The Best Women’s Running Shoes of 2022

The dizzying array of shoes in the running shoe industry can be daunting, especially if you consider your own needs, such as stability or cushioning, while trying to keep up with the continuous changes and improvements in the running shoe technology. However, it is important to find the right pair of shoes that will provide an enjoyable and comfortable running experience.

To help you navigate the many options, we’ve focused on all varieties of runners. Some – like the Hoka Rocket X (our top road pick) and Altra’s Lone Peak 6 (best trail shoe) – work for all types of running, with a particular focus on out-of-the-box comfort. and distance running performance. Others offer a more stable ride to help with overpronation and underpronation, ample padding for a soft, smooth feel, or roomier interiors to accommodate wide feet.

These are the best running shoes for women of 2022.

Tips for buying running shoes

Decide which category of running shoes you need

Focus on the type of racing experience you desire. Most runners will opt for “neutral” shoes, which provide solid support and feel. But if you want something sturdier, consider shoes that fall into the stability category. The folks at Fleet Feet, a major running retailer, point out that because women have wider hips than men, they “tend to overpronate slightly more than their male counterparts.” Stability shoes will often help adjust this for a clean, even stride. Cushioned shoes go further, with more foam cushioning in the midsole for a plush ride that tends to undermine some of the feel of the shoe and can sometimes weigh more than more streamlined alternatives. At the opposite end of the spectrum, minimalist shoes offer nominal midsole cushioning and work with a mid-run style and a shorter step cadence. These categories apply to road and trail shoes.

Consider your priorities

First, consider the type of terrain you plan to explore – this usually breaks down into road or trail. Road runners offer a more streamlined profile, usually with a textured outsole to gain traction on slick, wet surfaces, while the latter models feature an outsole with more aggressive treads and lugs to grip dirt, sand and loose surfaces (and sometimes also come with toe caps or protective plates to protect your feet). As REI’s experts explain, trail shoes are “generally stiffer through the midsole for added support.” Some brands even categorize their trail shoes by particular types of terrain (rocky vs mixed vs soft singletrack or fire roads). So if you’re targeting a specific trail environment, it can help narrow down the options.

Know how they should adapt

Whether you’re looking for a road or trail runner, you want the fit to be somewhat snug, especially around the upper. Shoes should be secure from heel to toe – no pressure, pinching or hot spots that could cause blisters. Fleet Feet advises you to “keep an inch of space between the tips of your toes and the tip of your shoe.” And Golden Harper, founder of Altra (a leading shoemaker) goes further, suggesting that you could even take a half or full size from your normal shoe size, as long as the runner’s upper be secure.

Think about the level of cushioning you want

“The leg is basically a two-foot spring,” says Harper, explaining his take on neutral runners. “No cushioning in a shoe is going to perform better than our own bodies in terms of impact. But cushioning isn’t the devil. It’s still scientifically backed and helps protect against rocks and obstacles on a trail. In With that in mind, unless you’re into minimalist or barefoot running, cushioning can soften the ride and provide some degree of protection and rebound (or energy return).Maximalist shoes amplify the midsole by foam, usually incorporating a rocker profile and a modest heel-to-toe drop to encourage forward momentum, but some may find that super-cushioned shoes can detract from the feeling of solid ground contact. said, if you suffer from knee or joint pain, shoes with lots of cushioning will help take some of the bite out of your kicks.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How often should I replace my running shoes?

    Leaving aside tears in the upper, the shelf life of running shoes is dictated by the compression of the midsole; when the foam loses its rebound characteristics, it’s time to buy a new pair. According to REI, that’s somewhere between “400 and 500 miles of running (three or four months for regular runners).” Heavier runners will fall on the shorter end of this spectrum, and shoes with less cushioning will wear out faster than those with more foam in the midsole.

  • Are running shoes good for walking?

    Road runners can absolutely be used for walking, and trail shoes can be used for hiking; in fact, Altra ranks among the most popular brands for hikers on the Appalachian Trail. Just keep in mind that the longevity of the shoe will be affected by walking just as it is by running.

  • How do I break running shoes?

    Shoes today almost universally offer out-of-the-box comfort, but it’s always a good idea to “test drive” a new pair of runners. Start by walking a few miles to see if the fit is secure and comfortable, and that there are no pinch points or hot spots. Then take a short run to see how the shoes perform at speed before you reach your target distance.

Why trust Travel + Leisure

Nathan Borchelt has been evaluating, reviewing, and testing outdoor and travel products for decades, and has been a dedicated road and trail runner for longer. When compiling this review, each shoe’s key features – its midsole height, heel-to-toe drop measurement, traction, fit, breathability, and any special technology – were evaluated against to others in the market. Professional reviews, verified customer reviews, and feedback from casual and race-focused runners were also considered.

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