- 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
- Best Skechers running trainer
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.
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).
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
USP? I've struggled to get on with previous Nike training shoes, but the new Nike Invincible 3 ticks all the right boxes for a short, medium and long run shoe.
Pros: Topline: they're springy, supportive and responsive, thanks to new ZoomX foam, roomier than previous Nike iterations, and really comfortable, too. The heel tab makes them easy to pull on, and the snug upper promises to be comfortable for both wide and narrow feet.
Cons: They run a little small, so do opt for half a size up for max breathability.
Read my Nike Invincible 3 review, here.
Best adidas running trainer
USP? Meet adidas' lightest iteration of their most raved-about shoe to date. This Boost promises to be 30% lighter with a 4% greater energy return, too.
Pros: If you know me, you'll know I'm a big Ultraboost fan - I once ran a 37-mile ultramarathon in them (yep, really). IMO, they're one of the comfiest running trainers on the market, last well, and are super easy to pull on and off, too. All of the simple things you expect to be right in a running trainer are right here - a yes from me.
Cons: If you're someone who likes muddy offroading, these will get dirty pretty quickly. The bounce might not be for everyone, but they work for me (and the rest of Boost's cult-like following). Plus, they're still pretty heavy for a runner trainer at 261g, but I've always loved in running them.
Read my full adidas Boost Light review, here.
Best New Balance running trainer
USP? New Balance's Fresh Foam X More v4 are super cushioned - as in, one of the brand's most cushioned offerings, meaning you'll have a spring in your step (literally).
Pros: These are a really solid all round workhorse of a shoe. If you struggle with joint pain or are just on the hunt for an extra cushioned, bouncy pair of runners, these are for you as one of New Balance's most cushioned pairs on the market. Plus, as someone with wide feet, I found them spacious and comfortable - no blisters here.
Cons: I loved the cushioning - I'm a runner who likes extra bounce with every step - that said, some users felt the bounce compromised the shoe's stability. This wasn't an issue for me, however, but one to be mindful of dependant on your specific shoe requirements.
Best lululemon running trainer
USP: The second iteration of lululemon's first shoe is here. Designed for the female foot, the new design has a new textile upper for maximum support and comfort and a 3D-moulded midfoot panel for stability.
Pros: A development on the brand's first foray into footwear, I'm impressed by the Blissfeel 2. It's noticeably more stable, supportive and propulsive than the first design, offering a supportive yet springy everyday option that promises to help you go the distance. Plus, they offer eight different colourways. I'm a fan.
Cons: Not the best for speed work.
Best ON running trainer
USP? Super speedy and propelling, too - great for speedwork or improving your 5km time.
Pros: One of the newer shoes from ON is the Cloudmonster - a super springy, well-crafted shoe that challenges some of the top carbon plate shoes on the speed front. By far my favourite iteration from ON, when I tested them they didn't rub once and I found that they worked well over both short and long distances.
Cons: A higher price point.
Best Hoka running trainer
USP? In a nutshell, these are one of the comfiest shoes I've ever worn. I'm a big fan - like a bouncy cloud, they've carried me through hikes, 5km's and long runs, offering support and stability along the way too.
Pros: These went viral on TikTok for a reason - they're aesthetically pleasing but also a really great running shoe. I've worn them on rotation for training runs, interval sessions, and in the office, too, even persuading our Production Assistant Sofia into purchasing a pair. Yep - that's how much I approve.
Cons: My lilac colourway did sadly get muddy pretty quickly, but nothing a clean won't be able to fix. Again, they're on the more cushioned side, so if you prefer a flatter shoe, they won't be for you. Other than that, I can't fault them.
Best Allbird running trainer
USP? These are the lowest CO2 running trainer in the world - hence why Allbirds are one of our favourite sustainable sports brands here at MC UK.
Pros: While a little stiff to start, I still found them enjoyable to run in. They're a significant improvement on Allbirds' former iteration, offering a more sustainable option and a supportive trainer option.
Cons: They did take some time to break in and caused a few blisters along the way.
Read my Allbird Treeflyer review, here.
Best VEJA running trainer
USP? The perfect day-to-night shoe that doesn't scrimp on function, either.
