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The most comfortable running shoes for women of 2024

From cushioned running shoes to lightweight trainers and supportive sneakers, these are the best women’s running shoes according to experts.

Collage with 5 running shoes
Snag a pair of these expert-approved running shoes before your next run! (Amazon, Zappos)

Whether you’re training for a marathon or going for a light jog, the right footwear can make all the difference. If you’re going to be pounding the pavement (or treadmills) it’s important to choose a sneaker that has been specifically designed for running. "Running shoes have more cushion to absorb the higher impact of activity," says New York-based podiatrist and foot surgeon Dr. Hillary Brenner. The best women’s running shoes are not only comfortable and supportive enough to last miles, but they should also be incredibly lightweight to help you enhance your performance and increase your speed.

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To find out which women’s running shoes will help you make strides, we consulted a mix of podiatrists, fitness experts, marathoners, running coaches and our own running-obsessed shopping editors to find out what they look for when picking the right running shoes and which options are their favorites. From cushioned running shoes to lightweight trainers and supportive kicks, these are the most comfortable running shoes for women.

Sizes: 5 to 13 | Colors: 14 options | Weight: 9.3 oz

When we polled our team of experts for their favorite running shoes, both running coaches we spoke with, Carleth Keys and Kim Clark listed these New Balance sneakers as their top picks. "This is the most comfortable shoe on the market, ideal for daily training and long runs that don’t involve intense workouts," says Keys. Clark agrees telling us "The cushioning is so plush and soft. It seriously is the most comfortable cushioning underfoot for easy runs!"

The sporty kicks have a breathable mesh upper to prevent your feet from overheating and a durable rubber outsole that offers great traction for everyday runs. There are 14 styles to choose from and sizes not only range from 5 to 13 but they also come in narrow, medium, wide and extra-wide options so you can easily find your ideal fit.

Pros
  • Super cushioned
  • Breathable
  • Tons of sizing options
  • Lightweight
Cons
  • Expensive
$165 at Zappos

Sizes: 5 to 13 | Colors: 25 options | Weight: 9.2 oz

Both women’s fitness expert, Julie Lohre and Stephanie Holbrook, Level 1 USA triathlon coach have given these Asics their seal of approval thanks to their stand-up performance. "When I think about running and longer cardio sessions, the Asics Gel-Nimbus 26 is tough to beat. The cushioning is top-notch, providing a lot of shock absorption, and they are really comfortable on those long runs," Lohre said. The ultra-cushioned insole adds comfort and helps you achieve softer landings to prevent injuries. Lohre also notes, "The support system in these shoes helps maintain good alignment, making them ideal for my higher-impact workouts." Holbrook also likes that they "Provide cushioning and support to absorb the impact of each stride."

Pros
  • Lightweight
  • Great stability
  • Very cushioned
  • Shock-absorbing
Cons
  • Expensive
$160 at Amazon
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$160 at Asics

Sizes: 5 to 12 | Colors: 8 options | Weight: 7.4 oz

Brooks is a brand long synonymous with running, so it makes sense that our Senior Commerce Writer, Kristin Granero named these her top joggers. She wears them often on all types of treks, including through hilly parks, and has always felt supported on even the longest of runs when wearing them — she even found them comfortable when she ran the Brooklyn Half Marathon. Along with being supportive and breathable, Granero loves how lightweight the running shoes are — weighing just 7.4 ounces, so they won’t weigh you down as you get in your miles. Some shoppers said they found the sneakers to be too narrow, but they do come in wide sizes as well if you need extra room

Pros
  • Super lightweight
  • Breathable
  • Durable
  • Very comfortable
Cons
  • Some shoppers said they found the sneakers to be too narrow
$110 at Brooks
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$110 at Zappos$110 at Rei

Sizes: 5 to 13 | Colors: 25 options | Weight: 9.7 oz

Lohre praises these running shoes saying, "They are fantastic because of their reliable support and cushioning. While they are super stable shoes, it is the cushion and comfort that make Adrenalines a shoe I really like for [both] treadmills and outdoor running. They offer great stability, the fit is comfortable and the shoes provide nice arch support." Along with an airy mesh upper, they offer a removable foam footbed for extra comfort. Our Senior Home and Garden Editor, Jessica Dodell-Feder, is also a big fan. She runs 5-10 miles a week on both the treadmill and outdoors and loves them so much that she’s "owned some iteration of this sneaker for around 15 years." There are 24 styles to choose from and sizes not only range from 5 to 13 but they also come in narrow, medium, wide and extra-wide options, so you know you're gonna find your ideal fit.

Pros
  • Comes in various sizes
  • Cushioned
  • Lightweight
  • Very stable
Cons
  • Expensive
$140 at Zappos

Sizes: 5 to 13 | Colors: 61 options | Weight: 8.8 oz

Another Brooks option that topped the list of many experts was the Ghosts. Dr. Elizabeth Daughtry, DPM, FACFAS tells us "As a neutral running shoe, the Ghost is designed for distance running, everyday runs or walking with an enhanced upper and improved cushioning leading it to also be a recipient of the APMA Seal of Acceptance." NASM-certified personal trainer, Andrew White is also a fan because they "Offer a smooth, balanced ride and good durability, making it perfect for both new runners and seasoned marathoners." The cushioned insole and system of shock absorbers provide a smooth stable ride no matter how fast you’re running, while the mesh upper is super breathable. The under-$100 sneakers are also a customer favorite and are the No. 1 bestselling women’s road running shoes on Amazon.

