With advances in science and technology over the past decade, a lot has changed between men’s and women’s running shoes. That’s why ASICS shoes are designed for a gender-specific fit and modelled on the architecture of a woman’s foot.
Let’s look at why gender matters to the design of a running shoe and how it affects performance and comfort. We’ll also highlight some of the best running shoes for women from ASICS’ line of gender-specific shoes.
How are women’s and men’s running shoes different?
We all know that men and women are built differently, but did you know this affects the way they run? From biomechanics to gender-specific injury patterns, gender differences influence how a person runs, and the best ASICS running shoes for women are made specific for a woman’s foot. Let’s take a look at some of the differences between men and women runners and how these gender-specific needs are met in ASICS women’s shoe design.
1. Shape and Heel-to-Forefoot Ratio
It’s not just the size but the shape of a woman's foot that varies from a man's. Women have narrower heels than men and their running shoes should too. The best ASICS women’s athletic shoes are modelled on the shape of a woman’s foot, not just smaller versions of a man’s shoe.
If you look at ASICS shoes for women, you’ll see a difference in shape as compared to their men’s shoe. The heel bed is narrower, which improves the fit for female runners. A change in heel shape gives you a more stable ride, with less slippage and chafing. It’s one of the differences between ASICS men’s and women’s running shoes.
2. Bounce-back and Body Weight
Men’s running shoes are designed with denser cushioning to support additional body weight. But for a typical woman, this may be too dense to offer any advantage. That’s why ASICS develops their gender-specific footwear with forefoot cushioning more suited to women. This gives women a more responsive shoe with better toe-off return.
3. Gait and Hormones
As a woman’s hormones change, so too does her running gait. This is due to the relaxing effect oestrogen has on soft tissues, such as your Achilles tendon. As a result, the arch of your foot lowers, causing your plantar fascia to stretch and tighten. This is known as the windlass mechanism.
Features in women’s shoes are designed with these hormonal changes in mind. In the ASICS line of running shoes for women, you’ll find a gender-specific Space TRUSSTIC™ System. This supports the arch of your foot and creates enough space for your plantar fascia to perform with greater flexibility.
4. Overpronation and Quad Angle
Overpronation and related injuries are more pronounced in women than men. This is due to having wider hips, which increases the quad angle where the upper and lower legs meet at the knee. A wider quad angle tends to place greater stress on the knee joint, sometimes causing overpronation and foot imbalances.
Female runners can benefit from women’s running shoes designed for overpronation if this is an issue.
What to look for in a women’s running shoe
When you’re looking for a pair of good running shoes for women, choose gender-specific shoes engineered for female runners. Look for a running shoe with plenty of room in the toe and extra support in the heel and midsole. In looking for the right women’s shoes for you, consider the following:
● Comfort. You’re going to be racking up a lot of kilometres on your shoes, so comfort is key. Look for extra cushioning in the heel, forefoot and midsole for a plush ride.
● Durability. You want your shoes to last. Look for a running shoe that comes with excellent abrasion resistance to withstand hours of pounding the pavement.
● Lightweight. Heavy shoes not only weigh you down, they can cramp your performance. You want a running shoe designed for women with enough bounce-back to improve your energy output.
8 ASICS running shoes for women
Whatever your running style and the terrain that you’re frequenting, ASICS has the right women’s shoe to fit your needs. These designs are modelled on the architecture of a woman’s foot for a gender-specific fit.
1. Women’s running shoes for overall performance: GEL-NIMBUS™
One of ASICS bestsellers, the GEL-NIMBUS™ running shoe for women features a superior cushioning experience with GEL™ technology. With a gender-specific forefoot outsole, this running shoe is designed differently from the men’s version. Gender-specific forefoot flex grooves give the female runner a smoother landing and more efficient transition.
An enhanced 3D SPACE CONSTRUCTION™ technology compresses for a softer landing and springs back to shape with your next step.
2. Women’s shoes for RUNNING LONG DISTANCES: GEL-KAYANO™
Designed for medium to long distances the GEL-KAYANO™ shoe provides a stable but plush comfortable ride whilst remaining lightweight. With gender-specific cushioning and a gender-specific TRUSSTIC™ System the GEL-KAYANO™ gives you a smoother transition and protection from heel strike to toe-off. It’s the recommended running shoe for women that want to extend themselves through those extra miles.
3. Women’s running shoes for beginners: GEL-CUMULUS™
An everyday trainer with durable cushioning and soft midsole foam, the GEL-CUMULUS™ running shoe gives women a smoother, more comfortable run, day after day. With gender-specific support technology, this running shoe is designed to respond to biomechanical gender differences. It uses 3D SPACE CONSTRUCTION™ technology made of pillars under the heel and forefoot for gender-specific cushioning. This feature gives female runners a stable platform for heel strike and improves forefoot flex.
4. Women’s running shoes for neutral pronation: NOVABLAST™
Not only is NOVABLAST™ one of the best ASICS neutral running shoes for women, but it's also designed for a more energetic bounce-back. The concave outsole design gives female runners a pronounced, trampoline effect for a more responsive feel underfoot. Engineered with FF BLAST™ technology, this running shoe provides lightweight cushioning and a responsive rebound.
5. Women’s running shoes for overpronation: GT-2000™
A high performance shoe for the serious, high kilometre runner, the GT-2000™ running shoe is made with a DUOMAX™ support system for extra support and stability. Designed with advanced technology, this shoe gives female runners excellent comfort and stability. Available in wide and narrow so you’ve always got the perfect fit for your foot.
6. Women’s shoes for trail and off-road running: GEL-SONOMA™
The GEL-SONOMA™ shoe is designed for the outdoor adventure woman, who loves light hiking and running the trails. With a rugged, rubber outsole lugs for better traction and GEL™ technology for excellent shock absorption, this running shoe gives you the best of both worlds: comfort and traction. The GEL-SONOMA™ for women can comfortably handle challenging terrain and unexpected conditions.
7. Women’s running shoes for flat feet: GT-4000™
Female runners with flat feet are more prone to overpronation and related injuries. What you need is an advanced running shoe with built-in support. The GT-4000™ shoe for women is made for a stable, supportive and more efficient stride.
With two support systems to help correct female running gait, this running shoe uses Guidance TRUSSTIC™ technology for responsive arch support and DUOMAX™ technology to reduce pronation. It is one of the best ASICS women’s running shoes for overpronation and flat feet.
8. Women’s running shoes for improving speed: EVORIDE™
The recommended women’s running shoes for sprint training are those designed for speed. The EVORIDE™ running shoe for women is built with a subtle rocker outsole technology. This creates a powerful lever to propel your stride forward, helping you build and develop your speed.
With an improved upper fit that moves seamlessly with a woman’s natural foot movements, this shoe naturally contours to your foot shape giving you comfort in every stride.
With so many gender differences between men’s and women’s running shoes, why would you settle for a running shoe based on a male design model? A woman’s running shoe needs to reflect the biomechanical and hormonal differences that affect the way a woman runs. ASICS has designed running shoes for women with advanced technology for the subtle differences that make a big difference. We hope this guide will help you find the best ASICS running shoe for your foot.
Shop the full collection of ASICS women’s running shoes and try our Shoe Finder Tool to see online which shoe may be your best match.