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The best women's trainers for any occasion

Whether you’re on the hunt for the comfiest workout trainer or you’re searching for the perfect wear-with-everything pair, here’s our roundup of the best trainers for women – as chosen by Mumsnetters.

By Tammy Jacks | Last updated Dec 18, 2023

Women's trainers

From shopping trips to gym classes, work meetings and park visits, there’s no doubt that mums are always on the go. It comes as no surprise then that a pair of trusty trainers are a much-needed staple in our wardrobes. And, as the seasons change away from summer dresses and shorts into winter coats and cosy loungewear, we welcome the one fail-proof footwear option that always goes with everything.

If you’re on the hunt for new on-trend fashion trainers or need to replace your old walking trainers with a new pair that you can also wear to the gym, you’re in luck. We found the best women’s trainers available right now, thanks to tried-and-tested recommendations from the Mumsnet forums. Plus, we scrutinised countless online reviews and did plenty of independent research to come up with our top 15.

Here are the best women’s trainers for 2021.

Best casual women's trainers 

1. Black Nike Air Max Thea

Nike Air Max Thea

Price: £77.53 | Buy now from Amazon

"Ridiculously comfortable, very lightweight, and almost have a springy feeling!" MsBojangles

Sleek and stylish, these black Nike Air Max are a throwback to 90s classics and yet somehow manage to look utterly contemporary. They will go with anything – a skirt, dress, leggings or jeans – and their black mesh no-sew overlay, plus slightly raised heel keeps them light and stable.

While reviewer's report that they're extremely comfortable, they don't offer great arch support for those who need it and aren't ideal for long-distance walking or running.

But the good news is that these trainers are quick to clean with soapy water and an old toothbrush and dry easily without stains, making them durable and long-wearing.

2. Vans Women’s Range Exp Sneaker

Vans sneakers

Price: From £62.40 | Buy now from Amazon

"I wear them because they're comfortable and fashionable, and go with pretty much any casual clothes." TheTruthAboutLove

Classic, and with a nostalgic touch of 90s grunge, the Vans Exp Sneakers are a crucial part of many Mumsnetters' off-duty wardrobe. With padded collars for a bit of ankle support and reinforced toe caps for longevity, they're sturdy enough to withstand whatever you throw at them. The shoes are also fitted with Ortholite Sockliners for additional cushioning and protection in colder weather.

Read next: The best trampolines, according to Mumsnetters

3. Onitsuka Tiger Mexico 66

Onitsuka trainers

Price: From £65 | Buy now from Amazon

“I absolutely adore my Onitsuka Tigers. They are supremely comfortable, stylish and, crucially, not embarrassing.” cingolimama

“My Onitsuka Tigers are easily the best trainers I've ever owned. Comfortable and quietly stylish.” MsJuniper

These Onitsuka Tiger trainers are chic yet understated, and comfy without being clumpy. With a cushioned sole, arch support insoles for support and a thicker heel for shock absorption, they're suitable to wear all day (and all night). And, best of all, the style is unisex making them ideal if you struggle to find your size in most women's ranges but still want a neat, slightly narrower shoe.

Best women's fashion trainers

4. Ash Womens Virgin Leather Trainers

Ash Virgins trainers

Price: £125.01 | Buy now from Amazon

“I might be very late to the party, but I've been coveting a pair of Ash Virgins for the last three years. I'm super pleased with them and they are so comfy, I've worn them every single day since I've had them.” Ellapaella

Who says grey trainers are dull? Not fans of Ash Virgins, that's for sure. If you want something comfortable and sporty that doesn't compromise your sense of style, then these trainers in soft leather may be for you.

Made with hardwearing rubber soles for grip and traction, plus a removable foam padded insole for underfoot cushioning, these shoes are certainly made for walking.

They also have four adjustable buckles, a 3.5 cm sole and a side zip that makes them easy to pull on and off.

