Best Running Shoes for Women 2023
Buyer's Guide | Fleet Feet
Finding the best women’s running shoes is our main focus at Fleet Feet.
Whether you’re training for a marathon or just wanting to get outside for a few miles, we want to find you the best running shoes for your feet.
We use millions of data points from our fit id® outfitting process to figure out how shoes uniquely fit women, and we research and test as many running shoes for women as we can to ensure we recommend the right pair. Then we test and review shoes to ensure they're up to our standards (and yours).
Some brands even account for biomechanical differences between women and men. Where a brand's running shoes for women differ from their best men's running shoes, we make note of that, too.
We brought together our database of fit id® scans, designer notes and feedback from the ladies of the Fleet Feet review team to determine the best running shoes for women. All of these shoes are great for everyday training, but some attributes of each model stand out. Here are the women’s shoes we think are best for (almost) every situation:
- Best Shoe for Beginner Runners: Brooks Ghost 15
- Best Cushioned Shoe: HOKA Bondi 8
- Best Overall Workout Shoe: On Cloud 5
- Best Shoe for Overpronators: New Balance Fresh Foam 860v13
- Best Treadmill Shoe: Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 40
- Best Road Racing Shoe: Saucony Endorphin Speed 3
- Best Fitting Shoe: Karhu Ikoni 2.5
- Best Trail Shoe: Altra Lone Peak 7
- Best Shoe for Long Runs: ASICS GEL-Nimbus 25
- Best Everyday Training Shoe: Mizuno Wave Rider 27
Got more questions? Check out these FAQs.
[This article is part of the Fleet Feet Buyer's Guide for The Best Running Shoes 2023. Find all the best running shoes from the top brands for all situations.]
Best Shoe for Beginner Runners: Brooks Ghost 15
Attributes: Comfortable, accommodating fit, cushioned
Versatility is what makes the Brooks Ghost 15 one of the best women's running shoes on the market today.
Brooks designed the Ghost to work for most women. To do that, designers made it comfortable, cushioned and lightweight, so you can wear it for an easy mile or light exercise—or a grueling marathon. The versatility makes it the perfect shoe for beginner runners, so they can focus on the road ahead and forget all about their shoes. Plus, it's roomy enough for a wide variety of foot shapes, and it comes in wide sizing for runners who need it.
New this year is an updated DNA Loft v2 foam. The designers gave the Ghost 15 a lighter feel on your feet, cushier underfoot feel and smooth transition.
With an easier ride and accommodating fit, the women's Brooks Ghost 15 gives you everything you need to start running or walking your way to your goals.
Best Cushioned Shoe: HOKA Bondi 8
Attributes: Max cushioning, very soft ride, lightweight feel
Considered by many to be one of the best cushioned shoes around, the ultra-cushioned Bondi 8 provides pure joy on your run. HOKA amplified the Bondi’s core features with a generous bed of ultralight and resilient foam that keeps each step soft and bouncy, while a smooth rolling sensation transitions you effortlessly from heel strike to toe-off.
The big bed of foam underfoot uses HOKA’s early-stage Meta-Rocker shape and an extended heel geometry to give you a buttery smooth transition from heel to toe. Plus, with a 31 mm stack height in the heel and a 27 mm measurement in the forefoot, you'll never bottom out while you’re pounding the pavement.
The softness and comfort of the Bondi 8 are perfect for easy runs, high mileage weeks and recovery days. It's also ideal for people who work on their feet all day, like nurses and doctors (HOKA even makes the women's HOKA Bondi SR with a leather upper and slip-resistant outsole).
If you're looking for the best women's running shoes with the most cushion, the HOKA Bondi 8 is a game-changer.
Read more in our HOKA Bondi 8 review.
Best Overall Workout Shoe: On Cloud 5
Attributes: Lightweight, responsive cushioning, stylish
From walking around town to working out, the On Cloud 5 can do it all.
On engineered the Cloud 5 to move in any direction, thanks to responsive cushioning and lightweight materials. The shoe's Helion foam midsole works with On's signature Speedboard to energize every step, whether you're walking the dog or hitting the floor for another burpee.
The flexible and durable engineered mesh upper, alongside the speed laces, lets you put these on and go (although they also come with traditional laces, if that is more your speed). Our reviewers loved the different lacing options in our On Cloud 5 review.
Even though the Cloud 5 delivers versatile performance, the best part might just be the minimalist design. Lace-up the Cloud 5, and you won't look out of place at the gym or at the coffee shop. Read more in our On Cloud 5 review.
Best Shoe for Overpronators: New Balance 860v13
Attributes: Medial posting for stability and overpronation, roomy toe box and padded heel collar, soft ride.
The women’s New Balance 860 v13 is known for providing stable, reliable support with an accommodating fit and smooth ride.
New Balance uses its soft and lightweight Fresh Foam X in the 860 v13 to give it a smooth and comfortable ride, while firmer, more energetic foam under the forefoot gives you snappy toe-offs. For women who have low or flexible arches, or tend to overpronate, the firm medial post guides the foot away from overpronation.
The sleek look and padded heel collar give this shoe a more secure lockdown and fits a variety of foot shapes.
