No single running shoe reigns as the best for all runners.
That’s because different runners have varying foot shapes, running styles, prior injuries, and personal preferences. However, several vital characteristics define a great running shoe.
A quality running shoe is typically durable, lightweight, supportive, cushioned, and comfortable. The support and cushioning a runner prefers affects their decision when choosing a running shoe.
Our reviewers set out to find the best women’s running shoes for 2024. They researched, logged miles in each shoe, and reviewed their findings. This list includes the 15 best running shoes they found, varying in style, cushioning, support, and more.
Find Your Stride in Shoes Designed for Women
For decades, running shoes were considered virtually unisex. They were designed for a male foot shape, and women simply purchased smaller sizes. However, avid female runners experienced foot pain, blisters, and even a greater chance of injury.
That’s because women don’t just have smaller feet than men; they have different foot shapes. Generally, women have narrower heels and wider forefeet. Women’s feet are more triangular, while men’s feet are more rectangular. Women who continuously wore men’s running shoes experienced a variety of setbacks.
Women require running shoes designed for their feet to reach their full potential in the sport. Thankfully, shoe companies now understand why women’s running shoes are so important, and numerous varieties are available.
Our Running Shoe Criteria
Our reviewers based their opinions of the best women’s running shoes on several criteria.
The shoe must remain comfortable from the first mile to the last. Shoes that caused blisters or foot pain were immediately eliminated.
The shoe should absorb shock on landings. This helps keep the runner comfortable and reduces the chance of injury.
Some running shoes are specifically designed for stability. However, all running shoes, even ultra-lightweight ones, must provide a certain level of stability to keep the runner safe and comfortable without restricting foot or ankle movement.
Nobody wants a running shoe that feels bulky and weighs them down. We searched for shoes that provide the right cushioning while remaining lightweight.
The 15 Best Women’s Running Shoes for 2024
- Brooks Ghost 15
- HOKA Clifton 9
- Altra Torin 7
- Mizuno Wave Rider 27
- On Cloudgo
- Saucony Ride 16
- Asics GEL-NIMBUS 25
- Brooks Adrenaline GTS 23
- Puma Velocity Nitro 2
- Asics Cumulus 25
- Adidas Ultraboost Light
- HOKA Bondi 8
- Mizuno Wave Sky 7
- Saucony Triumph 21
- New Balance 880 v13
Brooks Ghost 15
The Brooks Ghost 15 was one of our top picks because it has been tried and tested for more than a decade. Brooks first released the Ghost 15 years ago, and it has proven itself year after year as a go-to women’s running shoe.
Stand-out characteristics of the Ghost include its soft yet responsive cushioning. The latest edition features a new DNA Loft v2 midsole—a welcome upgrade to the DNA Loft used in last year’s version. DNA Loft v2 is lightweight and soft yet supportive enough for long-distance runs.
The Ghost 15 is a go-to shoe for everyday training.
HOKA Clifton 9
Hoka running shoes are praised for their ample cushioning, and the Clifton 9 is known as the company’s best shoe for daily training. The cushioning is undoubtedly what grabbed our reviewer’s attention, as they stated the shoe felt energetic from the first stride to the last. Our long-distance runners praised the Clifton 9 for comfort, which felt almost like running on clouds.
The Hoka Clifton 9 features a spacious toe box that is especially comfortable and breathable for women with wider feet. Toe pain and blisters were non-existent even when running extremely long distances. This women’s running shoe weighs only 7.3 ounces, making it one of the lightest yet most well-cushioned shoes on our list and one of the best Hoka running shoes.
Altra Torin 7
Altra running shoes are some of the most esteemed in the industry. Building on the success of the stylish and best-selling Torin 6, the Torin 7 model enhances your running experience with the Altra EGO MAX cushioned design. This daily trainer is perfect for those who regularly pound the pavement on runs but want to limit the impact on their joints. Some of the most significant updates to this longtime classic include an overhauled tongue with a more plush feel and an improved heel collar for extra comfort as you put them on.
Of course, wearers can still rely on Altra’s signature FootShape design to allow their feet to comfortably spread through the sneaker and encourage more natural foot mechanics, while the Balanced Cushioning platform and FootPod outsole technology position your foot to help develop better form over time. Meanwhile, an engineered mesh upper provides breathability and moisture-wicking, while Innerflex grooves improve flexibility and movement. Even more importantly, all of these benefits don’t weigh runners down, with the Torin 7 still weighing less than 9.9 ounces.
Mizuno Wave Rider 27
The New Mizuno Wave Rider 27, a fresh take on one of the market’s most iconic running shoes. Renowned for its exceptional blend of comfort, responsiveness, and sleek style. It continues to be a favorite choice for women runners. From daily training to pushing the pace, this shoe is ready to impress.
The 2024 Wave Rider 27 features Mizuno’s ENERZY FOAM, which offers just the right cushioning and responsiveness. The Wave Rider also features the iconic Wave Plate, designed to provide stability while dispersing impacts. This means longer-lasting comfort and joint safety while running distances.