5. AND/OR Eddie Cheetah Print Leather Flatform Trainers, White

and/or eddie trainers

Price: £79 | Buy now from John Lewis & Partners

While there’ll always be a place for classic white trainers in our wardrobes (see our best finds below), sometimes it’s nice to mix things up with a bit of sparkle and these cheetah print flatform trainers from AND/OR do just that. Made with bold, textured cheetah stars on a classic white lined leather trainer, they’re sure to make a statement every time you head out.

With easy lace-up fastenings and a rubber sporty sole, these trainers are made for comfort. A slightly heftier price tag, yes, but they’re pretty robust and made to last through the seasons, come rain or shine. Plus, they’re versatile enough to be worn with dresses, skirts, joggers or jeans, so take your pick.

6. Ted Baker Women’s Ceyuh Sneaker

Ted Baker trainers

Price: From £60.67 | Buy now from Amazon

The iconic creativity, charm and quirkiness of the Ted Baker brand certainly shines through in these bold floral sneakers, which are feminine, lightweight and comfy. Made with suede and satin floral print panels and a contrasting leather stripe at the heel, these trainers are undoubtedly pretty, but also offer plenty of support thanks to the sturdy rubber sole, solid heel and toe caps.

The pull tab for easy entry allows you to slip them on seamlessly without damaging the shoe, while the textured grip tread ensures safe city walking. We love that they can be dressed up or down and are suitable for almost any occasion.

Best women's workout trainers 

7. Nike Free Metcon 2

Nike free metcon 2

Price: From £104.99 | Buy now from Amazon

“I've recently bought a pair of Nike Free Metcons and they are excellent. I tend to do quite a variety and they suit everything.” Spodge

“Nike Metcons here too - very grippy!” CalmConfident

You can’t say the word trainer without picturing a pair of Nikes and here they are. The Nike Metcon 2 is a top performer in the gym as it’s lightweight and breathable yet also secure - the midfoot cage locks your foot in place without restricting movement. Deep grooves around the outsole allow the shoe to flex in every direction, while the foam midsole provides comfortable cushioning for all types of training.

If you’re into rope climbing, these trainers have rubber wraps up the sides to resist any type of abrasion. We love the versatility of the trainer and the fact that it’ll look stylish with jeans or leggings for a post-workout meet-up.

If you’re really into lifting and looking for the ultimate stability shoe, Nike has just released their Metcon 7 X Trainer, which is considered the gold standard for weight training.

8. Adidas ZX Flux Decon

Adidas ZX Flux

Price: From £39.99 | Buy now from Amazon

“These do have laces, but they’re the most comfy trainers I've ever had. So much so that I have them in different colours.” TheChip

If you're after a sportier look, these lightweight, unisex Adidas trainers are the perfect mix of utility and style. With a moulded heel cage, a sole with plenty of grip and a rubber toe bumper, you can wear these sport-luxe trainers for work or play.

The trainer is made with soft mesh fabric throughout, allowing for ultimate breathability and comfort. However the thinner fabric may not be suitable for colder, wetter days.

9. Reebok Women's Nano X1

Reebok Womens Nano X1

Price: From £79.80 | Buy now from Amazon

“I do CrossFit and swear by my Reebok Nano. Roomy in the front.” Rollerbird

Known for their versatility, these Reebok trainers are ideal for both short and middle distance running as well as general workouts, which will save you from having to purchase a separate pair of running shoes.

With their breathable Flexweave knit upper and integrated support for multidirectional movement, there’s no doubt these trainers will keep you cool and comfortable throughout each training session. However, some reviewers feel that the heel rise is a little too high and rigid, which is worth keeping in mind if you’re looking for a flatter shoe.

Whether you’re in the gym or on the road, the Floatride Energy Foam in the Reebok Nano’s offer lightweight, responsive cushioning with additional shock-absorbing midsoles for high intensity workouts such as running, CrossFit or any group-style classes. Plus, they have a simple lacing system that actually stays put!

