Altra is known for its Foot Pod design, mapping out the foot and balancing weight and pressure on tendons and bones. This technology married with the comfort and responsiveness of the Altra Intuition 4.5 is what sets it a notch above the rest. The Intuition 4.5 has a 0mm drop, allowing for your body to align properly while feeling the road under your feet. It's a great shoe for a long run, the kind that clear your head.
While you might be able to find your favorite brand and style (like New Balance Minimus shoes), you probably won't be able to fully customize it to match your running style and foot shape. How you run and the surface you prefer to run on plays a critical role in the ideal design of your shoe. The impact on someone's feet varies from place to place. If you underpronate (rolling your foot slightly outward), you'll need lighter, more flexible cushioning for shock absorption on the bottom of your feet. We can customize Hoka running shoes, ASICS sneakers for women, Saucony running shoes, and everything else you see in our inventory with the proper insert. If you don't already know your preferences, come to one of our locations where we can analyze how you run and give you the exact shoe, soul, and insert you need to keep your body injury free after every marathon.
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.
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.
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.
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.