A workout shoe is a necessary accessory for any workout activity. Engaging in exercises without adequately protecting your feet can lead to some serious damage. To avoid this, you should own your personal workout shoes. Gender-specific shoes have proven more functional for some reasons we will discuss below.
To make it easier for you to choose a good workout shoe, we have carefully reviewed and tested some of the best workout shoes for women, and we have picked the top seven of the lot. Our best pick is the New Balance WX608V4. It offers good traction, excellent breathability, and it is one of the very few workout shoes suitable for women with wide feet.
Top 3 Comparison Table
New Balance WX608V4
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Nike Mecton 4
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ASICS Women’s Gel-Nimbus 19
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7 Best Workout Shoes for Women
1. New Balance WX608V4 – Best Overall
The New Balance WX608V4 features fabric and suede constructions, with both having synthetic overlays. Being a workout shoe for women, it comes in different colors and styles so you get to choose the one that appeals to you the most. Beyond all this, the shoe is a very comfortable and durable one. The soft padded mesh tongue and dual-density collar further ensure comfort, while the breathable textile lining on the inside allows air circulation.
The non-marking rubber outsole offers excellent traction on several different surfaces, and it features additional flex grooves for increased breathability. Women with wide feet find it challenging to get workout shoes that fit perfectly. However, New Balance WX608V4 is one of the very few shoes suitable for women with wide feet.
Features: Soft padded mesh tongue, dual-density collar, non-marking rubber outsole
- One of the few workout shoes for women with wide feet
- Breathable textile lining
- Good traction
- Lots of design options to choose from
- It is not the most durable workout shoe, but it’s perfect for light workouts.
2. ASICS Women’s Gel-Nimbus 19 – Best for Neutral Runners
If you are a neutral pronator looking for a lightweight workout shoe, have a look at the ASICS Women’s Gel-Nimbus 19. It features a unique FlyteFoam Midsole Technology that ensures a more responsive and adaptive ride than the previous versions offer. The upper is made from a breathable mesh material that prevents moisture build-up. The upper is also designed to offer a good fit, which is required for most workout activities.
Furthermore, the unique ASICS High Abrasion rubber is used for the heel of the outsole while the forefoot has a DuraSponge outsole. These materials give the outsoles the durability required for long-distance running and high-intensity workouts. The excellent cushioning makes it perfect for neutral pronators, and the adaptive capability of the midsole makes it one of the best shoes for workouts.
Features: FlyteFoam midsole, breathable mesh upper, DuraSponge outsole
- Very comfortable shoe
- Highly durable outsole
- Adaptive midsole
- It has a narrow fit, so you may need to order half a size up.
3. RYKA Women’s Influence – Best Responsiveness
The Ryka Influence is a versatile workout shoe that is suitable for both running and cross-training. The highlight of the shoe is the comfort it offers without compromising its firmness. The lacing system is also impressive, as it runs further down the sides of the shoe than in most of the other shoes on this list. This makes it possible for the wearer to get a more customized fit. The upper is made from a breathable material, so you can rest assured that your feet will stay comfortable and moisture-free during your workout.
The midsole is made from a very responsive N-Gage EVA foam material. This material is responsible for the efficiency of the shoe. Furthermore, a RE-ZORB sock liner is included for better shock absorption. The durable rubber outsole offers excellent traction on several surfaces. If what you need is a stylish workout shoe that can be used for cross-training, this shoe is made for you.
Features: RE-ZORB sockliner, N-Gage EVA midsole, traction outsole with footprint design
- Very responsive
- Has good traction
- Dual-density foam in the midsole provides extra comfort
- Quite a versatile shoe
- The toe box is quite tight, but you can buy half a size up to get the perfect fit.
4. PUMA Women’s Tazon 6
PUMA is certainly one of the best sport shoe brands in the world, and like most of their other products, the durability and functionality of the Tazon 6 are commendable. It is a responsive workout shoe that is also energy-efficient due to a TPU tank. The upper is a mixture of leather and synthetic material for durability. An EcoOrthoLite sock liner is included for additional cushioning.
The midsole is made out of cushioned foam with a thermoplastic urethane shank for firmness, and the rubber outsole features grooves that provide good traction on different surfaces. The Tazon 6 is not the best shoe for running due to the low breathability. Nonetheless, it is perfect for walking, basic workouts, and play.
