The 8 Best Nike Running Shoes for Women

Nike continues to push the envelope with new running shoe tech, including designs specifically for women.

Nike has a long history in the running world. The brand, originally known as Blue Ribbon Sports, began in the 1960s when Bill Bowerman, a University of Oregon runner, sold shoes out of his car. In the half-century since, the brand has reinvented itself with a new name and an iconic logo while pioneering new innovations in running gear, including the first running shoe designed specifically for women’s feet.

Nike produces innovative, high-quality running shoes, and has recently focused on designing models that meet the needs of female athletes, such as the Motiva. Whether you’ve finished multiple marathons or you’re just getting started with running, the best Nike running shoes for women will help you accomplish your goals.

The Best Nike Running Shoes for Women

The Expert (Michael Charboneau): I have tested running and outdoor gear for years, both as an editor at Runner’s World and as a freelance reviewer for InsideHook, Men’s Journal, and other outlets. I’ve written more about running shoes than any other category, and I have firsthand experience running in models from a range of brands, including Nike.

The Expert (Amanda Furrer): A lifelong runner, I have worked as a Runner’s World test editor since 2018. I run, review, and comb feedback from local testers and staff to cover the latest footwear, activewear, and wearables. I’ve qualified and run in the Boston Marathon consecutively since 2013, won the women’s division at the 2022 Atlanta Marathon, and joined the sub-3 club at the 2022 Chicago Marathon (2:56:31).

The Expert (Morgan Petruny): I’m a test editor at Runner’s World, and I grew up just a few kilometres from the original RW headquarters in Emmaus, PA. I’ve run thousands of kilometres in shoes from dozens of brands, including Nike, and I’ve helped analyse the data and feedback collected from hundreds of runners through the RW Shoe Lab and wear-testing program. Before that, I was a walk-on Division I runner obsessed with finding the perfect shoes.

What to Consider in Nike Running Shoes for Women

Generally speaking, Nike shoes offer a cushioned and responsive ride that balances underfoot comfort with a peppy, bouncy sensation. Here’s a closer look at the tech that gives them their unique feel.

Midsole Cushioning Foams

Nike cushioning foams give the brand’s shoes their cushioned, springy feel. There are three main foams to know: Cushlon, React, and ZoomX.

Cushlon is Nike’s standard foam. Made from ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA), it provides a plush, pillowy feel underfoot. Compared to Nike’s more advanced foams, however, it may feel a bit heavy. You’ll find it in workhorse trainers like the Winflo and Motiva, giving them a well-cushioned step with some responsiveness. Cushlon is an ideal pick for walking and slower-paced running, where softness is more important than low weight and maximum energy return.

React is used in several Nike shoes, including the Wildhorse 8 trail running shoe. It’s made from thermoplastic elastomer (TPE), and it’s formulated to be soft, responsive, and durable, so it’ll last longer before packing down and losing its cushioning ability. 

I’ve tested React in multiple shoes, and I think it strikes the perfect balance between softness and energy return: It feels cushioned underfoot but also bouncy at toe-off.

ZoomX is a premium foam developed specifically for racing and speed-oriented shoes. It’s made from polyether block amide (PEBA), a material that’s lightweight, soft, and extremely springy. Because it’s so light, Nike can use a lot of it in a shoe without weighing it down. 

In the Alphafly, for example, the thick ZoomX midsole cushions your footfalls and creates a spring-like sensation for powerful toe-offs—exactly what you need to maintain a fast pace over long distances.

Zoom Air Units

Some Nike midsoles feature Zoom Air units, which are air-filled pockets that compress at landing and then spring back into shape at toe-off. Using pockets filled with air, rather than additional foam, provides shock absorption while shaving down weight. They also provide an extra boost of energy return. 

Nike adds Zoom Air pockets to shoes across its lineup, from the Alphafly to the Winflo 10, to help create the cushioned, responsive feel that the brand’s shoes are known for. 

Upper Designs

Most brands focus on designing and promoting exclusive shoe technologies for the midsole, but Nike also offers two high-end uppers: Flyknit and Atomknit. Nike uses these uppers on several of its models, and they give its shoes a secure fit and feel.

Flyknit is a woven textile upper made from polyester, thermoplastic polyurethane, and Lycra. The fabric is woven tightly in some areas to provide a close wrap and support your foot, and loosely in others, relieving pressure so you stay comfortable while running. Flyknit is used in the Pegasus 40 and Invincible 3 trainers, giving them a comfy, snug fit.