Read more in our New Balance Fresh Foam X 860 v 13 review.
Best Treadmill Shoe: Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 40
Attributes: Bouncy ride, lightweight, straightforward fit.
The women's Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 40 is a light and nimble workhorse for your running and training.
Nike packed the legendary Pegasus with a full-length React foam midsole that can go the distance. React foam is a popular choice used in many of the best Nike running shoes because it's lightweight, bouncy and durable. Plus, there are Zoom Air units in the forefoot and heel to give you extra pep.
Compared to the Pegasus 39, designers re-engineered the upper, giving it a midfoot wrap to provide a secure fit and better breathability. The unique heel shape and thick, responsive foam are designed to optimize your landings and create an effortless heel-to-toe transition with each stride.
Perfect for your runs, workouts and HIIT classes, the women’s Pegasus 40 can do it all.
Best Road Racing Shoe: Saucony Endorphin Speed 3
Attributes: Composite plate, snappy ride, airy mesh.
The Saucony Endorphin Speed 3 is a great shoe to pick up the pace and race your best.
With a winged nylon plate in the midsole, this shoe provides similar spring and energy without the stiffness of a carbon-fiber plate. Saucony’s Speedroll technology will have you rolling through the miles with smooth, fast transitions and the PWRRUN PB Foam is lightweight, plush and propulsive to help you to run your best.
The Endorphin Speed 3 uses a lightweight engineered mesh upper for a barely-there feel that keeps your foot secure throughout the heel and midfoot.
Read more about the Saucony Endorphin Speed 3 in our review.
Best Fitting Shoe: Karhu Ikoni 2.5
Attributes: Perfect fit, plush, anatomical lacing
Designers used the 3D scanning data captured during Fleet Feet's fit id® outfitting process to develop a shoe that fits comfortably for a wide range of foot shapes, while still delivering a performance-minded ride. As a result, the Ikoni 2.5 is a reliably comfortable fit for most women.
A bed of lightweight Aerofoam feels super plush and responsive and is supported by a half-length Fulcrum rocker in the midfoot. This combination helps to roll the foot through its heel-to-toe transition and makes runs and walks feel effortless with each step.
The newest Ikoni is an excellent women's running shoe for up-tempo days on the track, Sunday long runs and walks around the neighborhood.
Best Trail Shoe: Altra Lone Peak 7
Attributes: Wide toe box, grippy for uneven terrain, rock plate
Altra’s Lone Peak is consistently on the list of the top trail shoes—and for good reason.
The wide toe box that Altra’s shoes are known for is great on trails because it allows your toes to splay, providing better stability on uneven surfaces. The MaxTrac™ outsole provides the perfect combination of grip, traction and durability on all types of terrain, which ours testers loved in our Altra Lone Peak 7 Review. Plus, it contains an updated StoneGuard™ for extra protection that has drainage holes so that water does not stay in the shoe after any creek crossings.
Altra also takes into account the biological differences between women and men when designing the women’s Lone Peak. Altra's Fit4Her™ technology in the Lone Peak caters to the specific form of the female foot, which has a narrower heel and midfoot, a higher instep, a longer arch and unique metatarsal spacing.
Tackle the trails in the Women’s Altra Lone Peak 7.
Best Shoe for Long Runs: ASICS Gel-Nimbus 25
Attributes: cushioned, comfortable fit, premium feel
The ASICS GEL-Nimbus 25 is the newest member of a classic collection. With more than a quarter of a century’s worth of experience packed into the latest version, the Nimbus 25 is better than ever.
ASICS used its brand new Pure-GEL technology in the heel to create a soft landing and smooth transition. Designers upped the cushioning in this version by adding even more of their FF BLAST PLUS ECO foam to increase the comfort.
With a softer and more comfortable upper that includes a thin, stretchy tongue, this is one of the most comfortable iterations of the Nimbus. Whether you're logging easy miles leading up to a race or hammering out your longest run yet, the ASICS GEL-Nimbus 25 is up for the challenge.
Read more in our ASICS Gel-Nimbus 25 review.
Best Everyday Trainer: Mizuno Wave Rider 27
Attributes: Springy, durable, reliable
The women's Mizuno Wave Rider has long been one of the best running shoes on the market, and the Wave Rider 27 is sure to maintain its spot on the list.
The Mizuno Wave Rider 27 has Mizuno Enerzy foam to give you a bouncy and cushioned ride mile after mile.
A bio-based Wave Plate in the heel helps disperse impact forces and leads to a smooth transition, while also providing a more environmentally friendly way to produce this fan-favorite shoe.
The new air mesh upper gives you plenty of stretch, while still providing breathability and support.
Women looking for a comfortable and consistent running shoe will find it in the Wave Rider 27.
How We Picked the Best Women’s Running Shoes
We used data from our fit id® outfitting process, interviews with designers and real-life wear testing to determine the best women’s running shoes for most runs and the most runners.
You can shop with confidence at Fleet Feet: We offer free shipping on all orders over $99, and you have 60 days to return any gear if you don’t like the way it looks, fits or feels. Plus, with our price-match guarantee, you can make sure you never pay too much for a new pair of running shoes.