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The 7 Best Marathon Running Shoes – [2020 Reviews]

Running a marathon is no easy feat, even for the most experienced runners. Having the proper shoe is absolutely crucial to starting out on the right foot and being successful.

A good shoe will help improve your time and make for a more comfortable run.

To help you find a pair of the top women’s marathon running shoes we have researched all the top brands and models to make your choice easy.

We know you’re eager to start, so let’s not waste any time!

Best Women’s Marathon Running Shoes

 HOKA ONE ONE Arahi 2 Running ShoeBrooks Glycerin 16 Running ShoeSaucony Ride ISO 2 Running Shoe
editorschoice
Uppers:Mesh/FabricMeshFabric
Sizes:5.5 - 125.5 - 115 - 12
Colors:659
Features:Plush internal stretch bootie, extremely flexibleExcellent cushion and comfortGreat shock absorption and energy transfer

Quick Answer: The 7 Best Women’s Marathon Running Shoes

  1. HOKA ONE ONE Women’s Arahi 2 Running Shoe
  2. Brooks Women’s Glycerin 16 Road Running Shoe
  3. Saucony Women’s Ride ISO 2 Running Shoe
  4. Adidas Women’s Adizero Boston 7 Running Shoe
  5. ASICS Women’s GEL-Venture 5 Running Shoe
  6. Adidas Women’s Adizero Tempo 9 Running Shoe
  7. ALTRA Women’s ALW1923G Kayenta Road Running Shoe

Our reviews to the top rated women’s marathon running shoes with our comparison table and buyers guide will help you choose the right pair of shoes for you.


Women’s Marathon Running Shoes Reviews

First on our guide is the Hoka One One Women’s Arahi 2 Running Shoe, which is a very unique model perfect if you tend to overpronate.

Blending lightweight cushioning with support and stability, if you typically have issues with being wobbly, this should be your new go-to. Let’s take a good look at what else they have to offer.

The colorways offer unique combinations like Liberty/Fuchsia, Aquifer/Sea Angel, Steel/Gray Metal and more.

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The upper is made of a tight-knit mesh and they do look quite stripe-y and interesting but get the job done well. While it’s extremely breathable it’s definitely not recommended for wet runs as it lets the moisture run right through.

Once you put them on, you can see how the midsole works to kind of rock you forward close to the heel The heel is a bit roomier than what you may need if you have narrow feet.

However, you can typically adjust this well enough through keeping the laces snug. The sole is made up of a durable rubber which is made to hold up against abrasion very well.

You’ll also find some EVA foam that wraps around the rear portion of the foot, absorbing shock with ease.

 

HOKA ONE ONE Women’s Arahi 2 Running Shoe at a Glance:

  • Sizes: 5.5 – 12
  • Colors: 5
  • Features: Plush internal stretch bootie, extremely flexible
  • Rating: 4.4 / 5.0

Brooks Women's Glycerin 16 Marathon Running Shoe

Comfort is important, though many of us have sacrificed it at least once in our lives because we thought it was impossible to find a shoe that fit us perfectly.

The Brooks Glycerin 16 Running Shoe will make this a non-issue, thanks to the simple yet ultra-comfy design. They’re a shoe that you won’t feel like taking off, even after a long run.

This is another plush option, offering an indulgent ride that will provide extra cushion and support even through the most grueling runs.

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It offers so much cushion in fact, that we found it impossible discovering a shoe that could match it in that regard.

While this does make it a bit heavier, it’s worth it for many runners who need adequate impact absorption and comfort. The high energy return more than evens it out, too, making your strides smoother and quicker.

If that weren’t enough, they also have precision-designed transition zones in the midsole, made to make your runs more natural-feeling.

The outsoles match their performance, maintaining reliability even on slippery, wet surfaces and even some trails! This is thanks to the deep tread and sturdiness that will allow you to run with complete confidence.

Finally, an internal sockliner wraps around your foot to give a customized and cozy feel. The toe box is just roomy enough while the mesh upper offers flexibility and excellent breathability and protection.

 

Brooks Women’s Glycerin 16 Road Running Shoe at a Glance:

  • Sizes: 5.5 – 11
  • Colors: 5
  • Features: Excellent cushion and comfort
  • Rating: 4.0 / 5.0

While the others thus far have been great for overpronation, the Saucony Women’s Ride ISO 2 Running Shoe is perfect for underpronation or “supination”.

Saucony is known for delivering in terms of performance, comfort and quality, and this model is no exception. Coming in beautiful colors like Coral/Blue, Black/Gold, Blackout and more you’ll want to wear these everywhere!

However, the attractive shoe is about much more than just the visual aspect.

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The upper is made of mesh, hugging the foot snug enough to keep it on securely but never too tight. When you slide them on, you’ll notice just enough stretch to allow for completely unrestricted motion.

