The best running shoes for women, from beginners to pros (2024)

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There’s no denying the health benefits of running — a study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found any amount of running can reduce the risk of early death.

Regardless of whether you’re just starting out or training for a marathon, a good pair of running shoes is key to a more enjoyable and comfortable workout. And a longer life, apparently.

So where do you start? THE ICONIC’s Performance Footwear Buyer, Steven Waterhouse, says it’s about assessing your running environment first and foremost.

“When it comes to finding your perfect running shoe, there are a few important questions you need to ask yourself,” Steven tells news.com.au.

“Beyond fit, some key questions to answer are where will I be running and how? This will help narrow down your choice to find a pair that not only provides an ideal fit, but performs against the conditions you need to help prevent potential injury.”

If are likely to be running on hard surfaces, finding a shoe with added support is key. Whereas bush track runners should opt for shoes with added grip and ankle support.

HOW WE CHOOSE PRODUCTS

With hundreds of running shoes available, it’s impossible to test every model out there. To help you find the best running shoe we tested a couple of well-known brands. In addition, our shopping team read hundreds of customer reviews and looked at test results and ratings from product review sites to find the best running shoes from premium to budget to help you find the right one for your.

BEST ROAD RUNNING SHOES

When it comes to road running shoes, think extra cushioning and support to absorb the shock of the hard surface.

Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 40, $152 (down from $190) at THE ICONIC

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What You Need To Know

Made with comfort and endurance in mind, the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 40 is a hugely popular choice for those who love road running. Offering neutral support, medium cushioning and high responsiveness, these shoes are comfortable, breathable and secure.

With a 4.7 out of five star rating on Google, reviewers are raving about the comfort and versatility of the shoe.

“I could live in these, and definitely can run in them,” one five-star reviewer said. Another wrote, “After putting the Air Zoom Pegasus 40 to the test, I am thrilled to report that this shoe exceeded all of my expectations. The fit and feel of the Pegasus 40 are nothing short of exceptional, making it a must-have for anyone seeking a well-rounded running shoe that doesn’t compromise on style.”

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ASICS Gel-Kayano 30, $279.99 at The Athlete’s Foot

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Tried and Tested by Melody Teh, news.com.au checkout Deputy Editor

The Gel-Kayanos are hands down one of the most popular running shoes around so when ASICS decided to upgrade its iconic Gel-Kayanos, I was eager to see why.

Not going to lie, when I first unboxed the new Gel-Kayano 30 I was surprised by just how big the mid-sole was – much bigger than previous versions. I wasn’t quite a fan of how chunky the sole looked but when I tried them on for the first, the big bouncy soles made running on them so comfortable. And don’t be fooled by the size, it’s super lightweight.

I’ve been trying to get back into running (or more like jogging) after a knee and ankle injury a couple of years ago set me right back. Now when I run I need a lot of support. And the Gel-Kayano 30 provide an amazing level of cushioning for your feet and the shock absorption is incredible, yet you still feel very stable in the shoes. The never-before-seen 4D guidance system technology really does support your foot by adapting to the pronation changes over the course of a run – this is particularly useful at the end of runs when you’re feeling exhausted and your form is all over the place.

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The best running shoes for women, from beginners to pros (4)

After running them a few times, and admittedly getting used to how big the shoes are, I’m in love. It honestly feels like running on a cloud. They do everything a good running shoe should do: provide comfort, stability and cushioning – and has actually made me look forward to running knowing that I won’t have my usual aches and pains after a run.

With hundreds of five-star reviews online just months after its release, as well as thousands of views on TikTok, I guarantee you’ll love these new look ASIC Gel-Kayano 30.

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Reebok Floatride Energy 5, $120 (down from $160) at Reebok

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What You Need to Know

Reebok creates excellent running shoes that are comfy, supportive and stylish - and the Floatride Energy 5 is no exception. With a sleek upper that's breathable and lightweight, your feet will keep cool in both look and temperature. The Floatride Energy Foam offers comfort by cushioning your journey, while a midfoot plate helps keeps you stable so you don't twist or stumble as fatigue sets in. Definitely a running shoe that will support you, however far you like to run, and at whatever pace.

Reebok make the same shoe for men, which attracted this five-star review: "Basic simple classic shoe that I find attractive with pretty good cushioning and fine for training runs of 5 - 15km at an excellent (discounted) price. Have bought a second pair. Well done Reebok!" Another said, "These shoes are awesome and super absorbent, great for running long distance:"

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ASICS Gel-Nimbus 25, $179.99 (was $259.99) at Rebel Sport

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What You Need To Know

The most cushioned Gel-Nimbus to date, the Gel-Nimbus 25 will be your new go-to running shoe. It offers upgraded lightweight cushioning that will make you feel like you’re landing on clouds. Revamped with updated PureGEL technology for enhanced shock absorption, it also has a new soft and stretchy knit upper for ventilation and an updated tongue to provide better flexibility.

