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.
The arch, ball of the foot, and toes of women have different shapes and sizes when compared to male feet. In addition, men’s feet tend to be wider and longer on average. This is why it’s important to provide our readers with a selection that reflects the individual needs of a female’s natural foot shape. Responsive sole units can ensure a proper fit and a more customized overall feel.
First off, women’s shoes share a few features based on characteristics that may or may not apply to you. It’s possible you might prefer a “men’s” shoe, just as some men might feel more comfortable in a “women’s” shoe. The designs of the shoes are just based on general group tendencies—such as that women have less muscle mass than men and tend to weigh less as a result. For this reason, women’s shoes often have a lighter and softer midsole to make up for the lower degree of impact put on the shoe with each stride.

How fast can you go on technical trails? The Antora is a trail-running shoe for runners who want to get a little crazy in the woods, with a soft ride but lightweight and responsive feel that makes navigating rocks and roots at PR pace a heck of a lot less terrifying and more fun. The shoe uses Merrell’s new Q-Form 2 midsole, which is made from compression-molded EVA engineered specifically for women’s feet. The design places softer zones of cushioning in the heel and forefoot that keep form true when fatigue sets in, while extra air pods at the heel maximize shock absorption. Our testers found that the water-resistant upper protected their feet through rain and puddles while maintaining breathability and lightweight flexibility.
First off, women’s shoes share a few features based on characteristics that may or may not apply to you. It’s possible you might prefer a “men’s” shoe, just as some men might feel more comfortable in a “women’s” shoe. The designs of the shoes are just based on general group tendencies—such as that women have less muscle mass than men and tend to weigh less as a result. For this reason, women’s shoes often have a lighter and softer midsole to make up for the lower degree of impact put on the shoe with each stride.
The Salomon XR Mission is a prime example of a quality shoe with style and a well thought out design. Not only are they great looking, they are easy to wear, durable, and supportive - everything you want and need from a pair of quality running shoes for women. These womens running shoes are popular among runners of all skill levels and rank high in many reviews as well as here on our top ten list.
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.

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!
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