Atomknit is a specialized variant of Flyknit that’s optimized to be as light as possible. It’s made by heating and stretching the Flyknit weave, which yields a highly porous upper that’s lighter and even more breathable than Flyknit. It keeps your feet cool when running hard. It also gives the shoe a more secure fit, even at fast paces, which explains why Nike uses it in its premier racing shoes, including the Alphafly 2.

invincible nike

Lakota Gambill

After running 160 kilometres during a month of testing, one tester noted no loss of responsiveness in ZoomX foam, despite some visible signs of wear. 

nike invincible run fk

Lakota Gambill

“The midsole looks super thick, but there’s nothing clunky about the Invincible Run Flyknit,” one tester said. “It feels bouncy, soft, and super lightweight.”

Finding Shoes for Female Feet

In addition to the tech above, which is in all Nike shoes, the Runners World test editors Amanda Furrer and Morgan Petruny have some additional tips to help women runners find the perfect running shoe.

Support for Overpronation

One key difference between women’s and men’s bodies is that women usually have wider hips, which increases their Q angle formed by the quads and the patella tendon. A wider Q angle can cause overpronation, where your feet roll too far inward during your stride.

“This affects pelvis, leg, and foot alignment, which can make women more prone to biomechanical-related issues, such as knee and joint pain,” says Furrer.

More supportive shoes with wide soles can reduce overpronation and its associated aches and pains: They stabilize the foot and align it within the shoe when running. The Invincible 3, for example, has a wide sole that creates a planted feel and keeps your feet in place.

Snug Heel Fit

Women’s feet are narrower at the back than men’s. As a result, women’s heels can sometimes lift up out of their shoes when running. Women should pay close attention to the fit at the heel, says Petruny. Look for shoes that have extra padding at the heel or a heel clip to support the back of the foot, which can create a more secure fit.

Your exact fit will mostly depend on finding the right shoe size, but models with built-in padding at the heel and ankle, such as the Pegasus, will help keep the back of your foot in place.

Wide Toe Box

Women often have a higher instep – the middle portion of the top of the foot- and a wider forefoot than men. Ideally, women’s shoe designs should skew slightly wider than a men’s model to accommodate those distinctions in general foot shape.

In the Nike lineup, models like the InfinityRn 4 and Motiva are built with broad footbeds and wide toe boxes to better accomodate female feet. No matter which shoe you choose, select a size that gives your foot enough space.

“Make sure you’ve got enough room to wiggle your toes and splay them out inside the shoe,” says Petruny.

Softer Cushioning

Women generally have less body mass than men, and that means there’s less weight to compress a running shoe’s midsole foam with each step. For that reason, many women prefer a softer, more flexible shoe, which feels more comfortable, absorbs more shock, and conforms to their feet more easily. That said, cushioning is purely a matter of preference, so go with what feels right.

How We Selected The Best Nike Running Shoes for Women

First, I studied the Nike running shoe lineup and talked with a brand rep to learn more about its current women’s models (including female-specific shoes like the Motiva) and the technology they use. I also talked with Furrer and Petruny to get their insights into what Nike models they like best, and I analyzed feedback from RW’s network of female wear testers to see what Nike shoes were standouts in testing. Finally, I drew on my own experiences with Nike running models and my knowledge of the running shoe market.

I combined all that information and feedback to choose the best Nike running shoes for women below. These models are built with the brand’s best features, including ZoomX and React foams, and fill a variety of niches, from racing to everyday training and walking.

Invincible 3


Nike Invincible 3

$260 on Nike Australia

  • ZoomX Midsole cushioning
  • Soft yet bouncy ride
  • Wide sole feels stable
  • Tongue can dig into the top of the foot while running

Key Specs

Weight9.1 oz

The Invincible 3 is an ideal pick for any runner who likes a soft, well-cushioned sensation in their running shoes, and it’s one of Petruny’s favourite shoes from any brand. This max-cushion model features a thick ZoomX midsole, which gives it exceptional softness and great energy return. Viewed from above, the shoe’s sole flares outward noticeably at the forefoot and heel; this wide design gives the shoe a planted, stable ride.

The sole also has a rocker shape that curves upward off the ground at the front and back to promote smooth transitions from landing to toe-off. Some ultra-plush shoes can feel too squishy underfoot and drain the pep out of your stride, but the Invincible 3 maintains a springy responsiveness to help propel you forward.

“Because of how soft these are underfoot yet stiff enough to give you that bounce back, these shoes allowed me to just enjoy running and cruise,” said one female review tester.

I’ve also tried the men’s version of the shoe, and I agree: It feels cushy without being clunky. It works well for all kinds of training runs, including longer efforts.

Winflo 10


Nike Winflo 10

$150 on Nike Australia

  • Soft and responsive
  • Comfortable upper
  • No support features for overpronators

Key Specs

Weight8.5 oz

The Winflo 10 has an attractive price, but that’s far from the only reason to buy it. It’s a great pick for new runners, or anyone in search of a comfy, capable shoe for training and walking. Cushlon foam and a Zoom Air unit in the midsole soak up impact forces for a well-cushioned feel with a springy pop, so you feel a peppy, responsive sensation with each step.

