Best Women’s Workout Shoes Reviewed
If you’re a sports enthusiast or someone who just started getting into sports, chances are you’ve run into shoes made just for working out. This helpful footwear serves a great purpose - besides looking sporty and fun, they also have special features that help you perform better at whichever sport you have chosen, something you wouldn’t get if you used regular sneakers, or footwear not made for that specific activity.
You might think that there’s no need to have shoes specifically made for the workout, but you would be wrong! Having specialty shoes will improve your performance, will get you the most benefits out of the exercise, and will be the best for your foot health, since you’d be getting all the support in all the right places. If you don’t know where to begin, or if you’re just looking for a new pair, check out our guide and we’re sure you will find just what you’re looking for!
In a Hurry? The test winner after 6 hrs of research
Full Grain Leather Upper
Removable Textile Bootie
Molded TPU 3-stripes
Dual-injected EVA Midsole
Pivot-point Rubber Outsole
- Adidas Basketball ADV
- Nike Metcon 4
- Nike Free Focus
- Mizuno Wave Rider 21
- Reebok Nano 8.0
- Shimano SH-RT5
- Hoka One One Challenger
- Brooks Launch 5
- New Balance 365v1
- Sanuk Yoga Sling
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Other Factors to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
Top 10 Picks
1. Adidas Basketball ADV
Full Grain Leather Upper
Removable Textile Bootie
Molded TPU 3-stripes
Dual-injected EVA Midsole
Pivot-point Rubber Outsole
This gem from Adidas will prove its worth once you give them a ride on the field, and realize they are unmatched in both style and quality. The leather upper is full grain, for the best possible fit, great durability, and a sleek look. The upper is embellished with knit details, for an urban look and improved stability. Molded TPU 3-stripes over the midfoot anchor in the laces, and also act like the classic Adidas logo.Read more
A removable textile bootie underlay makes working out without socks a reality while giving you a snug fit and great support. The dual-injected EVA midsole is lightweight, lasts a long time, and lets air circulate in and out freely, preparing you for the joys of all-day comfort. The rubber outsole gives you enough grip on the court, and has a pivot-point which will allow you to maneuver the ball with ease!
2. Nike Metcon 4
Updated Drop-in Midsole
Mesh Upper For Breathability
Color Is Off
Can Be Pricey
Nike is, without a doubt, one of the most famous brands out there, and it’s only logical we would include one of their sneakers here. This super versatile pair is ready for whatever you throw its way, be it running or mountain climbing! The synthetic and mesh combo on the upper provides just the right amount of support and breathability. The mesh is garnished with a lot of texture and color in the form of the logo, giving a breath of life to the pair. The pattern of the mesh matches one of the laces, while the material surrounding the eyelets is solid, giving contrast to their look.Read more
Embroidered reinforcement in high-wear areas lengthen their life and keep you well prepared for any type of challenge. The updated drop-in midsole cushions you better and bends much easier in the forefoot, which is what makes them so versatile and good for plenty of different types of exercise. Their flat platform and the chunky white rubber surrounding the heels offer you the stability you need while you do weight lifting. The outsoles are rubber as well, decorated with grooves and ridges meant to increase their grip, meaning you’ll stay put no matter what kind of surface you’re standing on!
3. Nike Free Focus
Breathable Mesh Upper
Dual Density Phylon Foam
The striking Free Focus combines the best from the runner's world, offering you well-balanced features for the best possible run. The synthetic mesh upper combines different types of knitting patterns, just in the right place to give you support or ventilation. The speckled material enhances their style and makes you look good while you sweat out. The first two eyelets feature laces anchored to the outsoles with elastic string, giving you a super strappy fit.Read more
Dual Density Phylon Foam runs all along the shoe - a soft foam is sandwiched between the firm one at the perimeter, for a soft and plush supportive padding. Flex Grooves decorate the midsoles and outsoles to make a very runner's shoe, that allow you to move your joints just the way they were meant to. The inner sleeve hugs your feet softly and creates a comfortable fit. The in white outsoles have waffle lugs for improved traction and grip!
4. Mizuno Wave Rider 21
Engineered Mesh Upper
Fit In Motion Upper
Soft Anatomical Sock Liner
The Mizuno Wave Rider offers familiar styles combined with unmatched padding for an always-improving experience. The upper is made out of Cloudwave that guides you towards your goal, absorbing all the shock forces and giving plenty of energy return. The wave also comes in a lot of vibrant colors, offering you a chance to make a statement.Read more
The triple zone engineered mesh breathes like lungs, and help your feet move like mother nature intended them to. The U4IC midsole foam is light, supple and is very responsive guarding you against unwelcome pain and aching. It’s also very durable, so you’ll have the same level of padding as long as you keep running! The soft anatomical sock liner lets you go barefoot and provides that very loved arch support!
