Best Women's Nike Shoes

Updated January 2021
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

51 Models Considered
18 Hours Researched
2 Experts Interviewed
78 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best women’s Nike shoes

Nike is one of the first brands that women turn to when looking for athletic shoes, and that’s no accident. Since the 1970s, Nike has been a leader in the development of athletic shoes for women, beginning with running shoes and expanding into shoes meant for aerobics, basketball, tennis, soccer, and many more activities and sports.

With so many options available in each sports and casual category, it can be a challenge to find the best women’s Nike shoes. You’ll need to consider the main purpose for your shoes, how often you’ll wear them, your stability and cushioning needs, and, of course, the look and feel of the shoes.

Our buying guide is designed to make customers familiar with the common features of women’s Nike shoes. When you’re ready to purchase a pair of athletic shoes that fits your needs and sense of style, check out our picks for the best women’s Nike shoes on the market.

women's Nike shoes1
Nike launched its first shoes made just for women runners in 1978.

Key considerations

Construction

The original Nike running shoes, first developed in the 1960s, owe their existence to a waffle iron, which was used to shape a rubber sole with a fabric upper. Construction methods have changed considerably since then – thankfully, since those early shoes rarely lasted long. These days, the build method for Nike shoes is somewhat different from many of its competitors.

While some shoe manufacturers use a high-heat vulcanization process to attach the outsole to the rest of the shoe, Nike uses a cold cement process for all of the brand’s performance shoes. That way many different types of materials can be incorporated into shoe construction that wouldn’t otherwise stand up to high heat.

Flexibility

Nike’s manufacturing process gives its shoes more flexibility. For some sports, a wearer wants this flex; in other cases, a stiffer shoe is important. For example, if you’re hiking or trail running, you may want a less flexible shoe that stabilizes your foot due to the uneven terrain.

Size and fit

All athletic shoes have minor variations in fit even with today’s standardized sizing. Nike women’s running shoes, for example, often taper downward at the toe box, which looks sleek but can irritate some runners’ feet.

Common foot and ankle considerations

Foot width and shape, common problems like overpronation (where the ankles roll inward) or supination (where the ankles roll outward), the height and weight of the wearer, and ongoing issues like bunions should be taken into consideration when picking Nike shoes.

Cushioning

If you’re going to spend a lot of time in your new Nike shoes, proper cushioning is essential. Some athletes opt for less cushioning, especially runners looking to go faster, but it’s important to find the right comfort level for your feet.

Weight

A shoe’s weight can have a measurable effect on performance, not just when running but with many other sports. Nike’s basketball shoe designs are a prime example. These shoes balance firm support and cushioning while trimming overall weight so that players can move more quickly around the court and get more height for layups and alley-oops.

A sore back or knees after a run or walk could be due to improperly fitted or worn-out shoes. Invest in a new pair of running shoes, and see a podiatrist if the problem continues.

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Features

Women’s Nike shoes are available for all kinds of activities, from performance sports to casual wear, so their features tend to vary widely. There are some common features on all Nike shoes, though.

Sole

Nike shoes often have an outsole that wraps over and covers the edge of the upper. A durable rubber sole on the very bottom of the shoe is combined with the inner cushioning during manufacturing.

Upper

The part of the shoe above the sole that covers the foot may be made of stain-resistant fabric, canvas, plastic, or leather. Often the materials are combined to optimize Nike shoes’ performance and support, and their placement varies depending on the activity.

Footbed

What your foot actually rests on inside the shoe is a shaped foam or EVA piece that is molded to match the contours of the sole of the foot. In some models, the footbed can be removed so it can dry fully between uses.

Tongue

Nike shoes almost always have padded tongues. This padding helps cushion the top of the foot – a huge benefit on long walks and runs – and keeps the tongue from sliding out of place when the shoe is laced.

Heel

The heel of women’s Nike shoes provides additional support from sole to ankle. It is much stiffer than the rest of the shoe. Padding is thickest at the heel notch.

