10 Best Nike Running Shoes For Women in 2021

Jovana Subic
Jovana Subic on
10 Best Nike Running Shoes For Women in 2021

Nike running shoes, in general, remain legends in the running world. Whether it's a daily trainer, tempo speedster, or race-day shoe, they’re all set for performance. 

In this list, we’ve gathered the best of the best among the Nike running shoes for women. We’ve tested and selected top models from various categories to cater to all runners.

How we test the best Nike running shoes for women

We don’t randomly choose the women’s Nike running shoes that make the cut. We want a data-driven decision which is why we’ve invested in our independent RunRepeat shoe testing lab. 

Each shoe on this list has been carefully examined, following these processes: 

  • Purchasing them with our own money 
  • Running in each model for at least 30-50 miles
  • Cutting them to pieces
  • Measure every part of the shoe in 30 different parameters
  • Calculate their CoreScore via combination of expert and user reviews

Best overall

Like every other runner, we love the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus. And in its 38th edition, it only gets better. 

The Nike Peg is THE workhorse among all workhorses. It’s comfortable and supportive during easy days. It can eat up miles and pick up the pace. And if you want to hit the gym, or go for a walk around town, it can do the job. 

The real star of the show is the shoe’s cushion. It’s the perfect blend of responsiveness and comfort. In our lab test, we gathered that it’s 18% softer than average midsoles. To create a peppy ride, it’s aided with the Zoom Air units. 

Nikes tend to be narrow, but not the Peg 38. It’s roomier in the front. Even better, it’s got a gusseted tongue to make lockdown a thousand percent better. 

It wouldn’t be a true Pegasus without its hallmark of durability. After 30 miles of rough wear testing, it barely has any scratch. 

For only $120, the Nike Pegasus 38 is the archetype of great value. It’s second to none as a workhorse. And of all the Nike shoes we’ve tested, nothing comes close to the Peg.

See our full review and facts

Want to bounce through your strides? Then lace up the Nike ZoomX Invincible Run. 

It’s not your regular daily trainer. Engineered with Nike’s premium foam - the ZoomX - the Invincible Run is here to step up your game.  

It’s crazy bouncy, we felt like we were walking on trampolines. What’s more is it’s insanely cushy. It’s even 47% softer than the average foams (in our lab test). 

At 9.65 oz (vs. 9.8 oz average), the Invincible is not the lightest trainer we’ve put on. But with all the responsiveness and pep it brings, it almost seemed like we had nothing on.

With all the bounce you get, the shoe can feel a tad unstable, especially during sharp turns. That said, strong feet and ankles are definitely a must in the Invincible Run. 

If you want to have the most fun in your training, there’s nothing better than the Nike ZoomX Invincible Run.

See our full review and facts

Best for race

Want to set record-breaking PBs? Of all the racers we’ve tried from Nike, the ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT% 2 is the absolute best. 

With its combination of a snappy carbon-fiber plate and extremely responsive ZoomX foam, the Vaporfly will launch you forward. And like a true speedster, it kept us up on our toes, powering a propulsive ride. 

Of course, it wouldn’t be a full-fledged speed devil without lightness. In the entire history of running shoes, the Nike Vaporfly NEXT% 2 remains one of the lightest. 

At 6.9 oz, it’s not only light on paper. It’s also unbelievably light on foot. It felt like we had nothing on. 

Overall, the Nike ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT% 2 is not just the best racer among Nike shoes. It’s among the best of the best in the world of racing flats.

See our full review and facts

If you want to run like Eliud Kipchoge and set a sub 2-hour marathon record, the Nike Air Zoom Alphafly Next% won’t let you down. 

It’s filled with some of Nike’s most advanced technologies, and it paced us without fail. The carbon plate and the Zoom Air pods work together to create a crazy fast ride. Once we put on, it pushed us to bolt through the blocks. 

As a racing flat, we weren’t expecting it to be comfortable. But of course, the Alphafly took our breath away. With all the bounce it gives comes pillow-like softness. 

Although it’s a max version of the Vaporfly, the Alphafly Next% remains featherlight. It’s even 16% lighter than all the shoes we’ve tested.

See our full review and facts

Best for trail

We can’t get enough of the Nike Pegasus series, we needed one for the trails. And if we had to choose the cream of the crop, the Nike Pegasus Trail 3 is a no-brainer. 

What stood out to us was the shoe’s unmatched comfort. It didn’t feel like a trail shoe at all. It’s cushiness could almost pass as a road shoe. Even better, it’s one heck of a stable runner. 

With a wide base (116mm in the forefoot and 92.6mm in the heel), it’s hard to lose your step in the Peg Trail 3. 

Like a true Pegasus, it’s built tough. With its solid outsole (86HC hard vs. the average 79.2HC), it can take a beating. We’re even confident it can go beyond 500 miles. 

