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The best gym shoes for women in 2024

From lightweight running shoes to supportive sneakers for high-impact workouts to comfortable options for plantar fasciitis, these are the 13 best women’s gym shoes tested and approved.

collage with 5 gym sneakers
Support, comfort, durability: We've found the workout kicks that check all the boxes. (Reebok, Nike, Zappos, Amazon)

If you're looking to up your fitness regimen or start one from scratch, having well-made, comfortable gear is a surefire way to make sure you never miss a workout, and there's no item more indispensable on that score than the right sneakers. “When it comes to hitting the gym, having the right pair of shoes can make all the difference. Not only can they help prevent injury, they can also provide the necessary support and comfort needed to power through a tough workout,” Stephanie Holbrook, Level 1 USA Triathlon Coach, tells us.

Quick overview
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To find the best women’s gym shoes, we talked to fitness experts and trainers and tapped our own team of shopping experts to find the best options for every type of workout. Whether you’re looking for a feather-light pair of joggers, sneaks supportive enough for high-impact activities or a stalwart set of training shoes, we’ve done the homework and have the recommendations.

Sizes: 5 to 12 | Materials: Rubber, plastic| Weight: 9.1oz

While most gym shoes are designed for a particular activity, if you’re looking for a well-rounded pair that can handle everything from running to weightlifting, Julie Lohre, women’s fitness expert, IFBB fitness pro athlete and certified personal trainer, recommends this pair by Brooks. “These are my absolute go-to all-around favorite shoes because they strike the perfect balance between support and responsiveness. They give me a stable base for heavy lifting and enough cushioning for cardio sessions, making them incredibly versatile. The fit is snug and comfortable, which makes me feel secure no matter the workout,” she tells us.

The knit upper is stretchy and breathable, while the arrow-point pattern in the rubber outsole provides ample traction to keep you from slipping and sliding on wet gym surfaces and outdoor terrains alike. The insole is ultra-cushioned and springy and overall they're incredibly lightweight. Plus, they're made from recycled materials equal to seven plastic water bottles, so you can feel ecologically good about your purchase. One potential caveat: Some shoppers noted they lasted only about a year and hoped they would have gotten a little more time out of them.

Pros
  • Lightweight
  • Machine-washable
  • Supportive
  • Good for multiple types of activities
  • Responsive
Cons
  • Some shoppers say they didn’t last as long as they would have hoped
$79 at Amazon

Sizes: 5 to 15 | Materials: Rubber, mesh | Weight: 13.33 oz

Both Lohre and Holbrook are fans of these Nikes for workouts like CrossFit. “I love the Nike Metcon 9 for its absurdly good stability during strength training. The flat, wide sole offers great support, which is crucial when lifting heavy weights,” says Lohre. The hyperlift plate in the heel adds extra stability — crucial to preventing rolling while you're lifting weights — while a flexible sole makes it a winner for jumping and running. It even has a lace-lock system that attaches to the tongue, so you don’t have to worry about them coming undone or getting caught in anything as you work out. If you're prone to arduous workouts, you'll be happy to know that the lightweight mesh upper will keep foot sweat to a mimimum. That specialization, however, cuts both ways: Some owners loved them for training, but for regular old walking? Not so much. There are 14 colors to choose from, and if you don’t see one you like, you can even design your own custom option.

Pros
  • Breathable
  • Ample stability
  • Responsive cushioning
  • Supportive
Cons
  • Some shoppers found them uncomfortable for walking
$150 at Nike
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$160 at Dick's Sporting Goods

Sizes: 5 to 11 | Materials: Rubber, synthetic textile | Weight: 10.37 oz

Our Commerce Manager, Julia Webb, is a big fan of these comfy Saucony sneakers because they are lightweight, breathable and were comfortable straight out of the box. “These are the most cushioned sneakers I own” she says. Not only are they great for walking, but Webb wears them for HIIT (high-intensity interval training) classes too, thanks to their ankle and arch support and ample traction. “I feel sure-footed on concrete, treadmills and smooth studio floors. I wear them to fast-paced HIIT classes and have had no issues,” she tells us. And they are incredibly breathable too, Webb says her feet have never felt overheated in them even when she works up a sweat. Though some shoppers felt they could be a tad more durable.