Features: Thermoplastic urethane shank, EVA foam cushioning heel pod, EcoOrthoLite sockliner
- Quite durable
- Excellent shock absorption
- It is not the best shoe for wide feet, but it fits narrow feet perfectly.
5. Reebok Crossfit Nano 8 Flexweave – Best CrossFit Shoe
Reebok is another very popular brand that makes good workout shoes. The design and construction of the Nano 8 make it one of the best CrossFit shoes. Its strength is its very strong, yet flexible workout shoe. The upper is made from the patented Flexweave; a durable material that allows good breathability and also provides good support and conformity for the wearer. If what you need is a shoe that can withstand high-intensity workouts, you should seriously consider the Reebok CrossFit Nano 8.
The midsole has multiple layers and is designed to provide a bounce for runners and conform to support intense activity. It has a higher level of cushioning than most workout shoes as it is a CrossFit shoe. The outsole has flex grooves under the forefoot to support dynamic movement during workouts.
Features: Flexweave technology, flex grooves, high-abrasion rubber outsoles
- Suitable for high-intensity workouts
- Multiple colors available
- Not ideal for trail running, but it performs well on indoor surfaces
6. Brooks Launch 5
This is one of the workout shoes that are also suitable for running. The Brook Launch 5’s upper is made from breathable Air Mesh that allows for better temperature and moisture control. The tongue and collar of the shoe are padded to improve the support and stability. It contains a lot of features, however, it manages to stay lightweight.
With a BioMoGo DNA construction, the midsole is as responsive as can be. It is designed to harden upon impact and absorb shock as you work out. The outsole features two different materials; an HPR Plus rubber material and a blown rubber compound. These materials ensure good traction, durability, and bounce. The Brooks Launch 5 is excellently cushioned and is perfect for a lot of workout activities.
Features: BioMoGo DNA midsole, HPR Plus rubber and blown rubber outsole, air mesh upper
- Toe box is quite spacious
- Excellent breathability
- The arches are a bit high, but that has little or no effect on the support.
7. Nike Mecton 4 – Best For Weightlifting
While this shoe is specifically designed for all-round lifting, it is versatile enough for a number of other activities. The Nike Metcon 4 Is a flexible, yet stable workout shoe. The outsole provides a good grip on different surfaces, including slippery ones. As it is designed for high-intensity workouts, the breathable upper ensures temperature control and airflow.
Additionally, the shoe has a removable midsole that provides the right amount of support required for your workouts. It is designed to keep your feet flat on the ground, to ensure excellent stability for weightlifting. The outsole features a tri-star tread pattern; this is what is responsible for the good grip it offers. A TPU heel counter is included in the rear section of the shoe, to keep your heels in place.
Features: 3D haptic technology, removable midsole, solid rubber outsole
- Great stability for weightlifting
- Good grip on slippery surfaces
- Lightweight and breathable
- Suitable for intense workouts, but not for prolonged usage
Why Wear Specific Workout Sneakers for Women?
One of the most important things to consider in a workout shoe is the fit. You need to be confident in the fact that your shoes conform well and that your feet won’t slip during your exercises. Women’s feet are typically narrower in the heel and wider in the forefoot, unlike men’s feet. So to adequately cater to workout requirements, women should choose gender-specific workout shoes.
For comfortability, shoe manufacturers produce male and female versions of the same model of shoes, because they understand the anatomical difference in each gender’s feet. You can wear universal/unisex shoes if they are meant to be worn casually; however, for exercises and intense physical activities, you need an excellent fit and cushioning that only a gender-specific shoe can offer.
Best Women’s Workout Shoes Buying Guide
Understandably, there are countless workout shoes for women on the market, and you may get confused when picking one, more so if you are buying for the first time. Let’s discuss some of the things you should consider when buying workout shoes.
The first thing you need to know before you buy any workout shoe is your foot type. There are three different foot types, and each has a specific type of shoe suitable for it.
Pronators: Pronators have their feet roll inward when they walk, and there is a very simple way to check this. Look closely at the sole of any shoe you wear regularly. If the inner part of the sole is more worn out than the outer part, then you are a pronator. If you are in this category, what you need is a motion control shoe.
Supinators: In contrast to pronators, supinators have a closed inward angle on their ankles, and their feet roll outward when they walk. If the outer part of your sole is more worn than the inner part, you are most likely a supinator. Cushioning shoes are the best workout shoes for supinators.
