Some types of gym gear are just non-negotiable. Workout shoes are definitely one of those. This takes me back to when I first started working out. Because of my lack of experience, I’d decided to get just any kind of rubber shoes I would have lying around.
Of course, that didn’t work out well. I remember using that particular pair of shoes for circuit workouts, for running, for everything! It didn’t provide any support or any kind of comfort; they were just things to put on my feet. As the soles got thinner and thinner, I started looking for another kind of shoe, one that would elevate my workouts.
Workout shoes only get better and better each year. Brands try to mix it up all the time, either by whipping out innovative designs or using different materials to bring more comfort and versatility to your workouts. However, only some really get the balance of good design with great functionality and versatility to accommodate different types of workouts.
There is definitely a difference in a running shoe versus a shoe that you need for weight training. In running shoes, you would prefer more cushioning and more shock-absorbing heels and soles. This is so that you can run for longer!
For the weight lifters out there, you want a more stable shoe that will make you feel as if you are flat on the floor. Lifting heavier weights requires you to feel closer to the ground in order to be more effective.
There are shoes that will be better for running, shoes that will be better for weight-training, and shoes that try to combine its functionality for two or more types of workouts, including CrossFit workouts.
To help you with the confusion, I’ve listed down the best workout shoes for women. Keep in mind the type of workouts you usually do so that you can find the shoe that is designed especially for you. Now whilst I’m a man I have a wife that I bring through all my crazy fitness journeys so I definitely have added a bit of a woman’s touch!
Best Workout Shoes For Women Compared and Reviewed
|Top||Asics Gel Kayano 26||Asics||Check Price on Amazon|
|Reebok CrossFit Nano 8.0 Flexweave||Reebok||Check Price on Amazon|
|Adidas Women’s UltraBoost 20||Adidas||Check Price on Amazon|
|Under Armour Women’s Breathe Trainer X Nm Cross||Under Armour||Check Price on Amazon|
|Reebok Women’s ROS Workout TR 2.0||Reebok||Check Price on Amazon|
#1 - Asics Gel Kayano 26 (Good for Overpronation)
Going back 26 years, it seems Asics has learned the art of perfecting the Kayano. The support and the stability that this shoe offers have made people come back to it time and time again. The years behind the Kayano is enough proof of its quality.
One of the most prominent features of the Asics Kayano is its ability to correct overpronation. You may not even notice the way your feet are positioned when running or walking. The importance of proper positioning is often overlooked!
Overpronation is when, for your feet to hit the ground, you have to roll your foot inwards. One of the signs of overpronation is to see if your shoes are wearing near the ball of the foot and near the big toe. This is important as it greatly affects your performance in just about any workout. Overpronation may cause knee, hip, or back pain.
How does the Asics Kayano address this? The midsole, which is the part that absorbs shock as you hit the ground, is made of different materials. The outside part, made of Asics’ Gel cushioning, is more flexible and can provide some bounce. Towards the inside, it is made of a firmer kind of foam which helps you stabilize your foot hitting the ground so that you don’t roll inwards too much.
Because this does help with overpronation that is mostly the concern of runners, this shoe is usually grabbed by those whose workouts include treadmill workouts. It might help with the force that your joints will go through while hitting the ground. This isn’t to say that you can’t use it for other workouts, though!
Wondering about the fit? People with wider feet might like this shoe a lot more than others out there, especially if you’ve experienced the pain of squeezing shoes! And if you do have average or narrower feet, you don’t have to worry as well. Asics provided an extra eyelet for you to lace your shoelaces through in case you need to tighten your shoe.
Looking at the design of the shoe, I personally do not think it gives us anything different or innovative. Its style is of the typical workout shoe, but I also think this should be the least of your concern, especially if you want to improve your performance.
#2 - Reebok CrossFit Nano 8.0 Flexweave (Good for CrossFit)
CrossFitters probably know that not any shoe can cater to the type of workouts they do. For example, it is favorable to have shoes that make you feel almost flat on the floor. This is because you want to feel more stable, especially when you like lifting heavy weights or even just your own body weight.