5. Reebok Nano 8.0
Forefoot Flex Grooves
TPU Heel Wrap
The Nano 8.0 challenges your expectations and keeps you on your toes! The upper is constructed out of a specific type of weave called flexweave that combines style with improved flexibility, durability, and fastening. The new and improved logo graces the vamp, giving contrast to the patterned upper. The upper comes in many both calm and vibrant colors, so you can combine them with plenty of different workout clothes!Read more
Toe tection stands in the front, giving your toes protection and keeping the shoe together for a long while. The heel bootie construction is just right to give your ankles proper stability, keeping them from rolling around while you do your best at various types of exercises. This construction might sound like a heavy one, but trust us when we say that the nano 8.0 is as light as a feather. A cushioned sole shows you a whole new world of comfort, making complicated workout sessions a breeze. Forefoot flex grooves add flexibility, and the low-cut design increases your range of motion.
6. Shimano SH-RT5
Perforated Synthetic Leather Upper
Three Wide Velcro Straps
Cushioned Collar And Heels
Glass Fiber Shank Plate
Full-Length Rubber Sole
Are you a cycling enthusiast? Then give your feet a treat and splurge on the SH-RT5! The perforated synthetic leather upper provides everything regular leather does without the extra weight to keep pulling you down! Three wide straps with sleek design work in unison to keep your feet where they are meant to be, and create a very adjustable cycling pair. The cushioned heel and collar guard your ankles against blisters and injury.Read more
The shank plate is enhanced with glass fiber, a super fine yet sturdy material giving your soles the rigidity to protect yours from cramping and arch pain. The cup insoles are super adaptable, so no matter how your feet are shaped you will be able to fit in here. The rubber soles cover the full length of the shoes, preventing slippage from the pedals, and if you need even more security you can always add cleats!
7. Hoka One One Challenger
Dual-layer Mesh Upper
Roomy Toe Box
Oversized EVA Midsoles
Not Durable Enough
If you love running while basking in the beauty of nature, then don’t skip out on the Challenger! It’s perfectly fit to give you that one push to keep you going on your light trail. The redesigned dual-mesh upper gives you much-needed room in the toe boxes and plenty of air for when the sun starts to warm up your feet. The uppers also have improved durability compared to the previous models, while the reinforced toe caps keep you safe from all the dangers you may encounter while running outside.Read more
The laces reach all the way to the outsoles, allowing you to adjust the fit to your liking and strapping your feet in. The EVA midsoles are oversized, but they give lightweight cushioning just right to keep you going all day long. The heel counters on the inside give even more support, lowering the chances you’ll feel pain after coming back home. The outsoles feature 4mm lugs, giving you the traction you can rely on, on a huge variety of different terrain!
8. Brooks Launch 5
3D Fit Print Upper
Air Mesh Fabric
S-257 Cushsole Midsole
Midfoot Transition Zone
The gravity-defying cushioning and response powers up your every step, increasing your confidence and improving your performance! The 3D Fit Print Technology creates the upper, and it applies stretch on strategic places and improves the structured, making up a supreme fit. The single-piece mesh lets air cool you down, and makes sweat dissipate with ease.Read more
The internal bootie keeps your feet locked in place while hugging you gently. A removable engage footbed has great responsiveness and shock absorption, improving your workout with every step you take. A full-length S-257 Cushsole midsole uses an insole board for enhanced plush and elasticity. A transition zone in the midfoot combined with the segmented crash pad work united for more effective heel-to-toe transitions. The blown rubber in the forefoot makes your steps extra springy, while the abrasion-resistant quality makes a long-lasting pair.
9. New Balance 365v1
Mesh And Rubber Outsole
Ground Contact EVA Midsole
No Sew Overlays
Poor Arch Support
This simple walking shoe is great for taking you from one destination to another, which it will do flawlessly! The mesh upper is surrounded by the no-sew overlays which give you optimal support and plenty of airflow to keep you ventilated and sweat-free. The simple grey color combined with the white outsole and pastel pink logo makes them super versatile and sleek.Read more
The midsole is something called cush+, an innovation by New Balance meant to make your next walk super pleasurable. It’s light and flexible, but durable enough to stand together even after plenty of stress. The rubber-like white outsoles are EVA, and ground contact, which means they are best suited to keep your feet glued to the ground, keeping you upright no matter the conditions. The inserts are removable, giving you the chance to wash them if need be, or to replace them for something better or when they get worn down!
