 22- Women's
brooks adrenaline gts 22- women's running shoes review
$140
Top Pick Award
75
Brooks Ghost 14 - Women's
brooks ghost 14 for women running shoes review
$140
72
Saucony Kinvara 13 - Women's
saucony kinvara 13 for women running shoes review
$120
Best Buy Award
71
Hoka One One Mach 5 - Women's
hoka one one mach 5 for women running shoes review
$140
Top Pick Award
71
New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v12 - Women's
new balance fresh foam 1080v12 for women running shoes
$160
71
Saucony Endorphin Speed 3 - Women's
saucony endorphin speed 3 for women running shoes review
$170
Top Pick Award
70
Asics Gel-Kayano 29 - Women's
asics gel-kayano 29 for women running shoes review
$160
67
Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 39 - Women's
nike air zoom pegasus 39 for women running shoes review
$130
67
ON Cloudflyer - Women's
on cloudflyer for women running shoes
$160
66
Hoka One One Bondi 8 - Women's
hoka one one bondi 8 for women running shoes review
$165
60
Adidas Solarglide 5 - Women's
adidas solarglide 5 for women running shoes
$130

running shoes womens - the on cloudflyer snuck up on us - it scored super well across the...
The ON Cloudflyer snuck up on us - it scored super well across the board and conformed to fit our unique foot shapes over time.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

Why You Should Trust Us


Our running experts have tested over 100 pairs of the most popular running shoes over the last 7 years. Before kicking off our review, the lineup was selected after extensively researching the market and spending hours comparing features, materials, and fit, to help you find the best women's running shoes out there. Our testing extended over the course of months, where we truly put these shoes through the wringer. We subjected each contender to over 30 miles of running, which is more than 360 miles overall, running hard and far to find which kicks can hold up and which aren't worth the time. We ran on various terrains, such as pavement, beaches, tracks for speed workouts, and dirt trails. Yes, our legs are tired.

Our tests are grouped into five weighted rating metrics:
  • Responsiveness (25% of overall score weighting)
  • Landing Comfort/Cushioning (25% weighting)
  • Stability (20% weighting)
  • Upper Comfort (15% weighting)
  • Weight (15% weighting)

Our lead road running expert is exercise specialist Ally Arcuri. She is an avid runner, fitness junkie, cancer survivor, accomplished ultramarathoner, personal trainer, group fitness instructor, and yoga teacher. Ally has broken tape at quite a few middle-distance races and intends to win more now that her cancer journey is behind her. You can find Ally and her dog out, running from open roads to beaches, even trails. Her years of work in physical therapy help guide her through the sea of running gear available, and her kinesiology degree provides valuable scientific insight. In addition to many other voices on our testing team, Ally provides exceptional feedback on the best women's road shoes out there.

We love the wide toe box of the New Balance FreshFoam 1080 v12.
We love the wide toe box of the New Balance FreshFoam 1080 v12.
Though not our favorite shoe of the bunch, we love certain elements...
Though not our favorite shoe of the bunch, we love certain elements about the updated Solarglide by Adidas.
The updates to the Mach make it an even more enjoyable running buddy.
The updates to the Mach make it an even more enjoyable running buddy.

Analysis and Test Results


Whether you're training for a marathon or walking your dog, picking the right shoe for your needs can be challenging. Recent advancements in materials and design have led to a bewildering array of choices, with every company catering to a different need. Plus, the improvements made in traditional models, the progression toward minimalist or barefoot footwear, and the recent eruption of maximally cushioned products have added new layers of complexity. Luckily, we are here to help you make sense of it all and guide you towards finding your new running mate. Below we outline how each women's running shoes perform in the test metrics.

Before we get started, you need to decide if road-specific running shoes are the best choice for you. If you run primarily on roads, sidewalks, the treadmill, or a track, you are in the right spot. Even if you take an occasional cruise through dirt roads and light cross-country trails, a road-running shoe will likely be your best option.