Suitable for runners looking for a highly cushioned, neutral shoe that’s good for everyday running.

“Excellent running shoe," wrote one five-star reviewer. "Was slightly worried about the fit, since the gel profile was consistently changed (it’s my 5th pair of nimbus). But they fit perfectly well and are as fast as ever.”

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New Balance Fresh Foam 680v7, $100 (down from $150), New Balance

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What You Need To Know

Designed for beginner runners, although suitable for all levels, these stylish New Balance shoes prioritise comfort above all. It has a midsole that provides a plush underfoot and a rubber outsole for traction. The engineered double jacquard mesh is nonrestrictive on your toes, and the moulded footbed maximises comfort.

With thousands of reviews on Google, shoppers love the affordable price point of the New Balance runners and how it suits people with wide feet.

One five-star reviewer labelled them the “best running shoes ever”, writing, “I’ve been looking for comfortable, yet with good support and traction, running shoes for what seems ‘ages’.

I look no more. These incredible sneakers are EVERYTHING a runner ever needs. They are soft and extremely comfortable inside, yet firm and sturdy on the outside.

“The rubber sole provides strong non-slip traction so that you can run without slipping even in the rain. There was no break-in time with these shoes at all.”

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Brooks Adrenaline GTS 23, $259.95 at THE ICONIC

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What You Need To Know

Made for running, these sneakers have an enhanced air mesh upper and soft cushioning, and GuideRails holistic midsole support for maximum cushion and support.

Other features include breathable air mesh, 3D fit print and BioMoGo DNA midsole cushioning.

Five-star reviewers say they're the "best runners ever".

"They feel great on long and short runs, on the tread and road. Great arch support to avoid plantar fasciitis and my ankles feel stable on the stability platform. My toes are appreciative of the extra room in the toe box. Love having so many color options," one wrote.

"So comfortable and supportive! I didn’t feel like they needed to be worn in, and my pace has instantly got quicker since changing to these shoes," another wrote.

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Allbirds Women’s Tree Flyers, $240 at Allbirds

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What You Need To Know

From sustainable brand Allbirds comes this incredibly chic pair of Tree Flyer joggers available in six colourways. Created with a bio-based SwiftFoam midsole that’s super lightweight and bouncy and a breezy upper to promote airflow, these shoes were made for running of any distance. Plus, these joggers are completely carbon neutral due to the brand’s use of natural materials and sustainable initiatives and shipping is free with this purchase.

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Saucony Women’s Triumph 19 Running Shoe, from $99.03 at Amazon Australia

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What You Need To Know

These runners actually feel like you’re running on a cloud. With an ultra-plush bed, the extra cushioning provides super springy jog. The FORMFIT design hugs the foot to provide a more personalised and comfortable feel throughout the whole shoe.

One five star reviewer notes that while she has taken off road, these shoes work best when on the road, “Comfortable and roomy for long runs (I run between 10km – 25km). I’ve taken them off-road/cross country and they’ve held up pretty well too – although I’d probably prefer sticking to road in them. The aesthetics of this shoe are really slick, so I feel comfortable wearing them around town casually as well.”

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BEST TRAIL RUNNING SHOES

Prefer the unpredictable terrain of the bush for your runs? Look for plenty of grip when choosing a pair of shoes to avoid accidents.

Salomon OUTpulse GTX – Women’s, $170 (down from $239.99) at Kathmandu

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What You Need To Know

French brand Salomon is renowned for its shoes that are designed to navigate outdoor terrain.

These runners have serious grip as well as features like protective toecaps, OrthoLite sockliner and fuse surge for dynamic stride.

They’re also made from water repellent GORE-TEX mesh upper for ultimate comfort when in the great outdoors.

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Nike Pegasus Trail 4 GORE-TEX, $230 at Nike

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What You Need To Know

These Nike runners are designed to keep you comfortable through all your outdoor adventures with features like heel-to-toe Nike React foam and cushioning designed to move with you.

Made from textile and mesh materials that are super breathable, the runners also have waterproof GORE-TEX weather protection. They also feature a higher ankle gaiter keeping your foot further off the ground and away from puddles.

