13 Super-Flexible Running Shoes for Women
Upgrade your kicks
No need to settle for running sneaks that are just "meh." Replacing old pairs can protect your feet and pump up your performance. "There is increasing attention to how a shoe flexes, making sure it bends and aligns with the foot joints as they move through the running gait," says Johanna Bjorken, merchandise director for JackRabbit Sports in New York City. "This makes shoes feel lighter and more comfortable." Also, since your feet aren't "fighting" the sneakers, it cuts down on strain. Try out these top pliable picks for the town, trail and track.
A great starter shoe, the Ryka Illusion ($20-63; amazon.com) offers pillow-like cushioning for newbies who are ramping up their run. They're also water- and stain-resistant—for a nice price.
Going off-road just got a whole lot easier: A lower profile places the lithe Saucony Kinvara TR2 ($90-115; saucony.com) closer to the ground, while its nubby outsole grips the earth for better navigation and traction on tricky trail terrain.
The upper on the Under Armour Spine Vice ($90; ua.com) is more than just cool-looking—it provides supreme support from mile to mile. And all that mesh gives it a light and airy feel.
The Reebok One Cushion ($110; reebok.com) uses a mix of three different foams in the midsole, providing neutral runners (whose feet typically roll in a straight line) with a softer landing and faster toe-off during everyday miles.
The Brooks Pure Drift ($100; brooksrunning.com) gives you a barefoot feel—minus the filthy feet you'd get from going sans shoes. Its wider toebox allows toes to splay naturally for better shock absorption; asymmetrical lacing helps reduce irritation along the top of the foot.
While many trail shoes feel as if they are filled with rocks, The North Face Single-Track Hayasa II ($110; thenorthface.com) delivers a fleet-footed effect. Also handy: 3M reflective tape ensures you're seen.
Buh-bye, bruises: The Merrell Ascend Glove ($84-132; amazon.com) has protective plates under the heel and forefoot to safeguard against roots and rocks along the trail.
Made from woven polyester, the Nike Flyknit Lunar 1+ ($150; nike.com) feels like a sock. It's soft and cushy and molds to the contours of your feet. And you can steam 'em in-store for a more precise fit.
Lace up the Adidas Springblade ($130; adidas.com) for your next speed session. The 16 angled blades on the soles (think scuba fins) of these sneaks, which vary in thickness, propel you forward to help you run farther, faster.
Tough enough to tackle daily road runs but light enough to combat leg fatigue, the Mizuno Wave Inspire 9 ($115; mizunorunning.com) boasts a springy, Double Fan Wave--shaped midsole for serious cushioning.
Don't let the pink hue fool you: The Asics GT 1000 2 PR ($100; asicsamerica.com) is one tough sneak. A groove between the midsole and the outsole helps keep your steps in healthy form for a more efficient gait. Bonus: For every pair sold, Asics donates $2 to the Right Action for Women Foundation.
Light and airy, the Puma Faas 500S ($100; shop.puma.com) leads to swifter runs. Also, its lower heel height (4mm drop) encourages you to strike at mid-foot rather than on your heel.
Mid-distance runners who slightly overpronate (when feet roll inward) will love the New Balance 870v3 ($56-110; amazon.com). The firm foam under the arch puts the kibosh on that potentially injury-causing motion.