Because of the stability that you need in CrossFit exercises, you probably won’t find the cushioning that you need in, say, running shoes. This is why you hear that you need different types of shoes for different workouts! The Reebok CrossFit Nano 8.0 Flexweave has enough cushioning to take in the shock from jumps.
You’ll find that the Flexweave material on the outer part of the shoe can be flexible but will be able to keep its stability and strength. Reebok also included a separate bootie from the Flexweave. This makes it more comfortable and flexible for your feet. These materials make for a breathable and firm shoe.
Reebok is also said to have a great grip, so once you land on any surface, you might find that you are more stable more quickly. Other shoes will have you wiggling before you find that balance. Again, designed especially for CrossFitters.
Some users have said that these shoes are not for the wide-footed, though, so keep that in mind. You should keep in mind too that running won’t be ideal in these! personally think this has a cool design too. Overall, this shoe will give you the stability you need for weights and CrossFit exercise, and enough comfort to boost your performance.
#3 - Adidas Women’s UltraBoost 20 (Most Lightweight)
One of the shoe giants is bound to have a shoe that lives up to your expectations. Adidas knows what you need and gives it to you with the Ultraboost 20. It is designed especially for runners out there but is also amazing for other workouts.
Adidas definitely knows how to improve its models over time as this has 20% more Boost material than earlier models. This will help absorb the shock that your joints might feel every time your feet hit the ground, especially while running. This makes for a more stable and comfortable run.
You won’t be sacrificing lightness for all that, though. The Ultraboost 20 is designed to be lightweight while still giving you the support you need.
It also knows how to adjust to your feet. Remember those shoes where you just feel the tongue of the shoe digging into your feet as you run? I certainly have used those, but it’s time to say goodbye to those types of shoes. The upper elastic of the Ultraboost 20 will fit your feet just fine, and you might not even feel any tension.
Where the heel meets the shoe holds extra padding for a more comfortable run. The shoe also knows how important it is to be able to move your feet freely as it runs, so it has an open area near your ankles for flexibility.
Even the material used is an upgrade compared to other models. The upper part is made of Adidas’ material, Primeknit+, which makes for a good-fitting shoe. Because of how easy you can slip your feet into these shoes, some people have even called it “sock-like”.
Plus, you know I love a good-looking shoe. The Ultraboost 20 definitely doesn’t disappoint with its classic style that slims near your toes but doesn’t constrict.
#4 - Under Armour Women’s Breathe Trainer X Nm Cross (Best All-Rounder)
Got a variety of workouts to do? Under Armour might have a shoe for you with the Breathe Trainer. You can’t go wrong with this shoe, whether you’re going to the gym or you’re on a casual stroll. The style will keep up with your endeavors.
You might not even question the name as soon as you wear this pair. The synthetic mesh that the shoe is made of will help your feet breathe as you crush your workouts. You especially need this when your moves are more quick and versatile.
Even with the craziest moves, you might not even worry about this shoe flying off your feet. The Breathe Trainer hugs your feet just right, especially with the elastic laces that it features. This will help you customize the tightness more accurately. Because of this, you might even find that it brings your feet a lot of comfort. Slipping these shoes on is easy as ever, too, because of its elasticity.
The rubber on the soles are also durable and can grip surfaces very well. Some gym-goers have expressed their love for how stable this shoe can make them feel, especially during weight training. So not only will you get a flexible shoe, but it’ll also keep up for those times when you need to stay flat on the floor.
You might be the type of person who does loads of workouts, and this shoe is said to hold up with various activities. Its durability and comfort will be your best friend. Some users have reported that the shoe might be too tight, though, especially around the ankles. Some users also recommend getting a larger size than your usual shoe size by at least a half size.
#5 - Reebok Women’s ROS Workout TR 2.0 (All-Rounder)
Reebok makes its appearance in this list again with the ROS Workout TR 2.0, and for good reason. Want a shoe for different kinds of workouts so you don’t have to change any more than you have to? Reebok has your back.