10. Sanuk Yoga Sling
Stretch Fabric Straps
Wrapped Toe Post
U Rubber Sponge Outsole
Yoga is one of the most popular relaxing sports out there today, and if you dislike feeling the surface of the ground with your bare feet, you can always separate yourself with the Yoga Sling. The textile straps are soft and hug your feet securely, firmly grounding you to the slipper, so there’s no chance you’ll lose the shoe along the way. The strap between your toes is also textile, so no irritation or blisters!Read more
The footbed is a padded yoga-mat, gently hugging the soles of your feet while providing a cozy environment. The outsoles have a U rubber sponge, meant to keep you safe from slipping around and falling down. This feature also helps you balance yourself better, and if you love yoga, then you certainly know that balance is one of the most important things there!
Criteria Used for Evaluation
It was long thought that comfort was only secondary for workout shoes. The right fit of the shoe was always regarded as the most important, but according to recent findings, as it turns out, comfort is just as important, if not the most important. A pair that fits properly will always feel good, but that doesn’t mean that it has enough padding and a good midsole for your exercise. If you decided to favor fit over comfort, it’s quite likely that your shoes did just fine. But that’s the problem - why should you settle for fine when you can always go for the best?
There are a lot of specialty shoe stores out there, for every type of exercise possible, and they can all help you discover what kind of shoe you truly need. They have a lot of gimmicks and confusing machinery intended to help you feel better, but even after you go through all of that trouble, you still probably feel pain and discomfort. Yes, the fit does matter, since no one has feet that are the same, and it’s all individual, but this is exactly the reason why you need to look for precious padding. The amount and type of cushion you need will be determined by the type of sport you are into, and the shape of your feet. For an example, when it comes to running, you should determine whether or not you pronate or not, and choose to pad according to all that. You can always go with neutral running sneakers, but you probably won’t do as good as you would in proper sneakers. For lifting shoes, you should look at the midsoles and the amount of support they offer, after all, you need to be grounded well in order to keep your joints safe! Every type of sport requires different padding, and it’s important you know exactly what your individual needs are.
You must consider your health too! If you are someone that suffers from any type of joint disease, you will need all the padding, stability and support you can find! If you’ve got any injuries that affect the way you exercise, you have to take that into consideration as well. You must protect yourself, that is your primary concern.
So, to cap it all off - look for well-cushioned shoes that go best with the type of exercise you will be doing, and that will benefit your health and the shape of your feet!
Workout shoes are very effective, but it’s super important you wear the right kind in order to get the most benefits out of them. If you have ever returned from a certain workout and thought to yourself that you won’t be ever doing that again, it’s possible that your shoes are to blame! Ankle, knee, back, and hip pain can all be blamed on a pair that is not right for you, so can your poor performance - so you must choose the correct type of shoe in order for them to work their magic!
When you workout, you might think that your feet don’t do that much, but in reality, they are pushed to their limit, since they are your support. They jump, run, dance, skip, treadmill, walk, balance you and everything else in between! Working out while experiencing discomfort and pain is never fun, especially when you risk hurting yourself! The wrong type of sneaker can do serious damage to your joints, muscles, bones and their surrounding tissues, so choose carefully.
Plenty of world famous brands today have made a wide array of footwear made just for the specific workout you’re into. As we mentioned before, try to shop for those shoes that were made just for your type of workout to gain the best benefits. If you are an avid runner, you probably already know how important a proper running pair is. Running shoes have specialized cushioning to help absorb the shock when you make contact with the ground, minimizing the possibility of blisters happening. This type of sneaker is designed for forward-moving motions, meaning they won’t do any good for sports that require you to move in multiple directions, like basketball or tennis. Also, barefoot running has become increasingly popular these days, and the shoes made for that are extremely light and offer little support - they only protect you from the rough surface of the ground. Cross training is also gaining popularity these days, and of course, shoes made just for that purpose exist. Cross training combines a variety of different activities, like running, weight lifting etc. This sport exists for the sole purpose of strengthening what you can’t by concentrating on only one type of activity, so the footwear made just for this is the most versatile, created to offer optimal support and cushioning, meaning they will be the best for you if you like to mix things up. We also have a type of footwear called specialty shoes, which are even better for weightlifting, hiking, ball sports and so on. If you are a team player, you might benefit the most from this type of shoe.
Surprisingly enough, about 25% of our body’s bones are located in our feet, so if only one of these bones gets injured or misaligned, your whole body could suffer! It might seem reasonable to buy a cheaper pair that is not made for a specific purpose but trust us - in the long run, you will get the most effective results from a proper shoe.
