When it comes to running, shoes aren’t everything, but they certainly count for a lot. While running is one of the few activities that doesn’t require tonnes of expensive equipment, it is important to have a comfortable running shoe.
A good pair of running shoes can offer support for your arch, cushion your midsole, help prevent injury, and can help you reach your full athletic potential. You may be thinking “what’s the difference between women’s and men’s running shoes?” The primary difference is the fit - women’s shoes have a narrower heel to reflect the difference in gender foot types.
While there is a range of brands out there to choose from, Nike is one of the most trusted sports brands in the world, and offer a myriad of great running shoes for women, from the sleek and simple “Tanjun” to the bold and colorful “Joyride.” Worn by amateurs and professionals alike, Nike running shoes are a great first shoe for runners who are just starting out or for the seasoned pro, with plenty of styles and price points to choose from.
You may think Nike running shoes are pretty expensive, and they are - in sports stores. That’s why we’ve put together our top 5 Nike running shoes for women that are available online, alongside a handy buyer’s guide so you know what to look out for on your hunt for the perfect running shoe. With our help, you can spend less time browsing and more time breaking in your new shoes!
Top 5 Nike Running Shoes For Women
OUR TOP PICK
Available in a range of colors, the Tanjun is a classic, reliable running shoe that’s perfect for amateur runners. With a mesh upper, these feel featherlight and allow your feet to breathe. A foam midsole and outsole offer lightweight cushioning to support your sole and arches, and the lightly padded collar and tongue provide a secure yet comfortable fit.
These shoes are great for people with a high-arch thanks to the thick, supportive midsole. These are known as being one of the most comfortable pairs of Nike running shoes and are great not only for running but for everyday use - especially if you’re walking long distances or standing on your feet all day.
While the Tanjun features the iconic, bold Nike tick, it also has a sleek, understated design so it's perfect if you prefer the simpler things in life. Plus they easily go with a range of colors and workout outfits - always a bonus!
- Great support for a high arch
- Breathable mesh outer
- Foam midsole/outsole for lightweight cushioning
- Super comfortable
- Wide choice of colors and sizes
- Not great for colder conditions due to mesh fabric- you may need to wear thicker socks in winter.
The Nike Reax 5 is perfect for runners who want to push themselves the extra mile. Featuring a synthetic and mesh upper, these shoes not only look amazing but feel amazing too, thanks to the padded insole for extra comfort.
They also have “heel technology” which helps guide your stride as you run and provides extra cushioning.
This shoe also has a rubber traction outsole for extra grip and durability, so they’ll easily see you through some bad weather if you tend to run in the rain a lot.
With a crisp white and metallic silver outer, complete with a pink-lined tick, the Nike Reax 5 is perfect if you’re looking for something that is not only functional but will turn heads too.
- Padded insole for ultimate comfort
- Heel technology for guided strides
- Rubber traction outsole for durability and grip
- Synthetic and mesh upper for a lightweight feel
- Striking design
- Some runners needed these in a ½ size larger - which is normal for running shoes.
If you’re looking for a shoe that will provide a streamlined fit then the Nike Zoom air may be the running shoe for you. The slim-fitting design reduces bulk, and together with the zoom air unit allows you to create a smooth, responsive stride that will strengthen your running technique.
Exposed Flywire cables in the midfoot promote a snug fit while running at higher speeds, while the foam sole provides soft, responsive cushioning and shock-absorption for ultimate comfort, even on long runs or changing terrains.
Along with the lightweight upper, added perforations enhance breathability in the forefoot and arch making these great for running in warm weather.
- Streamlined, slim fit for a lightweight feel
- Zoom air unit for responsive running technique
- Flywire cables for a better fit
- Responsive cushioning for shock absorption
- This style tends to relax slightly around the heel with wear
Nike Flex 8 is the ultimate, lightweight running shoe. The soft knitted material clings to the foot, while flex grooves in the outsole encourage an adaptive running technique and promote flexibility.
One great aspect of this shoe is the no-sew overlay at the laces and toe tip which adds durability, so no matter how often you’re using these they should last for the long run.
The rounded heel of this shoe promotes a natural range of motion, while the Injected Unit (IU) midsole provides a resilient ride and is strong enough to double as an outsole, meaning a reduction in rubber and overall weight, and ultimately, a more lightweight, comfortable fit.
Thanks to a thick rubber sole, these shoes have excellent support and durability, and will make you feel like you’re running on air!
- Flex grooves for added flexibility
- No-sew overlay for extra durability
- Rounded heel
- Injected Unit sole reduces the weight of the shoe
- Strong sole support
- These don’t have great traction, so perhaps not the best for uneven surfaces
The Downshifter is great if you like to break into a sprint on your runs, thanks to the structured support of the closed mesh midfoot and heel, and the textured outsole that provides added traction and durability, even on uneven surfaces.
Open mesh at the forefoot of the shoe allows for breathability, keeping you comfortable throughout your run.
The articulated, full-length Phylon midsole provides resilient and flexible cushioning without weighing down the shoe, while the no-sew midfoot allows flexibility and movement without compromising on rigidity for speed.
The flex grooves on the Downshifter provide traction on rougher surfaces, while the soft, smooth midsole cushions your every stride.
- Closed mesh midfoot and heel for support
- Open mesh forefoot for breathability
- Resilient and flexible cushioning
- No-sew midfoot
- Flex grooves for traction
- Smaller fit
Best Nike Running Shoes For Women Buyers Guide
Shape, size and fit
One of the most essential things for a running shoe is to ensure you have good arch and heel support, and to achieve this you need to go for a shoe that suits your foot type or shape.
If the middle part of your arch is about half-filled, you probably have a normal or medium arch. If you have this arch type, go for a running shoe that has firm midsoles and a straight to semi-curved sole.