Best women's trainers for walking 

10. New Balance Women’s Fresh Foam 1080v11

New Balance trainers

Price: From £74.48 | Buy now from Amazon

“New Balance for me! They are so comfortable on my bunion-riddled clown feet. I run 7km every day. I've been wearing the current pair for almost a year and they are still almost as good as new.” IronFloor269

As one of the most successful sports footwear and apparel manufacturers out there, New Balance knows a thing or two about creating a comfortable walking/running shoe. Although it was hard to pick a favourite, the latest version of their Fresh Foam trainer deserves a thumbs up as its robust design delivers an ultra-cushioned lightweight ride with every stride. See our roundup of the best running shoes for women for a comprehensive review of the 1080v10 version.

The underfoot cushioning and snug fit of these trainers feels great when picking up the pace just in case you’re late for the bus or train, and we’re huge fans of the breathable mesh upper fabric and supportive Ortholite Sockliners. Other impressive features include a simple lace-up design, low heel for ankle support and a 360-degree design for comfort.

The bottom line? These trainers are ideal for both walking and running – and will see you through plenty of miles.

Available in a wide range of colours such as pink, violet and blue, stand out from the crowd whatever you decide to pair them with.

11. Sketchers Go Walk

Sketchers Go Walk

Price: £51.95 | Buy now from Amazon

“They are the comfiest shoes I have ever owned. I've walked miles and miles and miles in mine. Love them.” NormHonal

These Skechers Go Walk Evolution trainers are great for walking holidays as they’re comfortable enough to wear while exploring in the day and smart enough, especially in navy, to wear in the evening. They’re not suitable for running or hiking along technical routes though due to their slightly flatter heel.

On a positive note, these trainers are light and breathable (thanks to a flat knit mesh fabric), and easy to slide on and off with a near seamless design. If you have wider feet, you may find these a tad too narrow as the laces can’t be loosened or tightened.

12. Nike Air Force 1 Trainers

Nike Air Force 1

From £119 | Buy now from Amazon

“Nike Air Force Ones are very comfy, leather and strong-wearing in my experience. I have a few pairs and am happy with them all.” CarrieFour

When it comes to innovation and breakthrough technology in workout trainers, Nike are hard to beat. Their iconic Air Force One trainers, originally designed as a performance basketball shoe, are made with top-notch support and cushioning for comfort (especially in the midsole area). Plus, they have thick, sturdy rubber outer soles which are ideal for walking or any gym workout.

Small holes in the neck area offer extra ventilation, while the low ankle cut allows for more natural movement. Available in black or classic white, we strongly suggest the black option if you plan on walking through the English countryside.

Many reviewers have pointed out that the shoes are big, and the sizing can be a little off even for a woman’s shoe, so it’s best to stick as close to your original size as possible.

13. Karrimor Womens Mount Low Walking Shoes

Karrimor trainers

Price: From £38 | Buy now from Amazon

Serious about walking? These durable Weathertite and waterproof walking shoes will be your best friend along more technical terrain and hiking routes. The combination of leather, suede and lightweight breathable mesh on the upper part of the shoe ensures a comfortable fit that’s also simple to clean with a quick wipe.

Built for traction and protection, the phylon midsole offers added shock absorption, while the DynaGrip outsole promises extra traction over roots and rocky descents.

If you’re not into hiking but still looking for a decent walking shoe, these won’t disappoint.

Best on-trend white trainers for everyday wear

14. Adidas Superstar J Unisex Sports Shoes

Adidas Superstar J

Price: £75.18 | Buy now from Amazon

“I love the Adidas Originals trainers. I find them very comfy and can walk miles in them and have been complimented on them when wearing them with dresses.” BrioLover

Everyone needs a pair of stylish white trainers on-hand and we think Adidas Superstars are the perfect wardrobe staple for everyday wear.