Laces

Woven fabric laces are common on many women’s Nike shoes. They don’t slip or untie easily, they dry quickly, and they can be adjusted without much effort.

Unique designs

There’s a new Nike shoe design for every season, and the company puts out a few highly collectible shoe styles each year as well.

women's Nike shoes2
DID YOU KNOW?
The decorative fabric or plastic at the top of a Nike shoe’s tongue isn’t just for show. It keeps the tongue from drifting out of place during the manufacturing process.
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Accessories

Travel shoe bags: Zmart 3-in-1 Travel Shoe Bags
With shoe bags, travelers are glomming onto something runners have known for a long time. Storing shoes in a breathable, lightweight bag is effortless and keeps them dry and scuff-free.

Socks: Saucony Women’s Performance Heel Tab Athletic Socks
A blend of synthetic fabrics in these socks helps wick away sweat and keeps them from sliding around in shoes, preventing blisters. Socks also keep your new shoes fresh.

Sneaker cleaner kits: Jason Markk Premium Shoe Cleaner Brush and Solution
Don’t just toss Nike sneakers into the laundry. A spray-on cleaner and shoe brush may be a better bet.

Sneaker waterproofing: Clout Guard Premium Water and Stain Repellent
A sneaker-specific stain and water repellent will keep shoes looking new for much longer while making sure the materials can still breathe.

Sneaker shields: Doni Sneaker Shields
Toe creases are the bane of a sneaker fan’s life. These slim inserts keep Nike shoes from flexing as you walk, so your sneaks look fly a lot longer.

Women’s Nike shoe prices

Casual women’s Nike shoes can be found for $40 to $90, while many entry-level running shoes and performance shoes can be found at a midpoint price range of $91 to $125.

Be prepared to shell out much more for collectible and elite performance shoes for women. Prices for these Nike shoes range from $126 to $250.

It’s time to replace your women’s Nike shoes when the rubber soles begin to wear down.

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Tips

  • If you’re buying women’s Nike shoes online, use the manufacturer’s shoe fit guide to pick the correct size.
  • Choose a shoe designed specifically for the sport or task you’re doing. Running shoes aren’t a good choice for Olympic-style weightlifting, and you’ll need cleats to play soccer.
  • Nike walking shoes offer more all-around support than running shoes, with extra cushioning for comfort.
  • Nike shoes can be returned for any reason within 30 days, even if you just don’t like the way they look.
  • Many women’s Nike shoes can be customized online – for a premium – and shipped to you within weeks.
women's Nike shoes3
The app Nike Fit allows users to scan their feet using their smartphone camera and then recommends the best shoe size.

FAQ

Q. My women’s Nike running shoes arrived, and they don’t fit. Will Nike replace them?

A. If you ordered directly from Nike, you can return the shoes within 30 days for any reason as long as they are not worn outside or washed. If the shoes were purchased through another retailer, contact them for return and exchange information.

Q. What is the best way to keep Nike sneakers looking new?

A. Treat the outside of the sneakers with a spray-on stain guard. Just make sure the product allows the sneakers to breathe and that it is safe to use with the materials of your sneaker uppers. Suede and nubuck don’t always respond well to stain guards. After each wear, wipe away dirt and mud with a dry cloth. Spot clean with a damp cloth. Let your shoes air out at least overnight.

Q. I wear cotton socks when I walk, and no matter what kind of shoes I wear I get hot spots and blisters on my toes and heels. How can I stop this?

A. Cotton socks are very comfortable, but they get damp quickly and can start sliding around in your shoes as you walk. Even with perfectly fitted shoes, a little bit of movement can cause friction against the skin, leading to a blister or a hot spot. If you don’t have an allergy or aversion to synthetic materials, purchase socks that have a blend of materials that wick away sweat and that incorporate Spandex so the socks stay in place on your feet.

 

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