Choosing the best running shoes for women is not a one-size-fits-all adventure. In fact, the best running shoe for your feet is probably quite different from the best running shoe for your best friend, your mother or your running partner. While it is easy to get caught up in the fashion of shoes, you will improve your running performance and reduce your risk of suffering overuse injuries if you select a running shoe that fits your individual needs.
There is a reason women have their own line of running shoes. Your feet are different than a man’s feet, and you need shoes that cater to your unique needs. Find the answer to the following four questions and you will be on your way to selecting the best running shoes for your needs.
1. Where and why are you running?
Not all women’s running shoes are designed to take your feet comfortably from the trail to the track to the treadmill. If you are running on trails, through wooded paths or in off-road terrain, you will need a shoe designed for trail running. These shoes are more durable and flexible, and they will protect your feet from hard tree roots, rocks and other dangers found off the pavement.
A good example of a trail running shoe is the Salomon Speedcross 3 trail runner. They are designed for speed and will help you prepare for trail races. If you are more of a casual runner and aren’t interested in speed, consider something like the New Balance WT610. This shoe is more affordable but will still protect and guide your feet through the trails.
If you are running on hard pavement or a treadmill, you may want a running shoe that provides more cushioning, like the Asics Gel Kayano 19 running shoe. This shoe provides built-in gel inserts for comfort and protection.
There are also some shoes designed for special use, such as the Gel-Noosa Tri 9 triathlon shoe from Asics. These shoes have special features that are valuable for particular circumstances, such as rushing from water to land in a triathlon.
2. What is your personal running style?
This has more to do with the natural design of your foot than your personal preference in shoe. There are three primary options, but you may find your feet are in between two of these categories:
The best shoe for your feet will depend on how your feet roll through a strike against the ground. If you have neutral feet, a solid stability shoe is best. If you overpronate, look for motion control shoes. If you underpronate, look for running shoes with added cushion for support.
3. What is your true shoe size?
You may size your running shoes a bit different than you would a pair of heels or cross trainers for casual every day wear. You have to think about how your feet naturally swell over the course of the day and during an intense workout. Shoes may feel comfortable when you are trying them on in the store, but once you start running they may start to rub and cause blisters. This is a sign that you purchased your shoes too small.
Make sure to purchase running shoes with some room for swelling and movement. Also keep in mind the type of sock that you will wear when you go for runs. Thick socks can take up the extra room, causing your feet to blister during a run.
4. How much support do you need?
If you like the idea of running barefoot so that your feet can position themselves naturally, consider minimalistic or toed running shoes. Otherwise, you can select running shoes that have extra cushioning and guidance to ensure your feet are supported enough to avoid injuries. The amount of support your shoe delivers may be determined by your answer to the second question on this list.
Your choice in running shoe is extremely personal. While other runners may want to tell you about their favorite shoes, remember that your feet have unique needs and may need something different.