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.
We chose all the shoes in this roundup based on feedback from the women on our test team, as well as test results from our RW Shoe Lab. We also researched the market, surveyed user reviews, spoke with product managers and designers to find the best of the best. Every shoe was evaluated over the course of hundreds of miles, with attention given to overall performance, comfort, ride, longevity, value, and yes, even style—because who doesn’t want to feel like they look good, even alone on a trail? Here are our favorite running shoes for women this year.
If you’ve never tried a thick, pillowy Hoka One One shoe, it’s hard to believe how light they can feel until you slide your foot into a pair. Great for recovery days or when you just need a break from harsh pounding against concrete, the Clifton 6 wraps your foot in foam and centers it over a thick slab of cushioning with a firm heel and soft forefoot. The shoe is slightly curved to help you roll through your stride. This year’s version is the lightest since the Clifton’s original release in 2014, but it is still a better shoe for long miles than speedwork. The upper has been redesigned in an engineered mesh to fit more smoothly and securely, with just enough structure to comfortably cradle your foot.
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.”
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.
Running all winter takes a lot—extra motivation, tireless dedication, and in the worst conditions, the right pair of shoes. The ICE+ makes it easier to get out there on days that would otherwise confine you to the treadmill with a Vibram Arctic Grip outsole that can grab ice without tearing up bare roads like a spiked sole would. Overall, the neutral shoe’s fit is comfortable, with a flexible overall ride and extra cushioning in the forefoot, plus a heel fit praised by women on our test team for how well it locks the heel into place. A water-resistant upper fends off the snow, even when you’re breaking new trail. But for summer trail runs, the regular Saucony Peregrine is equally capable, bringing the same deep, lugged outsole and cushioned platform to a shoe with a more breathable upper.
When you’re on the lookout for an everyday shoe, from vintage blue ankle shoes, to studded leather casuals, hidden wedges, or sportier barefoot kicks, you can browse the wide array of styles available from Amazon.com. You can shop top women’s fashion sneakers brands like Lacoste, Skechers, New Balance, and more from the comfort of your own home. When you use our search and filter options to find your women’s fashion sneakers, you can quickly narrow your results by shape, size, style, width, closure type, price, and more to make it easier to choose. With free shipping and free returns on eligible items, it’s easier than ever to send something back if you change your mind.