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The 5 Best Exercise Shoes for Women

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Different athletic shoes are designed differently. For example, a weight-lifting show has a thin sole, but a running shoe likely has a sole with bounce and cushioning.

Today, I’m focusing on shoes that can serve you well regardless of what you’re training for. 

From Tosca

Your best workouts start with the right shoes.

I’m a shoe enthusiast. From Louboutins to Blundstone, I have a favorite pair of shoes for every occasion, and workout shoes are no exception.

Investing in the right shoes can help improve your technique, alleviate joint strain, and reduce the risk of injuries.

I hope some of the shoes on this list will grab you the way they grabbed me.

Nike Women's Revolution 5 Running Shoe

Nike Women’s Revolution 5 Running Shoe



  • Lightweight
  • Breathable knit uppers
  • Foam in midsole for extra cushioning


  • Some users need more arch support

The Nike brand is named after the Roman goddess of victory, which makes sense because these shoes are a total win. The comfortable, lightweight shoes are designed for running on paved surfaces and make an excellent choice for your first pair of runners.

Joomra Women's Minimalist Trail Running Barefoot Shoes

Joomra Trail Running Barefoot Shoes



  • Removable insoles for additional support
  • Wide toe box
  • Velcro strap for better fit


  • Wear out quickly with regular wear

From pavement to packed dirt, the Joomra barefoot shoes are made for more natural landscapes like mountain trails and wooded footpaths. They’re designed with a spacious box so your feet can spread out like they do when you’re barefoot.

adidas Women's Cloudfoam Pure 2.0 Running Shoe

adidas Women’s Cloudfoam Pure 2.0 Running Shoes



  • Breathable lining
  • Cloudfoam memory sockliner molds to the foot
  • Snug fit without pinching


  • Take a while to put on

When adidas named these “Cloudfoam Pure,” they weren’t kidding around—consumers say they feel like walking on pure clouds. This shoe is made for trips to the gym and light-intensity outdoor activities.

ASICS Women's Gel-Contend 7 Running Shoes

ASICS Women’s Gel-Contend 7 Running Shoes



  • Gel cushioning for shock absorption
  • Ortholite Sockliner helps manage moisture
  • Mesh upper allows airflow


  • Wears out quickly with daily wear

The ASIC Gel-Contend 7s are made to get you moving. Their grip gives you plenty of friction while the gel technology cushions the impact on your joints. This shoe gets you impressive value and countless effective sweat sessions.

Brooks Women's Ghost 14 Neutral Running Shoe

Brooks Women’s Ghost 14 Neutral Running Shoe

$90 – $152


  • PDAC A5500-Certified Diabetic shoe
  • 2 types of cushioning inside sole
  • Added security with attachment points at front & back


  •  May be slightly narrower than previous Brooks models

The Brooks Ghost 14 has more credentials than your average shoe—it’s a certified PDAC A5500 diabetic shoe and has the American Podiatric Medical Association’s seal of acceptance. Still, anyone can appreciate the support and durability of this shoe.

Buyer’s Guide

What to Look for when Buying Exercise Shoes

There are a million good shoe options—you need the right shoe for your unique needs. The following elements can help you select the right shoe.

Your Workout Type & Setting

The type of workout you’re doing matters. Gym floors are smooth and generally somewhat padded. If you’re lifting weights, you’ll want a thinner sole to feel more secure and connected with the ground. A thicker, more cushioned sole will help prevent shin splints if you’re running on pavement.

Your Support Needs

Ideally, you’ll have more cushioning wherever your foot strikes the ground first. Pay attention to your gait when running. If your heel touches down first, look for shoes with more padding in the heel. If your forefoot hits first, look for additional padding in that part of the shoe.
You should also consider your arches. If you have high arches, you should look for shoes with significant arch support.

Width & Length

Your feet will most likely swell during your workout, especially if you’re running. Make sure you’ve got a little bit of room in your shoes. There should be about 1 thumb-width of space between your longest toe and the front edge of your shoe.