You’ll notice that there aren’t any women-specific running shoes in Nike’s assortment per se.
By gender-specific, we mean running shoes with a different last (which defines the fit), cushioning, or even style. Most Nike running shoes don’t offer that, and follow the common practice of selling feminine colors in a narrow ‘B’ last and smaller sizes. There’s nothing wrong with that; most shoe brands do that.
So if you’re looking for a pair of women’s Nike running shoes, you’ll come across familiar names like the Pegasus and the Structure. They have the same build and function as the men’s version but in different colors and a snugger fit.
The sub-categories do not change either. There are road, trail, and affordable sub-$100 shoes to choose from, and that’s how we’ve split this guide.
A) Women’s road running shoes
1) Nike Epic React Flyknit 2 Women’s
The Epic React is an exercise in running shoe minimalism – both in form and function. The single-density React midsole reduces weight while making the ride extremely smooth. Use this for your daily runs and long-distance workouts.
Stretch uppers tend to be more gender-neutral than traditional uppers. The single-piece Flyknit upper snaps over the foot and leaves no baggy folds. The 2019 Epic React 2 gets a revised heel clip for slightly better support over the V1. If you’re not accustomed to stretchy uppers, just know that the React has a snug fit.
Also see: The Legend React 2
2) Nike Epic Phantom React Flyknit Women’s
This is a lace-free, slip-on version of the regular Epic React, and has to be one of the most easy-to-wear running shoes of 2019. The absence of laces need not worry you – the knit upper has sufficient tension to keep the foot locked down.
Just like the standard laced model, the Phantom React is a legit running shoe. Except for the missing laces, everything else is nearly identical. The React midsole has a smooth and lightweight ride. You also get the same heel clip which stabilizes rearfoot landings and transitions.
3) Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 36 Women’s
Nike’s do-it-all daily trainer sells in both men’s and women’s colors. The Pegasus 36’s firm cushioning is suitable for a wide range of runs – from daily workouts on the road and treadmill to the occasional speed day.
The sleeved upper fits true to size and runs warm due to the layered design.
4) Nike Air Zoom Structure 22 Women’s
With a dual-density midsole, the Structure 22 is the last in the line of Nike stability running shoes. What you get with the Structure is a firm and supportive ride along with a responsive forefoot cushioning because of the Zoom Air bag. If you know what you’re buying, the Structure 22 ends up being a versatile daily trainer in your rotation.
The true-to-size upper is also more supportive than other neutral trainers. A Flywire cord assisted lacing keeps the midfoot secure; thick overlays flank the heel and midfoot for additional structural support.
5) Nike Vaporfly 4% Flyknit
Sometimes standard levels of midsole cushioning won’t cut it for marathon-distance running. In comes the Vaporfly 4%, a Carbon plate-equipped shoe with amazing levels of cushioning rebound and turnover.
The high-volume ZoomX foam midsole delivers mile-after-mile comfort for the long haul. While you’re at it, also check out the Vaporfly Next%.
Affordable running shoes
1) Nike Air Zoom Winflo 6 Women’s
Premium Nike running shoes aren’t the only ones upping their game. Shoes priced below $100 have come a long way since the Nike Dart days. The Zoom Winflo 6 illustrates this perfectly.
The midsole made of Nike’s Cushlon foam has not one, but two Zoom Air bags. Which means that the Winflo has a cushioned and responsive ride which is versatile enough for most type of runs.
The Winflo’s upper uses soft-touch materials along with a partial bootie for a comfortable fit minus the tongue slide.
2) Nike Flex RN 2019
The Flex RN gives you the flexible ride of the Nike Free at a much affordable price.
Though we prefer the simple styling of the 2018 Free RN, this year’s model will have to do for now. An EVA foam midsole is generously siped to make the ride extremely flexible and cushioned at the same time.
3) Nike Downshifter 9 Women’s
At times, a basic running shoe is all that you need. No fancy midsole foam or inserts – just a foam midsole and a rubber outsole topped off with a comfortable upper.
That’s exactly what the $60 Downshifter is. The upper doesn’t have any hot spots and secures the foot during runs. Under the foot, there’s enough EVA foam to make daily runs comfortable.
Women’s Nike trail running shoes
1) Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 36 Trail Women’s
There’s a bit of the Pegasus and Winflo in here. The Trail version of the Pegasus features an outdoor-sey upper which shields the foot from the dust and debris during off-road runs.
The basic outsole geometry resembles the design that of the road Pegasus – but differs from the latter with its trail-oriented lugs and higher rubber coverage.
So which part of the market does the Pegasus Trail cater to? The answer is – view this as a dual-purpose shoe.
The outsole lugs aren’t very deep and are spread out evenly. This means that you can use them on roads as well as on dry, packed trails in the nearby Canyon. Unlike the road Pegasus, the Trail Peggy uses separate heel and forefoot Zoom bags. There’s plenty of ride comfort no matter how you land.
For Nike running shoes with stronger trail credentials, keep reading.
2) Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 5 Women’s
The Terra Kiger 5 has been upgraded for 2019 with better technical terrain capabilities. The forefoot gets a rock plate which isn’t designed in a solid, one-piece form. Instead, the plate is segmented so that you get ample protection without sacrificing the ground feel.
You get decent traction in the wet with the Kiger’s new outsole as long as it doesn’t involve mud and slippery roots. The React foam midsole offers plenty of ride comfort without a weight trade-off.
The upper is durable and does a good job at holding the foot down. The low toe-box and the high heel collar is an acquired taste, though.
3) Nike Air Zoom Wildhorse 5
When compared to the Terra Kiger, the Wildhorse is a more protective trail running shoe. A solid, one-piece outsole and a standard rock plate protect the foot on the trails. The upper is swathed with fused overlays as well but has a relatively spacious forefoot and toe-box.
You won’t get the ride comfort of the Pegasus Trail or the Terra Kiger here. But if a protective trail running shoe with a spacious interior is what makes you happy, then the Wildhorse 5 is well worth its $110 retail.
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