A notable advancement in the Wave Rider 27 is its redesigned toe box. It’s more spacious and accommodating, offering a comfortable fit for a wider range of foot shapes, compared to the Wave Rider 26’s snugger forefoot fit. This thoughtful update means enhanced comfort, especially on those longer runs.
Our reviewers praised Mizuno Wave Rider 27 for its versatility, effortlessly fitting into every part of your daily routine. Ideal for running, gym sessions, or casual wear, its stylish and comfortable design makes it a top choice for all-day use. Surprising lightweight at just 8.3 ounces, it offers exceptional support and cushioning without the bulk.
The On Running women’s CloudGo isn’t your average running shoe. “Cloud” is in the name because it is undeniably one of the softest, yet responsive shoes our team has tested.
The CloudGo draws its comfort from On Running’s CloudTec adaptive cushioning technology combined with their premium Helion midsole foam. The TPU Speedboard offers impact protection, energy return, and softer landings to protect joints. Even better, the CloudGo is easy on the environment with a polyester mesh made from 85 to 90 percent recycled materials and about 30 percent recycled content throughout the shoe. It’s one of the most sustainable women’s running shoes we’ve found, and we’re proud to offer it at Marathon Sports.
The On Running CloudGo is a neutral running shoe that fits true to size. It weighs only 7.5 ounces.
Saucony Ride 16
The Saucony Ride 16 is another legendary women’s running shoe that has withstood the test of time. It’s a clear example of Saucony’s unrivaled durability and continuing innovation.
The Saucony Ride 16 features few upgrades from the Ride 15, but that’s because runners didn’t need much more. The cushioning is soft, and the newly designed PwrRun Plus sock liner is ridiculously comfortable. Saucony reduced the shoe’s weight while adding more cushioning thanks to the new FORMFIT design. The shoe features cushioning and support in all areas of contact for long-lasting comfort.
The Saucony women’s Ride 16 is very similar to the Ride 15. It’s softer, lighter, more durable, and more breathable than the Ride 14 and other previous models. Most Saucony fans didn’t want to see many changes after last year’s model was released with multiple upgrades, and they’ll be happy to know this shoe remained almost identical.
The Saucony Ride is a lightweight running shoe at 7.8 ounces.
Asics GEL-NIMBUS 25
The GEL-NIMBUS 25 is hardly recognizable from its earlier versions, and the changes are ones our reviewers welcomed. New features for the latest version of the GEL-NIMBUS include the softer-than-ever PureGEL technology. Unlike previous versions, the gel is hidden within the shoe and not visible from the outside.
Ultra-lightweight FF BLAST PLUS ECO cushioning makes the GEL-NIMBUS 25 softer than ever and features 20 percent more foam than the 24. This year’s model also features a stretchier, knit collar construction and tongue for a more personalized fit and added comfort.
Our reviewers found that the GEL-NIMBUS 25 is more comfortable and cushioned than ever, making it an ideal daily trainer for long-distance runners. They also felt the improvements will be especially appreciated by women with joint pain, under pronation, and high arches.
The Asics GEL-NIMBUS 25 is one of our heavier women’s running shoes at 9.17 ounces, but we think the new features are worth a little extra weight.
Brooks Adrenaline GTS 23
Brooks is one of the most iconic names in running shoes, and the new Adrenaline 23 lives up to the company’s hype. It’s a supportive road-running shoe that is also soft enough for daily long-distance running. Amazingly, the Adrenaline has been one of Brooks’ top supportive running shoes for over 20 years.
What our reviewers liked most about the Adrenaline GTS 23 is that it maintains the balance of comfort and support they are known for. It comes with an improved midsole made from DNA LOFT v2, which provides a lighter shoe and a softer feel without squishiness. The just over nine-ounce Adrenaline GTS 23 still offers the added stability of GuideRails technology to optimize your movements and promote a natural stride. Over time, this will reduce strain on your feet, knees, and hips, a huge bonus for many runners. This stability is one of the most important benefits to our reviewers, who’ve become longtime devotees of the model.
It’s also incredibly breathable despite the glove-like fit, thanks to an upper made from engineered air mesh. It’s also made from nearly 60% recycled materials, which Brooks says keeps more than 11 plastic bottles per pair out of landfills. Not many pieces of footwear offer the promise of being as good for your body as they are for the planet!
Puma Velocity Nitro 2
The women’s Puma Velocity Nitro 2 is one of the most technological shoes on our list for 2024. It’s also one of the best looking.
The Velocity Nitro 2 features Puma’s advanced NITROFOAM technology, which is ultra-light and responsive. Additional technologies include PUMA Grip high-traction rubber is suitable for wet or dry conditions and even the occasional run on a well-maintained trail. The Puma Velocity Nitro 2 also has discreet reflective accents that shine bright in low-light conditions but don’t distract from the shoe’s sleek look. The TPU heel piece provides stability without adding unnecessary weight.
Our reviewers felt the Puma Velocity Nitro 2 is an ideal women’s running shoe for everyday training, from long-distance runs to the gym and beyond.
Asics GEL-CUMULUS 25
The Gel-Cumulus 25 is another Asics running shoe now featuring some of the company’s latest innovations. It’s an everyday trainer designed for neutral runners and those who overpronate. This year’s model is more responsive than ever.