Compared to the previous version of the shoe, the Winflo 10 has a more spacious toe box to better accommodate wide feet. A lightly padded tongue, combined with padding around the heel and ankle, create a snug-yet-soft wrap around the foot that’s very comfortable. Finally, the durable rubber outsole generates good grip on pavement and sidewalks.

I’ve worn a test pair of Winflo 10s over the past few months, and they’ve really impressed me with their comfort and versatility. They served up a plush, responsive ride with smooth transitions during laid-back neighborhood jogs, and they also kept my feet comfy while cruising through the grocery store and running errands.



Nike Motiva

$160 on Nike Australia

  • Designed using data from female run-testers
  • Wide footbed and toe box
  • Soft cushioning
  • Thick midsole can feel heavy and unstable when running fast

Key Specs

Weight8.9 oz

The brand-new Nike Motiva is designed specifically for female athletes and those who are just starting to run regularly. Nike incorporated data from its Run Club app and feedback from over a thousand interviews in the design process, which led to two key insights: Build a shoe with a wider fit, and make it soft and comfortable for slower paces, including walking.

As a result, Nike designed the Motiva around an all-new foot model, informed by the unique dimensions of female feet. It features a thick Cushlon midsole that’s shaped with curved waves along the bottom that compress with each step, dampening impact forces to create a soft, pillowy ride. The entire sole has a rocker shape, which helps you glide from landing to toe-off when jogging or walking, and foam padding around the ankle creates a comfortable fit.

In the review process, RW testers loved the Motiva’s generous cushioning and wide toe box, which gave their toes lots of room to spread out: “You don’t even feel the ground in your run at all,” said one tester. With its emphasis on comfort and smooth strides, the Motiva is an excellent choice for beginners and athletes who mix running and walking in their workouts.

InfinityRN 4


Nike InfinityRN 4

$240 on Nike Australia

  • Responsive cushioning
  • Supportive
  • Heavy

Key Specs

Weight9.9 oz

Furrer recommends Nike’s React Infinity line for female runners who like supportive cushioning, and the InfinityRN 4 is a standout pick. Nike focused on women runners when testing the shoe, and their feedback informed key elements of the final design. As with the Nike Motiva, the InfinityRN 4 has a wider design with more space in the toe box. Its Flyknit upper has a padded ankle collar for a plush, secure fit around the ankle and heel. Likewise, an internal midfoot strap stabilises the foot.

The midsole utilises a specialised blend of React foam that’s formulated to be especially responsive; Nike claims it produces 13 percent more energy return than the standard React cushion. The sole has a rocker shape for smooth heel-toe transitions, and it’s also relatively wide, so it’ll feel stable while running.

I’ve tried the InfinityRN 4, and I loved the fit and feel of this shoe. The stretchy upper and spacious toe box gave my feet plenty of room, but the shoe also created a lockdown fit. The rocker sole shape easily transferred my momentum forward with each stride, and its wide design gave me confident footing. Bottom line: It’s a superb choice for a cushioned and supportive trainer.

Pegasus 40


Nike Pegasus 40

$190 on Nike Australia

  • Responsive ride
  • Spacious footbed, especially at midfoot
  • Upper offers good ankle support
  • Available in Wide sizes
  • No support features for overpronators

Key Specs

Weight8.5 oz

Shoe tech changes. Running trends come and go. New models launch, then get discontinued. For Nike, at least, one thing has remained constant–the Pegasus. This beloved training shoe has been part of the brand’s running lineup for decades, evolving continuously over the years with new design features and innovations. Furrer recommends it as a daily training shoe, and it’s an especially good pick for runners who prefer a firm, responsive sensation in their sneakers.

The Pegasus 40 features a React foam midsole that flexes well for seamless heel-toe transitions and creates a firm base for powerful toe-offs. The sole is also relatively wide, so you get an accommodating fit that won’t pinch your feet or toes. (It’s also available in wide sizes if you need more room.) The upper offers a supportive feel around the ankle, and the rubber outsole covers most of the bottom of the shoe. That gives the Peg good durability and grip on the pavement. If plush trainers feel too soft and squishy under your feet, the Pegasus 40 may be the shoe for you.

Alphafly 2


Nike Alphafly 2

$370 on Nike Australia

  • Plush, soft cushioning
  • Excellent energy return
  • Lightweight
  • Somewhat unstable ride

Key Specs

Weight7.0 oz

The Alphafly 2 is the pinnacle racing shoe in the Nike lineup, and it’s built to excel in longer races like marathons. It’s packed with the brand’s latest tech and generated quite a bit of hype, but race results back it up: This shoe will help you go fast.

