10 Best Cushioned Running Shoes Reviewed & Tested

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Looking for Running shoes with good support? We have tested the best cushioned running shoes for 2017 – See the results & make a good purchasing decision.

Cushioned running shoes often have extra padding in the soles, but sometimes not much in the way of added stability. In addition, cushioned shoes usually provide less specific support for the arch of the foot than other shoes and therefore they are not necessarily an ideal choice for runners who over-pronate. They are designed for runners who have rigid or even immobile feet (under-pronators) and often run on solid ground to provide comfortability and encourage more foot motion, but mostly to reduce the chance of injury.

 Top 3 picks

Hoka One One Bondi 4
  • Hoka One One Bondi 4
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • 10 Degree Heel Bevel
  • Price: See Here
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Altra Olympus 2.0
  • Altra Olympus 2.0
  • 4.7 out of 5
    Our rating
  • FootShape™ toe box
  • Price: See Here
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Brooks Glycerin 13
  • Brooks Glycerin 13
  • 4.5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Super DNA midsole
  • Price: See Here
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Based on general opinions of customers,  here are the best running shoes for men & Women in regards to cushioning.

The Top Rated Choices For Cushioned Running Shoes

 

1. Hoka One One Bondi 4

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Hoka’s proud to put their name on these shoes in bold font, and for good reason. They’re super comfy and have all of the features runners love about the best Hoka running shoes. They’re attractive and available in plenty of color combos. As a neutral running shoe, they love the trails and roads alike. You won’t want to take them off.
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Comfort / Stability
There's no doubt these were made with comfort in mind. The Bondi 4 offers an air mesh upper that is very breathable, an early stage Meta-Rocker midsole for smooth transitions and improved gait, and a Lycra ComfortFrame in the upper for a stretchable, non-irritating run. It also has a padded tongue and collar for a snug fit and comfort, and a TPU External Heel Counter for stability and non-slippage. This is a running shoe that will provide you with maximum cushioning. It has a full EVA midsole for added comfort, and a 10 Degree Heel Bevel that provides smooth heel transitions.

Durability / Quality
This is a quality made cushioned running shoe it should last an average amount of time, with only a few users stating they had durability issues with the outsole. It has strategic rubber placement on outsole.

Cost or value
The Bondi 4 can run a bit on the pricey side, but if its cushioning you seek then it will be well worth every penny.
Pros

Air Mesh upper is very breathable

Early Stage Meta-Rocker midsole for smooth transitions and improved gait

Lycra ComfortFrame in upper for stretchable, non-irritating run

Padded tongue and collar for snug fit and comfort

TPU External Heel Counter for stability and non-slippage

Provides maximum cushioning

Full EVA midsole for added comfort

10 Degree Heel Bevel Provides Smooth Heel Transition

Cons

Sizes may run a half size small

A few users had issues with the outsole wearing quickly

2. Altra Olympus 2.0

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Tired of your feet hurting when you hit the trails? Try the Olympus 2.0 which offers maximum cushioning and is perfect for running on trails.
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Comfort / Stability
If it's maximum comfort you seek this is the perfect cushioned running shoe for trails. It has a flexible upper, and a Gaiter trap that protects the foot from debris. Its A-Bound bottom layer provides a spring in your step as you run, and its FootShape™ toe box is comfy. The Olympus 2.0 offers a Quick-Dry trail mesh upper, and a Natural Ride System that helps provide a more natural foot motion.

Durability / Quality
This is a highly durable running shoe made with quality materials. The outsole will last you a long time and is highly durable, and there were only a few reports of the upper not being as durable as expected. It comes with a Vibram® Megagrip outsole that provides great traction.

Cost or value
This highly cushioned trail running shoe can run pretty expensive, but think of all the protection it offers, and if you seek a maximum cushioned trail running shoe it will be worth every penny.
Pros

Maximum cushioned trail shoe

Vibram® Megagrip Outsole provides great traction

Flexible upper

A-Bound bottom layer provides a spring in your step as you run

Gaiter trap protects the foot from debris

FootShape™ toe box is comfy

Quick-Dry Trail Mesh upper

Natural Ride System helps provide a more natural foot motion.

Cons

Some users felt it could have better heel support

They can run a bit pricey because of the features offered

3. Brooks Glycerin 13

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The Glycerin 13 has super-soft cushioning, and allows you to glide through your run in supreme comfort.
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Comfort / Stability
This is a highly comfortable and stable running shoe. It comes complete with a super DNA midsole provides maximum cushioning, a
rounded heel that offers good support, and pressure zones that allow for great stability. You'll get a comfortable snug fit, its 3-D overlays allow for flexibility, and its moisture-managing mesh helps keep sweat away allowing your feet to breathe more easily.

Durability / Quality
This is a highly durable running shoe made with quality materials, only a very few runners commented that the upper had some durability issues. Most users stated that it does provide great traction as well.