New is a superior heel fit, softer FF BLAST™ cushioning, and rear and forefoot PureGEL™ technology. It’s the ultimate daily running shoe for impact absorption and comfort. The newly engineered mesh upper, OrthoLite X-30 sock liner, and gender-specific 3D SPACE CONSTRUCTION™ make running in the Asics Gel-Cumulus 25 feel more personalized than ever.
Our team was impressed by the innovations Asics brought to their running shoes for 2024, and we believe the Asics Gel-Cumulus is guaranteed to be a top seller alongside the new Gel-Nimbus.
Adidas Ultraboost Light
The new women’s Ultraboost Light from Adidas is a high-end running shoe designed for optimal cushioning. It’s the lightest Ultraboost ever released by the iconic athleticwear company. Impressive features include the ultra-lightweight BOOST technology, the Continental Better Rubber outsole, and the Linear Energy Push system for responsiveness. The PRIMEKNIT+ upper is so comfortable it feels like it was made just for your feet.
The Adidas Ultraboost Light is more than just an ultralight, ultra-cushiony running shoe. The yarn in the upper is made from recycled polyester and Parley Ocean Plastic. Creating each pair of Adidas Ultraboost Light shoes uses 10 percent fewer emissions than the previous version.
HOKA Bondi 8
HOKA is synonymous with cushioning, and they upped it even more for the Bondi 8. Our reviewers felt the lightweight, full-length midsole foam and redesigned, ultra-durable outsole made this a top pick for the best women’s running shoes this year.
The HOKA Bondi 8 also has a wider stance for 2023, allowing for superior breathability and toe comfort. We were surprised to find that the women’s shoe still weighed in at just 8.9 ounces despite added cushioning and width.
Mizuno Wave Sky 7
The Mizuno Wave Sky 7 introduces a striking design overhaul, boasting a sleek look that complements its impressive performance. This model’s standout feature is the stretch woven upper, ensuring a comfortable, snug fit and optimal foot placement. Durability is a key focus, with a resilient X10 carbon rubber outsole built to last for many miles.
Central to the Wave Sky 7’s exceptional performance is its innovative midsole, combining Mizuno Enerzy Core foam for comfort and energy return and modified Enerzy foam for durability and responsiveness. This dual-foam construction ensures a balanced, comfortable run.
Enhancing the shoe’s stability and cushioning is the Mizuno Wave plate technology, designed to distribute impact evenly. The model also increases its stack height by 2 mm, further stabilizing each stride. Our reviewers commend the Wave Sky 7 for its outstanding energy return and ultra-comfortable cushioning, making it a top pick for both performance-driven and style-conscious runners.
Eco-conscious runners can feel great about their purchase, too. At least 50% of the Wave Sky 7’s upper is made from recycled materials.
Saucony Triumph 21
The Triumph 21 from Saucony is another update on a classic favorite. Our reviewers stated it’s their favorite Triumph yet. Combining the cushioning, convenient features, and durability of previous models with a freshly redesigned upper, addressing one of the most commonly cited drawbacks of last year’s model.
It’s flat-knit for breathability, with an all-new adaptive lacing system that keeps your foot snug and secure without feeling restricted. The comfort-focused features don’t stop there, with soft heel collars and padded tongues complemented by the PWRRUN+ sock liner. It’s also among the more sustainable top running shoes for women, made from vegan and recycled materials. Plus, the pair weighs just 8.8 ounces.
The Triumph 21’s performance benefits stem from the PWRRUN+ midsole and its high-tech, durable cushioning. Traction also won’t be a worry for runners wearing these shoes, a result of the XT-900 carbon rubber used in the outsole. Many see it working equally as well as a recovery shoe as a daily trainer. Altogether, they’re a top choice for anyone who wants to stay comfortable while getting active, whether it’s a walk around the park or pushing for a personal record in a race.
New Balance Fresh Foam X 880 v13
Last certainly does not mean least on our list of the best running shoes for women. The New Balance Fresh Foam X 880 v13 is one of the hottest running shoes for 2024.
This shoe features New Balance’s most innovative technologies, including the supportive yet cloud-like Fresh Foam X midsole and a new ultra-durable Ndurance rubber outsole. Our reviewers described the outsole as so grippy that it’s more than suitable for wet conditions and could occasionally extend to trail running. Comfort, stability, and durability are the key selling points of the New Balance Fresh Foam X 880 v13.
Our reviewers also described this New Balance long-distance runner as a shoe they’d wear just about anywhere. It features the classic N logo and a modern look that makes it as suitable for casual outings as for running.
Let’s Hit the Streets
Our goal in testing and reviewing the best women’s running shoes for 2024 is to provide you with a variety of quality options. Narrowing down the list of possibilities means you can choose a durable, comfortable, and supportive shoe and get out running sooner.
Don’t forget to consult our Marathon Sports representatives about our Right Fit™ system, designed to connect you with the best running shoes based on your foot shape, running style, prior injuries, preferences, and more. We’re here to help you reach your running and fitness goals. Visit Marathon Sports online or in-store today!