I shared my two favorite running shoes for pregnancy and a few other options to consider for extra support and shock absorption!
When I found out I was pregnant, SO many people told me that I wouldn’t be able to run my entire pregnancy, and while they were right in one way (the first few months I didn’t want to run and it didn’t feel good), I’m so glad they were partially wrong. Towards the end of my pregnancy, I ran most days. I actually even ran (and golfed) on the day that we went to the hospital to have Thomas!
I’m so thankful I was able to run throughout my pregnancy. Towards the end, every time I started a run, I always thought to myself “Will this be my last run while pregnant?” since I never knew how my body would feel! And, generally speaking, it didn’t feel too great for the first mile or so once I was late into my third trimester.
As you can imagine, pregnancy running looked a tad bit different for me compared to my usual running. And that included the gear I used for running as well! I used a belly band, compression shorts instead of my normal looser shorts, and I also changed my shoes up a bit as well. You can see my all favorite pregnancy workout clothes in this post and in today’s post (and the stroller I run with now here), I’m focusing on running shoes. I’ll share some cute, but more importantly, functional running shoes for pregnant women and my two go-to pairs.
Best Running Shoes For Pregnancy
There are three things I found to be the most important in pregnancy running shoes.
- More cushion to support the increase pressure on my joints.
- Stretchy upper material to accommodate swelling feet
- Generous toe box, again to accommodate swelling feet
I know many people look for slip-on running shoes since it gets shockingly hard to put on and tie shoes as your belly grows. (I underestimated how hard this would get!!) Slip-on running shoes are hard to find and I didn’t personally run in any, but I did find a pair from a brand I like and trust, so you’ll see that below too! I learned lots and lots in those days –more in this post called Running While Pregnant.
Quick sizing tip: I always buy my running shoes in one full size larger. So my regular shoes are a size 6 and I buy running shoes in a size 7. This proved to be even more important as my pregnancy progressed since my feet became super swollen in the third trimester!
Let’s dive into my three favorite pairs, plus a couple other options to consider.
1. New Balance Beacon
The New Balance Beacons were, by far, my favorite pair for pregnancy running. While I had never worn this shoe before pregnancy, it quickly became my favorite as my body craved a little more cushion compared to my usual Nike Pegasus and Adidas Bostons. And now that I’m running postpartum, I STILL love these the best! *The Beacon has been discontinued since I first published this post. The Fresh Foam X Tempo v2 is the new model. You can still find the Beacons on Zappos, but they are not widely avaliable.
New Balance pitches these as a shoe with ample midsole height for a soft, incredibly lightweight ride. And I’d agree with that description. These kept my feet comfortable on my runs, which was truly all I could ask for. The toe box is generous and the upper is stretchy to accommodate puffy feet. And at the time I was definitely craving more cushion, but I found that it was difficult to find shoes with cushion that are also lightweight. Well, these really hit the mark and balance that perfectly. All around, these are amazing.
Midsole Drop: 6mm
Weight: Women 6.2oz
2. Nike Pegasus 37
I got these at the beginning of my third trimester and while I didn’t love my Nike Pegasus 36 during pregnancy since they felt too stiff and not cushioned enough, I LOVED the Nike Pegasus 37 TB. I started running in them at 38 weeks and even logged a run in them at 40 weeks (pictured below) and they felt great! They’re cushioned but not too soft and make running feel easier than it did earlier in my pregnancy since they have great energy return. And I you ask for much more than that!
Support: Neutral to underpronation
Midsole Drop: 10mm
Weight: Women 8.28oz
Arch: Neutral to moderate support
3. Brooks Launch
This is the pair I alternated with the New Balances. I actually ran in Brooks Launch before pregnancy and loved them then too, so these are an all-time favorite pair of shoes for me. When I was training for the 2019 Boston Marathon, my running coach recommended I get these to help with recovery days when my body needed extra cushion and support. They weigh a bit more than the New Balance Beacons but they do feel a bit more supportive, especially for my arch so the trade off is worth it on days I’m really craving support. They also have a wider than average toe box, which I extra appreciated at 35 weeks!
