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The 25 Best Running Shoes for All Kinds of Runners

Harper's Bazaar Logo By Halie LeSavage of Harper's Bazaar | Slide 1 of 26: Wherever you are on your fitness journey—prepping for your first race, working toward a marathon, or simply running for fun—the best running shoes for women can make an impact. But finding the best running shoe can feel like searching for other hard-to-find pieces, Goldilocks trial and error included. "Just like looking for the perfect pair of jeans, the right pair of running shoes will vary depending on what you want to use them for, how you want to feel, and your preferred fit," Bekah Broe, director of performance footwear at Hoka, says.In the vast and jargon-filled world of running shoes, Broe says a few factors can usually lead you toward comfortable, cushioned pairs suited for your next run. "A high-quality running shoe will often have a higher price tag ($120+) than a lower-quality counterpart," she says. And in the design, "the midsole (foam) and upper materials (what wraps around your foot to provide structure and comfort) are specifically engineered to balance weight with structure, comfort, and durability."As for what not to look for, keep your running shoes separate from your dance cardio or Tabata sneakers. "In HIIT training, you want to make sure your shoe has a flat base—no heel, which most running shoes have," Nike trainer Lauren Schramm tells BAZAAR.com. "It's great for your running stride and not so great for your functional HIIT movements. I always advise clients to invest in a pair of training shoes for their workouts to prevent injury, like rolling their ankles in lateral movements—which can happen if you train in a running shoe." The best walking shoes for women can sometimes be the same as running shoes—but keep in mind that small details make some pairs more suited to low-impact exercise.There's little replacing the tailored advice you can get from an in-person specialist; at a running specialty store, Broe says, you can get personalized advice on running shoes suited to your gait type and running style. Premium running shoes are also a few clicks away from Asics, On Running, Hoka, Adidas, Nike, and more, with recommendations from experts and enthusiastic reviewers. So before you hit the track, treadmill, trail, or road, outfitted in your go-to exercise dress or the best workout clothes on Amazon, update your gear with the 25 best running shoes for women ahead. What makes a good running shoe?The best running shoes for women are engineered for comfort, durability, and support for your specific gait and running style. Good running shoes are light and flexible, and their soles are engineered to absorb the impact of your foot striking the ground with each stride. Depending on where you run (the road versus a dirt trail) and how far you run (occasional 5Ks or full-out marathons), you'll also want to consider varied types of sole grips, cushioning, and upper materials.Is there a difference between running shoes and walking shoes?Running shoes often have lighter soles to improve your speed, while walking shoes have sturdier soles to support you over long, steady distances. That said, walking sneakers can double as running shoes when you're low on space or only running short distances.Which shoe brand is best for running shoes?There are a number of great shoe brands to choose from for the best running shoes—it all depends on the style and support you're looking for, as well as how often you run. Start your search with either leaders in all-around athletic gear or shoe brands that make running shoes and running shoes only. Frequent runners tend to prefer performance and racing styles by Hoka, Nike, On Running, and Asics, while more casual runners have found great running shoes at Adidas, New Balance, and Reebok, among others.

Wherever you are on your fitness journey—prepping for your first race, working toward a marathon, or simply running for fun—the best running shoes for women can make an impact. But finding the best running shoe can feel like searching for other hard-to-find pieces, Goldilocks trial and error included. "Just like looking for the perfect pair of jeans, the right pair of running shoes will vary depending on what you want to use them for, how you want to feel, and your preferred fit," Bekah Broe, director of performance footwear at Hoka, says.

In the vast and jargon-filled world of running shoes, Broe says a few factors can usually lead you toward comfortable, cushioned pairs suited for your next run. "A high-quality running shoe will often have a higher price tag ($120+) than a lower-quality counterpart," she says. And in the design, "the midsole (foam) and upper materials (what wraps around your foot to provide structure and comfort) are specifically engineered to balance weight with structure, comfort, and durability."

As for what not to look for, keep your running shoes separate from your dance cardio or Tabata sneakers. "In HIIT training, you want to make sure your shoe has a flat base—no heel, which most running shoes have," Nike trainer Lauren Schramm tells BAZAAR.com. "It's great for your running stride and not so great for your functional HIIT movements. I always advise clients to invest in a pair of training shoes for their workouts to prevent injury, like rolling their ankles in lateral movements—which can happen if you train in a running shoe." The best walking shoes for women can sometimes be the same as running shoes—but keep in mind that small details make some pairs more suited to low-impact exercise.

There's little replacing the tailored advice you can get from an in-person specialist; at a running specialty store, Broe says, you can get personalized advice on running shoes suited to your gait type and running style. Premium running shoes are also a few clicks away from Asics, On Running, Hoka, Adidas, Nike, and more, with recommendations from experts and enthusiastic reviewers. So before you hit the track, treadmill, trail, or road, outfitted in your go-to exercise dress or the best workout clothes on Amazon, update your gear with the 25 best running shoes for women ahead.

What makes a good running shoe?

The best running shoes for women are engineered for comfort, durability, and support for your specific gait and running style. Good running shoes are light and flexible, and their soles are engineered to absorb the impact of your foot striking the ground with each stride. Depending on where you run (the road versus a dirt trail) and how far you run (occasional 5Ks or full-out marathons), you'll also want to consider varied types of sole grips, cushioning, and upper materials.

Is there a difference between running shoes and walking shoes?

Running shoes often have lighter soles to improve your speed, while walking shoes have sturdier soles to support you over long, steady distances. That said, walking sneakers can double as running shoes when you're low on space or only running short distances.

Which shoe brand is best for running shoes?

There are a number of great shoe brands to choose from for the best running shoes—it all depends on the style and support you're looking for, as well as how often you run. Start your search with either leaders in all-around athletic gear or shoe brands that make running shoes and running shoes only. Frequent runners tend to prefer performance and racing styles by Hoka, Nike, On Running, and Asics, while more casual runners have found great running shoes at Adidas, New Balance, and Reebok, among others.

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