The very best trainers for girls
We certainly don't have too few options for a good women's running shoe: there is so much choice that it is difficult to find the perfect pair.
If you are a running newbie we strongly encourage you to take a look at our shoe guide to learn more about the key terms and technologies to look out for. Once you've figured out whether you're looking for a neutral shoe or a support shoe and you've considered the terrain you're on, check out our picks of the best running shoes for women, tested and tested by our team of runners …
HOKA ONE ONE rocket X. | £ 140 each
This is a belt of a shoe. The Rocket X has a nice dose of carbon fiber and was sold as a racing driver. But in reality they are much more than that: They are beautifully comfortable, they support and there is this important space in the toebox. The padding looks huge (that's a HOKA, after all), but it's actually pretty firm. They come into their own on a run: ridiculously light – only 210 g – and incredibly responsive; they ping you. HOKA suggests these are geared towards elite athletes: I'm not a racer now and you shouldn't let this put you off if you aren't either. This is an all runner shoe no matter what it says on the box. And for £ 140 you can get an excellent shoe that can easily sit in the £ 200+ bracket with no one pounding an eyelid. Total madness.
BROOKS Adrenalin GTS 21 | £ 120 each
Impressive. I'm new to Brooks. To be honest, I'm new to most coaches as my love affair with running is still at this sticky-eyed stage. These shoes are designed for runners who want additional support – with special attention to our valuable knees – and offer real comfort without compromising the crucial stability factor. I felt like I was running (um, running) on air from the moment I put them on, and while I have a fairly neutral walkway, Brooks Adrenaline GuideRails' holistic support system will keep any excessive movement at bay hold. I have the white pair (with the black border) which might not be the most practical color for this time of year, but other than that they are a hit. Brooks products come with the Run Happy Promise, which means you have 90 days to return them without further questions.
UNDER ARMOR HOVR Phantom 2 RUNANYWR | £ 120 each
Oh my! These shoes are the best I've seen for comfort and energy return. UA HOVR technology was designed to give the feeling of weightlessness and I certainly felt like I was walking on air. When I'm tired, my kicking foot feels like a chore at times, but this shoe eliminates that and converts the energy downwards slightly upwards, reducing the impact on the feet. This comfort is enhanced by the sock-like fit around the upper material, so that once you put the shoe on, you won't know you're wearing it. In addition, the SpeedForm 2.0 is highly breathable, so there are no smelly feet! I liked the inner padding on my high arches, and as a mild overpronator on one foot, I found these shoes offered the right amount of structured support and cushioning. You get all of this even with a light weight of 261 g. In terms of style, these shoes may not be for every runner as they look pretty bling and white is quite a statement look. Having just had a major birthday, I rocked her with the attitude of a hipster. Just avoid the muddy trails!
NEW BALANCE prism | £ 110
Be prepared for plenty of compliments when wearing this delightfully bright pair of running shoes. The color is very noticeable and ideal for poor lighting conditions. Aesthetics aside, this shoe is as responsive as it is attractive (and can be bought in black if you're less noticeable). This is a super light pair of shoes, but with the stability of a much more stable model. From the moment I put them on, I found that they were incredibly responsive to the road and offered a lot of flexibility – and support – whether I was on a slow or a pace-speed session. There is enough space in the toebox for easy distribution and, thanks to the molded foam padding, excellent support for the ankle. The upper is airy and supple, but has just enough structure to create the perfect balance. A good price too.
BROOKS Bedlam 3 | £ 145
The Bedlam 3 has a sleek, streamlined look and a snug fit that made me feel supported without being too pushed into the shoe. The breathable upper has been updated to give the ultimate softness and it feels smooth when put on and taken off. It's been rephrased to be 20 percent lighter and weighs only 9.5 ounces, so every stride feels bouncy and cushioned. To protect the knees and not just the feet, a new holistic technology, the guide rail system, has been integrated. I also really appreciated the feel and security of the wraparound integrated collar. It feels like an extra layer of support on top of your regular sock, but it's worth trying before buying as this, combined with the tight fit, can mean you need to step up from your normal size. You get a lot of money with the bedlam, but there's no denying that there is a lot of money at all.
ALTRA Olympus 4 | £ 149.99
The Altra Olympus has a new look compared to its predecessors, but if you're already an Altra fan you can find everything you love about them here: that one-of-a-kind toebox and Zero Drop that Altra is famous for. The shoe has great support and cushioning and an improved toe box that helps the foot spread out. The grid-like grooves on the sole give your feet flexibility and feel stable even on the roughest stretches. They offered brilliant grip on all types of terrain, on wet and dry surfaces. The construction is light and breathable and has a clever perforation that gives you comfort all year round. They're bulkier to look at than some of their competitors, but packed with technology and features, while the overall feel is light and responsive. I tested them in Moroccan blue, which has a magenta and purple sole, and they look as good as they feel.
SKECHERS GoRun Forza 4 | £ 129
Skechers are serious business in the world of running shoes. The Forza 4 is a stable running shoe that is blessed with a combination of Hyper Burst and Ultra Flight Foam in the midsole and a nice grippy Goodyear outsole. This midsole offers good bounce, but is very light – that's 243 g: not the lightest, but certainly the lighter side, especially when it comes to support shoes, which are rather high there. In practice, my foot and ankle felt supported and stable while the cushioning responded. While stability is great, the Forza can feel pretty stiff for the first mile or so, but the best part about it is that they really feel very responsive. The downside for me would be the design which I know is a matter of personal taste so it's up to you to decide!
NEW BALANCE Propel v2 | £ 100 each
A very nice looking shoe for the winter and value for money at only £ 100. I would recommend the Propel as an entry level shoe that is high tech but doesn't make you feel like you've been robbed. The FuelCell cushioning along the entire length of the midsole is a great technology for a guaranteed return of energy. These shoes feel like they are helping you every step of the way. The color is brilliant for road running in winter with a reflectivity of 360 degrees. It seems that NB invested in getting this feature right. The top fit is snug and supportive but also breathable, soft and flexible, making them great for comfort. They don't feel as amazing as some New Balance FuelCell models, but that doesn't detract from what they offer a new runner: they're light, sleek, and perfectly designed for winter.