Finding the best running shoes for women sounds easy enough, but can be tricky. If you’re a runner, your running shoes should be viewed as the most important athletic gear you own and should be different from your walking shoes. Nothing will affect your performance, health and safety more than your running shoes.
Here is everything you’ll need to know about finding the perfect running shoes.
In this article, we’re going to review the following best running shoes:
- Asics Women’s GEL-Venture 5 Running Shoe
- Nike Women’s Free 5.0+ Running Shoes
- Salomon Women’s XR Mission Running Shoe
- Brooks Ghost 8 shoes
- Saucony Cohesion 9
How to Choose Running Shoes
Choosing the best running shoes starts off with knowing the shape of your foot. There are 3 main foot shapes; neutral arches, high arches and flat feet.
After you are familiar with your foot shape, finding a running shoe based on your running style is important.
The average running shoe should give you at least 400 – 500 miles, so determining if you are a long-distance pace runner or a short distance speed runner is essential for knowing how shoes will hold up before purchasing them.
To understand where you put more strain on your feet, take the most used pair of running shoes out and check to see where the wear patterns are.
There are 3 main wear patterns to look for:
- Neutral Pronation: Wear on the outer heels and central ball of the shoes.
- Overpronation: Wear along inside edges in the ball and heel sections of the shoes.
- Supination: AKA Underpronation. Wear on the outside edges of the ball and heel sections of the shoe.
It is important to know how your feet make contact with the ground and where the wears are because it will be a main factor in how to choose a proper running shoe.
There are 3 main types of running shoes to choose from;
- Motion control.
The final step to choosing the right running shoe is to go to a store that has a large selection of mainly running shoes and try some on. Budgets are unavoidable when it comes to purchasing anything, but when it comes to running shoes, don’t go too inexpensive.
The Harm of Using the Wrong Running Shoes
Wearing the wrong running shoes can lead to many injuries. Among those injuries are plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, hip, knee, and lower back pain.
If you frequently experience pain in any of the areas listed above, the chances are that you are wearing the wrong type of running shoes.
If you are a more serious runner and are concerned with pace times, the wrong shoe will prevent you from reaching your optimal pace because the support and relief is not provided for your foot type. The wrong shoe will also make you become fatigued faster and shorten your long-distance runs.
What are the Advantages of Running Shoes?
The obvious advantage of a proper running shoe is that it protects the foot from the terrain and outside elements. But there are so many more benefits for proper running shoes.
First, a good pair of running shoes will have a supportive midsole foot cushion. This is the area between the ball and the heel.The cushion in this area will ease pressure off of the heel, ankles and toes and reduces the risk of knee, hip and back pain.
You can check for good midsole cushioning by crunching up the shoe by bringing the heel and toe together and feeling the strength of the cushion. If it feels flimsy, the chances are there isn’t enough cushion.
Second, improved performance is a natural byproduct of using the right equipment. Running shoes are designed to cater to specific foot shapes and running styles, which helps runners achieve target goals.
So, wearing the same shoes to play basketball, mow the lawn and go for a 5k are is not a good idea.
Third, the prevention of injury should be the number one rule when selecting any type of performance gear. The proper running shoes can help prevent against tendonitis, stress fractures and joint pain.
Things to look for in the Best Running Shoes
When it comes time to shop for running shoes you should look out for a few things. Here are 5 general rules for buying the right running shoes:
- Be Aware of Your Toes: When trying on shoes, find one that has enough toe width and length. You can do this by putting the shoe on and making sure there is a thumbnail-length of room between your longest toe and the shoe. You also want to wiggle your toes and not feel restriction. Your feet will swell when you run, so this is a vital step.
- Beware of the Seams: Seams in the top of the shoe can rub on your skin and cause uncomfortable blisters. Look for seamless shoes that hug the top of the foot.
- The Right Flex: With the shoe off of your foot, press the toe of the shoe into the floor and see where the natural crease of the shoe is. Try to find a shoe that matches your own natural step.
- The Right Arch: The arch should contour to your foot. For flat feet runners, this arch support should not be too high or low.
- The Right Heel: The heel should fit nice and snug in the shoe. If it has any wiggle room, you can develop blisters while you run. Simply test the shoe by jogging around the store before buying. Don’t worry, it’s normal.
Make the Most Out of Running Shoes
After buying the perfect pair of running shoes it’s important to know how to get the most out of them. Unlike the lounge around shoes we all wear, running shoes need a little extra TLC.
Here are some quick tips for getting the most out of your running shoes:
- Mark the Date: Running shoes have a shelf-life that’s usually gauged by mileage. Mark the date of when you first started to use your running shoes and keep track of the number of miles you’ve put on them. It is recommended that they get changed every 400-500 miles.
- Keep Them Special: Since they are mileage-bound shoes, try not to wear your running shoes for things outside of running. You’ll be tacking on needless miles without even realizing it.
- Buy from Reputable Places: Buying running shoes is not like buying a pair of heels. Looking good doesn’t mean they’ll perform good. Going to a runners-specific store will ensure that you’ll have knowledgeable sales people to help you with your purchase.
- Take Care of Them: Leaving them out in the elements is a surefire way to destroy the lifespan of your running shoes quickly. Exposure too high heat and extreme cold will cause serious defects in the shoe.
5 of the Highest Rated Running Shoes for Women
Now that we’ve been through the basics of what to look for in a running shoe, it’s time to find one that fits your needs.
