The Turbo 2 is built for women who want to go fast, with a soft, springy ZoomX foam in the midsole borrowed from the record-setting Vaporfly Flyknit 4%. Typically, an EVA foam midsole will compress easily and then take its sweet time recovering shape. But ZoomX technology has blown us away with its quick compressibility and immediate rebound. Nike has added a thin layer of React foam to the bottom so the shoe will hold up for longer, as well as a rubber outsole grid for traction. Overall, this is a high-mileage, versatile shoe that combines the fit and feel of a workhorse Pegasus with the lightweight speed of a racing flat. Just be warned that upper feels slightly less secure than the first Peg Turbo.
A perennial favorite for new runners and marathon maniacs alike, the Ghost has always provided a quick, smooth ride that holds up over the miles. This year’s edition somehow raises an already-stellar bar with a new 3D Fit Print upper that promises a lighter feel and sleeker aesthetic. While our testers thought the Ghost 11 had ample cushioning in the heel, they felt it could use a little more softness up front—and Brooks listened; our RW Lab data showed there is indeed softer cushioning in the forefoot of the 12. “From front to back, the cushioning is superb without being too mushy,” said one female tester. “The forefoot was cushioned enough to provide a soft landing while also letting me feel the terrain beneath me.”
Studies on foot shape have shown that women’s feet aren’t just smaller, narrower versions of male feet—there are differences in overall shape that affect shoe fit. Women’s feet tend to be comparatively wider in the forefoot, with a narrower heel. Running shoe makers take this statistical difference into mind when designing their shoes, and generally build their shoes with different heel shapes and sometimes different heel materials between the two models of the same shoe. Companies like Altra, with its Fit4Her technology, specifically design shoes that anatomically mirror a woman’s foot.
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.

The 26th iteration of the Gel-Kayano brings big changes, including a sleeker look, more stability for overpronators, and a snug mesh upper with an external heel counter for a locked-in feel. All this—plus a longer medial plate that extends from the midsole to the heel—comes with the intention of providing more motion control and a sturdier ride. Two types of lightweight foam at the heel (for added bounce) and toe (for forward propulsion) give the shoe plenty of cushion and support. Plus, the women’s version has an extra 3mm of midsole height to reduce strain on the Achilles.
With this newest update, we have added three new shoes to our list including some shoes in our top ranking positions. Be sure to check out the newly added products- ASICS Women's GEL-Venture 5, Salomon Women's XR Mission, and Adidas Women's Cloudfoam QT. If you have any questions about these or the other running shoes featured on our guide, feel free to reach out to us and let us answer those queries and help you find the running shoes that are just right for you!
Fans of Adidas’s springy Boost foam quickly fell in love with the first Solarboost, one of this 2018’s best shoes. The updated SB19 packs the same cushiony-soft midsole as the brand’s Ultraboost, but beefs up support through the midfoot and adds a streamlined “tailored fiber” upper without adding weight or bulk. It also tacks on stabilizing guide rails to secure the heel at the midsole, which are intended to help the Achilles move freely and focus a runner’s energy forward. Our testers appreciated the original Solarboost’s solid energy return and support from the upper, though some felt like it could stand to be more breathable, which Adidas remedied in this version with new air mesh.
Researchers have also found that because women tend to have wider hips than men, our feet are more likely to strike the ground toward the outside of our shoe soles. The inward rolling of the foot that results from this is known as pronation, which explains why more women are believed to overpronate than men. Some women’s running shoes account for this increased tendency with different materials used for support through the sole.
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