One thing to note is that they aren’t quite as responsive and as springy as the New Balance.
Midsole Drop: 10mm
Weight: 8.3oz / 235.3g
Arch: Medium, High
Okay, so the New Balance Beacon, Nike Pegasus, and Brooks Launch are my go-to’s, but there are a few other options to consider as well. I talked to other pregnant women about what shoes they recommend and the two I heard most were the Brooks Ghost and the Hoka Rincon.
The Brooks Ghost was highlighted in Runner’s World as a work-horse shoe that has major cushion. One of the positive comments I read about was that the Brooks Ghost is designed to support your knees and hips, which helped provide a smoother feel while running. And for a pregnant runner that sounds heavenly. I’ve actually tried these since I first published this post and I can confirm, they are AMAZING.
However, a potential drawback is that the upper is made of synthetic material and holds in some heat. Since most of my pregnancy running was done in the hot, humid summer temps, that sounds terrible. Plus, my feet were already swollen so extra heat sounded miserable. But, I bet with the right socks, it wouldn’t be quite as bad. And of course, loosening laces would help with some of the tightness.
Midsole Drop: 12mm
Weight: 9oz / 263.7g
Arch: Medium, High
Hoka is known for creating shoes with major cushion, and almost memory-foam-like without being too heavy. I have the Cliftons and I agree that they are super cushioned and super lightweight. After reading up on the Rincons, the things that stood out to me were the cushion, which is even more than my Cliftons, and the wide toe box. Both of those components make these shoes good picks for pregnant runners.
The tongue of the Rincon’s is really thin and minimal which can be good or bad. If you like the minimal feeling and appreciate that it doesn’t trap heat, you’ll love it. However I’ve also heard that it makes the shoe laces feels tighter than normal, which again, sounds terrible to a runner with swollen pregnant feet. (But easy to fix with a lace adjustment!).
One thing to note on these (and most Hokas) is the lower drop. So if you’re used to a higher drop, like in the Brooks pairs, you may need to ease into these to avoid irritating in your achilles and calves.
Midsole Drop: 5mm
Weight: Women 6.2oz
Photo via from Zappos
Another shoe that has raving reviews is the Saucony Kinvara. This is a true memory foam shoe, and although I haven’t run in this shoe for about 4 years, I do remember that it was very cushiony. I didn’t love the cushion then, but like I mentioned above, when I was pregnant, I appreciated it much more. This shoe also has a wider toe box and an even lower drop than the Rincon, so alternate this with your other running shoe before using it as your only pair!
Midsole Drop: 4mm
Weight: Women 6.7oz
Photo sourced from Fleet Feet
The last shoe I’ll highlight is an On Cloud. I have On Cloud everyday slip-on sneakers, but I haven’t tried the brand for running yet, although they have a very loyal following. (The various On Cloud running shoes are described by a professional runner in this post!) However, contrary to the name, I have heard they are firmer than you’d think. The On Cloudswift is a shoe that is known for being firm in the right way–– meaning, it feels sturdy in all of the right places.
Even though the ride is firm, the upper is a mesh that gives lots of breathing room for the toe box. I hear great things about these! The technology in these make your landings softer but your starts more explosive (according to what I’ve read). Bonus points for the On Cloudswifts being a slip-ons with their easy-entry speedlaces and for the variety of cute colors!
Heel to Toe Drop: 7mm
Weight: Women 8.5oz
Photo sourced from Fleet Feet.
I hope this helps you find the perfect pair(s) of pregnancy running shoes! If you have a pair you’ve loved while sporting a bump, please leave a comment and share! It will help others reading this post and I’m curious too! You can see more of my must have pregnancy running gear in this post and more pregnancy updates, including outfits, skincare and dealing with common woes here!