Neutral: If your sole wears in the middle, you are most likely a neutral pronator. This means your weight is evenly distributed over feet when you move. As neutrals don’t have dire requirements, neutral workout shoes offer a reasonable level of cushioning and support.
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Men’s shoes are generally made wider than women’s shoes, but there are varying shoe widths across different women’s shoe sizes. You should consider this and make a choice depending on how wide or narrow your feet are. When workout shoes are too tight, they will inevitably become uncomfortable when you start working out as your feet will swell a bit under intense activity. The good news is that there are workout shoes for different shoe widths. You may also like our guide on the Stay on Trails blog of the best shoes for jumping rope.
The material used to make the upper will determine how breathable a workout shoe will be. Typically, workout shoe uppers are made from leather or synthetic materials. While leather uppers can be more durable, synthetic mesh uppers offer better breathability and comfort.
Insoles provide additional cushioning and comfort. Also, they further absorb part of the shock that is produced when your feet come in contact with the ground or any other surface during exercise. Choose shoes with durable insoles that will provide sufficient support. If you would like to insert your insoles, choose workout shoes that have removable insoles. If you bought shoes that are too big, check out our recommendations on the best insoles that you can use.
A large part of the shock generated in your feet when you workout is absorbed in the midsole, so your workout shoe must have a functional midsole. Midsoles are typically made from different plastic materials that have similar properties to foam or rubber. The midsole is where most manufacturers insert their unique technologies. You may also like our recent post of the best shoes for treadmill review guide.
A good outsole should provide good traction and firmness while remaining flexible. Outsoles are also made from different materials that vary the level of traction they offer and durability. Carbon rubber and blown rubber are two common materials. Some outsoles have grooves and additional features on them to make them more suited for certain activities and surfaces. You may also be interested in our guide on the best manual treadmill to buy.
Best Athletic Gym Shoes For Women Tips & Advice
1. Leave some space between the end of your longest toe, and the end of the shoe
Your feet will swell a little when you work out, so when choosing a workout shoe, ensure there is space between your longest toe and the end of the shoe.
2. Make sure to replace your shoes when necessary
Workout shoes will wear out eventually, regardless of the quality. You shouldn’t wait until they are all worn out to replace them. As soon as they start to lose cushioning and support, they should be replaced. Workout shoes will last longer if you have more than one pair and alternate using them.
3. Make sure every year or so you get a foot examination from a medical professional
In addition to the occasional health check-ups you have, make sure you get a foot examination at least once a year so you can always be aware of your foot condition, and whether or not you need to take some precautions.
4. You shouldn’t need to “break-in” your shoes
A very common opinion is that new shoes need breaking in. This is not true. Your workout shoes should feel comfortable on your feet as soon as you put them on and they should conform to your feet without hurting them. Thankfully, a lot of manufacturers are working hard to improve comfort and eliminate the need for “breaking in.”
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Women’s exercise shoes FAQs
How do I extend the life of my shoes?
The first step in taking care of workout shoes is regular cleaning. Always clean your shoes after each workout session, get rid of every dirt with a dry brush, and clean out deep stains before they set in. Furthermore, undo your laces before wearing or removing your shoes. If you can afford to, buy an additional pair of workout shoes and rotate between them to make them last longer.
Does the surface on which you are working out affect how long they last?
Yes, it does. Unless they are specifically designed for rugged surfaces, workout shoes will wear out faster on rough surfaces than on smooth ones.
Is it normal to have your arches in pain after working out?
If you experience pain in your arches after working out, it may be as a result of two things. The most likely cause is that your heel doesn’t stay in place during workouts as a result of the poor fit of your shoes. Also, it may be as a result of insufficient heel padding. If the pain becomes persistent, you should see your doctor.
What is EVA?
Ethylene-vinyl-acetate is the copolymer of ethylene and vinyl acetate. It is commonly referred to as expanded or foam rubber and is used as padding in workout shoes. The lightweight and cushioning effect is why it has become a popular material in shoe construction.
What are good workout shoes for women? – Final Thoughts
Workout shoes will protect your feet and knees from injuries and, at the same time, improve your workout experience. However, you need to consider the type of workout, the intensity, workout surface. These will help you make the better upper, midsole, and outsole choices.
Our best pick is the New Balance WX608V4. It is a very comfortable workout shoe that offers excellent traction on several different surfaces. Also, it comes in various colors and design options.
New Balance WX608V4
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Nike Mecton 4
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ASICS Women’s Gel-Nimbus 19
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