Pros
  • Vegan
  • Great traction
  • Super cushioned
  • No break-in time
Cons
  • Some shoppers say they weren’t super durable
$160 at Zappos
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$160 at Saucony

Sizes: 5 to 12 | Materials: Rubber, vegan knit textile | Weight: 8.7 oz

If you've seen a pair of Hokas in the wild, there's a good chance they were Cliftons. They're among the brand's most popular models, and it's easy to see why. "They're absolutely cloud-like," raved Yahoo Deputy Editor Izabella Zaydenberg. "They were the only shoes that didn't exacerbate my plantar fasciitis (especially when I walked for hours at Disneyland)." Reader, I also own a pair of Cliftons, and I wear them every time I do some serious stepping, whether I'm on a treadmill, a trail or the pavement running errands around town. They're undoubtedly the most comfortable walking shoe I've ever worn, and they came that way right out of the box. The knit upper is breathable, and the rubber sole provides great traction. They are so comfortable and good for your feet, they’ve even earned the APMA (American Podiatric Medical Association) seal of approval.

Make sure to also check out our other recommendations for Hoka walking shoes.

Pros
  • APMA-approved
  • Very stable
  • Lightweight
  • Super cushioned
Cons
  • Expensive
$145 at Zappos
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$145 at Hoka$145 at Dick's Sporting Goods

Sizes: 5 to 12 | Materials: Rubber, synthetic mesh | Weight: 8.2oz

Our Senior Commerce Editor, Rory Halperin, is a big fan of an older (sold out) version of these Rykas, but this updated style features all the same support and comfort she loves, plus a new and improved toe cap, quarter overlay, iridescent overlay and tongue patch. It’s rare to find such a great gym shoe for less than $100, but Halperin loved them so much she bought a second pair almost immediately. Designed for a woman’s unique foot shape and muscle movement, Devotions have a narrower heel, roomy toe box and a cushioned insole to keep your foot stable and comfortable all day long. Over 6,300 Amazon shoppers are fans of these, with one writing, “The cushion, the arch, the feel of every step makes my feet feel good. I go to gym and have no problems.”

Pros
  • No break-in time
  • Supportive
  • Shock absorbing
  • Comfortable
Cons
  • Some shoppers said they had to order up
$70 at Amazon

Sizes: 5 to 13 | Materials: Rubber | Weight: 9.2 oz

Another winner for both Lohre and Holbrook, given their stand-up performance in high-impact workouts like running and aerobics. “When I think about running and longer cardio sessions, the Asics Gel-Nimbus 26 is tough to beat. The cushioning is top-notch, providing a lot of shock absorption, and they are really comfortable on those long runs,” Lohre said. The ultra-cushioned insole adds comfort and helps you achieve softer landings to prevent injuries. Lohre also notes, “The support system in these shoes helps maintain good alignment, making them ideal for my higher-impact workouts.” Holbrook also likes that they “Provide cushioning and support to absorb the impact of each stride.”

Pros
  • Lightweight
  • Great stability
  • Very cushioned
  • Shock-absorbing
Cons
  • Expensive
$160 at Amazon

Sizes: 5 to 12 | Materials: Rubber, mesh | Weight: 7.2oz​

Love dance-fitness classes like Zumba? Holbrook says you need shoes that provide flexibility and support for quick movements and turns. She likes these because they are “Lightweight, have a flexible sole and a snug fit to prevent slipping.” The rubber outsole not only offers ample traction but it even has pivot points built-in for smooth reactions to sudden tempo change-ups and beat-drops. The cushioned insole provides excellent arch and heel support and the mesh upper is very breathable. Over 6,000 Amazon shoppers are fans too, with one raving, “These shoes are everything I need them to be. I do a combination of CrossFit, HIIT, and studio dance and the versatility, support, traction, and sole comfort can't be beat. These shoes are lightweight and true to size." 

Pros
  • Affordable
  • Breathable
  • Cushioned
  • Flexible
  • Lightweight
Cons
  • Not sturdy enough for weightlifting
$48 at Amazon

Sizes: 5.5 to 13.5 | Materials: Rubber, suede and mesh upper | Weight: 14.3 oz

If you prefer an alfresco workout, you need kicks that deliver excellent traction on all types of terrains. Says our Commerce Director, Jeanine Edwards, “I am an avid walker, and these are my go-to sneakers for walking in the woods, on the streets and occasionally on the treadmill.” It’s easy to see why she’s such a fan. The 2002Rs have heel cushioning, a soft lining and a shock-absorbing outsole that makes trekking umpteen miles feel like, um, a walk in the park. In perhaps her most telling comment, Edwards says she’s never gotten a blister in them (even when she forgets socks!). She sums up thusly: “Honestly, these are the most comfy shoes I own, and I always reach for them when I know I'll be walking long distances.” 

