But while it might be tempting to reach for your trusty running shoes for every type of training, the fact is that they simply may not provide the support you’ll need.
Running footwear is specifically designed to support forward motion, but many gym workouts will involve lateral movement, or – for lifting – require greater stability than a running shoe can offer.
So in this article, I’m going to take a look at the 10 best gym shoes for women, and the types of workouts to which they’re most suited.
I’ll include the basic specs for each pair and the reasons I recommend them.
But before we get started, let’s run through the main features to look for when choosing shoes for your gym workouts.
The 10 Best Gym Shoes For Women In 2023
1. Best for Spin Classes: TIEM Slipstream Indoor Cycling Shoes
2. Perfect For The Treadmill: Brooks Ghost 15 Neutral Running Shoe
3. Best for Cross Training: adidas Dropset Trainers
4. Best Gym Shoes For Women Who Overpronate: ASICS Gel-Kayano 28
5. Great for Walking: Hoka Clifton 9
6. Best Gym Shoes For Women Needing Versatility: On Cloud X3
7. Best Gym Shoes For Women On A Budget: Under Armour Charged Assert 9
8. Best For Cardio Workouts: Rykä Vivid RZX
9. Best Gym Shoes For Women Who Lift: Inov-8 F-Lite G 300
10. Best Gym Shoes For Women Overall: Nike Metcon 8 Training Shoes
What to Look for in Gym Shoes
First, consider the type of training you’ll be doing regularly.
For plyometric workouts that involve a lot of explosive movements, you’ll need durable shoes with plenty of flexibility and lateral support.
If you like to switch up your routine, a good cross-training shoe might be the best option, as these are designed to support a wider range of movements and accommodate different types of workouts.
Other things to think about include:
The level of cushioning you’ll need varies between activities.
For strength training, you’ll require very little cushioning, as stability is the priority.
But for high-impact activities like running and jumping, look for shoes with responsive cushioning to absorb the shock of impact and protect your joints from stress.
Less important for shoes used in strength training, good traction is vital if your workouts involve rapid movements on slick floors (aerobic dance, for example).
To prevent injury, look for shoes with rubber outsoles featuring textured patterns or lugs to provide plenty of grip.
Did you know that your feet can swell anywhere from a half to a full size when you work out?
This means you need shoes with a bit of wiggle room, ideally with a gap of around half an inch from the end of your longest toe to the end of the shoe.
The toebox should be wide enough to give your feet room to spread out, too, especially if you plan to lift weights and need to splay your toes for balance and stability.
The 10 best Gym shoes for Women
#1. Best for Spin Classes:
Weight: 10.6 oz, Sizes: 5-12, Widths: Standard
|SPD cleat compatibility||Cleats must be bought separately|
|Simple slip-on design||A touch snug for wider feet|
|Comfortable EVA midsoles for off-bike wear||No arch support|
The best gym shoes for women who love indoor cycling, TIEM’s Slipstream shoes are very comfortable, with a single-strap closure system for easy on/off, and a soft, breathable mesh toebox to keep you cool during the toughest classes.
The real highlight, though, is the recessed cleat assembly, which means you can jump off your bike and go straight to another class without changing your shoes!
#2. Perfect for the Treadmill:
Weight: 8.8 oz, Sizes: 5-13, Widths: Narrow, Standard, Wide
|Stable feel||Padded upper can feel slightly warm|
|Highly cushioned but flexible||Tongue is not gusseted|
|Huge range of colors|
These are the best gym shoes for women who enjoy treadmill workouts, with neutral support and lightweight, energizing cushioning to absorb impact and help you power through the miles.
The soft midsole and segmented crash pad ensure easy transitions from landing to toe-off, while the engineered mesh upper features generous padding on the heel tab, collar, and tongue.
#3. Best for Cross Training:
Weight: Not Stated, Sizes: 5-15.5, Widths: Standard
|Roomy toebox allows you to splay your toes with ease||Not ideal for rope climbing|
|Dual density midsole for versatility|
Designed to perform well during strength, mobility, and agility workouts, these are some of the best women’s gym shoes I tried, with a stiffer heel for stability and soft forefoot for flexibility when you need it.
They’re environmentally friendly, too – with at least 50% of the upper made from recycled materials – and I like the additional layers that add durability and protection from friction in key areas.
#4. Best Gym Shoes for Women who Overpronate:
Weight: 9.1 oz, Sizes: 5-12, Widths: Narrow, Standard, Wide
|Great support with no medial post||Heel is a little shallow|
|Responsive midsole||Can feel a bit warm for extended workouts|
|Durable AHAR Plus Outsole|
If you have flat feet, you’ll love the firm foam arch support in these popular shoes that provides unmatched stability for smoother movements in the gym.