Value


At GearLab, we buy all of our products at retail prices just like you and have our testing team put them through an aggressive battery of tests without looking at the price tag. We consider the price only after accurately scoring each pair of shoes in our metrics. We think that value, durability, and versatility go hand-in-hand. If a shoe only performs well in one situation, its value is often lower than a well-rounded option. In this review, the Saucony Kinvara 13 held up as our top value due to its lightweight comfort and excellent price. For slightly more money, you can snag the Brooks Glycerin 20, which is one of the most well-rounded and versatile shoes that we have had the pleasure of testing. The Mach 5 also stands out as another budget-friendly buy that can provide great comfort, versatility, and responsiveness at a low weight. Finally, the updates to the Nike Pegasus 39 make it another shoe that offers a great bang for your buck.

running shoes womens - though not an overall favorite, the nike pegasus 39 offers a great...
Though not an overall favorite, the Nike Pegasus 39 offers a great value.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

Responsiveness


Responsiveness describes how a shoe responds to the energy you put into it, how quickly and efficiently your feet travel through the motions of each stride, and how agile you feel doing so. Often, the higher a shoe scores in responsiveness, the lower it scores in landing comfort, and vice versa. The thicker and softer cushioning that increases landing comfort can sometimes make a shoe feel spongy and hinder responsiveness. Manufacturers have greatly increased the balance of cushioning and responsiveness in ultra-comfy kicks through new technologically advanced foams and materials. While individual foot shape and musculature composition can dictate how agile a runner may feel in a certain pair of shoes, certain patterns and indicators help us assess this complicated metric reasonably.


The Saucony Endorphin Speed 3 is the most responsive shoe in our lineup. The snug-fitting upper makes each step feel intuitive and somewhat effortless. To maximize responsiveness, the carbon fiber plate within the midsole provides stiffness and energy return, while the PWRRUNPB cushioning helps balance things out with a bit of softness and extra bounce.

running shoes womens - we love tackling our shorter runs in the ultra-responsive endorophin...
We love tackling our shorter runs in the ultra-responsive Endorophin Speed 3.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

The Kinvara 13 also has the iconic Saucony Pwrrun cushioning, making it another responsive choice. The Kinvara is simply constructed and doesn't offer much protection or stability, though it does provide more than the Endorphin, so it is up to you to determine what matters most to you when shopping for a new pair of shoes.

running shoes womens - from the rubber sole to the dna loft midsole to the svelte...
From the rubber sole to the DNA LOFT midsole to the svelte engineered mesh upper, the Kinvara is built for speed.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

The Pegasus also scores well with its lightweight construction and responsive cushioning. Nike added a larger Zoom Air unit in the forefoot than on previous versions, which offers a soft landing pad without being cumbersome. The air unit is tuned explicitly in this women's version to 15 PSI to provide a bit more flexibility through the sole. The lightweight React foam adds to the light, nimble feeling. This is our favorite version of the Peg to date.

running shoes womens - faster and more functional than ever.
Faster and more functional than ever.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

The Brooks Glycerin 20, the Brooks Adrenaline 22, and the Brooks Ghost 14 all earned above-average marks in the responsiveness category, especially considering their traditional shapes. The DNA LOFT cushioning adds an extra bit of bounce, making for responsive shoes that perform well on long-distance days. The increased lateral support of most Brooks models helps us continue to run in an ergonomically correct way even as we fatigue. We love the balance of power and comfort that Brooks has been able to strike.

Brooks makes some of our favorite long-distance runners.
Brooks makes some of our favorite long-distance runners.
We are down to tackle any type of forgiving terrain in the updated...
We are down to tackle any type of forgiving terrain in the updated version of the Brooks Ghost.
Our favorite among favorites, the Adrenaline, makes hitting our goal...
Our favorite among favorites, the Adrenaline, makes hitting our goal paces attainable and fun.

Landing Comfort/Cushioning


Whether you run a few miles a year or are tied to a rigorous training schedule, it's called "pounding pavement" for a reason. Our testers consider this metric one of the most important evaluation criteria with that pounding in mind. Nothing makes someone want to stop running more than tired, blistered feet, or achy joints, so we used this category to judge a few different shoe traits. We review the ability to cushion the feet and provide adequate shock absorption for each contender. We also compared the construction of midsoles and materials. We got to know each shoe and assessed its ideal running scenarios, whether built for long runs or speed workouts (or neither).