Pros
  • Tons of colors
  • Super comfortable
  • Variety of sizes
  • Great for long distances
  • Lightweight
Cons
  • Some shoppers say they run big so check the sizing chart
$100 at Amazon

Sizes: 5 to 11 | Colors: 6 options | Weight: 9 oz

Chiropractor and certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS), Dr. Matt Tanneberg recommends this pair of running shoes for clients because they "Have a great balance of being light but also enough support for your lower extremities to absorb some of that pressure." 

The supportive insole cradles your foot for extra stability and the upper is made from breathable layers of mesh for ample airflow and cooling ventilation. The shock-absorbing sneakers are designed to reduce muscle fatigue and deliver soft landings to prevent injuries.

Pros
  • Supportive
  • Lightweight
  • Breathable
  • Shock absorbing
Cons
  • Expensive
$150 at Zappos
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$150 at Dick's Sporting Goods$150 at On

Sizes: 5.5 to 12 | Colors: 2 options | Weight: 6.4 oz

Holbrook tells us "If you're a runner, you need shoes that provide cushioning and support to absorb the impact of each stride," which is why she is such a big fan of these Altra running shoes. Designed for road running, these ultra-lightweight sneakers boast a roomy toe box and breathable upper to keep your feet comfortable. While the sneakers have a comfortable foam insole, the running shoes are zero-drop, meaning they have more of a "barefoot" feel to them which gives runners a more natural gait and stride. Zero-drop shoes aren’t for everyone though, if you suffer from foot ailments like tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, bunions or hammertoes you should opt for more cushioned sneakers.

Pros
  • Supportive
  • Super lightweight
  • Zero drop
  • Flexible
Cons
  • Limited colors
  • Not great for people with foot ailments
$140 at Altra

Sizes: 5 to 12 | Colors: 7 options | Weight: 8.8 oz

These sporty Nikes are "a versatile cushioned trainer with good responsiveness for regular mileage runs up to long distances," Gregory Alvarez, DPM, FACFAS, and Podiatrist at the Ankle & Foot Centers of America tells us. They boast ample arch support, a breathable upper and comfortable cushioning that helps keep your foot secure and stable as you pound the pavement. White recommends them to clients for daily training because they “offer consistent cushioning and support.” There are seven colors to choose from, and if you don’t see one you like, you can even design your own custom option.

Pros
  • You can design your own pair
  • Great responsiveness
  • Cushioned
  • Supportive
Cons
  • Expensive
$140 at Nike

Sizes: 5 to 12 | Colors: 17 options | Weight: 11 oz

Bondi sneakers are another popular pick that has amassed over 5,800 five-star ratings from shoppers. Dr. Brenner is a fan "because of the EVA (ethyl vinyl acetate) foam midsole which is excellent for shock absorption. It's an excellent shoe in regards to support." These sporty kicks have the thickest insole of the bunch and weigh less than 9 ounces, making them a solid pick for anyone whose feet need ultra-plush cushioning. Other key features are the engineered mesh construction, Ortholite hybrid sock liner, lightweight foam and rubber outsole. Dr. Tanneberg also recommends them because "they have ample amounts of cushion and are very comfortable for those long runs. The larger toe box will allow for more comfort and the bigger platform absorbs more pressure than most any other shoe will." The ample cushioning and support make them an ideal choice for low-intensity jogs and recovery runs post-races.

Pros
  • Super-cushioned
  • Lightweight
  • Excellent traction
  • Tons of colors
  • Wide sizes available
Cons
  • Expensive
$165 at Hoka
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$165 at Nordstrom$165 at Zappos

Sizes: 5 to 12 | Colors: 17 options | Weight: 7.4 oz

If you’re looking to set some new personal records Keys suggests investing in this pair of Pumas because they are "Excellent for speed and tempo workouts." Designed as part of the brand’s Marathon Series sneakers, the running shoes are built for running long distances at top velocity. Weighing just 7.4 ounces the lightweight kicks have performance foam insoles for responsiveness and a durable rubber sole that provides excellent traction on all types of terrains. The breathable sneakers even have reflective details on the upper to help you be seen if you run at night.

Pros
  • Supportive
  • Great for increasing speed
  • Designed for long distances
  • Comfortable
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Only one color
$200 at Puma

Sizes: 5 to 11 | Colors: 4 options | Weight: 9.2 oz

If you prefer running on trails instead of pavement or treadmills, it’s important to get a durable pair of trail running shoes that will keep your feet sturdy and prevent them from slipping and sliding. Dr. Alvarez recommends this pair from Salomon because they are "An excellent grip trail runner designed for stability and protection on rugged terrain surfaces like mud, rocks, etc., where other models would struggle." The webbing along the tongue keeps debris from entering your shoe, while the protective toe cap keeps your feet safe from harm. They also boast a rugged rubber sole that provides excellent traction and a cushioned insole for added comfort.

