24 Best Running Shoes for Women 2021: Training Shoes for Every Runner

It’s marathon season, which means the search is on for the best running shoes for women. After all, it’s not only our endurance that carries us through each pounding of the pavement to the finish line but the shoes on our feet. And while finding the perfect fit is never an easy feat, we’ve consulted experts to ensure you’re equipped with the proper sneakers for the 5Ks, half-marathons, and 26 miles that lie ahead. 

To aid in my own training—I rediscovered the joys of running during the height of the pandemic last year—I sought out Nike Run Club Master Trainer Traci Copeland, who explained that the best running shoes for women and men really depend on what your foot does while you run. “Some pronate or supinate,” Copeland says, explaining the difference between runners who place their weight on the inside vs. the outside of their feet. “Sometimes, you need more support based on this.” Determining your foot type is key, and there are several fundamental tests you can perform to do so in the comfort of your own home. The simplest being the “Wet Test,” in which you wet the sole of your foot and step onto a blank piece of paper. The damp footprint left behind will help establish whether you are a neutral runner or over or under pronator. As a neutral runner, I’ve found the various Adidas Ultraboost prototypes to fit my everyday running needs best. Their supportive heel and midsole design provide just the right amount of cushioning to protect my fragile ankles from the daily pressures of urban running.

Vogue Fashion Assistant and avid runner Kathleen Thomas, on the other hand, found her perfect pair after seeking advice from her aunt, a long-time marathon runner. “About five years ago, my aunt suggested the brand Hoka and told me that their running shoes would change my running,” Thomas says. “I started with Hoka’s Arahi 5’s and have since transitioned to the Bondi 7’s for running and the Clifton styles for walking and everyday use.” Needless to say, her aunt was not wrong, as Thomas’ beloved Hokas are currently prepping her for the City of Oaks Half Marathon in Raleigh, North Carolina, taking place in early November.

From the supportive, lightweight shoe for the everyday jog to the high-performance sneakers designed for elite runners and everything in between, try these 24 best running shoes to incorporate into your routine below.

Concrete Crusader

Designed for the road, the CloudTec technology of On’s Cloustratus sneakers makes running on concrete feel like running on, well, a cloud. Their lightweight, modern silhouettes create a sleek design without compromising the styles’ top-of-the-line energy return and cushioning, making them perfect for the New York City streets. Or, take a lap in APL’s Streamlines and test the styles designed to push you to move forward and faster.

APL Athletic Propulsion Labs women’s streamline sneakers

Nike Winflo 8 running shoes

Adidas Adizero Boston 10 shoes

Nike ZoomX Invincible Run Flyknit running shoes

Reebok Nano X1 training women’s shoes

In for the Long Haul

Durability, stability, and fine-tuned cushioning are key to finding the perfect running shoe for long distances. Whether running a 5K or prepping for a marathon, the extended heel geometry in Hoka One One’s Bondi 7 is designed to provide a smoother impact, while Adidas’ Ultraboost 21 combines energy return and responsive technology to emulate that I-could-run-forever feeling.

Adidas Ultraboost 21 shoes

Reebok Floatride Energy 3 women’s shows

Hoka women’s Bondi 7 running shoes

Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 38 running shoes

New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v11 shoes

Photo: Getty Images

Treading Lightly

If you’re prone to seasonal allergies, it may be time to trade in the pavement for the treadmill belt. Opting for breathable, lightweight shoes with ample support will help counteract the repetitive stress on your body and garner the highest efficiency on your next run. Take Nike’s Epic Reacts, for example, equipped with high-performance capabilities and Copeland’s running shoe of choice.

Nike React Flynit 2 running shoes

Asics Gel-1090 running trainers

Saucony women’s Endorphin Shift shoes

Hoka women’s Clifton Edge running shoes

Brooks Ghost 14 women’s road-running shoes

Puma Magnify Nitro women’s running sneakers

Into the Woods

Trail running is a different beast of its own, with unpredictable terrain at each stomp of the foot. Much like long-distance running, durable sneakers with stability technology are essential when searching for the perfect fit. Be sure to consider outsoles with gripping to enhance your ground connection and motion control, and keep you on your toes for the uneven surfaces just up the hill. Allbird’s latest release, the Trail Runner SWT, will certainly do the trick with trail traction inspired by the bulbous treads found on mountain bikes.

The North Face women’s Vectiv Taraval shoes

On Cloudventure water repellent trail running shoes

Allbirds women’s Trail Runners SWT shoes

Salomon XT-6 Advanced mesh trainers

La Sportiva Jackal GTX women’s shoes

Merrell women’s Antora 2 X See America shoes