When it comes to comfort and style, Adidas has ticked both boxes with these classic leather trainers that are made with a lightweight mesh lining and a flat, supportive sole.  Simple, but versatile, Mumsnetters agree that these are good value for money as they hold their own against most weather conditions.

The unisex style is also versatile enough to fit a variety of feet widths, although they’re classified as a medium shoe width.

15. Adidas Stan Smiths

Stan Smiths

Price: £74.99 | Buy now from Office

“I was pleasantly surprised that my latest online purchase of Adidas Stan Smiths are a great width with a lovely round toe that suits the shape of my square trotters.” Standstilling

Though it’s said you shouldn't wear a trend if you remember it the first time around, even Mumsnetters who remember Stan Smiths from the 70s can't get enough of these classic Adidas tennis shoes. They look as good with work trousers as they do with jeans and provide a comfy fit for wider feet. There are other colours available, but we've got a real soft spot for the original green and white combination.

Adidas pride themselves in eco-friendly innovation, which is evident as these trainers are made from vegan ‘primegreen’ uppers, high performance recycled materials and recycled rubber outsoles. The plush tongue and supportive padding near the back provide extra cushioning for walking adventures.

16. Superga Unisex Adults' 2750

Superga trainers

Price: £36.84 | Buy now from Amazon

"I've got a white pair of Superga trainers and they are so comfortable. I love them!" JurassicGirl

With a breathable cotton upper and a vulcanised rubber sole, Supergas are the trainers you want to take on your holidays. They're lightweight yet resilient, and look just as good with skirts and dresses as they do with jeans. They're available in a range of colours and finishes – from satin to silver – but we like this fresh white pair with denim.

What are the most popular women’s trainers right now?

With plenty of five-star reviews under their belt, there’s no doubt that New Balance’s latest Women's Fresh Foam 1080v11s are the most popular trainers amongst busy mums. While they’re not as striking as Ted Baker’s Women’s Ceyuh Sneakers or others in our fashion trainers”category, they make up for it in comfort and longevity.

These neutral trainers are great for walking or running, and are significantly lighter and cushier than many of their counterparts. The underfoot fresh foam midsole makes you feel like you’re walking on air and offers the perfect balance between soft and hard/supportive.

When commenting on the latest New Balance trainers, one Mumsnetter said, “New Balance is a foam-based brand so they don’t use any gel. They base themselves on creating shoes for running and lifestyle. Paediatricians recommend them for all day comfort and people with shin splints, plantar fasciitis etc. as they provide ideal support and comfort. Any NB trainer with ‘fresh foam’ is great as it’s a premium layer of cushioning and most marathon runners will opt for those shoes due to the lasting comfort.”

Which trainers are most comfortable?

Based on dozens of reviews, we have to agree with fellow Mumsnetters that the Nike Air Max Thea is the most comfortable pair of trainers for work or play. The overall verdict is that they fit snugly, offer plenty of support and hold their shape well, making them a worthwhile investment to see you through the seasons.

They’re also super versatile and can be paired with just about anything from jeans to joggers, skirts or dresses. Plus they’re easy to clean. This certainly makes them worthy of becoming your daily trainer.

How we chose our recommendations

When it comes to trainers, nothing beats real-life reviews. That’s why we delved into the Mumsnet forums to find out which trainers were ranked highest on our list of categories, ranging from best fashion trainer to best trainers for walking, etc.  We also considered comfort, style and price point in all our reviews.

We had a good look at the new trainers out this season and checked out other review sites to see which trainers stood the test of time and were highly rated by users.

Why you should trust us

Mumsnet and its members have been helping parents buy the best for more than two decades. Most of our recommendations come from mums themselves, so we are confident that the products are thoroughly tried and tested by people who know what they’re looking for.

We work hard to provide unbiased, independent advice you can trust. We do sometimes earn revenue through affiliate (click-to-buy) links in our articles. This helps us fund more helpful articles like this one.