If you’ve ever contemplated signing up for that 5K or training for that marathon, you’re not alone. Running is a great form of aerobic exercise that challenges your muscles, your endurance, and your cardiovascular strength. Better yet, you can do it from anywhere, and with very little equipment. The first step is getting yourself some of the best women’s running shoes to ensure you are supported and as fast as lightning!
Picking up running could also stand to have a significant positive impact on your health. We all have heard that getting in 10,000 steps a day is ideal, but recent research has proven that any improvement on your step count makes a big difference. A recent study reports that taking 7,000 steps a day can keep a middle-aged person’s arteries healthy and reduce their risk of death by up to 70%. The findings by researchers from across the United States suggest that this lower number is still enough to protect against serious heart complications, rather than the common recommendation of 10,000 steps per day.
The study examined a group of adults between 38 and 50 who took at least 7,000 steps daily — about three miles — and discovered that these individuals were much less likely to die over the next decade. Mortality rates among both white and black participants fell by 63 and 70 percent, respectively, compared to their sedentary peers.
The extra steps are also good for your mental health, as exercise appears to be more effective for mental well-being than other common remedies such as prescription drugs or therapy. A new study from researchers at the University of South Australia reports that regular physical activity was 1.5 times more effective than either counseling or the leading medications.
If you’re ready to take the first step towards a new (or revisited) running hobby, it’s important to start with a good foundation. When it comes to running miles, it’s all about protecting your feet and ankles. The right shoe can be the difference between a painful jog that ends in injury and an invigorating run that leaves you ready for the next. But with so many shoes on the market proclaiming their endless benefits, it can be hard to find your perfect fit. That’s why StudyFinds took to the internet to find reviews from 10 expert websites to bring you the best of the best women’s running shoes. This list includes the most frequently recommended kicks, but be sure to let us know if there’s a great pair we missed!
The List: Best Women’s Running Shoes, According to Experts
You probably know Lululemon for their buttery-soft leggings, but believe it or not, the brand has jumped into the running shoe market in a big way. The Blissfeel is carefully designed to meet the day-to-day needs of female runners. As CNN says, “Lululemon analyzed foot scans from more than a million women to build a neutral trainer with a wider forefoot to accommodate female anatomy and more cushioning around and under the heel for comfort.”
“A year after the launch of the Blissfeel, the brand’s first-ever running shoe, Lululemon is back with the Blissfeel 2 — an everyday running shoe, designed for women,” adds Tom’s Guide. “Lululemon has made some tweaks to the fit and feel of the shoe, completely reinventing the upper to improve the underfoot experience. In a world of carbon fiber plates and huge stack heights, this is still a simple running shoe, that’ll get you around a 5K, or a treadmill class.”
If you’re a hobbyist runner, this shoe will likely fulfill most of your basic footwear needs. “A neutral silhouette, this running shoe targets runners cranking out daily miles — and the max cushioning (32.5-millimeter stack height) is meant to make that time spent on their feet comfy and plush,” says Travel + Leisure. “You can even trial the Blissfeel for 30 days and if they don’t, um, bring you bliss, you can return them for a full refund.”
If your worst nightmare is spraining your ankle on your daily jog, the Adidas Ultraboost is for you. Made to uniquely protect the female foot, it’s already prepared to handle many common ailments. “The Ultraboost has been a maximally cushioned staple for male and female runners going the distance since its debut in 2015,” explains CNN. “In reimagining the latest iteration, the designers used data from over a million foot scans to create male and female [casts] around which the new shoe is built. There’s extra support on the inside of the outsole to help keep feet from rolling inward, which is more common among women.”
“The Ultraboost 22 was designed by an all-female design team, for female runners. Adidas used scans from 1.2 million female feet, giving the Ultraboost 22 a narrower heel, a lower instep, and an S-curve heel to allow the Achilles tendon to move more freely,” adds Tom’s Guide. “The Ultraboost Light follows the same design, although there’s one big difference — a new midsole foam.”
