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The Best Women's Running Shoes of 2017

The best women's running shoes of 2017. (Photo: Inga Hendrickson)
women's

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Here are our favorites for road and trail.

Pearl Izumi
(Photo: Pearl Izumi)

Pearl Izumi EM Trail N2 v3

The Trail N2 is the strong, silent type. It isn’t flashy and aims right down the middle between comfort cruiser and technical speedster—which is exactly why it’s a perennial tester favorite. This year’s iteration has a new seamless upper and retains the smooth, rockered roll on packed trails, good quick turnover, moderate cushioning, with a precise, responsive, and protective feel. 9.4 oz; 4 mm drop

Price $130

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Inov8
(Photo: Inov8)

Inov8 X-Claw 275

For those who like to move quickly and feel every nuance of the ground, the toothy, slipperlike X-Claw is a lightweight, minimalist flier. We enjoyed it the most in soft and rolling terrain, where the seven-millimeter lugs alternately cushion against hardpack and bite into loamy turf. The drawbacks? “Slipperlike” can mean slippery fit, sapping confidence on hopscotch rubble and steep downhills. 9.7 oz; 8 mm drop

Price $120

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Montrail
(Photo: Montrail)

Montrail Trans Alps FKT  

All day in the mountains? No sweat. The Trans Alps FKT is a powerfully protective, deeply lugged, and muscular mountain shoe that still moves impressively well over shark-tooth rocks. The thick, soft heel and snug lacing system were secure on steep descents but did feel a wee bit chunky on extended flat sections. Overall, it delivers a heavy dose of protection without overdoing it. 11.1 oz; 8 mm drop 

Price $130

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Asics
(Photo: Asics)

ASICS Gel Kayano 23

Think of it as a traditional trainer on a diet. The narrow-fitting Kayano delivered a plush ride favored by slower, comfort-minded, and higher-mileage heel strikers. It’s a structured, stable shoe that’s been slimmed down considerably. “Blissfully soft,” one tester commented. Mod­erate overpronators will appreciate the Kayano’s prominent cant to the midsole, which works like a medial post. 9.2 oz; 13 mm drop

Price $160

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Nike
(Photo: Nike)

Nike Lunarglide 8 

When the going got long, the Lunarglide was the shoe we reached for. Beefy and bloated in the midsole, it offers a soft, maximalist ride. Thanks to a subtle medial post, it still felt structured enough for our longest runs. Like its cousin, the LunarEpic Flyknit (page 106), it lacks an outsole and so proved slippery on snow and slush, and mini pebbles got picked up in the traction grooves. 7.8 oz; 10 mm drop

Price $120

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New Balance
(Photo: New Balance)

New Balance Vazee Pace V2

The Vazee Pace V2 was the most energetic and lively lightweight trainer in our test. It’s a fun, tempo-ready, neutral shoe that finds a sweet spot between fast-paced racer and daily workhorse, with a little extra rubber in the outsole for durability. There’s enough support for moderate-length runs, but only iron feet will go much farther than a half-marathon or so. 7.9 oz; 6 mm drop 

Price $110

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