Women who are in the market for a new running shoe might find themselves overwhelmed with the vast number of options from leading manufacturers, from New Balance and Nike to Brooks and Mizuno.
Though there are hundreds of shoes on the market today, only five shoes have the technology, materials, and unique designs necessary to be competitive, safe, and supportive in a wide range of environments.
Five Great Running Shoes for Women
A careful review of these shoes will make it easier to pick the best one for each runner.
1. Saucony Hurricane ISO 2
For a running shoe with superior heel and posture support, there is perhaps no better option among women’s running shoes than the Saucony Hurricane ISO 2.
The second version of the Hurricane ISO, released in early 2016, features a two-layer upper that is particularly dense and supportive toward the back of the shoe. This has the effect of improving posture and discouraging heel strikes, preventing injury during road running or on the treadmill.
A loose toe box allows the foot to flex during runs, as does a thick foam sole that cushions every step. The front half of the shoe also benefits from an exceedingly lightweight design, with mesh that allows the foot to breathe and provides superior comfort in even the warmest weather.
This shoe’s design is a perfect fit for beginner runners who need an improvement to their running form, or more seasoned runners who want good balance and breathability in their shoe.
2. New Balance Fresh Foam Zante v2
The past two years have been a time of transformation for New Balance, which has long enjoyed a reputation as one of the most accommodating and comfortable shoe retailers for both runners and those who just want a casual, day-to-day shoe.
The company’s innovative “Fresh Foam,” which is one of the lightest, yet densest foam materials on the market, is now a mainstay in its running shoe lineup. The women’s Fresh Foam Zante 2 uses the foam from front to back, with a particularly thick and cushioned heel that performs well on hard surfaces.
In addition to the foam sole of this shoe, runners will enjoy the lightweight upper, which is primarily composed of mesh and sock-like materials.
The thin upper is perfect for women who prefer the “barefoot” style of running, since it resists constraining the foot when it hits the ground. A wide variety of colors and designs styles also makes it easy to find the fresh Foam Zante 2 that appeals to every taste.
3. Brooks Transcend 3
Serious runners know that Brooks is one of the best brands on the market, particularly when it comes to supporting proper form and resisting injury.
That’s certainly true with the company’s Transcend 3 running shoe for women. The shoe features carefully molded foam along the sides, which serve as “guide rails.” These guide rails keep the foot firmly in the center of the shoe, pointed straight ahead during all phases of a runner’s stride.
Brooks has also gone to great lengths to reduce the weight of this shoe. Previous iterations of the Transcend 3 have been dinged as excessively bulky by both professional reviewers and average runners.
This model cuts the weight down considerably, thanks to a slightly refined foam material and a greater use of lightweight materials on the upper.
4. Puma Speed 300 Ignite
Looking to go for a particularly fast-paced run? There’s no better option than Puma’s Speed 300 Ignite shoe for women, which truly lives up to its name.
The first thing that most buyers will notice about this shoe is its unique design, with a thin bit of plastic between the foam sole and the heel area. That small bit of plastic is actually a “propulsion zone,” according to Puma.
This propulsion zone uses a spring-like design to launch the heel forward, making it easier to sprint or run at an elevated speed for long distances.
To ensure that the shoe itself stays out of the way, Puma’s Speed 300 Ignite features a lightweight upper that primarily uses mesh and a bit of plastic to keep the foot in place.
The foot is permitted to flex among these mesh materials, which reduces injury while maximizing comfort. Overall, fast runners currently have no better option than the Speed 300 Ignite.
5. Topo Athletic Tribute
For the lightest and most flexible running shoe on the market, look no further than the Topo Athletic Tribute. The foam material of the shoe’s sole was specifically designed to flex tightly in all directions, which makes the shoe far more flexible than the competition from Nike, Puma, and even Brooks. Similar to running barefoot, the shoe allows for maximum foot flexibility while providing enough support to resist injury.
In addition to the flexible foam sole, which is unique in the industry, the Athletic Tribute also has an exceedingly lightweight upper. The closest shoe in this category is the Nike Free.
The difference with this shoe, in particular, is that it offers greater foot support than the Nike Free and other barefoot-style running shoes.
Running shoes for women have become increasingly high-tech in recent years, with new materials that are designed to reduce the likelihood of injury while encouraging better form, posture, and speed.
That’s certainly the case with the five shoes mentioned here, each of which employ cutting-edge materials to provide an excellent experience on roads and treadmills from start to finish.