And if you don’t want to switch gears for your walks in the park, you can rely on this shoe. 

Ultimately, the Nike Pegasus Trail 3 breaks the mold of stiff trail runners. Even better, it retains the tried-and-true features of the Pegasus that will definitely up your running performance.

See our full review and facts

Designed to help runners get through rough and rugged terrains with confidence, the Nike Wildhorse 7 ticked all our boxes as an excellent trailblazer. 

Confident isn’t even enough to describe our experience in the wildhorse. On dirt roads, rocky trails, soft grounds, and branches, it clung like claws. From the first step down to the last, we were surefooted as hell. 

Keeping sharp rocks and roots at bay is the shoe’s trusty rock plate. If protection is what you’re after, the Wildhorse won’t disappoint. 

Our strides were even more secure, thanks to the shoe’s supportive upper. It’s snug, our feet never slid out of the shoe. Even when cornering, we never had any slips. 

The Nike Wildhorse 7 may not be as comfortable as the Pegasus Trail 3. But if you’re looking for a well-rounded trail beast and trailblazer, this shoe will deliver with flying colors. It will allow you to focus on the trail ahead, instead of the ground below.

See our full review and facts

Best for speedwork

The Nike Air Zoom Tempo Next% isn’t just fast. It made us go the distance. 

Although it’s made for speed, it’s not dense and uncomfortable. We didn’t even have to break it in. When we laced it up, we clocked up 13 miles in one session! Even more, our feet and legs didn’t need recovery after. 

And with its thin upper, our feet remained cool and dry. Even after serious miles, they never ended up sweaty or wet. We enjoyed every bit of the breezy feel in the Tempo Next%. 

Speed is owed to the shoe’s springy cushion. Its bounce made our strides come to life, making it easy to push the pace. 

Everything about the Nike Tempo Next% is built for the long haul. It can run high-mileage efforts and it can last a long time. After 100 miles of hammering, the shoe remains free from wear and tear.

See our full review and facts

If you want to feel like flying, we can’t recommend the Nike Zoom Fly 3 enough. Although it’s a more modest version of its elite racing sibling - the Vaporfly - its performance is nowhere near modest. 

The Zoom Fly doesn’t hold back on speed-ready features. Loaded with a carbon plate, be ready for takeoff when you lace it up. Even better, it helps stabilize your ride for a slip-free performance. 

What surprised us was the shoe’s versatility. As a speed monster, it shines in tempo training. But when we put it through long distances (10k), it proved itself a capable contender in marathons. 

Definitely buy the Nike Zoom Fly 3 if you don’t want to commit to the Vaporfly yet but want a glimpse of it.

See our full review and facts

Best budget shoe

For only $90, the Nike Air Zoom Winflo 8 doesn’t cut corners on comfort. What’s more is it’s got the makings of the advanced running shoes on the market. 

Its foam is so plush and cushy, our feet and legs never felt beat up even after logging serious miles on the road. We can even wear it all day long. 

When faced with sharp turns, the Winflo keeps each stride steady and anchored. Even better, it can go far. 

It’s so light, you don’t have to push it. And it’s breathable too. Even under 80-degree weather, it remained airy. 

It may not have a lot of frills, but the Nike Air Zoom Winflo 8 is ready to take the streets. It's sleek and simple style is enough to catch attention from lookers.

See our full review and facts

The Nike Downshifter 11 is everything a beginner needs at a budget-friendly price. At $60, it does what most expensive shoes couldn’t. 

The Downshifter is a versatile running shoe. From daily runs, gym sessions, and walks, this is our go-to. Even better, it’s a comfortable and light shoe for all these activities. 

Comfort aside, stability is what makes this shoe a no-brainer for newbies. Although it’s a neutral shoe, it sits on a wide platform (97.8mm on the forefoot and 74.8mm in the heel). Not once did we feel tippy nor did we lose our step in this shoe. 

It may not be as peppy as other daily trainers on the market, but it was never designed for that. It’s a running shoe that’s intended to make your strides feel as natural and comfortable as possible with its flexible and soft midsole. 

Made with a copious amount of padding, the Nike Downshifter 11 remains light and breathable. At 8.8 oz, it’s lighter than most daily running shoes on our roster (9.4 oz average in our lab tests). Even better, it’s cool and airy even under hot weather.

See our full review and facts
Author
Jovana Subic
Jovana Subic

Whether it's a vertical kilometre or an ultra, climbing in the Alps or exploring local mountains, Jovana uses every opportunity to trade walls and concrete for forests and trails. She logs at least 10h/week on trails, with no off-season, and 4x more on research on running and running shoes. With a background in physics and engineering management, she prefers her running spiced with data.