The midsole features a massive layer of Nike’s springy ZoomX foam, with two embedded Zoom Air units in the forefoot and a stiff carbon fiber plate inside. The plate is crucial: It keeps the towering block of foam from wiggling too much under your feet, while guiding your foot so you can generate maximum propulsion with each step.

It also sports a very thin Atomknit upper, which features lots of open pores to save weight and boost breathability. The thin rubber outsole provides good traction, though it’s not designed for high-kilometerage durability. If you’re training to run in a marathon, you should save this shoe for race day.

Overall, the Alphafly 2 provides a truly one-of-a-kind feel. It’s soft but extremely bouncy and responsive. Wearing this shoe felt like running with springs under my feet. The tall midsole did feel a bit unstable, especially when cornering or negotiating uneven sidewalks, and the footbed is narrow at midfoot. But if you’re looking to perform your absolute best at your next race day, this is the obvious choice.

Wildhorse 8


Nike Wildhorse 8

Now 19% off

$152.99 on Nike Australia

  • Soft cushioning
  • Grippy outsole
  • Wide toe box
  • On the heavy side

Key Specs

Weight10.1 oz

Want a plush, comfortable shoe to take off-road? Grab the Wildhorse 8. This go-anywhere trail shoe offers a well-cushioned ride, excellent grip, and a spacious fit. Nike used its React foam for the midsole, which provides softness and energy return in equal measure. It cushions your footfalls, but bounces back quickly for a lively spring in each step.

A wide footbed gives the shoe a stable ride, and the spacious toe box provides plenty of room for your toes to splay. On the bottom, the full-coverage rubber outsole is studded with cleat-like lugs that dig into dirt and gravel for reliable traction off the pavement.

The Wildhorse 8 performed admirably in my testing: It created a lockdown grip on hard-packed trails, both uphill and down. Its spacious fit and the springy React midsole kept my feet comfortable throughout my trail runs.



Nike Streakfly

Now 29% off

$161.99 on Nike Australia

  • Exceptionally light
  • Flexible sole promotes smooth transitions
  • Not enough cushioning for longer runs

Key Specs

Weight5.5 oz

For some runners, nothing beats the stripped down, close-to-the-ground feel of a classic racing flat. The Streakfly revamps that niche using Nike’s latest midsole technology. Designed for shorter races, up to a 10K, it offers an ultralight platform to help you run hard and fast.

The Streakfly features a relatively thin midsole made from ZoomX foam, and it’s paired with an embedded plastic midsole plate. The foam cushions your footfalls and provides a lively, bouncy feel, while the stiff plate guides your foot from landing to liftoff and provides a firm foundation for explosive strides. The thin upper saves weight, and while it doesn’t have much support, padding around the heel helps create a locked-in fit.

I had the chance to try the Streakfly recently and, even in a brief test run around neighbourhood sidewalks, it made a strong impression. The shoe comes alive when you’re pushing the pace. At speed, the ZoomX midsole foam provides just enough padding, and the shoe flexes well for easy transitions. I was running hard, but I felt like I was gliding.

Q+A With Running Shoe Expert Michael Charboneau

Do Nike running shoes have any weaknesses?

Nike’s shoes tend to have a narrow fit. This can be an issue for women who have a wider forefoot shape.

“Testers tell us all the time that Nike cuts a narrow toebox,” says Petruny.

However, Petruny also points out that Nike is improving on this issue, and models like the Motiva, InfinityRN 4, Wildhorse, and Pegasus all have more spacious, accommodating designs.

Women’s wider hips can lead to overpronation, where the foot rolls too far inward while running. Should I be concerned about overpronation?

Not necessarily. Everyone’s stride has some degree of pronation, or inward roll, and that’s totally normal.

“this is a good thing because it’s how our bodies mitigate shock and transfer energy through our strides,” Petruny says. “The ideal amount for each runner is highly individual, and everyone’s gait looks different.”

Women do tend to pronate more than men, but it’s only a cause for concern if you’re experiencing pain or frequent injuries due to running, Petruny says. In that case, she recommends visiting a physical therapist for help with alleviating these issues.

I have narrow heels. Any advice for getting a better fit around the back of my feet?

According to Petruny, a sloppy fit at the back of the foot is another common complaint from female wear testers. Nike models like the Motiva and InfinityRN 4, which were designed with input from women runners, are good shoes to consider for an improved fit. As always, trying shoes on in a running store is the best way to ensure you get a pair that matches your feet.

Beyond that, you can sometimes correct heel slippage by tying your laces with a heel lock, where you loop the laces through the top two eyelets on each side of the shoe before tying.

Additionally, make sure you’re using the correct knot to tie your shoes: Check out this RW video for instructions on how to tie them properly.

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