Top 6 Women's Running Shoes

Avia Avi-Mantis (Inga Hendrickson)
Avia Avi-Mantis

Avia Avi-Mantis

Somehow, the Avi-Mantis’s balance of a soft, moderately thick heel and a thin, firm forefoot appealed to every one of our testers: it’s responsive enough for midfoot strikers and accommodating enough for heel strikers. One of the best shoes we’ve ever seen from budget-friendly Avia. 6.9 oz; 9 mm drop

ASICS Gel-Kayano 19

ASICS Gel-Kayano
ASICS Gel-Kayano (Inga Hendrickson)

Each year, ASICS tweaks the fit and feel of its flagship, award-winning high-mileage trainer. The 2013 version is a bit lighter and smoother, but it still delivers a pillowy ride that makes it the most comfortable shoe here for marathon-training heel strikers. Performs best on long, steady runs. 8.9 oz; 13 mm drop

Nike FlyKnit Lunar 1+

Nike FlyKnit Lunar 1+
Nike FlyKnit Lunar 1+ (Inga Hendrickson)

As the name suggests, the upper of this lean, low-to-the-ground trainer is made out of a knit (read: seamless) and stretchy material, providing a close-fitting, socklike feel. Some testers loved the fit and overall breathability; others found it too loose and craved more support. 5.7 oz; 10 mm drop

Salomon Sense Mantra

Salomon Sense Mantra
Salomon Sense Mantra (Inga Hendrickson)

The narrow fit and snug upper made the Sense Mantra stand out on trickier terrain. “These feel like dancing shoes,” said one tester. Firm and a bit more heel oriented than the six-millimeter drop suggests, the Mantra was a big hit with moderate heel strikers. 8 oz; 6 mm drop

TrekSta Sync

TrekSta Sync
TrekSta Sync (Inga Hendrickson)

Thanks in part to an ergonomically shaped toe box, the Sync was one of the nicest-fitting shoes we tested; it’s also fast and fun, with a smooth enough gait for those who log just as many miles on-road as off. 10 oz; 4 mm drop

Vasque Pendulum

Vasque Pendulum
Vasque Pendulum (Inga Hendrickson)

Vasque took a pliable, unpadded upper and mated it to a fat, off-terrain midsole with big, toothy lugs and a protective rock plate underfoot. Which is why one tester called it a “stripped-down dune buggy with monster tires.” Be sure to check the fit: some testers found the heel too wide. 8.8 oz; 6 mm drop

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