The Hoka Bondi 8 is the most well-cushioned shoe we tested. It does have a very different feel than any other shoe in this review and potentially any shoe you've tried on before. Your foot will sit considerably higher off the ground because of the maximum cushioning, creating a unique sensation that takes some getting used to. This excessive but wonderful amount of cushion is what makes the Bondi an excellent choice for anyone looking to up their landing comfort. Furthermore, we recommend the Bondi for people who work on their feet all day and the plush stack of pillows underfoot feels delightful. The Bondi didn't take home any awards during this round of testing as its cousin, the Mach 5 blew our expectations out of the water.

running shoes womens - we don&#039;t love the upper of the latest bondi, but it still provides...
We don't love the upper of the latest Bondi, but it still provides more underfoot cushion than any other shoe in our lineup.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

We grew to love the landing comfort of the ON Cloudflyer as well. Though not as plush as the Bondi or the Mach, the spacious toe box and tapered midfoot perfectly complement its average amount of cushioning. If you want a comfortable landing platform with a bit less squish and a starker heel-to-toe differential, you'll like the feeling of the Cloudflyer. Its more rigid design and 7-millimeter drop give you almost as much overall comfort but without the unique feeling of the Bondi.

running shoes womens - we love the profile, fit, and landing comfort of the cloudflyer by on.
We love the profile, fit, and landing comfort of the Cloudflyer by ON.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

When it comes to landing comfort, the Ghost, Glycerin, and Adrenaline by Brooks all offer excellent cushioning with a bit more structure to ensure a well-balanced foot strike mile after mile. We really love that they each have enough stability and protection without going overboard on rigidity.

running shoes womens - we love the soft cushion and shape of the updated glycerin.
We love the soft cushion and shape of the updated Glycerin.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

Stability


Stability is another crucial metric in the world of running. When we reference stability, we refer to the lateral stability a shoe offers. Lateral stability is significant for runners who tend to over or under pronate while running. Over time, small imbalances can lead to huge, lingering injuries. Running shoe manufacturers add structural support by reinforcing the lateral midsole of each shoe. Sometimes they will even insert more rigid materials to keep the shoe more stable and promote proper foot alignment through the stride. In general, we have found that stability-increasing structures and weight are mutually exclusive, but the extra ounces are worth a lifetime of proper running form.


We have tested quite a lineup of supportive and stable running shoes over the years. Our recurrent favorites for gently correcting over-pronation are the Brooks Adrenaline and the Asics Gel-Kayano 29. The Adrenaline has built-in GuideRails, as do many other options by Brooks, that enhance the shoe's stability and help runners eliminate excessive ankle movements.

running shoes womens - the gel-kayano is a supremely comfortable and stable road running...
The Gel-Kayano is a supremely comfortable and stable road running shoe.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

The Gel-Kayano has been engineered in such a way to encourage runners to push off with their toes. This helps encourage even weight distribution in the push-off phase of a stride, which is incredibly valuable for over-pronators. In our opinion, the Ghost is well-suited for runners who need extra support and might overpronate when their stabilizing muscles fatigue. The Gel-Kayano is a better choice for runners who KNOW that they overpronate and want to correct their gait.

running shoes womens - the support and responsiveness of the ghost combine to create a...
The support and responsiveness of the Ghost combine to create a running shoe that we reach for on everyday runs and race days, too.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

Tip: Over-pronation can be caused by weak glute muscles, unstable ankles, or years of training with an inefficient gait pattern. If you find your ankles rolling in slightly while on the run, we recommend trying out a pair of running shoes made specifically to correct this postural misalignment.

Upper Comfort


Aside from style, the first thing we notice about a shoe is its upper comfort. We are also highly picky about how the tongue and lace combo touches our feet. Nobody wants the lace bed digging into their upper foot, so we weeded out the aggressive from the smooth. The flexibility of materials, foot box shape, and overall upper design and construction all play into this, ideally coalescing in a shoe that lets you forget you're even wearing it. Feet often swell as your running heats up as well, so tight and unforgiving laces that obstruct blood flow were a sure way for a shoe to get a lower score in this area.


