How To Find The Best Lightweight Running Shoes
Ive been a runner for years and still get overwhelmed when I hear talk of overpronation, gait analysis, and similar terms. I mean, whatever happened to just throwing on your Keds and taking off?
Although it can feel tedious, its worth investing a few minutes into understanding your foot style. If youre new to running, here are the basics you need to know:
Gait style: Defined as the natural motion your legs make when running. The best lightweight running shoes for you will support how you move, which will depend on how your feet organically land.
Overpronation: This is when your ankle leans inward. If the inside of your shoe has some wear, theres a good chance you overpronate. Flat or low-arched feet tend to move this way. If this is you, youll want a shoe that cushions and stabilizes.
Dr. Splichal is a fan of the Altra brand. Their Rivera Running Shoeis ultra responsive, giving a comfortable pushback from the ground. Instead of fighting against the hard surface, you feel like youre lifting away from it. Its very invigorating.
Underpronation: If your ankles move outward, youre an underpronator. You more than likely have high arches, and the best lightweight running shoes for you will be those that have lots of cushion for your midsole.
Our Favorite Stability Shoes
The Brooks Adrenaline GTS 22 is a softer stability shoe that delivers a more-controlled ride than a neutral shoe would provide. The shoe reduces pronation with the help of two pieces of foam in the heel area that coax a foot into position. Runners World recommends this shoe for runners with flat feet, noting, however, that the pronation mitigation is subtle enough to work well for a variety of runners. We found that to be true.
The Adrenaline GTS 22 combines subtle support and softness, plus a smoother ride and pep . I felt like I rolled along comfortably in these, said Ingrid, who wore a womens 13 and found the shoes to be dependable and comfortable. Frank, who wore a mens 11, called the Adrenaline GTS 22 very plush, adding that they didnt feel tight in the toe box, even after running 9 miles. Unlike Ingrid, however, Frank found heavy absorption on the downstep that made it harder for him to snap my knees up in a liquid flow. We think these are best suited for daily maintenance miles and longer, easier efforts. The outsole initially felt a tad stiff, particularly during the first few outings. The shoes healthy amount of cushioning still allows for a satisfying ground feel. RunRepeat gives this pair high marks, as does Running Shoe Guru.
Size range: 5 to 13 , 7 to 15 narrow, medium, wide, and extra-wide widths
How We Selected Products
In preparation for the story, we gathered background on how women, specifically, participate in the sport of running from casual morning jogs to competing in road races. The research included expertise-driven articles from sources such as Outside’s female-focused Women’s Running website and Runner’s World advice for female runners. From there, we also included studies such as Running Shoes Gurus’ 2018 Running Shoe Buying Habits Study which provides expert confirmation that Google’s top search results are what women runners are buying most frequently. The study highlights brands such as Asics, Brooks, Saucony, Hoka, New Balance, and other popular women’s running shoes. Lastly, we reviewed supportive information available from sources such as customer reviews, social media statistics, and online trends.
With this data on hand, we searched for the best women’s running shoes and focused on features that impact a shoe’s performance and comfort. However, we also understand that finding just the right running shoe might also involve some trial and error. So, with that in mind, each running sneaker included in this collection lists the heel-to-toe drop, the shoe’s weight, and return policy.
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Why Are Good Running Shoes So Important
Making sure you have the right running shoes is a point certified strength coach and footwear expert Emma Kirk-Odunubi stresses, especially because different runs demand different footwear:
As your distance increases many people generally want to increase the cushioning level of their shoe. For half marathon or , having greater cushioning over longer distances can have its benefits.
But we get it: good running shoes are an investment and the price tag can often exceed what you’d budgeted to spend on new run-togs. With that in mind, we’ve rounded up a mix of the best and spiffy new women’s running trainers so you can shop to your feet and budget’s content.
Veja Condor 2 Alveomesh
- Best for: Easy runs and recovery sessions
- Weight: 301g
- Drop: 10mm
- How much? £135
You probs know them as the trendy brand that make the white trainers you love, but did you know Veja make running shoes too? The Condor 2’s are cushioned, comfy and the perfect partner for those easy weekend runs and recovery sessions. They look, feel and perform the part, thanks to the L-foam cushioned technology. Plus, they have full transparency on where they source every part of the shoe from, to help calm any qualms about sustainability or sourcing. We love? We love.
‘These shoes are the perfect balance between style and substance,’ says WH‘s former Senior Fitness Writer, Morgan Fargo. ‘They’re cushioned and supportive perfect for the endless park loops I’ve been doing as well as being breathable, something that makes them perfect no matter the ever-changing forecast.’
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Nike React Infinity Run Flyknit 2
The Nike React Infinity Run is famous for preventing running injuries thanks to its React foam and rocker shape, but does it work? According to a lot of people, it does! Nike conducted a study with hundreds of volunteers and found that the shoe reduces injuries by 52%.
The React foam extra cushioning, rocker shape, and wide toe box all come together to make this injury-combative shoe that simultaneously gives runners a smooth and effortless run.