Flexible footwear is also important for a proper workout. If your shoes have enough elasticity, you’ll get proper support and your feet will be able to move the right way. But that’s not the only benefit from flexible shoes, and we will explain some benefits you will get from bendy sneakers.
Firstly, your proprioception increases. Proprioceptors are just one type of nerves that exist in our body that help us realize where we are without us having to actually look. For an example, you can move your hand around without opening your eyes, and you could still sense where your hand is located in that space. Or, the most obvious example - do you always look down to see where your feet are while you walk? You don’t, because these receptors offer plenty of feedback, and if you have shoes with thick soles or way too much padding, you won’t feel that and you could injure yourself.
Flexible footwear also helps protect your knees. Something called minimal shoes is steadily gaining popularity nowadays, but you might think, how can a shoe with such a small amount of padding and support be of help to you? Think about it this way - imagine you are walking down a path with rugged terrain and plenty of rocks and pebbles, and you’re wearing a stiff boot on one foot and a minimal sneaker on your other foot. As you walk, the boot will immediately work it best to support you, locking your foot in place. This will help your foot joints stay in place, but in response your knees will bend to try to contort to the shape of the terrain you’re walking on, resulting in pain! On the other hand, minimal footwear will allow your feet to grasp the terrain, to sort of envelop the rocks and pebbles, and will let your knees rest in place, so you’ll be pain-free, while also keeping your ankles straight!
Think about your muscles as well, namely - your calves. Try to imagine the motion you have to perform in order to stretch out your calves. You thought about curving your toes upward to your knees, right? Well, when you wear shoes that have heels, you are constantly doing the very opposite of that! Although all shoes have to have at least some degree of a heel present, because without one you would equally suffer, heels that change the degree your ankles sit on too much will shorten your calf muscles. And can you really do a proper workout with such conditions? No, you can’t, so choose a pair that helps your calf muscles stretch normally.
Let’s continue talking about muscles - about your core. Think about that rough terrain riddled with rocks and pebbles again, and think about trying to balance yourself on such terrain. Your core does most of the work here, alongside other important tasks it has to do while you walk or exercise. So, when you wear flexible shoes on rough terrain, your core will gain strength. This also happens when you wear chunky shoes on straight paths - the shoes will do all the work for the core!
How many times have you thought about the soreness of your feet while you were walking or working out? If the answer is a lot, that means you need limber footwear. Try to fix this problem by finding a pair fit for your workout, that will provide you with plenty of room to move!
If you already know what kind of fit your feet need, then you are a few steps ahead from most of the crowd, since it seems like a majority of the population choose the wrong fit for their shoes! And while working out, the way the pair sits on your feet means a lot, since an ill-fitting sneaker can cause all sorts of trouble.
First things first, you must know your foot! We all have the same components, but the way those components are distributed is something way different. Knowing the “sole” of your feet will give you the most insight, and you will be able to cater to their needs. Plenty of major brands have realized that no one is the same, and they offer plenty of different models that are suited just right for your individual needs.
If you don’t know how your foot is shaped there is one simple way to find out - the wet test! It’s quite simple actually, all you need to do is submerge your feet in the water and then step onto a piece of paper, or any surface where your footprint will be visible. Trace your footprint, and inspect the shape you just created. If your foot is almost equally wide, with minimum curvature, you most likely have flat feet or flat arches, meaning you tend to overpronate. This means you will need a shoe with proper motion-control and optimal support. If what you see on the paper only shows your toes and heels with a narrow bridge connecting them, you’ve been blessed with high arches. This means you will tend to underpronate, also called supination, meaning it’s quite likely for you to roll your feet outward and injure your ankles. You need cushioned soles with a soft tone. If you’ve got a neutral shape, not too wide or narrow, you’ve got your basic shape of the feet, and you need is stability and the right combination of stability and support.
Many people believe that our feet always have the same size, but this is simply not true. As we grow older, the size of our feet changes, and this is especially true if you’ve been pregnant before! Pregnancy changes your size, and you won’t wear the same size as you once did before. Also, try to look for shoes near the end of the day. As night approaches, our feet swell up, and when you find a shoe that fits you perfectly when you’re all swollen over, then you can rest easy knowing they won’t cause you any pain at all. Then, if you workout in special socks or you’ve got orthotics, bring those too! Your pair needs to fit correctly with all of that inside! Workout shoes do not need breaking in, and if the pair doesn’t feel right, don’t buy them believing you will break them in - you might ease some of the pressure, but in the end, they just won’t be right for you!