I also found the rearfoot and forefoot gel cushioning very effective in absorbing impact and protecting my joints.
Flexible and breathable, they feature a super-thick padded tongue and a 4.9mm thick Ortholite insert for a comfortable feel under foot.
#5. Great for Walking:
Weight: 7.3 oz, Sizes: 5-12, Widths: Standard, Wide
|Durable, flexible rubber outsole||None!|
|Flared Achilles tab to prevent irritation|
I’ve chosen these as the best gym shoes for women who regularly walk on the treadmill because they are incredibly well-cushioned yet lightweight enough to see you comfortably through many miles.
I’m also a big fan of Hoka’s early-stage Meta-Rocker technology in the sole which supports forward motion and allows for smooth, fast transitions from heel to forefoot.
#6. Best Gym Shoes for Women Needing Versatility:
Weight: 7.1 oz, Sizes: 5-11, Widths: Standard
|Good lateral support||Unsuitable for heavy lifting|
|3 layer mesh upper for breathability||Slightly narrow fit|
|Wide platform for stability|
If you only want to buy one pair of shoes for almost all your gym workouts, then I seriously recommend checking out the Cloud X3 from Swiss brand On!
I found they performed well on the treadmill, gave me the flexibility I needed for HIIT workouts, and the stability for body-weight strength training and light-to-moderate lifting.
They are also exceptionally lightweight and look pretty good, too, making them ideal for use as a daily trainer both inside and outside the gym.
#7. Best Gym Shoes for Women on a Budget:
Weight: 8.15 oz, Sizes: 5-12, Widths: Standard, Wide
|Mesh upper with leather overlays for stability||Could be more breathable|
|Soft, comfortable EVA sockliner||Heel collar may rub|
|Outsole reinforced with rubber in key areas for durability and flexibility|
I wasn’t hopeful of finding a budget-friendly shoe versatile enough for a range of activities in the gym, so Under Armour’s Charged Assert 9 came as a nice surprise.
It features the brand’s ‘Charged Cushioning’ for superb shock absorption, feels flexible during agility workouts, and stable enough for some light lifting, too.
I also found the toebox comfortably roomy, allowing my toes to splay when jumping and for balance during strength workouts.
#8. Best for Cardio Workouts:
Weight: 8.4 oz , Sizes: 5-12, Widths: Standard, Wide
|Nice choice of colors||Could use a little more cushioning|
|Grippy outsole with flex grooves|
These are flexible, lightweight, and supportive, making them some of the best gym shoes for women who enjoy aerobic or dance-style workouts involving pivoting and lateral movements.
What’s more – unlike some women’s shoes that are simply sized down versions of men’s – Rykä shoes are specifically engineered for the unique shape, muscle movement, and build of a woman’s foot.
#9. Best Gym Shoes for Women Who Lift:
Weight: 10.5 oz , Sizes: 6.5-11, Widths: Standard
|Sock-like fit||May need to size down if your feet are narrow|
|Graphene-enhanced sole for durability|
|Comfortably wide forefoot|
The Graphene Powerheel in the F-Lite G 300s provides the stable foundation you need when lifting heavy, which is where they shine and why they were my top pick in this category.
But I found them great all-rounders, too – they provide 360° midfoot protection against abrasion for rope climbing, have a fantastically grippy outsole for fast-paced workouts, and a wrap-around cage that provides the support you need during lateral movements.
#10. Best Gym Shoes for Women Overall:
Weight: 12.4 oz , Sizes: 5-12.5, Widths: Standard
|Perfect combination of stability and flexibility||Fit is slightly narrow|
|Lightweight mesh upper with textured overlays for durability||Unsuitable for running|
|Option to customize your design|
Its name a combination of the words ‘metabolic’ and ‘conditioning’, the fabulous Metcon 8 has it all – a wide, flat heel to evenly distribute your weight for strength-based moves, plenty of flexion for cardio intervals, and responsive Nike React foam cushioning to absorb shock.
It’s also grippy from every angle, with rubber wrapping around your arch for rope climbs and rubber tread for excellent traction.
I love the handy extra details, too, including the lace lock system to stop you from tripping and the handstand clip at the heel to minimize drag during wall exercises.
The best Gym Shoes for Women: Key Takeaways
Choosing the best gym shoes for your needs really depends on the type of activity you prefer, whether it’s indoor cycling, weightlifting, aerobic training, or a combination of them all!
I hope you’ve found this guide useful in picking suitable shoes for your gym workouts and that you enjoy a boost to your comfort and performance when you put them through their paces!