Best Women's Neutral Running Shoes for 2016
For this post we polled many runners and called dozens of running specialty stores to get their opinion: what are the best women's neutral running shoes (or, shoes for those who land with their arch rolling ever so slightly inward). From the data collected, we present you with the best running shoes for female neutral runners.
Adidas Energy Boost 3
Want the best of the Saucony Kinvara and the Brooks Ghost? This is your shoe. The Energy Boost allows for an incredibly cushioned yet smooth ride that can take on crazy pounding. It's extremely well-made. The upper is made of a breathable knitted material, the midsole is made from Adidas' signature Boost technology, and the outsole has a grippy feel to help you on the track and the trails. Nothing we've tried has felt as glove-like as these shoes and the Energy Boost was the top recommendation for many running store owners across the country. And like the owners, we can't endorse this shoe enough. The heel-to-toe drop is 10 mm, the weight is around 9.3 oz (although it feels lighter), and you can get around 600 miles in the Adidas Energy Boost.
Saucony Kinvara 8
The least expensive shoe on this list yet among the best shoes on the market, the Saucony Kinvara—now on model number eight—is light, fast, and unbelievably comfortable. Utilizing Saucony's PowerGrid technology in the underfoot and FlexFilm for the external foot, this shoe is designed to feel secure, but with easy mobility. But what truly distinguishes this shoe is that it feels quick. Weighing only 6.8 oz and with a heel-to-toe drop of 4mm, you feel the responsiveness of this shoe the moment you try it on. The lone downside of the Kinvara is its durability: we wouldn't recommend getting more than 400 miles in these shoes.
Brooks Ghost 10
The Ghost 10 has it all: amazing cushioning, light feel, and solid traction. Brooks' BioMoGO DNA midsole adapts to your stride and the waffle sole means you can wear the Ghost through spring showers, summer dust, fall leaves, and winter snow. There's a reason that when we polled them running stores almost universally listed this shoe as their top selling neutral model. The Ghost is now on version eight and has an 10mm heel-to-toe drop and weighs (a bit heavy) 9.2 oz. A durable shoe, you can get through around 500 miles in the Ghost before needing to replace it.
Mizuno Wave Rider 21
Now in its 21st version, this neutral trainer is a top seller for a reason. For one, the Wave Rider has unbelievable durability: thanks to the signature wave plate that sits beneath the body of the shoe, the Wave Rider can withstand immense pounding before needing to be replaced. And although it has a reputation for feeling firm, newer versions are quite cushioned and, shockingly, quite light (8.3 oz). We'd probably have made this number one, but the shoe runs a bit narrow. The Wave Rider has a 12mm heel-to-toe drop and can handle about 600 miles.
Nike Free RN Flyknit
The Nike Free was the shoe that launched (with all respect to Five Fingers) the “minimalist” shoe trend. The Nike Free RN Flyknit is flexible, light, and looks great (plus it comes in seemingly endless colorways). As intended, the shoe fits like a sock: it has a seamless, flyknit upper, a midfoot saddle to provide a close fit, and has plenty of flexibility thanks to a grooved outsole. The shoe weighs 6.6 oz for a women's size 8, has an 8 mm heel-to-toe drop, and has a Phylon, full-length midsole that adds cushioning. We wouldn't recommend trying to get more than 350 miles out of these shoes—the Free RN Flyknit isn't particularly durable.
Asics Gel-Nimbus 20
We said the Glycerin was soft? Somehow the Asics Gel-Nimbus 20 is softer. As the name suggests, the Nimbus gives the feeling of running on clouds. The midsole is as cushiony as a pillow and the interior sides feel like putting your feet inside a marshmallow. The real downside is that, like the Glycerin, it feels clunky for anything fast, almost like a two ton Cadillac trying to go from zero to sixty. Unsurprisingly, the latest version of the shoe, the 20th, is a bit heavy at 8.8 oz. The Gel-Nimbus has a heel-to-toe drop of 10mm and, thanks to Asics' gel padding, you can easily run 550 miles in these.
Brooks Glyceirn 15
Another high cushioned shoe, the Brooks Glycerin is a top seller across the country and one of the most searched for shoes on ShoeKicker. Now in its 15th version, Brooks uses the best of its technology on the Glycerin: Brooks' Super DNA midsole makes every stride feel extra plush and a rounded heel makes the shoe feel softer than a normal sneaker (no more heel chafing!). The real downer for the Brooks Glycerin is its bulky feel, which means anything fast feels needlessly taxing. The shoe has a 10mm heel-to-toe drop and weighs 9.2 oz for women's size 8.
New Balance 1080v7
The 1080 is New Balance's take on the high cushioned neutral shoe, which means it's plusher and more feature-rich than the standard running shoe. The latest version—v6—has New Balance's signature Fresh Foam, a responsive, lightweight midsole that New Balance has started to integrate across most of its shoe line. Thanks to the 1080's ventilated upper, the shoe has phenomenal breathability. And, even with the Fresh Foam midsole, the 1080 weighs 8.4 oz. If you want to get in some long runs in a lighter cushioned shoe, the 1080 is a great option. The trainer has an 8mm heel-to-toe drop and the average runner can get around 500 miles in the 1080 before needing replacement.
Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 34
The Nike Pegasus 34 is the most searched for shoe on ShoeKicker. That shouldn't come as a surprise. The Nike Pegasus is now in its 34th incarnation, making it not only the sports giant's longest continually produced running shoe, but Nike's longest continually produced shoe… period. There's a reason for that: for the neutral runner, this is a fantastic basic trainer. It has a solid amount of cushioning, an upper made out of Nike's Dynamic Flywire, and it feels hyper responsive. Around 8.5 oz in weight and with a heel-to-toe drop of 10mm, this classic can withstand around 450 miles of pounding before you need a replacement.
Saucony Triumph ISO 4
Well-fitting, responsive, and lightweight, the Triumph ISO 4 is one of the best shoes Saucony has ever made. The shoe is light (9 oz), springy (it has Saucony's EVERUN midsole), and has a great fitting upper, thanks to the ISOFIT engineered technology. The Triumph ISO is durable for any neutral runner, and most runners can get 550 miles out of them. Highly recommended for almost all neutral runners looking for a cushioned ride.