“Women have narrower heels and lower ankle bones, and are more prone to bunions than men. That means you can’t just ‘shrink and pink’ a men’s running shoe to satisfy us,” notes Travel + Leisure. “With this max cushioned trainer, you’ll find things like a narrower heel as well as a lower instep height. Plus, the thick Ultraboost midsole foam boasts a soft, bouncy ride with even more energy return while still allowing runners to feel stable during slower to moderately paced runs of varying length.”
3. Hoka Bondi 8
Do you want to feel like you’re running on a cloud? Look no further than the Hoka Bondi 8. “Considered by many to be one of the best cushioned shoes around, the ultra-cushioned Bondi 8 provides pure joy on your run,” claims Fleet Feet. “The softness and comfort of the Bondi 8 are perfect for easy runs, high mileage weeks and recovery days. If you’re looking for the best women’s running shoes with the most cushion, the HOKA Bondi 8 is a game-changer.”
If you prefer your runs long and steady rather than short and speedy, the Bondi 8 might just be your perfect match. “The newest update uses softer, lighter foams and a brand-new extended heel geometry, which — combined with the wider base — helps guide feet seamlessly through the gait cycle without wasting any energy,” says CNN. “It’s not a fast shoe, but it’s one that can really go the distance.”
“Our experts and customers noted that the heel of this shoe, which has an extended geometry, provides some extra cushion that helps runs feel softer and more balanced,” adds NBC. “The Hoka Bondi 8 was also awarded the Seal of Approval from the Podiatric Medical Association, which recognizes products that have been found beneficial to foot health.”
4. Brooks Ghost
While not specifically designed for women, the Brooks Ghost is a great shoe for female runners. Made to be more than capable of accompanying you for a light jog or a long-distance workout, it’s a shoe you’ll be happy to have in your arsenal. “Brooks designed the Ghost to work for most women. To do that, designers made it comfortable, cushioned and lightweight, so you can wear it for an easy mile or light exercise—or a grueling marathon,” says Fleet Feet. “The versatility makes it the perfect shoe for beginner runners, so they can focus on the road ahead and forget all about their shoes. Plus, it’s roomy enough for a wide variety of foot shapes, and it comes in wide sizing for runners who need it.”
“Brooks is the largest women’s performance running shoe brand, and the Ghost is its bestselling women’s running shoe. Though this shoe isn’t designed specifically around female anatomy, it is more accommodating for wider forefeet,” adds CNN. “And, it combines the brand’s softest cushioning in the midsole with a crash pad at the heel to help better absorb impact.”
By and large, shoppers tend to agree that the Ghost is a fantastic investment for female runners. “Across retailers, customers give this shoe well over 4 out of 5 stars, citing the quality of the shoe and the value (given how long the shoe lasts) as major pros,” says NBC. “Weighing in at under 8.8 ounces, this shoe is extremely lightweight and is appropriate across a range of surfaces, says the brand.”
If you love to go the distance on your runs, the Asics Gel-Nimbus is the shoe you want on the journey with you. This shoe is made to be as comfortable on mile 20 as it is on mile 2, making it a great pick for new and experienced runners. “The ASICS GEL-Nimbus 25 is the newest member of a classic collection. With more than a quarter of a century’s worth of experience packed into the latest version, the Nimbus 25 is better than ever,” boasts Fleet Feet. “With a softer and more comfortable upper that includes a thin, stretchy tongue, this is one of the most comfortable iterations of the Nimbus. Whether you’re logging easy miles leading up to a race or hammering out your longest run yet, the ASICS GEL-Nimbus 25 is up for the challenge.”
“Designed for neutral and underpronators and average to high arches, this is a great pick that can accommodate a variety of runners, including newbies who will appreciate having maximum cushioning as they find their stride. There are 12 colors to choose from, such as an electric pink and a soft cream,” says Travel + Leisure. “Asics’s Gel-Nimbus is built for distance running. They’ve gone all out in making this one of the most cushioned trainers on the market. There’s plenty of colorful styles to choose from and the added reflective detail is a great extra touch for night time runs,” adds Women’s Health.
You might also be interested in:
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- Runner’s World
- Fleet Feet
- Tom’s Guide
- Travel + Leisure
- Sports Illustrated
- Women’s Health
- NY Mag
Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations. This article may contain affiliate links.