Designed for women, engineered for excellence: FitFlop FFRunner trainer review

Can these trainers redefine what it means to be a female athlete?

from FitFlop
RRP  £150.00
A pair of FitFlop FFRunner trainers, worn with blue leggings on gravel

by Gemma Lavers |
Updated on

How often do you come across a pair of gym trainers that are made specifically for women? Only a select few brands (Under Armour and Hoka are the two front-runners), prioritise making truly gender-specific trainers. That's until this brand decided to take matters into their own hands and create the FitFlop FFRunner - a pair of running shoes that are engineered for a woman's gait.

We all know the importance of finding a pair of running shoes that fit like a glove. In fact, we go on about it a lot here at What's The Best. But, when the fit of your shoe goes hand-in-hand with the shape of your foot, it's hard not to see the link to gender. For example, women typically tend to have generally narrower feet, higher arches, and a shallower big toe. That's not all - women even walk different to men, they often have shorter (but more frequent) strides that are relative to their height.

There's one simple answer to this problem. Let's make footwear that is gender-specific. Gone are the days of women squeezing themselves into trainers made for men, that are just in a smaller size for 'women.' So, we're reviewing FitFlop's FFRunner trainers, with Health & Fitness Writer Gemma Lavers taking it upon herself to test how these shoes are challenging the status quo and redefining what it means to be a female runner.

Verdict: In a market where truly gender-specific running shoes are a rarity, FitFlop's FFRunner trainers lead the way. Despite their slightly challenging fit and an okay colour selection, these trainers stand out for their breathability, support, and for setting the standard in gender-specific footwear.

FitFlop FFRUNNER Mesh Running/Sports TrainersFitFlop

Pros

  • Features springy Neodynamic midsole to naturally encourage your foot forward
  • Toe spring and heel kick create fluid movement from heel to toe
  • Anatomically contoured footbed provides arch support and diffuses pressure

Cons

  • Not the easiest to put on and take off

What's good?

There's a lot of great things about the FFRunner trainers, the first being the mesh upper. From the moment I laced them up, I could feel the difference. The mesh provides exceptional breathability and keeps my feet cool and dry during runs. No matter how far I've run, I've never taken these trainers off and had soggy, sweaty feet. In fact, even after thorough use my FFRunner's have no sign of the dreaded Eau-de-sweaty-gym-trainer.

The EVA cushioning offers remarkable support and shock absorption, making each stride feel like a gentle bounce - perfect for HIIT and walking long distances. Additionally, when exercising you can really feel the springy Neodynamic midsole gently pushing your feet forward - and it's surprisingly encouraging.

A pair of FitFlop FFRUNNER trainers in a box on grass
Excuse the mud: As you can probably tell, these trainers aren't fresh out the box - they're well-loved. ©What's The Best/Gemma Lavers

Moreover, the ultra-light design ensures that I can push through longer runs without feeling weighed down, while the clever slip-resistant rubber pods on the outsole prevent me from embarrassing myself on uneven terrains.

I couldn't not mention the fact the FFRunner's are gender-specific is yet another massive bonus. Tailoring shoes specifically for women ensures a more comfortable and supportive fit - you can definitely tell they're women's shoes, the width of the trainer gives it away. Plus, this reduces the risk of the side effects of running that nobody wants to experience; discomfort, injury and fatigue.

The back of a pair of FitFlop FFRUNNER trainers
©What's The Best/Gemma Lavers

What's okay?

The FFRunner trainers certainly excel in comfort and performance. But, there are a few areas where they could be improved. Firstly, I'd say the sizing runs slightly large, so sizing down by half a size could make the difference between a good running experience and a great one.

Futhermore, the colour selection in these trainers is okay, but not spectacular. FitFlop cover the classic colours: Black, White, Navy and Grey. They're also available in 'Blushy', which is almost a coral with grey logo and three ombré colours: blue/green, lilac/orange, and red/pink. I can see what FitFlop are potentially going for, as competitors like Hoka and Nike have both had extremely successful sales with their ombré trainers, but I can't say I'm a massive fan of these colour combinations. Is it enough to put me off buying the FFRunner's? No, but it's definitely something to consider.