Best For Everyday Miles: On Cloudrunner
ON Cloudrunner technical details
- Very comfortable ride for medium to long runs
- Regular and wide fit available
- They look great
- Only really suitable for running not for workouts or the gym
- Far too beautiful to wear out in muddy weather!
What our testers said
These shoes are designed for any runner looking for a comfortable shoe to cover the miles. I really appreciated the secure fit that cradled my foot and hugged my ankle, which gave me confidence that they could take me through any amount of miles. If you usually wear a wide-fitting shoe, these may be a little snug, but they do come in a wide-fit option. Theyre designed to withstand a lot of pavement pounding. It felt like the more I ran, the more support they gave. They are perfect for anyone training for a race.
Want to know more? Read Lauras full ON Cloudrunner review.
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New Balance Fresh Foam X 880v12
A dual-layer midsole construction features a top bed foam layer and Fresh Foam underfoot cushioning, for heel impact dispersing, sustained comfort. These shoes also feature an engineered mesh upper with strategic zones of breathability.
Promising review: “Love these shoes. They are like running on clouds. They have enough stability for gravel trail runs. They fit narrow feet beautifully.”
Lululemon Blissfeel Women’s Running Shoe
When lululemon’s first ever running shoe recently hit stores, it quickly became a go-to for outdoor and treadmill runners. The Blissfeel running shoe has a thick layer of compound foam to balance cushioning, energy return, and performance with each stride.
Promising review: “Such an amazing shoe! My foot has never felt more comfortable. Ive already put quite a few miles on these babies, and they do not disappoint. Feels like running on a cloud!”
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Nike Running Shoes For Women
Nike running shoes for women are designed to keep feet supported and comfortable as you traverse varying surfaces and distances during your exercise routine. Different Nike technologies like Flex grooves, Zoom Air cushioning units, added cushioning, response and more keep your feet feeling great all workout long. Strap on a pair of new Nike running shoes and enjoy the ride: Just do it everyday in Nike running shoes for women!
Best Lightweight Running Shoes For Women
Questions? Reach us at
The right sneakers can make or break a workout, and the best lightweight running shoes for women can really make a difference. If your time has been lagging or youre dealing with callouses, switching to better footwear can help! They wont drag you down or cramp your toes, and can help prevent back pain, reduce your risk of injuries, and make you excited to hit the ground running. Ready to fly? Check out our picks below.
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Best Trail Running Shoes For Women Of 2022
Our trail nerds have reviewed 90 of the best trail running shoes for women over the last 6 years. This update features 18 of the most popular options on the market, tested head-to-head to determine the best. We log at least 60 miles in each pair, running day in and day out to bring you the most reliable information possible. From ultra-distance marathons in the US to fast-packing adventures in Iceland, long mountain trails in Peru, and coastal climbs across California, we’ve embarked upon many running adventures over the years. And our testing doesn’t stop with the trails we also weigh, compare, and mull over each detail, no matter how tiny, to provide you with solid recommendations that you can trust.
Trail shoes are made specifically for rough and rugged terrain. To keep you prepared for these conditions, it is also wise to have an excellent pair of socks, comfortable running shorts, and a breezy top. If you plan to explore sandy or snowy trails, gaiters may also be a good accessory to have. If you’re not sure that you need a trail-specific shoe, there are other shoe styles to consider before making a final decision. For all other gadgets and accessories, check out our favorite running gear to get you out on the trail.
Editor’s Note: This review was updated on May 26, 2022, to add reviews for new offerings and updated versions of old favorites.
All Womens Running Shoes
Let your personality shine during every run with some of the best running shoes for women. This line-up of running sneakers for women integrates fashion into function, offering options in a variety of colors and styles to fit both your aesthetic and athletic preferences.Road running shoes for womenRoad running shoes are designed to hold up as you pound it out on pavement, whether that’s an actual road, a sidewalk or the paved track at the nearby high school. Women’s athletic shoes designed for striking pavement tend to offer a springy step that cushions the impact of running on hard surfaces.One example is the Revel 4, which has functional elements inside and on the outsole to help you bounce back from each step. If you’re looking for an even softer landing for endurance runs through the neighborhood, the Glycerin 19 provides plenty of underfoot cushion.Trail running shoes for womenSometimes you want a running shoe that lets you adventure off the paved path. Trail running shoes like the Divide 2 offer extra traction to support stability as you sprint through woods and over uneven terrain.Whether you’re looking for women’s jogging shoes or something to keep you in the competitive race, you’re sure to find an ideal option in this selection of some of the best running shoes for women.
Take it for a 90-day trial run. If youre not happy, were not happy.
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Best For: Achilles Support
Heel/toe drop: 10mm
Type: Road / Neutral
We’re big fans of the Ultraboost 22 for women. The bouncy Boost midsole delivers a wonderfully soft, cushioned ride ideal for long mileage and the Primeknit+ upper provides a supportive, sock-like fit. The best bit, though, is the structured support you get from the heel counter, which in this new female-first version, is narrower and comes higher up the achilles tendon, providing a tighter fit and a feeling of the shoe hugging the tendon. Although these are a neutral shoe, the holes in the midfoot area have been closed to prevent the Boost midsole from stretching in the midfoot area, and this helps to prevent overpronation. While they won’t suit heavy over-pronators they will help to provide a little gait control as you start to tire towards the end of a run.