If you’re like me, you also like to get some variety in your workouts throughout the week. Some days are cardio days, while others are dedicated to weight training. It’s especially helpful to have a shoe that will do the work for both cases. Not only that, but you’ll also be saving some money.
You might find that this shoe is especially good in that regard. The upper synthetic mesh is flexible enough to fit your feet well and adjust to the movements that you make while running.
The rubber sole will also be good for taking in the shock from your feet hitting the ground. Aside from that, though, casual weightlifters out there might like how wide the bottom is, making for a stable shoe that could be relied on.
To add to the versatility of the shoe, you might notice that the shoe is low cut, especially near the ankles. This might help you get a wider range of movements. You might also feel that rubber sole grip the ground well enough for workouts that have more jumping involved.
The ROS Workout TR 2.0 lives up to its name of being a cross-training shoe, as it is designed to be able to adjust to your needs. However, some users have concerns about the tightness of the top, especially near the toes. It might help to order a half size bigger than your normal shoe size.
Some have also expressed that because it is stiff and has little cushioning, it might be much better for weightlifting than running. I tend to agree, if you want to run I suggest looking to beginner running shoes instead.
My Number One Pick
What To Look Out For When Buying Workout Shoes For Women
There are some things to consider before you purchase any kind of shoe. Aside from the comfort and durability of the materials that the shoe is made of, you have to consider how it will fit your personal circumstances and preferences. Shoes are definitely not a one-kind-fits-all kind of thing!
Type of Workout
You need different kinds of shoes for different kinds of workouts. It’s definitely ideal to get one shoe to be able to withstand and cater to all kinds of workouts, but you’ll get the most out of your performance by using the right shoe for the workout you’re going for that day.
- Weight Lifting –
Used to lifting heavy weights when going to the gym? Your shoe should be able to help you lift even heavier. To you weightlifters out there, you know how important it is to feel stable on the ground. It is definitely not a good habit to have to adjust your feet constantly because it keeps wobbling, especially when you have that weight on.
This is why you need to have shoes that are able to make you feel flat on the ground. The best kind of shoes for you are those that are flat-soled or have bare-foot running styles. You also need soles that have a great grip on the ground and will keep you firm.
- Gym Classes –
There are different types of gym classes out there, but they generally require the same kind of shoe. CrossFit can also fit into this category. If you take cardio or strength-training classes, you probably know how free and flexible you have to be in order to keep up with all the jumping and other movements involved.
Since your joints are about to get a lot of shock, especially because of all the jumping, it is essential that your shoe has enough padding to absorb that shock, especially near the heel. This is why you’ll find that some shoes have different materials near that area, such as gel material, or just a less dense foam.
You’ll also find that the shoes that are perfect for your workouts will be those that provide proper cushioning so your feet won’t feel the stress of whatever you’ve done that day. You also need a shoe with a great grip so that you can land exactly where you want to land. It won’t be fun slipping all over the place when you’re doing your planks (which is something that I definitely have experienced)!
- Running –
Running shoes definitely have their own market, but it’s still worth mentioning here. Running shoes are usually those that provide a lot of comfort and padding. Shoe designers know that runners need a lot of that, especially in long-distance running in order to support your feet.
Another thing that designers keep in mind is the amount of shock that you will feel with every step you take. That’s why the soles are usually thicker than, say, shoes needed for weightlifting. You’ll also notice that the heel has some kind of padding to absorb this shock. You also need a better grip to support your steps.
Most importantly, though, you have to know how your feet are positioned when hitting the ground so that you are able to correct or maintain your feet “posture”. I’ll be explaining that in the next category.
Pronation is how you step on the ground and the way your foot rolls to meet the ground. Although this is something that seems to be a no-brainer, this is essential to know, especially for those who usually run on their workouts. The way you run will affect how well you perform and how often you get injured.
A way to see if you overpronate, supination, or have normal pronation is to look at the wear on the soles of your current training shoes. Below, I will tell you what each of those will look like.