In addition, it allows for excellent airflow that will keep your feet cool the entire time. The toebox didn’t disappoint either, offering the perfect balance of structure and stretch.

The PWRFOAM midsole is very soft and smooth, offering a reliable and lasting comfort that is perfect if you end up having sore feet after your runs normally.

Made to adapt to both the shape and movement of your feet, it actually works with you instead of against you. This will create a more fluid stride which will allow you to use less energy while running.

 

Saucony Women’s Ride ISO 2 Running Shoe at a Glance:

  • Sizes: 5 – 12
  • Colors: 9
  • Features: Great shock absorption and energy transfer
  • Rating: 4.7 / 5.0

Adidas is without argument one of the most well-known and successful sportswear brands in the world. Consistently delivering in quality and appearance, it’s no wonder why.

Despite the wide selection of offerings, their Adizero Boston 7 is still one of the most notable models in their catalog, perfect for keeping light on your feet.

Weighing in at a mere 7 ounces, the airy pair is ideal for marathons as well as training on firm or soft ground.

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They’re quite versatile, though we wouldn’t recommend them for heavy trail running as the fabric and structure isn’t quite tough enough for that.

The air mesh upper offers quite possibly the most breathability we’ve experienced in a marathon shoe, made to ensure you’re running at your fastest possible.

To accomplish this, you also need the right fit, which the textile upper provides. Snug yet never uncomfortable, we do recommend going a half size up due to the Microfit design.

Keeping comfort consistent, Boost cushioning is built in, creating excellent energy transfer and impact absorption. This will keep your feet, ankles, and knees feeling more refreshed which will allow for optimized performance.

Finally, the Stretchweb outsole flexes naturally, while the Continental Rubber offers a great amount of traction on most surfaces.

While it is just a bit more expensive than most others on our guide, the level of quality the pair provides is almost unmatched at this price point.

 

Adidas Women’s Adizero Boston 7 Running Shoe at a Glance:

  • Sizes: 4.5 – 12
  • Colors: 7
  • Features: Lightweight, breathable, responsive cushioning
  • Rating: 4.6 / 5.0

If you’re someone who tends to enjoy trail running shoes more, whether that be the feel or looks, then you’ll definitely want to take a look at the ASICS Women’s GEL-Venture 5 Running Shoe.

Right away, you can see that they look more rugged and sturdy, which they are. If you plan on putting them through a great amount of abuse, you can use these confidently without worry they’ll break down on you.

Coming in an array of interesting color options like Pistachio, Pink Glow, Diva Pink, Aluminum, Aqua Mint and much more, they’re definitely personality statements too.

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If you’re more a fan of minimal looks, you may want to opt for our next product. The 100% synthetic upper is made to last, offering a good amount of breathability and an excellent amount of structure.

They’re perfect for use on trails, slippery roads, in the rain, and more. The rugged neutral runner comes with an outsole made specifically for the trails in terms of resistance to abrasion and multi-surface traction.

Even if you’re running on rocky surfaces, you’ll find that the rubber outsole still stays looking new.

A removable foam sockliner feels cushy and lux, but also works to accommodate orthotics to ensure your feet and body are performing their best.

The GEL cushioning system is what the line is known for, absorbing impact with no problem while offering just the right amount of plushiness.

 

ASICS Women’s GEL-Venture 5 Running Shoe at a Glance:

  • Sizes: 6 – 11
  • Colors: 10
  • Features: Cushy GEL system, resistant soles perfect for trails
  • Rating: 4.3 / 5.0

We’re bringing you yet another Adidas Women’s Adizero model, but this time we’re going with the Tempo 9.

As you can imagine, it draws quite a few similarities to our aforementioned design but comes with notable differences. Offering a slightly more rugged appearance, it’s great if you’re particularly hard on your shoes.

As far as appearance goes, you get a good selection of more classic colors to choose from, along with a more traditional sporty style.

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Made of textile and synthetic materials, the mesh upper is very breathable and just a bit heavier than the other model.

The stabilizing Torsion system is an amazing addition if you find you’re just a bit wobbly when you reach higher speeds, allowing you to run with more confidence and precision.

The Microfit locks down the foot to aid in this, which some may find just a bit too snug if they’re not used to this already. Once again, if you think that will be an issue, you can simply go a half size up.

The Stretchweb outsole also offers natural traction which means better energy transfer and a smoother gait for less fatigue and more speed.

Firm cushioning on the medial side offers more guidance so you can work less while achieving more.

 

Adidas Women’s Adizero Tempo 9 Running Shoe at a Glance:

  • Sizes: 4.5 – 12
  • Colors: 10
  • Features: Lightweight, snug fit, great energy transfer
  • Rating: 4.2 / 5.0

The Altra AFW1923G Women’s Kayenta Running Shoe is an extraordinary addition to the market, carving out a special pocket for itself thanks to the unique design and supreme performance it delivers.