There should always be some room in your shoe left, but not too little or too much. There is a general rule of thumb you should follow - between the front end of the shoe and the back end there should be enough space for you to fit the width of your thumb! Your heels must not slip out as you walk, and the front should feel snug and secure, but not too tight. Your little toes shouldn’t be visible on the sides, and if they are, it just simply means you need a wider fit. You must be able to wiggle your toes freely!
The weight of your workout pair is something you also have to take into account. A pair that is too heavy or too light won’t do you any good and will hinder any progress you’ve been hoping to make. First things first, lightweight shoes will be, without a doubt, breathable. Since they are often paired with mesh (which is super light), and mesh breathes like a champ! Leather would never be good for a workout since it’s quite heavy and stiff.
Lightweight shoes also have just the right amount of support. If they are too light, it probably means that they lack any support, and if they’re too heavy they probably have too much, and that hinders your body from moving naturally, as we already mentioned before. If you love the clean and simple design, which is quite trendy nowadays, then you already know that these shoes are also light, since they have a minimum amount of detail or details made out of light materials. A proper light shoe does have plenty of cushioning, but it’s made out of foam or gel, super breathable and light materials which help you exercise and do your best!
Expert Interviews & Opinions
Sneakers were invented in the 1870s, but they didn’t always have that nickname! At first, they were called “plimsoll”, since they resembled the Plimsoll line on the hull of a ship. They were first worn by vacationists but were after adopted for sports, and first saw tennis and croquet fields. As time passed, their popularity steadily grew, since they were regarded for their comfort, casual style and adaptability to sports. Just a little bit after the 20th century, Adidas and Converse were born, helping guide sneakers right into our hearts!
While it may seem like all workout shoes are generally made the same, there can be a significant difference between men and women's models. One of the key differences seen has to do with weight, with women's workout shoes being lighter.
Other Factors to Consider
If you’ve got a favorite pair of workout sneakers, it can be very difficult to part ways with it and finally say goodbye. But if you’ve had them for ages, it’s probably for the best you never see each other again. Workout shoes that are worn down can seriously hinder your progress and can offer the wrong type of support and padding. All of this can also pose some risk for injury, and you don’t want to have to take a long break from working out just because of your old lovable trainers! Also, don’t wear them every day, when you’re not working out. We know it’s tempting to wear your super comfy pair to that trip to the grocery store, but trust us, it’s better not to! You’ll save both money and your health. Replace them every few months, and you will surely be able to do your best!
Buying a proper pair is something we all need to do in order to make the best of our workout. The world has a lot to offer, and you should take advantage of that. It can be confusing though when you enter a store or open up a website and see all of those shoes looking like they’ve been made for a spacewalk instead of a simple exercise, but we hope our guide has helped you realize that it’s not that difficult to choose a new pair. We believe you have managed to discover your new best friend, and that you will support each other along the way!
Frequently Asked Questions
q: Can I wear running shoes when working out in the gym?
In theory, you could. They both have plenty of cushioning, good support and give plenty of stability. But in reality, it’s better to wear shoes made just for the activity you want to do - all of them do have all of those qualities but in different amounts. Gym shoes are best for when you have to keep your feet in only one position, with minimum moving, while running shoes help forward-motions work better, so you ought to use the right shoe for the right sport!
q: Does a pricier shoe mean better workout quality?
Let’s face it - no one in their right mind would buy a 15$ shoe for any type of exercise. Those shoes are unreliable, and risking even trying to wear them when you start your daily active time can prove to be a catastrophe. But then again, a good exercise shoe costs around 80$, anything over that and you’d be paying for the brad, or designer, and nothing else!
q: Do I need to wear shoes if I exercise in my home?
Although you’d be doing exercises in the comfort of your own home, the exercise should still be approached with the same level of seriousness like a gym workout would! The only actual exceptions would be sports like Yoga and Pilates since there’s a very low chance of you hurting yourself. If you workout with weights, chances are you will drop the weights at one point - what if it lands on your foot? Also, proper footwear provides you with support and cushioning, something you standing barefoot on the floor can’t achieve!
q: How often should I replace my workout shoes?
That all depends on the type of exercise you are doing, and how often you do it in the span of a month. If you do light aerobic exercises only two times a week, it’s likely you can go even a year without needing to replace your shoes. But if you run or cross-train, the soles will get worn down and lose their function much sooner, and you probably have about 3-4 months of fun with them before you must replace them!
q: Can I workout barefoot?
Working out barefoot can be very liberating, and dancers all over the world love dancing barefoot, since they get more in touch with the feet and their mind. Pilates and yoga are usually done barefoot, and there’s just no sense to wear shoes when going swimming or anything else that’s related to water. But, everyone else prefers to wear shoes - they are protective, supportive, stable and cushy!
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