Heel/toe drop: 9.5mm
Type: Road / Neutral
Heel/toe drop: 5mm
Type: Road / Neutral
All of Hoka’s women’s shoes are built on a female last, and so offer a women-specific fit. The soft but snappy Bondi X is a solid choice for long-mileage runners looking for a fast but comfy ride or even those returning from injury. They won Best Update in our 2022 Shoe Guide due, in part, to the addition of a new carbon-fibre plate in the midsole, which provides a more aggressive toe-off. But you still get the same level of plush comfort you’d expect from Hoka’s shoes, thanks to a high bed of marshmallowy cushioning and a thick slab of heel foam.
Heel/toe drop: 10mm
Type: Road / Neutral
Other Walking Shoes For Women I Tested
The best of any type of shoe depends largely on the individual shape of your foot and the biomechanics of how you walk and carry your weight. While these shoes didnt top our list, they could be a great option for other walkers. Heres the rest of what I tested.
Hoka Clifton 8: While I loved the breathability of the mesh upper and the overall lightness of this shoe , I found the rocker-style heel overly cushioned, which made for a clunky fit.
New Balance Foam Fresh X 1080v12: This shoe feels remarkably responsive, with a springy foam heel that creates a nice rebound effect to launch you forward as you walk. I have a narrow foot, though, so the high collar extended too far up my ankle bone, which rubbed against my skin and caused a blister. The gusseted tongue is attached to the sides so I wasnt able to adjust its position to prevent chafing.
Sorel Kinetic Impact Lace: This pair has a beautiful modern design, a great heel cushioning system for people with heel pain and is extremely stylish. The lacing system, which involves wrapping the laces around the entire shoe, may not appeal to everyone, though, and the scalloped outsole made me rock unevenly while walking.
Skechers Go Walk Arch Fit Unify: Like many pairs of Skechers sneakers, this one has an Ortholite foam insole that molds to your foot, cushions your arches and helps reduce shock and increase weight dispersion. The stiff upper made it hard to bend and flex while walking, though, which was a dealbreaker.
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What Should I Look For In A Running Shoe
First and foremost, pay attention to fit and comfort . In terms of fit, look for a shoe that gives you room to wiggle your toes and a heel that doesnt slip. Look at the reviews on each shoe to make sure its durable. Last but not least, find a shoe with some style. Chances are if you love it, youll be more excited to lace up.
Nike Tanjun Running Shoes
By far the best value choice out of any shoe on this list, the Nike Tanjun Running Shoe lives up to its name: Tanjun, which means simplicity in Japanese. With a simple and sleek design, the Tanjun is attractive and comfortable, giving your feet the support they need to stride through miles on your treadmill.
The mesh upper and ultra lightweight cushioning allows for air and flexibility, the perfect combination however, this shoe is more suitable for a softer surface, so keep in mind that rougher terrain outside the gym may decrease its durability.
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Altra Womens Escalante 25
The Altra Womens Escalante 2.5 has long been favored for its light ride. Along with the light weight, its also well-cushioned and has a comfortable one-piece knitted upper. Though comfortable, this upper isnt as stable when changing directions at a fast speed, so this pair is best used at steady paces on a straight course. If youre not trying to run sprints around tight corners, this shoe feels almost like a slipper, which makes for a great choice when it comes to consistent, comfortable running thats easy on your feet.
A fantastic running shoe for women, the Altra Escalante 2.5 blends comfort and breathability to a shoe thats forgiving and durable at a very reasonable price point.
- Drop: 10mm
- How much? £135
You probs know them as the trendy brand that make the white trainers you love, but did you know Veja make running shoes too? The Condor 2s are cushioned, comfy and the perfect partner for those easy weekend runs and recovery sessions. They look, feel and perform the part, thanks to the L-foam cushioned technology. Plus, they have full transparency on where they source every part of the shoe from, to help calm any qualms about sustainability or sourcing. We love? We love.
The 14 Best Running Shoes For Women Shop Adidas Nike Saucony And More For Fall 2022
It will soon be cool and breezy, so you may want to upgrade your running gear, including running shoes. Whether you’re a new runner or a seasoned pro, the perfect shoe for you is out there. The right running shoe can make you feel strong, fast and completely in control, whether your training plan is for your first 5K, half marathon or working toward your third marathon.
The biggest reason finding a solid running shoe matters: a good pair that fits just right can help you run safely and prevent potential injuries from blisters to shin splints and fractures that could keep you off the road for months.
Weve put in the miles and found the best running shoes to keep you going all fall, even if youre a new runner doing that 5K for the post-run brunch. If you like a slower pace, check out our feature on the best women’s walking shoes, too.
ET’s picks for the best running shoes for women:
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