Best Running Shoes for Women + How to Pick The Right Trainers for You

Finding the right running coach for you is just as important as proper form and technique. (And yes. This includes warming up and cooling down while running. No jumping!). Also, since it's a new year, it's a pretty good time to treat yourself and get fully kitted out.

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Why are good running shoes so important?

The certified strength trainer and shoe expert Emma Kirk-Odunubi emphasizes paying attention to the right running shoes, especially since different runs require different shoes:

“In general, as distance increases, many people want to increase the cushioning in their shoe. For (postponed) half marathon or marathon runners, more cushioning can be beneficial over longer distances.”

But we get it: good running shoes are an investment, and the price can often exceed what you've budgeted for new trainers. With that in mind, we've rounded up a mix of the best women's running shoes so you can shop according to your feet and budget.

What should you look for in running shoes for women?

  • Damping: This helps the ground feel softer underfoot and promotes ground contact stability.
  • Weight: Lighter shoes tend to have less cushioning, resulting in more rebound from the ground. They are designed for fast splits and powerful runs. For longer distances, choose heavier shoes with more cushioning.
  • traps: This is the difference in cushioning level from the rearfoot to the forefoot. The lower the drop, the more conducive the shoe is to a brisk running style. Speed ​​shoes tend to have a drop of around 4mm.

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Best cushioned running shoes

1. HOKA Clifton 8

  • Ideal for: long-distance training
  • Weight: 215g
  • Drop: 5mm
  • How much? R2 599.95

The Hoka Clifton 8 is a dreamy, neutral, cushioned shoe that gives you consistent support without weighing you down. They are perfect for longer distances and provide a stable ride as you clock up the miles.

“They are a shoe I don't think of being on my feet and I mean that in the best possible way. I can run (miles) and (miles) marathon training without feeling the time in my feet,” says runner Francesca Menato. "There's enough bounce that you don't feel like you're missing out on something super responsive, but most of all they're an incredibly comfortable shoe."

You can wear them for any distance, but they're not designed to give you that much bang for your buck when you're trying to beat a 5k PB. That means they're a great all-rounder.

2.Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 38

  • Best for: all-round training
  • Weight: Easy
  • traps: 6mm
  • How much? R2 399.95

Runners LOVE "Workhorse With Wings" Nike Pegasus sneakers. Hopping in these will get even the most cautious of joggers building their marathon training plans. Signature responsive foam, a breathable upper, and a wider fit through the toe mean you can cover distance in comfort and recover quickly to fly again.

After trying all kinds of Nike “pegs” since the '32s, Francesca Menato took these for a spin.

“I've been in a committed relationship with the Pegs for years, but we had to part ways a few iterations ago as they made the sole firmer and the shoe base narrower. So, skeptical but always hopeful, I gave the Pegasus 38 a try. They might just be the middle ground between old and new. A wider shoe with an updated lacing that feels secure and comfortable.”

"For me, they take the term 'neutral shoe' to the next level. They feel like the running shoes you could lug around (miles) and (miles) for.”


Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 38

R2 399.95


3.Adidas Ultraboost 21s

  • Best for: road running
  • Weight: 340gr
  • fall: 10mm
  • How much? R3 599

Here are the specs you need to know before you add them to your basket – a sock-like fit with 6% more cushioning than previous Boost iterations; Primeblue material made from Parley Ocean Plastic (Adidas high-performance recycled fabric) and not pure polyester; supportive heel counter and 115% more flex in the forefoot to make them your most responsive running shoes.

Be aware that they are heavier than the UB20 so are definitely suited for easy longer mileage over a quick 5k.


Adidas Ultraboost 21s

R3 599


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4. Saucony Ride 14

  • Best for: all-round training
  • Weight: 238g
  • traps: 8mm
  • How much? R2 649

Lighter (and faster) than previous models, these cool women's stealth sneakers signal that you know your sport. Designed with a durable outsole and PWRRUN cushioning, you'll be springy, supported and stable when you hit the ground running. A running favorite from fitness writer Morgan Fargo, these shoes basically offer everything we love in running shoes and then some. Cheers, sauce.

5. Asics Novablast 2

  • Best for: Neutral runners who want extra propulsion
  • Weight: Easy
  • How much? R2 499

If you've always wanted to feel like you're walking on a mini trampoline – brilliantly – these Asics Novablast will do it and then some. The propulsive nature of the foam midsole means every step you take is energized and cushioned, keeping you going as the miles pile up.

Shave seconds off your 5K, stay cool with a breathable upper, or just enjoy the feeling of running on more cushioning than you thought possible – Novablast is the running shoe for you.

6. HOKA Carbon X2

  • Best for: Distance races (and other bouncy long runs)
  • Weight: 198g
  • How much? R3 499.90

You say padded, says HOKA padded. Another trainer that uses the carbon plate, these shoes feel less aggressive in their propulsion than some of their counterparts. So if you like the idea of ​​super-light, springy running shoes that sneakily help you flip your feet, we've got you covered. Ideal for cushioning longer kilometers.