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BEST HYBRID SHOES (FOR ROAD AND TRAIL RUNNING)

Don’t like being pigeonholed as either a road or trail runner? Luckily there are plenty of great hybrid shoes that can easily adapt to your running environment. With the cushioning required for a comfortable pavement pound, and the grip and stability of trail run shoes, these clever pairs will see you through any terrain.

UA Women’s UA Velociti 3 Running Shoes, from $140 at Under Armour

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Tried and Tested by Philippa Tonkin, news.com.au checkout Shopping Writer

Trying out a new pair of runners is always a little bit daunting. You hope for the best but you’re never quite sure if they will be right for you. This was definitely the case for me when I first popped on the Under Armour UA Flow Velociti 3 shoes. I’ve been a devoted ASICS Gel-Kayano fan for many years and wasn’t sure if these could live up to my expectations.

They’re super light when you first pick them up, a considerable difference to my ASICS joggers that feel like a brick in comparison. Sliding into them, I first noticed just how soft and cushioned the sole was. It definitely felt like I was walking with an extra bounce in my step. I also liked how the stretchy knit material hugged my foot in all the right spots. It wasn’t too tight but felt like just enough. I also tried them out on different surfaces like grass, footpath and sand at the beach and thought they worked well on all three.

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The best running shoes for women, from beginners to pros (15)

I have very flat feet and did notice my foot rolling in a bit more than I would have liked, meaning the arch support wasn’t quite what I need. I also have quite small ankles at the back and noticed my foot was slipping out a little bit with each step. I wasn’t sure if this was just me though so I had a friend try them out too. For context, she has a very high arch and doesn’t need the same support that I do. She had no issues with the arch support and her feet weren’t rolling in and nor were they slipping out at the back either. She was a big fan.

Overall, I did love just how bouncy the shoes were and if you’re lucky and don’t suffer from flat feet like me then you will definitely love these shoes.

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HOKA Clifton 9, $259.99 at The Athlete’s Foot

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What You Need To Know

These lightweight runners are designed for everyday runs, giving you support alongside propulsive cushioning to keep you moving forward.

Features include an ultralight compression midsole, a breathable engineered mesh upper, a soft padded tongue, and a refined pull tab for easy entry. The outsoles have also been recently redesigned to boost durability.

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Under Armour Women’s UA Charged Pursuit 3 Running Shoes, $100 at Under Armour

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What You Need To Know

These runners are designed to be light and flexible for ease of movement as well as a performance mesh upper for breathability.

It has plenty of other features to help you run like the wind, including a deluxe foam sockliner that moulds to your feet and a Charged Cushioning midsole.

One five star reviewer wrote, “It is a very good walking and running shoe on a budget. These are classics for anyone who likes fitness. They fit true to size, charged midsole is strong. It is soft enough inside and is very compatible to the UnderArmour Machina model.”

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Mizuno Wave Luminous Women’s, $190 at THE ICONIC

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What You Need To Know

Dubbed Mizuno’s “hybrid power” shoe, this pair will help you traverse any terrain.

Lightweight with a grippy sole and a secure and supportive fit, these are the perfect option for anyone who likes to switch up their running scenery.

One five star review gave some helpful shopping advice saying, “These shoes are amazing. So comfortable and supportive but springy and lightweight! Some notes on sizing – I have a narrow foot and these fit me really well, but snugly (with regular socks on). If you have a wide foot they would likely be too firm. I also sized up half a size from my usual streetwear shoe size (and my ASICS running shoe size), from an 8 to an 8.5, after reading reviews about Mizunos running on the small side. It was a good decision! All round fantastic shoe.”

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WHAT SHOULD I LOOK FOR IN A ROAD RUNNING SHOE?

First things first, it’s important to consider the size you go for with a pair of joggers. Opting for half a size bigger than your usual shoe size can allow for any “swelling or expansion” you might encounter as you speed along, according to Waterhouse. Then ensure you pick a pair with extra padding to absorb the shock of the concrete you’re running on.

WHAT SHOULD I LOOK FOR IN A TRAIL RUNNING SHOE?

Unlike predictable pavement, the beauty of trail runs is that you’ll be encountering everything from slippery rocks to gravel. To ensure you’re safe on any terrain, selecting a pair of trail run shoes with added grip and ankle support is crucial.

WHAT IS A HYBRID RUNNING SHOE?

With the cushioning required for a comfortable pavement pound, and the grip and stability of trail run shoes, these clever pairs will see you through any terrain.

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Originally published as The best running shoes for women, from beginners to pros

The best running shoes for women, from beginners to pros (2024)
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