Whether you’re just starting to get serious about your fitness, or you’re a workout veteran—you should never underestimate the importance of a high-quality pair of workout shoes! In fact, your workout shoes are arguably the most important piece of equipment you need, so you’ll want to get it right.
To help ease the daunting task of finding workout shoes, we put together a list of the 6 best workout shoes for women. This list is based on our firsthand knowledge of quality footwear based on our professional experience in fitness, by analyzing countless reviews, and through a lot of trial and error with a number of different shoes.
We took into account the various workouts that you may perform, including; running, weightlifting, HIIT, Pilates, Kickboxing, and more. The one thing that all 6 of the shoes we chose have in common is that they are high-quality shoes that are built to last and keep your feet supported throughout even the most intense workouts.
Nike Women's Flex Trainer
|NOBULL Women's Trainer|
|Nike Metcon Trainer|
|Reebok Women’s Nano 9|
|Sketchers Women’s Flex Appeal|
|New Balance FuelCore Nergize|
What Are the Best Workout Shoes For Women?
The best workout shoes for women will depend on each individual woman, her specific workout style, and her personal preferences.
For example, a woman who plans on adding running into her workouts will want a pair of shoes that have ample cushioning and support to absorb repetitive shock. Someone who spends her workouts in the gym lifting will need a pair of workout shoes that provide a solid base of support and exceptional grip like a cross-training shoe (check out our list of the best women’s weightlifting shoes, too).
Wearing the wrong type of shoe for your workout is never a good idea. In fact, it’s unproductive and potentially dangerous. Your feet are your basis of support, so it’s vital that you have the appropriate footwear to support your feet and body during specific activities. The right workout shoes can help you to maintain your form, ensure your feet feel good throughout the workout, and prevent injuries.
Without further ado, here are our top 6 choices for the best workout shoes for women:
First up, the Nike Women’s Flex Trainer 7. These shoes are not only great-looking with their minimalistic style, but they’re also super lightweight, breathable, and have plenty of flex. These are an excellent choice for a variety of workouts, including weight training, walking, and elliptical use.
The flexible sole can adapt to almost any indoor workout thanks to the combined outsole and midsole and their laser-cut multi-directional flex grooves. Additionally, the upper portion of the shoe features Nike’s signature FlyWire Technology that gives the shoe the extra “lock-down” you need to power through your cross-training workouts.
If you’re looking for an all-around versatile shoe that doesn’t feel flashy, over-the-top, or expensive—then these are a great choice. You’ll be impressed by both their comfort as well as their sleek, go-with-anything style.
- Lightweight sole
- Extra breathable mesh for maximum breathability
- Flex grooves on the outsole provide great flexibility
- Tons of color options to choose from
- Budget-friendly price
- Some customers complained that the shoes run a tad large (this can be resolved by ordering a half size down)
- One more set of eyelets would add additional stability
Besides the awesome brand name, the NOBULL trainer is a highly functional cross-training shoe with a ton of support for a variety of workouts. NOBULL’s signature SuperFabric upper and seamless, one-piece overlay makes these shoes highly efficient while maintaining a minimalist look that’s all their own.
The most important benefit of the SuperFabric material that the shoe is crafted from is that it’s strong enough to withstand the stress of even the toughest workout sessions. These shoes are durable enough for both inside and outside the gym, making it a versatile choice for those who like to mix their routine up.
Although these are designed for multipurpose use, these shoes are most efficient for weightlifting workouts. The sturdy sole offers superior support, traction, and flexibility which allows you to have a good grip when you’re performing exercises that place a strain on the sole.
- Superior durability—NOBULL claims they can stand up to glass shards and barbed wire
- Great for indoor and outdoor workouts
- Stellar traction, even when walking across slippery surfaces
- Waterproof fabric
- Unique styling that’s both minimalistic and functional
- The seamless design causes some women’s feet to slide in the shoes
- Depending on your foot type, you may need additional arch support in the form of orthotics
Next up, the Nike Metcon Trainer. These shoes are specifically designed for weight training and cross-training with their low platforms and extra supportive features. The Metcon 5 is the latest release and it continues Nike’s tradition of stable yet flexible workout shoes for women. The Metcon is also our number one recommended shoe in our Best Women’s Weightlifting Shoes list.
The outsole of these shoes provides an awesome grip on slippery or uneven surfaces and during activities like rope climbing. The upper portion of the shoe is made of a breathable mesh layer that helps to keep your feet cool and provides the flexibility you need to perform sets comfortably.
Overall, this is a great choice for women at all stages of training, from serious weightlifters to women just dipping their toe into the strength training and cross-training game.
- Versatile—these can easily go from inside the gym to out on the street comfortably
- Lightweight and breathable
- A low-drop platform for improved posture
- Superior stability while still maintaining comfort
- Mid-range pricing makes it budget-friendly
- Maybe too narrow for women with a wider set foot
- Some women complained of heel slippage during their workouts
The Reebok Women’s Nano 9 Cross Trainer is the latest version of their famed Nano CrossFit training shoe. This super-versatile shoe is perfect for just about every WOD (workout of the day) from weightlifting, jumping, rope climbing, short runs, squats, and everything in between.
