15 Best Workout Shoes for Women Who Go the Extra Mile
Just like no two feet are the same, no two sneakers are either—and the best workout shoes for women depend on so much more than just aesthetics. Buying shoes online is always a risk because you can’t try anything on, and unless you don’t mind buying shoes in multiple sizes, you probably want to get it right with your first order. That’s why we reached out to fit experts, from podiatrists to physical therapists, to find out how to pick the right pair of workout shoes for your needs, whether you're an avid runner, biker, hiker, or trainer. See what they have to say, below.
Our Top Picks
- Best for Running: Brooks Ghost 15, $110
- Best Stability: On Cloudflyer, $160
- Best Cushioning: Hoka Clifton 9, $145
- Best for Cross-Training: Lululemon Strongfeel, $128
- Best for Wide Feet: Altra Provision 7, $140
Why is important to have different shoes for different types of workouts?
There is no one-size-fits-all activities with workout shoes. Chanel Perkins, DPM, explains to Glamour that “the force you exert throughout your feet for plyometric exercises, such as hopping or jumping, is a very different type of force exerted with more isometric exercises such as lunges or squats.” This means that wearing the wrong type of shoes—say, a running sneaker while weightlifting or strength training—could strain the ligaments and muscle tendons in your toes, feet, and ankles, which ultimately can lead to painful things like heel spurs or plantar fasciitis. No thanks.
What should you consider when shopping for workout shoes?
Until the day comes when we're able to pull sneakers out of our screens and try them on immediately at home, physical therapist Leada Malek, DPT, tells Glamour that “support, stability, and cushioning” are a great starting point for figuring out what kind of sneaker you may need while online shopping. From there, she says, you can look into what may be best for your foot type—either wide or narrow, high or flat arches, and the amount of ankle strength you have.
If you have strong ankles, Dr. Malek says you can wear flatter shoes for cardio exercises. But given how freeing these lightweight designs are on the foot, they definitely don't work for everyone—especially not if you need ankle support or if your feet have a tendency to roll in or outward, which experts refer to as over- or underpronation. In these instances, she says you may want to opt for a stability shoe with a wider base and arch support in the middle to help even out your gait. For those with injuries or specific needs, Dr. Perkins advises picking shoes with removable insoles to allow for custom orthotics to accommodate foot concerns like plantar fasciitis or bunions. A final thing to consider is the weight of the shoe, and Dr. Perkins notes that walking shoes are generally heavier than running sneakers, as “a running shoe is designed for speed and performance.”
How often should you replace your workout sneakers?
There isn't an exact day or time to replace your shoes, but experts typically advise every four to six months. Priya Parthasarathy, DPM, a board-certified physician and surgeon based in Washington, DC, recommends picking up a new pair every “six months or 500 miles.” The reason you want to replace your shoes relatively often is that “old and worn-out shoes tilt the way you walk and can cause pain to your back, hips, and legs,” explains Jacqueline Sutera, DPM, a New York–based podiatrist and member of the Vionic Innovation Lab. She recommends keeping an eye out for signs of wear like “holes, uneven tread, or thinning.”
There’s obviously a lot to take in—and even though the brand name or aesthetics may be what draw you in at first, you should always prioritize your foot type and athletic needs. Below, get a head start on your search for the best workout shoes for women to buy right now.
All products featured on Glamour are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
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