Pros
  • Great shock absorption
  • Breathable
  • Comfortable even without socks
  • Supportive
Cons
  • Limited colors
$150 at New Balance

Sizes: 5 to 12 | Materials: Rubber, mesh | Weight: 8.25 oz

If you suffer from high arches, our Commerce Editor Janelle Randazza recommends these Keens. “The arch is spectacular — especially for folks with higher arched feet, like me,” she says. She also lauded the excellent ankle stability provided by the supportive platform that makes her feel more grounded (and, by extension, less prone to injuries). The mesh uppersare designed to keep your feet cool, and Randazza confirms they are very breathable. “I've worn them on hot summer hikes, through amusement parks, on multiple-mile walks on scorching LA asphalt — my feet never feel overly hot.” She notes, though, that if you're the type whose feet swell during a workout, you may want to go up a half-size.

Pros
  • Super cushioned
  • Great traction
  • Very stable
  • Comfortable
Cons
  • Limited colors
$145 at Zappos
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$145 at Keen$145 at Keen

Sizes: 5 to 13 | Materials: Rubber, nylon | Weight: 9.7 oz

Brooks is a brand long synonymous with running, so it makes sense that Lohre named these her top joggers: “They are fantastic because of their reliable support and cushioning. While they are super stable shoes, it is the cushion and comfort that make Adrenalines a shoe I really like for treadmill and outdoor running both. They offer great stability, the fit is comfortable, and the shoes provide nice arch support.” Along with an airy mesh upper, they offer a removable foam footbed for extra comfort. Our Home and Garden Lead Editor, Jessica Dodell-Feder, is also a big fan. She runs 5-10 miles a week on both the treadmill and outdoors and loves them so much she’s “owned some iteration of this sneaker for around 15 years.” There are 24 styles to choose from and sizes not only range from 5 to 13 but they also come in narrow, medium, wide and extra-wide options, so you know you're gonna find your ideal fit.

Pros
  • Comes in various sizes
  • Cushioned
  • Lightweight
  • Very stable
Cons
  • Expensive
$140 at Zappos
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$140 at Brooks$140 at Dick's Sporting Goods

Sizes: 6 to 11 | Materials: Rubber, synthetic textile | Weight: 22.12 oz

At the risk of stating the obvious, Holbrook tells us if you’re workouts include Olympic lifting, powerlifting or weightlifting, you should opt for shoes that offer a stable base and secure grip like this pair from Reebok. These sneakers boast inflatable pump technology that “lets you fine-tune the fit for squats, then adjust it for deadlifts,” according to the brand. Its midfoot strap adds a locked-in feel, to ensure a strong foundation, and it has a raised heel with a TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) clip that acts as a stabilizer. “These lifting shoes are perfect! They give me the support I need. My squat depth has improved with them and they are absolutely beautiful, which is really important to me,” raved one five-star reviewer.

Pros
  • Supportive heel
  • Midfoot strap for stability
  • Comfortable
  • Stylish
Cons
  • Expensive
$220 at Reebok

Sizes: 4.5 to 13 | Materials: Rubber, synthetic textile | Weight: 9.2 oz

“Aerobic workouts require shoes that provide cushioning and support for high-impact movements,” Holbrook tells us. Look for shoes with a flexible sole and a breathable upper to keep your feet cool and comfortable, like this pair from Adidas. The popular kicks not only have a cushioned sole but also a sock-like knit upper ... which is constructed from partially recycled materials because Adidas is making strides toward being a more eco-friendly company. The result is a light-as-air, supportive sneaker that hugs your foot and puts a bounce in your step. Bonus: They are machine-washable.

Pros
  • Tons of color options
  • Machine-washable
  • Lightweight
  • Supportive heel
  • Comfortable
  • Breathable
Cons
  • Expensive
$165 at Amazon
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$180 at Zappos$180 at Adidas

Sizes: 5 to 11 | Materials: Rubber, synthetic mesh | Weight: 8 oz

Need some extra ankle support while you work out? Commerce Editor Amanda Garrity say these On Clouds are just the ticket. “I've worn plenty of sneakers (that shall not be named) that caused me to roll my ankles far too many times. This pair, however, is a bit lower to the ground and offers just the right amount of support. I've worn them a bunch and haven't experienced that once,” she reports. The molded heel cap adds extra support and the upper is made from three layers of mesh for ample air flow. And did we mention how comfortable they are? Garrity will: “These sneakers make you feel like you're walking on clouds!”