This latest installment of the Nano by Reebok features improved comfort and versatility, including an upgrade to Reebok’s signature FlexWeave material which provides lightweight support, durability, and breathability.
This innovative material features a figure-8 weave that provides a controlled fit for the right durability and flexibility where you need it the most. This design helps solve the common problem of training shoes either being too flexible or too rigid—Reebok manages to strike the perfect balance here with these shoes.
There’s a minimal heel to toe drop, which helps make it possible to do other activities in these shoes besides lifting weights. Many workouts feature a mixture of weight training and cardio, and these shoes provide comfort and support during both types of activities.
- Versatility—these shoes are approved for everything from heavy weightlifting and running to everyday footwear
- Minimal heel to toe drop
- Wide toe box
- Simple design and multiple color options
- Slightly pricier than other women’s cross trainers
- Some women experience forefoot bunching
Sketchers have come a long way; remember those funky, chunky shoes that took the world by storm in the early 2000s? While Sketchers certainly had a unique look and design, today they offer workout shoes for women that are more simplistic and athletic in nature.
The Sketchers Women’s Flex Appeal 2.0 Sneaker is one of their most popular pair of shoes ever.
Sketchers are well known for their comfort and durability, and this pair is no exception. They come in a ton of color options, too.
These are a great option for lower-intensity workouts. They’re not recommended for heavyweight training or long-distance runs; however, they work well for just about every other type of workout in between.
They’re priced so affordably that it’s easy to see why women scoop a pair of these up to have on hand for everything from running errands to hitting a workout class at the gym.
- Extremely comfortable memory foam insoles
- Lightweight for swift movement
- Highly supportive
- Soft yet durable fabric
- Very affordable
- The sole isn’t super durable—prolonged use may wear it down
- They run a tad on the smaller size, it’s advisable to size up a half to a full size for maximum comfort
Last, but certainly not least, we chose New Balance Women’s FuelCore Nergize Cross Trainers. These lightweight and breathable workout shoes are easy to take from the gym to brunch with girlfriends thanks to their efficient, durable design and sleek, modern look.
Workout enthusiasts, from beginners to advanced, will find a ton of value in these shoes. You can easily take these shoes from the dumbbells over to the cardio equipment and still find the comfort and support you need.
The Nergize Cross Trainers come in a ton of different color options, making it easy to pair them with all your favorite athletic wear.
- Lightweight and comfortable for all-day wear
- You have the choice between regular and wide options
- Low cut, modern design that’s on-trend
- Cushioned sole with enough stability to handle heavy lifts
- Minimal support which can be off-putting for people who need it
- Sole tends to wear down quickly with extended use
How to Select the Best Women’s Workout Shoe For You
When it comes to selecting the best women’s workout shoe for you, there are several factors to take into consideration.
Before you get overwhelmed, we’ll quickly break it all down for you so that you can make the most informed decision and purchase the perfect pair of shoes to help give you the edge in your next workout.
Finding Your Best Fit
It all starts with finding your best fit. You could have the most amazing workout shoes in the world, but, if they don’t fit your foot well, it’s all for naught. This is because you’ll be uncomfortable, and they won’t be able to provide the stability and support you need.
You know that old thought process that you need to “break your shoes in?” This actually isn’t great advice for your workout shoes. When it comes to workout shoes, they should feel comfortable on your foot right away.
As a general rule of thumb, you should leave about 3/8-1/2 inch between the front of your big toe to the end of your workout shoes.
The heel should fit close, leaving no room for slipping when you walk. Lastly, the upper part of the shoe should fit snug to the top of your foot, but not overly tight. You should be able to wiggle all your toes when your shoe in on your foot.
Type of Workout
The type of workout you’re planning to do plays a big role in the type of workout shoes you purchase. For example, if you’re planning to run on the treadmill, you’ll definitely want to get a pair of shoes that has ample cushioning and support to absorb the shock created by repetitive motions.
For weightlifting only, a high-quality weightlifting shoe with an inclined heel will force your spine and posture into the ideal position for well-executed lifts.
If you plan to perform other activities in addition to weightlifting in your shoes, then you’ll want to get yourself a pair of cross-trainers that allow you the versatility to perform multiple different exercises in one pair of shoes.
Cushioning and Comfort
The level of cushioning and comfort you need in a pair of workout shoes will depend on the type of workouts you perform and what feels good on your feet. If you’re a runner or doing activities that apply repetitive pressure and strain on your feet and joints like a HIIT workout, shoes with additional cushioning and comfort are recommended.
You’ll also want to take into consideration whether or not you’re planning to wear your shoes outside of your workout. Many people wear their workout shoes out and about– walking, working, and running errands. In this case, a shoe with additional cushioning and comfort features will allow you to comfortably wear your shoes for the whole day.
