If you call them jogging sneakers, road runners, tennis shoes, or jogging shoes, a good pair of sneakers can build the foundation for a lifelong running custom. We requested 29 female runners to check 16 pairs of street running shoes in the US Virgin Islands, New England, the Pacific Northwest, and Las Vegas. After running almost 1,500 miles in five months, the consensus was that the Brooks Ghost 10 is your ideal pair of neutral running shoes for the majority of women. Do not worryif you’re looking for something more stabilizing, or something similar to running barefoot, we’ve got picks for you, also.
We think the Brooks Ghost 10 is the top women’s running shoe for both casual and serious athletes alike. Our testers gave it top marks for its stretch-fabric toe box and padded-but-not-pillowy sole, which led to improved comfort and, by proxy, happier runners. The Ghost 10 includes a secure, sturdy, responsive ride and took almost no time to break–in actuality, one tester remarked that she “forgot about them” during her first 12-mile run in the shoes. If you would like more “squish,” you might choose to look elsewhere–that the Ghost isn’t as cushy as a number of the other versions we tested.
If your size of the best pick is sold out or if you’re trying to find a softer, more cushioned shoe, the Skechers GOrun Ride 7 is a fantastic selection. Our most skeptical testers were floored by the GOrun Ride 7’s smooth top, cloud-like footbed, and unexpected springiness. Many super-plush shoes may feel like bricks in your toes, but maybe not this one. Still, its consistently narrow fit, reduced ground feel, and not-so-great traction on slick surfaces knocked into the silver decoration.
If you’re trying to find a shoe that moderates the motion of your foot as it strikes the ground and reduces pronation (the inward rolling of your foot), then you want a stability shoe. Now in its 18th iteration, the tried-and-true Brooks Adrenaline GTS 18 has been the best choice for those who desired stability shoes. The Adrenaline offers firm support that is not overly stiff–a frequent problem with this type of shoe. Both our narrow- and – wide-footed testers commented on this particular shoe’s good match, as a result of its knit top and stretchy laces. Other highlights: excellent grip, responsiveness, and impact absorption. The only ding: They’re somewhat clunky.
In case a “barefoot-but-better” shoe appeals to you, the Altra Escalante is well worth a try. It’s an entirely flat, flexible single, an “anatomical” foot contour, and a fully woven stitched upper. The Escalante gained high praise from our minimalist-minded testers because it protected their feet from the floor with light cushioning but minimum disturbance. However, if you would like an extremely supportive, very cushioned shoe that hugs your foot, this is not your pick.