If you have little or no space under your foot, then you have a flat arch. You may find that your foot rolls in when you walk or run, which may cause muscle or joint injuries. Look for a shoe with a straighter sole and plenty of supportive motion to help stabilize your feet.
You probably have a high arch if you see little of your footprint, as less of your foot touches the ground. Like a low arch, people with this foot shape can also experience excessive strain on their muscles and joints, and their feet do not absorb shock very well. It’s therefore essential that your running shoe has plenty of cushioning or a curved midsole to compensate for this.
You should also take into account the shoe width. Women’s running shoes are designed to reflect the gender foot type, and usually have a wider forefoot and narrow heel.
It’s worth also considering the specific size characteristics of Nike running trainers. For example, a lot of people find Nike shoes to be a smaller fit, so you may need to go for a size up if you’re usually between sizes or need a wider fit.
If you have a narrower foot, it’s worth thinking about the grip around the heel and the fabric of the shoe, to ensure you get a closer fit. In this case, laces are usually a better option than velcro or slip-ons as you can tighten the shoe accordingly.
Shoe anatomy 101
Running shoe specifications can contain all kinds of jargon, so to make things easier for you, we’ve broken down the basics:
Heel: The heel collar and counter keep your foot in place and prevent it from slipping out of the shoe as your run.
Upper: This is the top of the shoe, including the tongue, heel counter, heel collar, and sock liner. It’s usually made from a breathable mesh fabric.
Midsole: Sits above the outsole, and is the most widely-researched. The level of cushioning here determines stability, shock absorption, and comfort.
Bottom and tread: this is where the outsole hits the road. It’s usually made of rubber and provides traction and grip depending on the level of the treads.
Tongue: The barrier between your foot and the laces.
Last: this is the foot-shaped shape of the shoe that forms the blank canvas for all of the above features.
What type of running you’ll be doing determines the type of shoe you’ll need. For long distances, you’ll want something that’s got plenty of cushioning for comfort, while if you’re prioritizing speed, then something lightweight will be your best bet, probably with an EVA sole and breathable mesh.
For trail running, you’ll need a different type of shoe all together - something that is waterproof with a lugged rubber sole for grip and durability.
A good running shoe always needs a strong midsole and outsole. There are several things to consider when looking at the sole of a running shoe. You need to make sure that you get the right sole type for your foot shape, which we touched upon above. However, it’s also important to consider the material of the sole.
Rubber soles often have better traction and have the advantage of being the most durable and waterproof, while you may also come across the synthetic ethylene vinyl acetate, better known as EVA. Eva is popular for being rubber-like while also having the ability to be manufactured into materials that boost flexibility and range of movement.
While Eva is lightweight and can be great for prioritizing speed, if you’re running longer distances and veer off onto uneven terrain, then rubber is your best bet.
You’ll find that most running shoes are made of knit polyester or Nylon mesh, to allow your feet to breathe while you’re moving. These materials are also usually good for molding to the foot and following the curves of the last.
Running shoe uppers often have PU leather or synthetic leather reinforcements, which provide the shoe with more flex and stretch. Don’t forget, mesh running shoes are incredibly lightweight and can feel like you’re running on a cloud, however, they won’t be the most waterproof or durable.
If you’re going to be trail running or running on uneven terrain, look for something that is specially designed for these purposes.
If you under-pronate (your feet roll outward too much as opposed to inward) then you’ll need a running shoe with extra cushioning to absorb shock that would otherwise impact your joints and eventually your spine.
On the other hand, if your feet tend to over-pronate (roll inward), then motion control running shoes are more rigid and will help limit the movement of your feet while you run, as well as correct your gait style and provide shock absorption.
The level of traction you require in a running shoe largely depends on the type of terrain you’ll be running on. If you’ll be running in the city or neighborhood, then a standard running shoe should do the job.
However, if you’ll be running in harsh weather conditions or on uneven terrain, you’ll need something with a deeper tread to provide extra grip. You’ll also want to look out for features such as Gore-Tex liners, midfoot wraps, and lugged rubber outsoles for added protection and durability.
Running shoes aren’t built to last forever, sadly. However, you can judge how much to spend or what type of shoe to go for based on how frequently you’ll be using them.
It’s recommended that high-quality running shoes should be replaced every four to six months for somebody who runs 20 miles per week, though this number is lower if you’re sprinting or racing, as running shoes designed for these purposes are built to be lighter and faster.
Frequently asked questions
What is the most comfortable Nike running shoe?
This depends on your foot shape, as the first step for a comfortable running shoe is getting the right fit and arch support for your foot shape. However, we love the Nike Tanjun for its thick cushioned sole and lightweight mesh outer.
How do I know when I need new running shoes?
The best indicator of whether it’s time to replace your running shoes is to turn them over and look at the treads. If they’re worn out, it’s time to replace them, even if other parts of the shoe remain intact.
Worn down soles won’t provide the traction and support you need for running on any surface and could even be dangerous and result in injury.
Who makes the best running shoe?
While you shouldn’t go for a brand of running shoes simply for the logo or design, the brand is important as it can be an indicator of the quality. While there are several renowned brands for running shoes, Nike is certainly up there with the most widely-used and respected.
Don’t forget that a certain brand of shoes may fit one person better than another depending on your foot type, but Nike has a huge range of running shoes to choose from, and also offer the advantage of being pretty affordable.
How much should I spend?
The quality of running shoes tends to increase with price, however, that’s not to say you can’t find a good pair of shoes for less.
You should also take into account how often you run, as if you run long distances frequently, then you’re going to want something that’s more durable and comfortable, and that’s likely to cost you a little extra.
While running shoes can vary in price from anything between $30 to $200, anything around the $60-$100 mark should get you a good quality pair without breaking the bank.