7. When running Cloudflow

  • Best for: 10 km race training
  • Weight: 235g
  • traps: 6mm
  • How much? R2 899

A newer ON running shoe, the Cloudflow, combines its Helion™ superfoam with a curved heel for "better support, durability, and comfort."

Basically, they feel light on the top of your foot, are super cushioned underneath and stay cool thanks to the ventilated mesh. The new rubber traction base keeps you more stable even on slippery, wet roads.

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8. Nike Air Zoom Tempo Next %

  • Best for: speed training
  • How much? R3 899

Engineered to go the distance, this Nike iteration of the cult-followed Next % sneaker is your everyday go-to for comfort and durability. The visible Zoom Air unit (the round disc) provides springy cushioning, while Nike React technology in the heel is lightweight to keep your stride as efficient as possible.

Note that these are specifically designed for shorter "tempo" runs. Therefore the name. If you're looking for an all-rounder, check out the Nike ZoomX Invincibles below.


Nike Air Zoom Tempo Next %

R3 899


9. New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v11

  • Best for: Distance running for beginners
  • traps: 8mm
  • Weight: 230gr
  • How much? R2 599.90

Cushioned, stable, light – three words we love to hear when it comes to sneakers that do more than their job. A running staple, New Balance Fresh Foam is a style that's been around for eons – luckily for us, it just keeps getting better. This latest style offers enough support for long-distance runs, while the foam and cushioning help you go faster.


New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v11

R2 599.90


10.Skechers Max Cushioning Premier

  • Best for: Runners on a budget
  • Weight: 213g
  • traps: 6mm
  • How much? R1 499

The Skechers Max Cushioning Premier Shoe adds extra comfort to your run (without weighing you down) and lets tired feet breathe as you work. Padded, lightweight and breathable, these gems cost less than R1 500.


Skechers Max Cushioning Premier

R1 499


11. Nike ZoomX Invincible Run

  • Best for: Injury-prone runners
  • Weight: 253g
  • traps: 8.4mm
  • How much? R3 499

One of Nike's most popular running shoes for women (The React Infinity Run Flyknit 2) has been redesigned: enter the Nike ZoomX Invincible Run women's trainers.

"Injuries plague runners of all skill levels and can prevent people from joining the sport or returning from injury," said Brett Holts, VP of Nike Running.

So what makes this one so special? According to the brand, it's "Nike ZoomX foam, (it's) our most responsive and softest foam – and we've used far more of it than you'd find in most everyday Nike running shoes." They counteract the instability that comes with that additional foam with the 'rocker' shape.

After 12 weeks of testing, Nike found that these sneakers performed similarly to their predecessors. A study conducted by BCSMRF showed that runners wearing these shoes had a 52% lower injury rate than those wearing the control shoe. So if you're constantly complaining about a wound – this or a pulled one – it might be time to invest in a kit that's literally made for the job.

Francesca Menato was a true Infinity React superfan and can attest that this latest iteration is just as bouncy and the few grams heavier isn't noticeable. Nike wants running to feel light. In these it is certainly easier.


Nike ZoomX Invincible Run

R3 499


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Best "smart" running shoe for women

12. Women's UA Flow Velociti Wind Running Shoes

  • Best for: Neutral runners who like to keep track of their stats
  • Weight: 227g
  • traps: 8mm
  • How much? R3 499

Under Armor's speed-friendly running shoe comes with a personal running coach that, when connected to MapMyRun™, tracks your stride length, cadence and pace and provides real-time coaching. As for the shoes, these kicks are designed for shorter, sharper sessions, but unlike some treadmills designed for speed training, they still have decent cushioning. The sole is molded with a lightweight rock to propel you with every step. Why thank you.


Women's UA Flow Velociti Wind Running Shoes

R3 499


Best road running shoes for women

13. Saucony endorphin shift

  • Best for: Runners who want to increase the distance
  • Weight: 269g
  • traps: 4mm
  • How much? R2 799.90

So. You've completed the Couch to 5k app, you've completed the registration and want to take it to the next level. These are the shoes for you. The Saucony Endorphin Shift promises to make every run feel easier – and it really delivers. How do you ask? PWRRUN cushioning feels super plush, and SPEEDROLL technology enhances every step so you can keep moving forward.


Saucony endorphin shift

R2 799.90


14. Brooks Running Ghost 14

  • Best for: everyday street runners
  • Weight: 255.1g
  • How much? R2 599.90

Engineered for a soft and supple ride, these Ghost 14 shoes are perfect for road running. The midsole gives you an easy, comfortable glide from landing to transition. The cushioning isn't too squishy either, so you still feel supported and most importantly, you don't even notice the transitions as you run.


Brooks Running Ghost 14

R2 599.90


Best supportive running shoes for women

fifteen. Saucony leader 14

  • Best for: Padded support
  • Weight: 244g
  • fall: 8mm
  • How much? R2 799.90

Looking for extra comfort while running? The Saucony Guide 14 are the kick for you. Reliable, cushioned, with a fluid feel from heel to toe, you'll be supported throughout your run. Also, with reduced volume, you will feel light and free while walking. I like this.

*This article was originally published on Women's Health UK

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