Any negatives?

Despite so many positive attributes, there is one drawback to the FFRunner's - they're quite difficult to get on and off. The separate tongue and classic lacing system is intended to give you security when running, but this adds to the difficulty of slipping them on quickly. Additionally, because the toe box is so narrow, wiggling your feet into these trainers is somewhat cumbersome. However, once on the FFRunner's are great, which makes the initial struggle worth the effort.

A woman wearing a pair of FitFlop FFRUNNER's with a basketball in front of a lake.
©What's The Best/Gemma Lavers

More items to consider

Best New Balance gym trainers

New Balance FuelCell SuperComp 4Sports Shoes

The New Balance FuelCell Supercomp running shoes are a game-changer for serious runners seeking the ultimate blend of speed, performance and comfort. Made with cutting-edge technology, these shoes boast a design that doesn't compromise on durability or support. The FuelCell midsole delivers unmatched energy return, propelling you forward with every stride while providing exceptional cushioning to minimise fatigue during long runs.

For New Balance-devotees these trainers definitely make for a worthy investment. Read our full review here.

Pros

  • Spongy ride, gives a slight floating feeling
  • Incredibly supportive
  • Great quality build

Cons

  • Laces feel somewhat weak

Best Nike gym trainers

Nike Pegasus 40 Women's Road Running ShoesNike
Price: £89.99 (was £119.99)

www.nike.com

The Pegasus 40 upholds Nike's tradition of outstanding performance, enhancing the legacy of its forerunners by perfectly integrating comfort, agility, and flexibility. Featuring Zoom Air units in both the heel and forefoot, it provides exceptional cushioning and vigorous energy feedback, making it suitable for a wide range of running activities, from quick dashes to marathon distances. For those in search of a dependable and multifaceted trainer that stands out in both practicality and aesthetics, the Nike Pegasus 40 continues to be the top pick.

Pros

  • Zoom Air units in the shoe makes for an energetic ride
  • Heel area improves landing space and durability
  • Backed by Olympic gold medallist Athing Mu, who took the Pegasus trainers to the Olympic games

Cons

  • Easily dirtied and hard to clean afterwards

Best Adidas gym trainers

The Adidas Originals OZMILLEN shoes redefine the boundaries of modern footwear, presenting a vision of the future with their striking silhouette. They merge unparalleled comfort with avant-garde aesthetics and reactive cushioning, crafting an audacious, fashion-forward statement that captures attention. While the narrow fit may not be everyone's cup of tea, the undeniable allure and chic appearance of these gym shoes make them impossible to overlook.

Pros

  • On-trend design
  • Durable rubber outsole
  • Features the Adiplus cushioning system

Cons

  • A little narrow in the midfoot area

Who tested them?

Gemma Lavers is a Health & Fitness writer for What's The Best. When she’s not travelling or writing, Gemma loves spending her weekend completing home workouts, or attending yoga, Pilates or Zumba classes.

How the product was tested

The FitFlop FFRunner trainers were tested over a period of two months, between January and March 2024. They were mainly used for running two 5K's per week, on pavement and occasionally trails. Other uses included general gym and badminton.

Gemma Lavers is a Health & Fitness Writer for What's The Best. From understanding nutrition to practising yoga and Pilates to delving into the psychology of motivation. She enjoys demystifying the latest fitness trends and staying on top of the dynamic health landscape, whether that's the best gym leggings, fitness trackers or the benefits of yoga.

When Gemma’s not writing, she can be found attending Pilates, yoga and Zumba classes. She’s also a bit of a home workout aficionado, constantly trying out new ways to keep her moving at home. Between writing, exercising and shopping, there’s nothing she loves more than hopping on a plane and exploring new cultures.

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