Heel height is important when it comes to weightlifting exercises like squats. When squatting heavy, a higher heel is recommended so that you can maintain the right posture without allowing your foot to shift during the lift.
For exercises like a deadlift, little to no heel height is recommended. When your deadlifting, you want to be as close to the ground as possible in order to be able to use as much force as possible to get the weight off the ground.
No matter what type of exercise you’re performing, you want some degree of gripping so that you can maintain stability. Whether you’re running, weightlifting, or boxing, you don’t want to be slipping and sliding around.
If you’re planning to run outside on rocky or rough terrain, a pair of workout shoes that have an aggressive grip is recommended so that you can maintain your footing. For weightlifting routines, the grip is important so that your feet stay planted while you lift.
The 3 Types of Feet — Which is Your Foot Type?
We’d be amiss not to mention foot type while discussing the best workout shoes for women. It’s important that you know the type of feet you have so that you can purchase a pair of shoes that’s complimentary to them. There are three main types of feet; supinators, pronators, and neutral—Let’s take a look at each type below so that you can get a better feel for which type you have before you make a purchase decision.
This type of feet is characterized by high arches. People with this type of feet will step and roll in an outward motion. The best workout shoes for supinators are ones with extra cushion to absorb shock and midsoles with a lot of flex.
Pronators have either very low arches or flat feet that roll inward as they walk. The best shoes for pronators are ones that have additional stability features that keep the integrity of the shoe. If you have this type of feet, you’ll want to find shoes made with a dense material that doesn’t bend or flex much when you’re wearing them.
Those with neutral feet generally fall somewhere in the middle of supinators and pronators, where their weight is distributed evenly over their foot. If you have neutral feet, you’ll want to find a shoe that has a nice balance between cushion and stability.
Frequently Asked Questions About the Best Workout Shoes for Women
Below are some frequently asked questions about women’s workout shoes and how to determine which shoe to choose for a workout and how to care for your shoes.
What are the best shoes for women for gym workouts?
The best shoes for gym workouts are ones that have the versatility to take you from free weights to cardio, to a dance class. Cross trainers are the most versatile gym shoes out there and these are a great option for all levels and abilities.
What are the best women’s workout shoes for high impact cardio?
For high impact cardio workouts, like HIIT, you need a shoe that provides both stability and cushioning to soften and absorb some of the blows and pressure. These are an excellent option for high impact cardio days. They provide lightweight support, breathability, and grip so that you can give it your all with confidence.
How can I lengthen the life of my shoe?
Investing in a pair of quality workout shoes is important, and there are a few things you can do to lengthen the life of your shoes so that you get the most out of them.
First, be sure to always undo the laces before putting them on as opposed to stretching them out to fit over your foot every time. Maintaining regular cleaning will help extend their life, too. The safest, gentlest way to clean your workout shoes is to use a dry brush to remove any dirt or grime and then use a mild cleanser or warm, soapy water to gently wipe the residue off.
When should I replace my workout shoes?
According to the National Strength and Conditioning Association, the average running shoe loses about 50 percent of its compression capability in about 300-500 miles.
For runners, it’s recommended that you replace your workout shoes every 300-500 miles or every 6 months, whichever one comes first. For those who stick to the gym and perform training workouts, it’s best to judge by the feel and look of your shoes.
Turn your shoes around and inspect the bottom, if they show signs of wear and tear—it’s time to ditch them and get a new pair to maintain your safety and your shoe’s efficiency.
Benefits of Wearing Workout Shoes for Women
It’s all about the fit, right ladies? And we all know that men and women are shaped differently, so why would we wear a shoe that wasn’t specifically designed for a woman’s foot?
Men and women’s feet are different in both size as well as the ratio of foot size to height. Additionally, men and women typically have different walking gaits.
A quality workout shoe manufacturer recognizes these inherent differences and designs their shoes differently for men and women. And when you’re looking for the perfect pair of workout shoes, it’s important that you find a pair that was designed with the anatomy of the female foot in mind.
Wrapping up the Best Women’s Workout Shoes
Whether you only workout occasionally or you’re a gym rat, you need a pair of workout shoes for women that’s designed to handle your workout style. You also need a shoe that fits your unique foot well so that you can perform your best and prevent injuries.
This list of the best workout shoes for women was hand-selected by our team and there’s something for everyone here. Once you understand the science behind the type of activity you’re performing and the kind of shoe required to properly execute, it then comes down to personal preference.
The Nike Metcon Trainer is a great all-around shoe for almost every workout, you really can’t go wrong with these. If you’re looking for a trainer that’s comfortable for both light workout activity and all-day wear, the Sketchers Flex Appeal is a great option. And if you’re looking for a shoe to power you through your next CrossFit workout, the Reebok Nano 9 Cross Trainer is a solid choice that won’t disappoint.