Pros: Fun fact: the Impala is the lightest trainer VEJA has ever created. I was apprehensive pre-trying - in my mind, VEJA are a lifestyle shoe company and they certainly don't design running shoes - but I was pleasantly surprised. They're supportive, lightweight, and great for those of you with wider feet. I also love that while they offer adequate support for your runs or gym classes, they look smart for the office, too.
Cons: They're not the most supportive - I wouldn't advise them for, say, marathon training - but they're great if you run semi-regularly and want a trainer you can wear to Pilates, too.
Best adidas running trainer
USP: An affordable all-rounder from a trusted brand.
Pros: Like adidas trainers but can't afford more than £160+ on a pair of running trainers? We hear you - which is where the more budget-friendly Solar Glide 5 come in, designed for runners who workout a couple of times a week and are after an everyday all-rounder.
Cons: Not the springiest, but a sturdy workhorse.
Best marathon training running shoe
USP? A breathable, reliable training shoe.
Pros: I love the Cloudstratus from On for a number of reasons - they're ridiculously comfortable, offer enough (but not too much) bounce, support you well for short or long distances, and feel like they'll last the test of time, too. Whether you're planning on running a 5k or a marathon, these shoes will see you through with two layers of Helion™-enriched CloudTec® for increased vertical and horizontal cushioning.
Cons: None spring to mind.
Best Nike running trainer
USP: These road running shoes are weatherised and come with a water-repellent finish.
Pros: These are one of Contributing Wellness Editor Hayley's go-to shoes. "When looking for the perfect running shoe. I always look for a trainer that has a component which will lend to all weather conditions. This is why I love the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 39 Shield," she shares. "These road running shoes are sturdy enough to endure all weather conditions, with a water-repellent finish and a cosy fleece-like feel on the inside to keep your feet warm. I love a black-on-black trainer that feels chic so I can wear it out to coffee afterwards."
Cons: A higher price point.
Best running trainers for speed work
USP? Their hero carbon plate shoe, the Adios Adizero's are designed for racing. Fun fact for you: 60% of 2021 World Major Marathon wins were by athletes wearing the previous iteration, the Adizero Adios Pro 2. Not bad.
Pros: Never heard of carbon plate shoes? In essence, they're "super shoes" designed with an incredibly lightweight carbon fibre plate allowing runners to run faster, and for longer. adidas' hero offering is the Adizero Adios, and the latest version - version 3 - is more roomy, breathable, and comfortable than earlier designs. I ran a personal best at the Paris Half marathon in them and loved every step - they really are designed for speed.
Cons: All carbon plate shoes will retail at a higher price point, so if you're after a shoe for daily training runs, opt for another design. Similarly, studies have suggested that carbon shoes can cause injury if you wear them day in, day out - I keep mine for speed work and race day.
USP? Arguably the most popular carbon plate racing shoe, Nike super shoes were worn by Eliud Kipchoge when he broke the sub-2-hour marathon time for the first time in human history, and similarly by Brigid Kosgei when she broke Paula Radcliffe's 16-year marathon world record with a time of 2:14:04.
Pros: These are my go-to race day shoes - I ran Chicago Marathon in them last year and do all of my speedwork in them. They're an investment, but are lightweight, propulsive and proper speed shoes, designed for personal bests.
Cons: They wear out more quickly than other competitor models.
USP? Promising a dynamic energy return and lighter weight, too, the FuelCell SuperComp Elite v3 are breathable, secure, and super comfortable, to boot.
Pros: These shoes really pleasantly surprised me and have become another go-to - a firm contender for one of the best carbon plate shoes IMO. They're springier than previous iterations, and stable, too, making for a great reliable race day or speed work option.
Cons: They're more difficult to slip on as a result of the new tongue design. Some reviewers had issues with blisters because of the laces, but I'm particularly blister prone and have never had any issues while testing.
Best Under Armour running trainer
USP: Under Armour has made a speed shoe that's also super light, and it's certainly impressive.
Pros: Fun fact that you may not have noticed: the UA Flow Velocity shoes have significantly less cushioning than the previous designs but are still as enjoyable to run in, offering a more balanced and stable iteration. Under Armour shoes also have a nifty function where your run stats are sent from your shoe to your phone, so you can see everything from foot strike angle, cadence, ground contact time and more. Neat.
Cons: They're flatter than other competitors and not as springy, but definitely supportive.