In our opinion, Brooks and Saucony have constructed some of the most comfortable uppers in the world of running shoes. Brooks shoes are plenty flexible and have soft tongues with strong yet soft laces. The Glycerin 20 is a solid choice for upper comfort if you seek a traditionally shaped running shoe. It is softer to the touch than the Ghost or Adrenaline.

running shoes womens - we can&#039;t get enough of the upper comfort of the glycerin.
We can't get enough of the upper comfort of the Glycerin.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

The Kinvara 13 earned a high score in this metric due to its soft upper and semi-traditional running shoe shape. This more traditional profile isn't typical in an ultra-responsive runner, but we are hyped on the marriage of the two. The perfectly-placed tongue padding ensures that the upper comfort is well above a standard running shoe.

running shoes womens - bombing down the bluffs in the lightweight and comfortable kinvara...
Bombing down the bluffs in the lightweight and comfortable Kinvara 13 is one of our favorite things to do.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

Another standout when it comes to upper comfort is the New Balance FreshFoam 1080 v12. The Hypoknit upper of this eco-conscious and versatile runner fits like the most delicious sockliner you've ever felt. It encases your feet in soft, supple synthetic mesh and provides ample toebox real estate. Not only does the toebox give your toes enough space to splay and adjust to the terrain as you run, but it is also built tall enough to not elicit any pressure or pain on your toes vertically.

running shoes womens - the new balance fresh foam 1080 v12 didn&#039;t take home any awards...
The New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 v12 didn't take home any awards during this round of testing. Though it earned accolades as one of the more comfortable and flexible shoes that we tested.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

The ON Cloudflyer scored quite well across the board, earning above-average marks in all of our metrics except weight, where it earned an average score with each shoe weighing in at 8.15 ounces. Our primary concern when it comes to this stylish and functional standout shoe is the lace bed. Unlike a traditional running shoe that anchors the laces within the structure of the shoe, the Cloudflyer's laces are anchored bilateral with small loops. We did not have any issues with the lace bed and in fact, found it to be comfortable, but the small anchoring loops give us durability concerns. If, by chance, one of the loops broke, the shoe would become very difficult to lace properly and might even become unusable. The loops are strong, but this concern is profound enough that we feel the need to pass the information on to you.

running shoes womens - the lace-anchoring loops of the cloudflyer don&#039;t provide as much...
The lace-anchoring loops of the Cloudflyer don't provide as much lacebed insurance as we are accustomed to seeing.
Credit: Ally Arcuri


Weight


We can't deny that shoe weight affects running ability, but we caution against judging shoes based solely on this metric. This may be one of the first things we notice as we pull shoes out of the box — could a few ounces hold the key to your running success? It all depends on what your goals are. Unless elite-level racing is in your near future, we'd suggest using weight as a secondary deciding factor after more noticeable criteria like upper and landing comfort. Once you've narrowed down your selection slightly, you can use weight to hone in on your final choice.


If you want to lay down speedy miles and build strength through sprinting, check out the Saucony Kinvara 13, the lightest shoe in our lineup. It weighs in at 5.86 ounces per shoe. The Saucony Endorphin Speed 3 and HOKA Mach 5 are other lightweight but comfortable choices. That said, depending on what feels good for your body, you might find a moderately weighted shoe more supportive and better for your needs. We tested shoes ranging from 5.86 ounces to nearly 10 ounces per shoe for a women's size 7. As you might expect, both the lightest and heaviest shoes have features that you may find helpful, depending on your needs and preferences.

running shoes womens - we like to go fast in the updated endorphin speed.
We like to go FAST in the updated Endorphin Speed.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

The Adidas Solarglide 5 is the heaviest shoe we tested this time around. Each women's size 7 Solarglide weighs 9.88 ounces, nearly double the responsive, flight-inducing kicks that we recommend for speed. The weight of the Solarglide is fairly well-distributed but ultimately detracts from this shoe's overall prowess in the field.

running shoes womens - the solarglide 5 by adidas looks and feels pretty good on the run...
The Solarglide 5 by Adidas looks and feels pretty good on the run, but it ultimately didn't impress us when up against some of the best road running shoes on the market.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

Conclusion


The footwear market, especially running shoes, is oversaturated with options and is full of lingo and misleading marketing. Therefore, finding the right running shoe to add to your running apparel and gear can be a huge and daunting task. Fortunately, we have the details you need to make an informed decision. We spent months reviewing the most popular women's models on the market, from lightweight minimalist superstars to plush maximalist mileage hogs — and everything else in between.

Ally Arcuri


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