Altra builds all of its women’s shoes around its “Fit4Her” platform—a women-specific last takes into account the wearer’s narrower heel, higher instep, and longer arch. Add to that its zero-drop construction, which encourages natural foot positioning, a characteristic of Altra’s shoes. Compared to the 3.5, the 4 is slightly lighter according to tests at the RW Shoe Lab. For runners who have always wanted to give zero-drop shoes a go, the Torin 4 (or the even cushier Torin 4 Plush) is the perfect shoe to make the transition.
The best running shoes for women share the same class-leading features with the best shoes overall—they’re light, comfortable, cushioned, and just supportive enough where you need it most. But that locus of support is where some of the biggest differences between men’s and women’s running shoes can be found. Check out quick reviews below of five of our top picks, or scroll deeper for more in-depth reviews of these and other options, plus buying advice.
While a minimalist running shoe might be all the rage, it may not be the best selection for you. This is why making a selection based on your foot type is crucial for a smooth and pain-free shoe. If you have higher arches, then look for a running shoe that gives extra support in the midsole. This will ensure that your feet don’t roll inward when they strike the ground.
Every runner deserves a solid, durable sports shoe and the most durable ones are constructed from the ground up. To determine the overall durability of a shoe we took a look at the outsole, midsole, and upper constructions. Durable running shoes for women have an outsole made of materials that will hold up to outdoor elements, rugged terrain, and are capable of withstanding hard impacts. Midsoles need to maintain a solid level of comfort, even when miles begin to pile up. The upper portion of the shoe should also be breathable AND made of strongly constructed materials. It’s crucial to us that we listen to what female runners from all walks of life had to say in regards to how much wear and tear their shoes could take after they’ve put several miles on them--this way we could provide you with the most accurate information in regards to durability.
Safety should always come first. With that in mind, we made sure to include selections that fit any situation you may encounter. While it may be "trendy" to have a specific marathon shoe, it may not be the ideal situation to take those very shoes on a rugged trail run. Having the choice to make an educated selection based on what type of running each shoe it best suited for will give you the best fit, response, and protection. After all, the easiest way to deal with an injury is to never have it in the first place.
An elite female runner needs an exceptional pair of athletic shoes for women. If you're the kind of gal that only settles for the best of the best, then Road Runner Sports has the brands and styles for you. Check out the best Nike running shoes for women and our assortment of women's Adidas running shoes to see styles from top manufacturers. Feel like taking your women's running shoes on an off road adventure? Browse our women's trail runners instead! You'll find top-rated Merrell trail running shoes as well as waterproof trail runners that you can charge through puddles and streams!