I'm a Health Editor who tests trainers for a living: this is officially my pick of the best

Don't be confused by the jargon - we've tried 100's of trainers and these are the ones worth investing in

Best running trainers for women: Health Editor Ally Head testing the shoes in this round up
(Image credit: Ally Head)

The NHS's ‘Couch to 5k’ app had over a million downloads during the first lockdown in 2020. We've become a nation of runners, and if you're one of the keen beans now lacing up regularly, know this. One of the simplest ways you can improve your running is by investing in the best gym wear. Hence this handy guide to the best running trainers for women.

I'm a health editor who runs marathons for fun, so I've tested all of the running trainers below for you over 5km, 10km, half marathon or marathon distances. I've also enlisted the help of our Contributing Wellness Editor, Hayley Hasselhoff, who loves nothing more than putting fit kit to the test. Keep reading for an honest review of which trainers are worth your investment - and which aren't.

No, we're not talking about the best gym trainers, but running trainers specifically designed with return, bounce, and boost in mind. Shop the best options from the likes of Nike, adidas, Under Armour, and more, but also a few more purse-friendly trainer alternatives, too. We've run in all of the shoes included, so they have our seal of approval as the top running trainers you can buy.

Not into running? Don't worry, we've also rounded up the best cross training shoes, best weightlifting shoes, and best sustainable trainers for you, too. 

Why investing in a pair of the best running trainers for women is so important

Yeah, surprisingly enough your old Converse aren't the best bet for your morning miles (that said, they're in our round-up of the best weightlifting shoes for a reason).  Why? Well, wearing incorrect trainers can increase your risk of injury and encourage poor running form.

Think about it: if you wear super flat Converse for your 5km, your foot arch won't have adequate support, your joints won't have proper cushioning as your body hits the floor, and your hips, knees, Achilles, and tendons will likely have to work harder to over-compensate. End result? Likely injury, if you run regularly (aka three times a week or more).

Health Editor Ally Head testing some of the best running trainers for women

Health Editor Ally Head testing some of the trainers in this round up at the Paris Half

(Image credit: Ally Head)

Testing process: What we looked for in the best running trainers for women

  • Adequate cushioning: When you hit the floor during a run, you're putting as much as three times your body weight through your foot. Think about that for a second - it's a lot. We made sure all of the shoes in this round up have proper cushioning underfoot.
  • Appropriate weight: Again, this one's fairly common sense and worth thinking about pre-investing in running trainers. The lighter your shoe, the easier it'll be for you to move quickly in them, so there are plenty of light trainers in this edit. That being said, if you're a distance or marathon runner, making sure you've opted for a shoe with proper support for the mileage is key - options for that below, too. 
  • Designed for the right terrain: In short, are you someone who's going to be running on pavements home from work or heading out to the countryside for steady miles come the weekend? If it's the former, invest in road shoes; the latter, trail shoes. Road shoes are more cushioned, to protect your body from the impact of the concrete, and trail shoes have more grip and support, for muddy trail routes.

Best running trainers for women: 17 to shop now

Best running trainer for beginners

Best adidas running trainer

Best New Balance running trainer

Best lululemon running trainer

Best ON running trainer

Best Hoka running trainer

Best Allbird running trainer

Best VEJA running trainer

Best adidas running trainer

Best marathon training running shoe

Best Nike running trainer

Best running trainers for speed work

Best Under Armour running trainer

Best Saucony running trainer