With Fit4Her technology, they’re specifically made to fit the female foot and work with your body naturally. The road shoe works with various types of feet in terms of both volume and shape, sure to make it one of your new favorites.

Coming in either Gray/Blue, Blue, or Plum, you don’t have a lot of colors to choose from but the offerings they do have look nice and go with just about anything.

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The overall appearance is very minimal and simple, also making them a great option to wear around the city if you’re looking for comfort.

The two-layer upper construction is very light and soft, made to stretch and form to the individual shape of your feet. However, it is just thick enough that you can tell it’s made to last with regular use.

The contoured footbed is incredibly comfortable and offers a well-cushioned base for you to push off from. The Max-LT midsole improves the experience by being so responsive and supportive, creating smooth transitions each time.

On the outsole, you’ll find cool rubber pods which not only looks interesting and adds to the visual design but makes it even tougher and extends the life of the shoe.

 

ALTRA Women’s ALW1923G Kayenta Road Running Shoe at a Glance:

  • Sizes: 5.5 – 12
  • Colors: 3
  • Features: Ergonomic design made for women’s feet
  • Rating: 4.5 / 5.0

Women’s Marathon Running Shoes Comparison Table

Marathon Running Shoes SizesColorsFeaturesRating
HOKA ONE ONE Women's Arahi 2 Running Shoe5.5 - 126Plush internal stretch bootie, extremely flexible4.4 / 5.0
Brooks Women's Glycerin 16 Running Shoe5.5 - 115Excellent cushion and comfort4.0 / 5.0
Saucony Women's Ride ISO 2 Running Shoe5 - 129Great shock absorption and energy transfer4.7 / 5.0
Adidas Women's Adizero Boston 7 Shoe4.5 - 127Lightweight, breathable, responsive cushioning4.6 / 5.0
ASICS Women's GEL-Venture 5 Running Shoe6 - 1110Cushy GEL system, resistant soles perfect for trails4.3 / 5.0
Adidas Adizero Tempo 9 Running Shoe4.5 - 1210Lightweight, snug fit, great energy transfer4.2 / 5.0
ALTRA Women's Kayenta Running Shoe5.5 - 123Ergonomic design made for women's feet4.5 / 5.0

How to Choose a Pair of Women’s Marathon Running Shoes – Buying Guide

best women's marathon running shoes

Even if you have extensive experience with marathon running, there’s always the chance you could find a better shoe for you and your needs.

If you’re not quite sure what you should be looking for or would just like some reassurance, then we’re here to hel. That’s why we’ve decided to take it upon ourselves to create the following in-depth buying guide.

This guide will hopefully answer any questions or doubts you may have, leading you to select the best pair of shoes for you and your goals.

Breathability

No one wants to keep running when their feet are feeling sweaty and uncomfortable. Not only that, but they can make the fit a bit off while increasing your chances of chafing and blisters.

With that, you should obviously aim for your feet to be dry and cool the entire time. Look for an upper that is made of mesh to give you a great amount of airflow and to let moisture escape.

This also helps to prevent foul odors and lower the chance of bacteria growing.

Protection

While mesh is definitely desirable in a marathon shoe, there needs to be a balance between breathability and protection. If the shoes are pure mesh, then they’re going to leave your feet vulnerable to bruising and injury. However, there are also different types of mesh.

The material in our products listed above is generally much more durable, and more tightly knit to offer more structure and support. You should make sure it’s snug to your foot so that no pebbles or other items get inside, also creating a more stable environment for you.

A reinforced toe will keep your toes safe from unsuspecting rocks or curbs, and solid soles won’t let anything puncture it. As you will most likely end up encountering water in some way or another, it’s important you also look for those resistant to moisture.

Flexibility

Flexibility is one of the most important aspects in any running shoe. The pair should stretch and move with your feet all the way from the beginning to the end of each movement.

Restriction won’t allow you to run with complete confidence which will negatively affect your gait and cause you to exert more energy than necessary. The more flexible it is, the more naturally your feet will move.

Traction/Grip

Marathon running often requires you to run on a variety of different surfaces, so it’s important to be prepared for anything that comes your way.

You want to have a shoe that will be sticky and grippy enough that you can run easily on slippery, wet conditions yet will keep you on your feet on rougher terrain and trails.

This isn’t crucial just in terms of performance and speed, but also in regards to preventing you from losing your balance and possible injuries. Deep treads are ideal for this, as they provide a sturdy sole that will keep you exactly where you need to be.

Cushioning

Cushioning involves a very delicate balance of materials to bring you a shoe that offers comfort, protection, and support. While more cushion may seem like the way to go, when it comes to marathon running shoes you don’t want too much.