Pros
  • Great for trails
  • Rugged soles
  • Excellent traction and grip
  • Great stability and protection
Cons
  • Expensive
$145 at Amazon

To figure out which women’s running shoes were the best of the best, we consulted a mix of podiatrists, fitness experts, marathoners, running coaches and our own running-obsessed shopping editors. They weighed in on what to look for when picking the right running shoes for different needs. We also polled this crew to find out which options are their favorites — because there's nothing like a firsthand recommendation! After reviewing hundreds of contenders, we came down to 11 final candidates.

Comfort: Like any shoe, comfort is key. You’ll want to find a pair with ample cushioning and support to prevent injuries and ensure your feet won’t hurt after wearing them, especially if you plan on wearing them for miles.

Traction: ""Depending on where you plan to run (trail vs. road), the shoe's traction should provide stability and grip suitable for the terrain, NASM-certified personal trainer, Andrew White tells us. Stephanie Holbrook, Level 1 USA triathlon coach, agrees telling us you want to choose running shoes with a sole that provides a good grip on various surfaces. "Look for shoes with a patterned sole or rubber outsole for optimal traction," she tells us.

Support: According to Dr. Matt Tanneberg, a Chiropractor and Certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS) supportive sneakers are necessary to alleviate some of the pressure being put on their feet from the constant impact of running, especially if you have flatter feet. Supportive shoes "will also help to take some of the pressure off of the surrounding joints of the leg, as well: the ankles, knees and hips," he says.

Cushioning: "Comfort and shock absorption depends on a good cushioned and molded insole," Gregory Alvarez, DPM, FACFAS, and Podiatrist at the Ankle & Foot Centers of America tells us. The correct amount of cushioning provides shock absorption from the repetitive pounding that your feet will undergo as you run.

Weight: If you’re trying to hit a new personal goal or trying to increase your speed a lightweight sneaker is key. "Lighter-weight models may contribute to better performance, especially when it comes to racing; however, lightweight shoes should not come at the expense of stability," Dr. Alvarez tells us. So when choosing a lightweight running shoe, you also want to make sure the sneaker is durable and structured enough to keep your foot stable and supported.

While you may think any old running shoe will work for everything from light jogs to long marathons, think again. There are actually a variety of types of running shoes to choose from depending on the activity level. White tells us if you’re hitting trails with uneven terrains, you should opt for a pair of trail runners as they "Feature rugged soles for better grip and stability on off-road terrains."

If you’re just getting into running or looking for a pair to go on short everyday runs, you should invest in a pair of everyday trainers as they are "versatile and durable enough for regular training sessions as well as long-distance runs," says Dr. Alvarez. He also suggests investing in racing flats if you’re tackling a marathon or long-distance run because they are "built to maximize speed by minimizing weight and padding."

Marathoner and running trainer, Carleth Keys recommends opting for either a half-size or a full-size larger, depending on the brand. "This is because your feet tend to swell after running for extended periods," she tells us. Kim Clark, marathoner and running coach agrees telling us, "You need to have space in the front so your toes aren't getting banged up against the shoe and allow your foot to flex while running, and to allow for swelling when you run! I size up a full size from my casual shoes!"

According to New York-based podiatrist and foot surgeon, Dr. Hillary Brenner "Running shoes have more cushion to absorb the higher impact of activity." Plus they are usually designed to be lightweight for speed, whereas walking shoes are heavier to provide more stability. "Walking shoes are more flexible at the forefoot whereas running shoes have flexibility throughout the shoe to accommodate for the variety of running patterns," she adds.

There are a few simple ways you can keep your running shoes in tip-top shape. Holbrook recommends wiping your sneakers with a clean cloth to remove any dirt, sweat or debris after every workout. "If your shoes are particularly dirty, you can use a soft-bristled brush and mild soap to clean them. Avoid using harsh chemicals or bleach, as they can damage the material of your shoes," she adds.

Airing out your shoes is also helpful as it can prevent the buildup of bacteria and odor. "Remove the insoles and let them dry separately. You can also stuff your shoes with newspaper to help absorb moisture and speed up the drying process," says Holbrook. And be sure to store them in a cool, dry place when they aren’t in use. "Avoid leaving them in direct sunlight or in a damp environment, as this can damage the material and cause odor. You can also use shoe trees or inserts to help maintain their shape," she added.

Another helpful tip is to check the manufacturer label as some gym shoes are now machine-washable, which would make keeping them clean even easier.

Clark says the key to judging when a running shoe needs to be replaced is based on mileage and not the lifespan of the shoe. "Most running shoes will get about 200-300 miles before they aren't absorbing shock well anymore, and some shoes with more cushioning will get more like 400-500."

Her biggest tip for extending the life of your running shoes is to wear them only for running and don’t wear them for other types of workouts or running errands. White also suggests rotating between two pairs of running shoes if you run frequently. "This extends the life of each pair and helps reduce the risk of injury by varying the load and stress on your legs and feet. Different shoes can slightly alter how you run, which can benefit your muscles and joints," he tells us.