There’s a few questions Tim and Jess (a couple of our Melbourne Podiatrists) get asked all the time. One of the big ones are from all the gals who come in and ask us what are the best running shoes for women.
Let’s get one thing off our chest first.
Just like there’s no one best running shoe for men, we’re all really different and there’s no one perfect shoe for all of us women.
What we’ll aim to do here is provide our podiatry expertise to give you some of the best running shoes within a few key categories.
These shoes are all tried and tested by our team of runners and podiatrists.
The one thing we can’t test is how they feel and how they perform on your feet. Lucky you, that’s your job!
It’s always recommended, where possible, to get into your technical running shoe retailer and try a new pair of runners on for yourself.
Get up on the treadmill and take them for a spin.
Don’t be shy to take your time.
While this won’t replicate road or track miles, how a new pair of running shoes feel on your feet is a good indicator of their future success.
We like to call this the ‘first feel’ test.
How do they feel when you first put them on?
If you stand up and can’t help but release a relieving, comforting, resounding “ahhhhh”, they’re likely to be a good choice!
Running shoes are subjective, and the science of running shoe prescription is still in its infancy.
Start with the right fit, (and yes, running shoe size should be larger than your slip-on sandals) comfort, function and go from there.
Let’s get into the shoes!
The Best Running Shoes For Women
SO MUCH YES. Love the stability from this neutral category shoe from Brooks.
Coming in at 250g with an 11.5mm drop this shoe is a stable runner that can handle long distances.
Variants come standard B width but also available in a D width, and spoiler alert, a narrow 2A.
The Wide One
New Balance 1080v11
New Balance’s plush flagship running shoe comes in two widths and has a nice deep fitting toe box to boot.
Coming in at only 230g with a 8mm drop, the 1080v11 packs a lot of shoe into a light-ish package.
The Narrow One
Brooks Ghost (again)
Making their second appearance in this list of the best running shoes for women is the Ghost.
The Ghost comes in a 2A variant which when coupled with the knit/mesh upper fits nice and snug on very narrow feet.
Style wise, in the 2A you have a choice of black or black. So I hope you like the black.
The Fast One
Nike Air Zoom Alphafly NEXT%
Serious speed for serious runners for serious distances.
The Alphafly NEXT% is the retail version of the Breaking2 (sub 2 hour marathon challenge) shoe that was engineered for Eliud Kipchoge.
This shoe is light for a maximlist shoe 210g.
You get a 4mm drop and plenty of carbon, airbags and foam.
Also available is the sister training shoe, the Tempo NEXT% (pictured).
The Light One
Saucony Endorphin Pro
Fast. Light (179g)! Exclusive.
The 8mm drop Endorphin Pro is for serious pace and serious runners.
Saucony nearly broke the internet with their small release numbers of the Endorphin Pro.
If you get your feet in them, lace them up and enjoy the speed!
The Show One
New Balance 880v10
New Balance are the Queens of footwear widths and now they’re stylish too!
You can get a 256g shoe with a 10mm drop all the way up to a 2E (NB call it an X-Wide) fitting.
The all black everything colour is very on trend right now.
The Comfy One
The shoe that’s saved so many sore feet and nearly as many podiatrists problems!
The Hoka Bondi is a plush full thickness and then some runner with a nice forefoot rocker as well.
Keeping the weight to only 252g is a serious achievement to cram that much comfort under foot.
The 4mm drop is a little sneaky as the forefoot rocking motion of the shoe makes it feel more than what the stats say.
It comes in a standard and wide fit, as well as an all leather variant for those who need a bit more black leather / dead animal in their lives.
The Walking One
Asics Evoride 2
Into it’s second iteration the Evoride is a great option for those who want to get out and walk.
The forefoot rocker or scoop encourages you to move forwards, just try stopping for a coffee!
The Evoride weighs in at 241g with a 5mm drop which feels more like the Bondi due to that toe scoop.
The Supportive One
A classic supportive running shoe for women for many years. The Adrenaline provides a full thickness, full weight running shoe with oodles of support.
Weighing 258g with a 12mm drop the Adrenaline has got plenty of us through long marathons or our first foray into running.
Even better the Adrenaline is made in it’s standard B width, as well as 2A, D and 2E fittings.
Very useful for those who need support in their runners with a tricky to fit foot.
The Ethical One
Mizuno Wave Rider NEO
For this we’re going ethical as in vegan.
There’s still a fair bit of plastic and foam in this shoe which can be up or recycled.
The Wave Rider Neo is really light weight for a Mizuno running shoe.
New foams make the shoe feel springy, soft and speedy.
225g and 12mm drop for those keeping score at home.
What Features Do I Need In My Runners?
Depending on your running mileage, foot shape, weight (we went there) and injury history , the features you need in a running shoe will vary person to person.
If you’re going to be running long distances, wanting to wear your runners every day, planning on cross training or using them at the gym then you’ll need to consider a second pair of runners as well.
A second pair of runners allows both of your shoes to relax (reminder – we need to relax too!).
When our shoes relax the foams that make up the cushioning can rebound back to their original shape.
If we use our runners daily then the foams don’t get time to spring back into shape and squish down faster than they should.
This means you literally run out of cushioning in your cushioned runners!
I guess we should have started the best running shoes for women list with emphasis on shoes plural.
What About Fit?
Oh so important when it comes to a running shoe.
If your foot is wide, get a wide fitting shoe.
Conversely, if your foot is narrow, get a narrow fit.
Rocket science 😉
Lacing techniques are also a funky way of manipulating shapes. Chat to the retail assistant or your podiatrist about different ways to lace your runners to allow extra space for cramped forefeet, or extra ankle support to hold the shoe tightly in place!
Most of the main running shoe brands import at least one other fit of their main shoes into Australia. Sometimes two. Usually a footwear retailer is limited in the stock they can hold in-store so when trying on runners ask your sales assistant if they can get you that shoe in a wide or narrow fit.
Here’s a little table to reflect women’s running shoe widths:
You’ll often be pleasantly surprised that the perfect functioning running shoes for you can fit even better if your foot is a little wider or narrower than the norm.
Also a consideration that few of us take into account when choosing new runners is how our feet change shape. Not just over the years, but during each day. For those of us (particularly if we have varicose veins) our feet will swell and get a little longer, wider and deeper later in the day.
Trying On Your New Runners
While it’s not always possible, it is best to get into your local technical running shoe retailer with a clean pair of socks handy and 20 odd minutes of time.
This way you get to try out the running shoes that catch your fancy and get moving in them on a treadmill.
The last thing you want is to be halfway through your long run with a blister forming thinking – “now why didn’t I get the narrow fit of this bloody shoe?!”.
Take your time, get the fit right and you’ll love your new runners for where they will take you next.
If you’re having any trouble finding the best running shoes for women in Melbourne, or have any foot problems at all get in touch. Our podiatry team love helping out.