- Normal Pronation –
You know you have normal pronation when your foot comes flat onto the ground after your heel hits the ground. The ankle will move slightly inwards as this happens. Because you have flattened your foot well enough, you will be able to push off the ground with stability.
You know you normally execute this pronation when you see that the wear on the soles of your shoes is even along the heel and in the front of the foot. The arch of your feet is also normal. Because of these things, you usually won’t have to look for shoes with extra support. These are called neutral or stability running shoes.
- Overpronation –
You overpronate when, after hitting the ground with your heel, your ankle rolls inwards for about 15 degrees in order for the foot to hit the ground. Because your weight is directed inwards, you then use your big toe to push off. If you overpronate, you might usually feel some knee, hip, or back pain. You might also be prone to developing injuries such as heel spurs and ankle sprains.
This is why it’s very important that you correct this as soon as you notice it. You can usually see the wear on the soles of the shoes near the heel and inside the forefoot. In order to correct this, you need motion control or stability shoes. Brands usually make it clear when the shoe they’re advertising is for those that overpronate, so you won’t have a hard time looking for the right shoe.
- Underpronation or Oversupination –
Underpronation is the opposite of overpronation. Instead of rolling inwards, you use the outer edge of your foot to make contact with the ground. Then, you push off with the outer toes. This is also going to cause certain injuries and will cause pain in the joints connected to your feet, just like in overpronation. You’ll find the wear on the soles near the outside edges. In order to correct this, you need a neutral running shoe with extra cushioning.
This is definitely something to think about! Sometimes, shoes are only expensive because of the brand that comes with it, or maybe it is advertised as a celebrity’s pick. Usually, these won’t really give you more features than the usual shoe, except maybe the luxury it brings.
Don’t expect that all shoes are made equal, though, despite the price. Higher-priced shoes might use better quality materials that will last you years, making it a great investment.
Frequently Asked Questions for Womens Workout Shoes
Q: Can I use one pair of shoes for any kind of workout?
A: While this isn’t ideal, some shoes will be able to cater to a wider range of movements. This makes it both very versatile and limiting at the same time.
Some workouts, such as weight training, will need a more stable shoe instead of the flexibility that running needs. Some shoes try to combine this, though, and although it may be good for short distances, you need a different type of shoe for longer distances.
Q: When should I buy new workout shoes?
A: In terms of running, you should probably get a new pair after running between 300 and 500 miles. It really depends on how hard you land on the ground with each step.
You’ll also feel that when you do your workouts, you don’t feel as protected from the ground as you usually do. Check also for wear. It can be obvious sometimes when the sole starts to thin out.
Q: What should I consider the most in buying workout shoes?
A: Definitely check how it fits your feet. Some reviews only will definitely help you out. Some brands have smaller sizes for some reason than others, so you’ll have to buy a half size or a size larger than your usual shoe size. The best option is to try it in the store, of course.
There are a lot of things to consider while buying workout shoes, but don’t forget that it is also a fun process! Treating your feet well will have lasting effects and will even help you prevent certain injuries. Always check for reviews to see what other gym-goers and runners think about the shoes you’re interested in.
If you really started going hard with the training, and want to protect your hands from calluses like my wife then maybe you should also consider some gloves for working out. While you’re at it, why not check out all the home gym essentials you may need if you are a cave crawler that loves to train from home!
Remember what your personal preferences are and remember that there will always be a shoe that will provide for you. Ultimately, it’s your feet that will be pampered, and so you have to decide! Have fun shopping!
And if you’re taking your training up a notch, check out these weighted running vests for women, make sure you read the buyers guide though because weighted exercises aren’t for everyone. If you’ve landed here getting a gift for your wife or girlfriend then check these products we’ve reviewed as some of the best fitness gifts for her.
Marko Rakic is a trail runner and fitness enthusiast from Sydney, Australia. He is the lead writer for The Ultimate Primate and believes the best way to live a happy life is to take a holistic approach to fitness and health.