12 Best Nike Women Running Shoes for 2018

12 Best Nike Women Running Shoes for 2018

Remember that wildly popular ice cream sundae shop, “Two Flavors,” where you could get vanilla most days, and sometimes strawberry? Yeah, me neither. You don’t have to be an ice cream gourmand to realize that a little variety is nice. The geniuses at Nike HQ have realized the same thing: instead of offering runners just one type of midsole foam, Nike wants to offer all the flavors and let runners mix and match their preferred toppings. Do you prefer a Lunarlon foam core, a flexible Phylon sole, a dual-density Phylon/Cushlon blend for stability, Air to absorb impact, space-age React foam, or top-secret ZoomX, with or without mechanical carbon or nylon/carbon plates for extra propulsion? With Nike, you can try them all, topping them off with Flymesh, a Flywire truss system, or premium Flyknit. One thing’s for sure: everyone will eventually find a shoe that works for them. Keep reading for the list of best Nike running shoes for women as determined by the votes of over 11,000 runners.

Number 12

Nike Free RN 2018

Nike Free RN 2018

The Nike Free line is famous for shoes that are as light as racing flats, let toes flex naturally, and keep your feet close to the ground. They’re among the best running Nike shoes for women looking for a more natural or minimalist shoe, or who just want to strengthen underused foot muscles a few times a week.

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Number 11

Nike LunarGlide 9

Nike LunarGlide 9

Although the LunarGlide 9 is marketed as a daily stability trainer, it’s engineered less for support than for cushion, flexibility, and a smooth ride. The midsole of the LunarGlide is unsurprisingly based on Lunarlon, a foam designed to provide both soft midsole cushioning and springy responsiveness. The LunarGlide augments its mesh upper with Flywire filaments for a snug, no-slip fit.

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Number 10

Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 34

Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 34

To determine the best Nike shoes for running, women vote with their feet. If we determined the ranking simply by millions of miles run, the Pegasus would undoubtedly come out on top. The classic Nike neutral trainer celebrates its 35th anniversary this year, and it seems like every runner has tried them at some point. Although the upper is now a Flymesh knit, the Pegasus 34 has preserved its reputation for versatility. If you own one pair of shoes for daily running, workouts, and races from the 5K to the marathon, there’s a good chance it’s the Pegasus.

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Number 9

Nike Air Zoom Vomero 13

Nike Air Zoom Vomero 13

When fond memories of the Pegasus clash with sore muscles or aching joints, some of us wish for a shoe with a bit more cushioning. Nike has just what we need in the Vomero, the premium Pegasus. A Lunarlon and Cushlon midsole supplemented with Air bags in the forefoot and heel provide luxurious padding, while the Flymesh upper is supplemented with Flywire for an extra comfortable fit. The extra heel cushion suggest the Vomero is the place to turn if you need the best women’s Nike running shoes for plantar fasciitis.

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Number 8

Nike Air Zoom Elite 9

Nike Air Zoom Elite 9

To find the best Nike running shoes, women are looking not just for comfort but also for performance. The Vomero may be great for easy days and long runs, but some days you want to go fast. Whether it’s a road workout or a race, you’ll appreciate the light weight of the Zoom Elite 9, the second-lightest model on this list. What many runners especially notice about the Zoom Elite 9 is the precise fit. The Flymesh and Flywire upper matches the shape of your foot and avoids slippage, giving you ultimate control over where your foot lands and how you push off from the ground.

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Number 7

Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 4

Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 4

The Terra Kiger 4 and the Wildhorse 4 are both trail shoes from Nike named for, well, wild horses: the Kiger is a variety of wild mustang native to southeast Oregon. Other than that, though, they’re very different shoes. The Terra Kiger 4 is a lightweight trail shoe that’s perfect for offroad races, with an aggressive 4 mm heel-toe drop more typical of a racing flat. The Air bag in the heel and Phylon midsole are flexible and responsive, while the combination of Flymesh and Flywire is as effective in the Terra Kiger as it is in the Zoom Elite.

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Number 6

Nike Air Zoom Wildhorse 4

Nike Air Zoom Wildhorse 4

Compared to the Terra Kiger, the Wildhorse 4 is a more traditional trail shoe. Although it uses the same Phylon and Air combination, the sole includes a rock plate to protect your foot from hazards underfoot, and the heel rises 8 mm above the toe, closer to a typical trainer. Sometimes it’s best to slow your pace a littleso you can enjoy nature—or so you can avoid the hazards lurking on or off the trail.

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Number 5

Nike Free RN Flyknit 2018

Nike Free RN Flyknit 2018

For the best Nike running shoes, women’s 2018 models require decisions about both fit and function. If the natural feel and flexible Phylon sole of the Free RN sound intriguing, but you’d prefer the latest Flyknit upper, Nike is happy to accommodate you. The lightweight Flyknit is one of the ways Nike shaves over an ounce off the Free RN Flyknit, making it the lightest shoe on this list, and letting your feet move even more freely.

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Number 4

Nike Winflo 4

Nike Winflo 4

If you’re shopping for the best Nike shoes for women, running doesn’t have to be an expensive hobby. The Winflo 4 is the low-cost junior sibling of the Pegasus and Vomero, but with the same mesh and Flywire technology in the upper and an Air bag heel, and women in our survey rate the Winflo highly. If there’s one complaint about the Winflo, it’s the name: it sounds like a childhood illness, as in, “Billy came down with a bad case of the Winflo and has to stay home today.” It’s hard to believe the Nike branding and marketing folks can’t do better. Nike Perseus? Nike Apollo? Maybe in 2019.

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Number 3

Nike Zoom Vaporfly 4%

Nike Zoom Vaporfly 4%

At the moment, there’s no question whatsoever about the best Nike running shoe for women with serious marathon aspirations, whether that’s a BQ or an OTQ. Nike’s engineers sound like they’re promising the impossible from the ZoomX foam midsole with an embedded carbon plate, but early reports from real-world testers have ranged from glowing to awe-struck. For a 2:51 marathoner, a 4% improvement puts her close to the 2:45 Olympic Trials standard, and for that, $250 is a bargain. If you’re trying to hit the A or B standard for the Trials marathon in Atlanta by the 19 January 2020 deadline, you’re probably refreshing all your favorite shopping sites twice a day to see if any new stock in your size has arrived.

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Number 2

Nike LunarEpic Low Flyknit 2

Nike LunarEpic Low Flyknit 2

LunarEpic Low? If you’re wondering, there’s a high-top version, the LunarEpic Flyknit Shield with water-resistant features for all-weather running. The LunarEpic Low is an uptempo trainer with broader appeal. The Lunarlon and Phylon sole is both stable and flexible, while runners praise the LunarEpic Low’s plush cushion and smooth ride.

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Number 1

Nike Air Zoom Structure 21

Nike Air Zoom Structure 21

If you’ve been scanning the list for a support shoe, the wait is over. Recent studies of biomechanics have called into questioned the neutral/support model of footstrike and running gait, and shoe companies are developing new approaches to running shoes categories. But for a lot of runners, support shoes feel right, and Nike’s Structure 21 is going on its third decade of successfully meeting these runners where their feet are. The Structure 21 provides excellent stability and, like the Pegasus, has been updated with the newest technology, including a knit mesh and Flywire upper. Who needs support shoes? The runners who voted the Structure 21 to the top of the list of best women’s Nike running shoes, that’s who.

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