You want a certain level of strength and sturdiness to keep you quick on your feet, without weighing you down or being clunky. If you’re running on a hard surface, you may notice that you’re striking quite hard on your heels, so added EVA foam to support your gait will help absorb extra impact and keep you feeling fresh.

Midsole

his kind of ties in with our last point, but is still a slightly different consideration to take. Midsoles found on the products on our guide are almost always comprised of an EVA foam.

This is due to the properties it has, keeping it ultra-lightweight while offering smoothness and a long life. Not only should the midsole offer a smoother transition and protection, but protect your arches as well. To receive adequate protection, you must know the kind of arches you have!

Foot Type

If you are already dealing with some kind of foot issues or discomfort, it’s a wise idea to first speak with a podiatrist or general physician before you decide on a pair.

The reason being, if you pick the wrong ones for your foot type they can make your situation worse and even cause injury. Regardless, it’s important to purchase the shoes that suit your arches best.

Normal: This is what most runners are going to have, thus most shoes are going to suit you well. The arches are of medium height, and require very little arch support.

Flat Feet: That’s not to say a good portion of runners don’t have flat feet. This means you either have a very small or no arch, which can be painful without correct support. This can also cause overpronation oftentimes, when your feet roll inwards while running. In these cases, look for a model that offers extra support and cushioning.

High Arches: High arches probably require the most care of the bunch, as running can cause high arches to fall over time. This means that you need extra arch support, cushion to absorb shock, and high flexibility in the forefoot.

Price

How much are you willing to spend on a good pair of marathon running shoes for women? If you go up in price it’s not an absolute guarantee on better quality, but many times this is the case.

You can count on the materials being more comfortable and durable when you spend more frequently, but we can assure you that no matter what your budget is, we have a great option on our guide for you.

FAQs About Marathon Running Shoes

Q: Is it normal to feel extra sore the first time after wearing my new shoes

A: Yes, this is actually something you can expect the first few times. It may be a wise idea to start out breaking them in by wearing them around your house, then moving to walking a mile or so, and graduating to jogging and running after your body is acclimated.

Q: Are trail shoes okay to use for marathons?

A: That depends; sometimes trail shoes are much too bulky and heavy for marathon use and can hinder your gait and speed. However, if it has a lower profile and is lightweight, then there should be no issue.

Q: How lightweight should my shoes be?

A: You should get them as light as possible while still offering protection and structure. Usually somewhere around 7-8 ounces is the sweet spot, but this also depends on your own personal tastes.

Q: How often do marathon runners change their shoes?

It’s a smart idea to replace your shoes every 400 miles, maximum. Of course, you may need to do this sooner or later than this, depending on how much you weigh, where you’re running, and your running style among other factors. For example, if you’re running on tougher/gravelly surfaces and have a higher body weight, you’ll need to replace them quicker than if you were running on soft surfaces and weigh less.

Q: How long should you break in running shoes?

You should increase the amount of time and increase the intensity of the activity while wearing them for anywhere from 2 to 3 weeks.

Q: How do marathon runners avoid blisters?

More than anything, you need to make sure that you have a proper fit with your shoes. There shouldn’t be any “hot spots” or areas that cause you discomfort. Next, choose the right socks that move moisture away from the skin. Your feet should be hydrated though, as dry skin is easier to crack and irritate. You can even choose to coat your feet with a lubricant like Vaseline before putting on your socks.

Tips For Choosing Women’s Marathon Running Shoes

#1: Remember to replace your shoes based on mileage, not how they look

If we were to just go off of looks, there are many models that would last us for years and years. This is a common misconception so you’re not the only one if you weren’t already aware. After you run between 300 to 500 miles, it’s necessary to replace your shoes. Once you reach this mileage, they’re not going to provide you with the same level of support and protection that they would originally due to the materials getting compressed and breaking down.

#2: Remember that a shoe won’t suddenly improve your skill level.

This can only be done through practice, proper training, nutrition and avoiding injury. However, having the correct shoes will give you a better chance at improving your form, minimizing injury and helping to keep your gait and posture at its best. They can also help to provide smoother movement which will also keep you from exerting less energy and ensure you feel less fatigue.

#3: It’s okay to make an investment.

These shoes may cost more than you typically spend, but keep in mind that they’re going to be more than worth it. The materials are going to be higher quality, and they’re going to offer a level of comfort and performance you just won’t get in cheaper models.

Final Thoughts

Now that you’re practically an expert in women’s marathon running shoes, which pair is the one for you and your sports goals? No matter which model you select, know that you’re getting one of the top pairs on the market today.

However, what’s most important is that you select the perfect pair for your individual needs and your body. We hope that our guide has helped you do exactly that. Thanks for tuning in, and we’ll see you again soon. Happy running!

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Value

The HOKA ONE ONE Womens Arahi 2 are our Editor's Choice for the best women’s marathon running shoes with their combination of comfort, support and value.

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