Three best women’s running shoes
Running is a great, inexpensive aerobic activity to burn fat and keep you fit. But runners can get injured pretty easily, so having the right gear when you pound the pavement is key. A high-quality pair of women's running shoes is crucial if you're serious about running.
But there are so many women's running shoes to choose from that it's easy to get overwhelmed when you're shopping. You have to find the best shoes for your particular gait and arch, as well as determine what other features will make your feet most comfortable as you run.
Our handy shopping guide provides all the tips you need to find the ideal pair of women's running shoes for you. If you're still not sure, take a look at our top product recommendations for entirely stress-free shopping.
Considerations when choosing women's running shoes
The first question to ask yourself when shopping for women's running shoes is what type of gait you have. The three types are overpronation, underpronation, and neutral.
Overpronation refers to feet that roll inward when they hit the ground. Nearly 70% of people are overpronators, which makes them prone to injuries like plantar fasciitis, shin splints, heel spurs, and knee pain. If you overpronate, stability running shoes are your best option.
Underpronation refers to feet that roll outward when they hit the ground, so the outer portion of the foot bears the brunt of the impact. It can cause injuries like plantar fasciitis, ankle strain, and shin splints. A neutral running shoe is recommended for runners who underpronate.
Neutral pronation refers to feet that plant on the outer edge and then roll inward with control, so body weight is distributed evenly to absorb shock. Neutral runners aren't as likely to experience injuries as overpronators or underpronators, and a neutral running shoe is usually most comfortable.
If you're not sure what type of gait you have when you run, it helps to consider whether your arches are low, high, or normal.
Low: Those with flat or low arches have a tendency toward overpronation.
High: Runners with high arches are prone to underpronation.
Normal: If you have normal arches, you likely have a neutral gait.
If you don't know what type of arches you have, do the wet foot test. Dip the sole of your foot in water and step onto a piece of paper. Check the arch area of the footprint. If approximately half of the area is filled in, you have normal arches. If the entire area is filled in, you have flat or low arches. If the area is almost entirely empty, you have high arches.
Women's running shoe features
Cushioning: This is a key feature in running shoes because it helps absorb shock and protect your joints. However, it's important to choose the best cushioning for your particular needs.
Extra cushioning: If you're taller or heavier, you'll want a pair of shoes with extra cushioning to more effectively absorb shock for your larger frame.
Normal cushioning: If your arches are high, there's less flexibility in your foot, so it's best to choose a shoe that doesn't have extra cushioning.
Mesh: If your running shoes don't allow your feet to breathe as you run, your feet can get pretty sweaty, which can then cause friction that leads to blisters. Many running shoes have mesh to improve breathability, but pay attention to the amount of mesh.
More: In warm weather, a greater surface area of mesh can help keep your feet cool.
Less: In colder weather, you'll want a shoe with less mesh, so your feet stay warm and dry. If you enjoy trail running, you'll also want to limit the amount of mesh to avoid getting dirt and debris inside your shoes.
Safety: If you do a lot of running after dark, choose a pair of women's running shoes with reflective panels to help make you more visible to cars at night.
Size: Unlike other shoes, running shoes should fit a little more loosely because feet can swell during a run. In most cases, that means buying a size larger than you usually wear, so there's enough room to keep your feet comfortable.
Women's running shoe prices: Women's running shoes usually cost about $30 to $300. A basic pair with little cushioning costs between $30 and $65. Running shoes with some cushioning and other extra features generally range from $65 to $175. Women's running shoes with superior cushioning and plenty of extra features can cost anywhere from $175 to $300.
Q. How often should I replace my running shoes?
A. Most experts agree that running shoes wear out after about 300 to 500 miles, so it depends on how often and far you run. For the average runner, that usually means buying new shoes every five to six months.
Q. What's the best way to break in a new pair of running shoes?
A. Start by walking in them when you're shopping or doing chores. Make sure the fit doesn't cause any pain, discomfort, or blisters. Go for three or four runs that are shorter than six miles to finish breaking in the shoes.
Women's running shoes we recommend
Best of the best: ASICS Women's GEL-Kayano 23
Our take: Excellent running shoes that are both comfortable and stylish, making them a worthy investment for serious runners.
What we like: Excellent durability and gel cushioning to improve shock absorption. Reflective panels for running after dark.
What we dislike: Somewhat pricey and can run almost a full size too small.
Best bang for your buck: Saucony Women's Cohesion 10
Our take: Good-looking running shoes that come at a very affordable price point, making them a serious value.
What we like: Perform as well as more expensive shoes. Feature unique triangle sole pattern that improves stability and traction.
What we dislike: Some users find the shoes too heavy.
Our take: Quality running shoes with effective cushioning and extra features, though sizing can be an issue.
What we like: Made by a trusted brand. Lightweight, comfortable design that provides plenty of control and traction.
What we dislike: Can run narrow, so not the best option if you have wide feet.
Jennifer Blair is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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