1. Asics Women’s GEL-Venture 5 Running Shoe
- Rugged neutral runner in mesh with bright overlays
- GEL Cushioning System
- Removable foam sockliner accommodates orthotics
- Light and durable shoes
- Cushion and shock absorption is good for plantar fasciitis relief
- Come in a variety of colors
- The toe area of the shoe runs a little narrow
- Better for outdoor running than indoor track or treadmill running
- First initial uses of the shoe feel stiff
The Asics GEL-Venture is a great all-terrain running shoe. It has a tough outsole that makes it good for trail running and a “Rearfoot GEL” cushioning system.
The outsole of the Asics is made from high abrasion rubber, which gives it that resilient exterior, while the cushioning system allows for a gentler shock and smoother midstance transition.
The shoe weighs 8.7 ounces, which allows it to remain durable without feeling clunky. That feeling is great for fighting foot fatigue during long distance runs.
2. Nike Women’s Free 5.0+ Running Shoe
- 102-WHITE BLACK PLATINUM GRY
- FREE 5.0
- Minimalist design with added comfort and support without feeling clunky
- Flexible design allows for a wide range of foot movement
- Wide toe room
- Not seamless, so running without socks will cause blisters
- Runs a little small in sizing
- The mesh makes it unsuitable for every type of terrain and weather
The Nike Free 5.0 running shoe is designed with natural foot motion in mind. These Nike shoes are so unstructured and flexible you can twist the shoe and fold it in half without a lot of stiffness.
Running that fold up so easily would usually be unsupportive, but the Free 5.0 is more cushioning than the average flex-based minimalist running shoe. That makes it a good minimalist shoe option for long-distance runs.
On top of the minimalist design the Free 5.0 comes in a variety of striking colors. For nighttime runners, the bright and florescent colors on the shoe and laces are not only stylish but provide a good amount of visibility as well.
3. Salomon Women’s XR Mission Running Shoe
- Insoles may vary from picture
- Designed to flow from roads to trails
- The mesh upper lining feels flexible and is breathable
- Wide toe box and deep instep to keep toes comfortable
- Lightweight and good traction for various terrains and weather conditions
- Arches may be too high for some
- Lace eyelets can be tight and rub against the top of the foot
- They are wider than other brands of running shoes
The Salomon Women’s XR Mission running shoe is an all-purpose running shoe. This shoe allows you to run on various terrains both indoor and out.
The Salomon is a lightweight shoe that uses “Sensifit and Sensiflex” technology. This technology allows the shoe to remain flexible, which helps in transitioning from rocky to smooth terrain.
For long-distance running, the Salomon uses a mesh upper design that limits moisture build up and heat. The foam footbed also helps with long-distance runs because it provides a solid amount of cushion and reduces friction as well.
4. Brooks Women’s Ghost 8 Shoes
- The right inner sizing that gives room for foot swelling during long runs
- Good support for people with weak ankles or flat feet
- Good traction for all types of terrain and weather conditions
- Sizing on half sizes is a little off
- Laces become undone quickly. You have to tie them tight so they stay knotted
- Limited color range
The Brooks Ghost 8 shoes is a neutral running shoe designed for support and comfort for long-distance runs. The shoe is mostly seamless, which is great on long-distance runs because it reduces blisters and irritation from the fabric rubbing on the skin.
The shoe also provides a mesh upper, which also helps reduce heat and foot fatigue during long runs. The shoe feels more like a sock because it provides a good amount of coverage without feeling cumbersome or clunky.
Brooks uses “BioMoGo DNA” in the midsole, which is a layer of foam that provides good flexibility, cushion and quick responsiveness. The midsole responsiveness in the Ghost 8’s is a great feature that will help you easily transition on different running surfaces.
5. Saucony Women’s Cohesion 9 Running Shoe
- Versatile running shoe featuring breathable mesh...
- Lace-up closure
- Padded tongue and collar
- Wide toe design allows for wiggle room in the toe area and reduces blisters
- Supportive and breathable for long runs
- Good arch support in the middle of the shoe
- Not ideal for all terrain and weather conditions
- The sizing may be off for some women’s feet as these are a bit wider than most women’s shoes
- It is not seamless all the way through, which can create heel blisters
The Saucony Cohesion 9 running shoes are designed to provide comfort and flexibility, while still maintaining a supportive base. Saucony makes that combination seem natural because they incorporated a “Heel Grid system” that provides a very responsive midsole for supportive cushioning and “Flex Grooves” on the forefront of the shoe for more flexibility.
This combination provides a good mix of support and flexibility without feeling heavy. The mesh design throughout the upper shoe provides breathability and allows ample room for the foot to swell during long-distance runs without the shoe feeling too loose.
All in all, the Asics Women’s GEL-Venture 5 Running Shoe seems to provide the most comfort, stability, flexibility and performance for outdoor and indoor running.
Compared to the other shoes, the Asics will provide more cushion for your feet while at the same time give you a lightweight feel that prevents foot fatigue throughout your run. This shoe is geared for the serious runner, and is more like a running shoe than the rest.
While the other shoes on the list are good running shoes, they can also be good for general every day usage. The Asics GEL-Venture 5 shoes should be dedicated for running because you’ll feel the real benefits of the shoe while running on different terrain.
The most important feature of the Asics GEL-Venture 5 is that it helps reduce pain caused by running. Because of the cushion Asics uses, the shock absorption doesn’t feel as pronounced on the heel, ankles, knees or lower back.
We hope that this guide has been useful. Perhaps you already have a favorite pair of running shoes that you can recommend to us? Or do you think we’ve missed any that should be on this list? Feel free to leave a comment below and tell us.
Good luck with your new shoes!
Last update on 2019-01-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API