That chemistry might not be so mysterious, however. It could just come down to the shoe’s DNA as a women-first design.
With a wide forefoot, slim heel, deep heel drop, and ample cushioning, these shoes designed just for women might fit and feel better than expected, even if you don’t typically wear a neutral shoe.
Heel-to-toe drop: 14 mm
Weight: 8.6 oz
- The wide forefoot and narrow heel collar make it ideal for the shape of women’s feet
- Light and bouncy ride
- Reviewers say these run big
What makes Rykä unique
Rykä, founded in 1987, says it's the first footwear brand that designs athletic shoes specifically for women based on female physiology. That includes a differently shaped quad muscle, which Rykä says impacts how women bear their weight on their feet. The Euphoria shoe is cushioned to serve this stance, along with a wider forefoot for increased support. Women also typically have narrower heels than men do, which is reflected in the shoe design. And Ryka describes its shock absorption and foam as flexible and bouncy.
What the Rykä Euphoria feels like to run in
I typically need a high-support shoe, since I have flat feet and pronate. (If you're not sure what type of shoe you need for your foot shape, check out this handy guide.) The Euphoria is a neutral shoe, meaning it works best for people who distribute their weight evenly on their feet (not rolling inward or outward), which is why I was initially skeptical that it would work for me. However, my foot feels so held by the design that I do not miss the all-encompassing feel of support shoes that I have.
The wider forefoot gives my toes enough space to breathe, while the narrower collar on the heel keeps me secure. This could come down to the “CradleFit™ technology” which Rykä says is intended to “increase foot contact and promote natural ball position.”
I also tend to go for shoes that have maximum cushioning, because I love that running-on-clouds feeling. The Euphoria looks relatively sleek compared to some of the fatter-bottomed shoes I have. But they actually sort of feel like driving a sports car instead of a luxury sedan—it turns out I actually like all the road feel that I get in this shoe. But while the profile is slimmer, the ground doesn't feel hard running in these shoes (like I’ve felt in some other models that are heavy on the support and stabilizing features). The “Absorb/Support/Flex” technology seems to be doing just what it promises to do.
I have added an insole to the shoe, since I do need additional arch support. But there was plenty of space inside to accommodate it, which is not always the case in shoes where I end up feeling compressed under the laces. The tube-shaped laces themselves seem more giving than flat laces I’ve encountered.
The Euphorias have come with me on the 20- to 60-minute runs I do a couple times a week, and they have stood up to the sprints that I usually end with. But I haven’t taken them on longer jaunts, so I don’t know how they’d hold up to more intense distance running.
Rykä Euphoria review: The bottom line
While running shoes work differently for different people, in my experience, this shoe feels consistently light and springy. It’s not big and bulky, but it is soft and comfortable. It doesn’t have the support bars or packed arches of some high-tech shoes, yet the fit makes me feel like I don’t need all those bells and whistles. The cheerful white and green colorway only complements this experience (they also come in green, pink, blue, and black). There’s just something approachable and very, well, wearable about them.
Many athletic shoe brands have rolled out shoes designed specifically for women recently. But Rykä argues that its 35 years of doing only that make them the experts. Considering how pleasantly surprised I was by the Euphoria, and how often I reached for my Euphorias instead of (supposedly) more supportive, stable, cushier options, I’m inclined to agree.
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