Pros
  • No break-in time
  • Good traction
  • Great ankle and arch support
  • Cushioned
Cons
  • Expensive
$150 at Zappos
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$150 at On

To figure out which women’s gym shoes were the best of the best, we consulted a mix of fitness experts, trainers and our own shopping editors. They weighed in on what to look for when picking the right gym shoes for different workouts. We also polled this crew to find out which options are their favorites — because there's nothing like a firsthand recommendation! After reviewing hundreds of contenders, we came down to 13 final candidates.

Whether you're wearing them for a quick walk or an intense HIIT workout, you want to find a pair of gym shoes that are both comfortable and supportive. To find the option that best suits your needs, there are a number of factors to consider.

Comfort: Like any shoe, comfort is key. You’ll want to find a pair with ample cushioning and support to prevent injuries and ensure your feet won’t hurt after wearing them.

Traction: According to Stephanie Holbrook, Level 1 USA triathlon coach, you want shoes with a sole that provides a good grip on various surfaces, including slippery gym floors and outdoor terrain. “Look for shoes with a patterned sole or rubber outsole for optimal traction,” she tells us.

Weight: How heavy a shoe you pick should depend on the activities that you plan on wearing them for. “Lighter shoes are great for cardio and agility exercises because they won’t weigh you down, while a slightly heavier shoe with a solid, stable base offers better support for strength training and lifting,” Julie Lohre, women’s fitness expert, IFBB fitness pro athlete and certified personal trainer tells us.

Fit: Gym shoes should fit properly to prevent injuries and foot pain. Lohre says “They should be snug but not too tight.. When you try them on, there should be enough space in the toe box that you can wiggle a little, but not so much that your feet shift within the shoe.” She also recommends trying gym shoes on for the first time at the end of the day when your feet are slightly swollen to make sure they will not be too tight.

Durability: Since sneakers in general can be pricey (especially if you’re opting for a pair from a well-known sports brand) you want to invest in a pair that will last.

Breathability: “Your feet can get hot and sweaty during a workout, so it's important to choose shoes that are breathable,” says Holbrook. “Look for shoes with mesh or other breathable materials to help keep your feet cool and dry. Shoes with antimicrobial properties can also help prevent odors and bacteria from building up inside the shoe.”

While you may think one pair of sneakers will work for all workouts, you'd be thinking wrong: You should actually use different gym shoes for different workouts. Lohre tells us that after years of trying out different gym sneakers, she found that having specific shoes for specific activities actually helps her perform better.

Victoria Petrella, NASM [National Academy of Sports Medicine]-certified personal trainer explains that it’s because the shoes are designed with specific athletic needs in mind. “For instance, running shoes are designed with cushioning to absorb impact, which is great for running but not ideal for weightlifting. On the other hand, cross-training shoes offer more lateral support, making them perfect for gym classes or lifting weights. I always switch my shoes based on my workout to get the best performance and avoid injuries,” she says.

There are a few simple ways you can keep your gym shoes in tip-top shape. Holbrook recommends wiping your gym shoes with a clean cloth to remove any dirt, sweat, or debris after every workout. “If your shoes are particularly dirty, you can use a soft-bristled brush and mild soap to clean them. Avoid using harsh chemicals or bleach, as they can damage the material of your shoes” she adds.

Airing out your gym shoes is also helpful as it can prevent the buildup of bacteria and odor. “Remove the insoles and let them dry separately. You can also stuff your shoes with newspaper to help absorb moisture and speed up the drying process,” says Holbrook. And be sure to store them in a cool, dry place when they aren’t in use. “Avoid leaving them in direct sunlight or in a damp environment, as this can damage the material and cause odor. You can also use shoe trees or inserts to help maintain their shape,” she added.

Another helpful tip is to check the manufacturer label as some gym shoes are now machine-washable, which would make keeping them clean even easier.

Proper maintenance is key to preserving the longevity and performance of your gym shoes. But Holbrook says “It’s crucial to replace them when you observe signs of wear and tear to prevent injuries and maximize workout effectiveness.” Lohe says your gym shoes should last up to 500 miles for running or cardio activities or up to 12 months if you’re using them for primarily strength training.

Your body will often give you signals, that it’s time to replace your gym shoes too Lohe adds. “If you start experiencing new aches or pains, it could be a sign that your shoes are no longer providing the support you need. Regularly checking your shoes for these signs and rotating them out as needed will help keep your workouts safe and effective.”

  • Stephanie Holbrook, Level 1 USA triathlon coach, Level 2 USA cycling coach, Pose Method running technique specialist

  • Julie Lohre, women’s fitness expert, IFBB fitness pro athlete and certified personal trainer

  • Victoria Petrella, NASM-certified personal trainer