Cost or Value
The price of the Glycerin 13 can run anywhere between average and expensive in price depending on where you shop for them.
Pros

Super DNA midsole provides maximum cushioning

Rounded Heel offers good support

Pressure zones allow for great stability

Comfortable snug fit

3-D overlays allow for flexibility

Moisture-managing element mesh helps keep sweat away

Cons

Sizes may run small

Very small amount of users reported durability issues with the upper

4. Under Armour Speedform Gemini

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The first thing you’ll notice when you look at the Geminis is just how perforated the upper is, and how breathable that means they are. The Speedform Gemini provides great comfort that you'll be pleased with.
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Comfort / Stability
Comfortable Under Armour shoe #3 is the Speedform Gemini. It has a dual-layered midsole that allows for strong take-offs,
ArchForm that offers additional support, and Ultrasonic welded seams for a snug, yet flexible fit. It's well ventilated allowing your feet to breathe easily, and has an embedded sockliner that helps keep moisture away.

Durability / Quality
The is a durable running shoe that is made with quality materials. It has flex grooves that are good for heel-to-toe smooth transitions, and has a molded toe cap allowing for durability and support.

Cost or value
The Speedform Gemini does run a bit higher in price, but if it's comfort you seek it'll be worth every penny.
Pros

ArchForm offers good support

Cool color options

Dual-layer midsole for strong take-offs

Embedded sock-liner wicks moisture

Flex grooves for heel-to-toe smooth transitions

Molded toe cap for durability and support

Ultra-breathable upper

Ultrasonic welded seams for snug yet flexible fit

Cons

They run narrow

Sizing runs small

5. Hoka One One Vanquish 2

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The Vanquish 2 is on the lighter side of the heavy running shoes. It will provide you with a well cushioned running shoe.
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Comfort / Stability
You can expect great comfort from the Vanquish 2. It has a dual-layer midsole, a high rebound body EVA midsole, and a high cushioned EVA top m midsole that provides excellent cushioning and comfort. It has a seamless air mesh upper with Zonal 3D printing that provides breathability and support. Additionally, its Early Stage Meta-Rocker provides great support for transitions.

Durability / Quality
This is a highly durable and quality made running shoe that will last a long time. It has Hi-Abrasion Rubber Zones for durability and traction.

Cost or value
The price of the Vanquish 2 running shoe does run on the higher end of cost, but it will be worth your comfort and money.
Pros

Dual-Layer Midsole provides comfort

High Rebound Body EVA Midsole provides great cushioning

High Cushion EVA Top Midsole

Seamless Air Mesh Upper with Zonal 3D Printing provides breathability and support

Hi-Abrasion Rubber Zones for durability and traction

Early Stage Meta-Rocker provides great support for transitions

Cons

Toe box may run narrow

Shoe sizes may run narrow

6. Saucony Triumph ISO

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One thing all runners love is the triumphant feeling they get when they finish a fantastic running session, slice seconds off their time, or reach that runner’s high. With Triumphs, you’ll feel like you can run forever.
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Comfort / Stability
The Triumph ISO has an amazing amount of cushioning that will provide comfort and stability. Its Everun cushioning provides responsive underfoot support, its Isofit upper adapts to the shape of your foot, and its lightweight Support Frame provide structure and stability. Ut gas Pwrgrid+ that provides midsole cushion, a Rundry moisture collar that keeps away sweat, and SRC Impact Zone that provides shock absorption.

Durability / Quality
The Triumph ISO will last a long time and is made of quality materials. There were slim to no complaints about durability issues.

Cost or value
The price of this running shoe runs average to quite pricey depending on where you purchase them from.
Pros

Everun cushioning provides responsive underfoot support 

Isofit upper adapts to the shape of your foot 

Lightweight Support Frame provide structure and stability

Pwrgrid+ provides midsole cushion

Rundry moisture collar keeps away sweat

Fun color combos and styles

SRC Impact Zone provides shock absorption

Reflective components

Cons

Narrow forefoot

Not as breathable as some would like

7. Mizuno Wave Enigma 6

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The Mizuno Wave Enigma 6 is a great option that provides the extra cushioning needed for the everyday training of runners in the medium-heavy weight class and a neutral foot motion. This shoe weighs only 10.9 oz.
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Comfort / Stability
The Enigma 5 offers a midsole with the latest U4icX foam technology in the forefoot and heel, helping to increase responsiveness and smoother transitions. It offers great breathability allowing the feet to breathe easily, its wave technology offers exceptional energy return, and it has good shock absorption. Its ortholite sock liner keeps sweat away, and it has excellent cushioning.

Durability / Quality
There were only a very few reports of the outsole wearing quickly, therefore this is a durable running shoe made with quality materials.

Cost or value
THe price of the Wave Engima 6 can be quite expensive, but it will be quite comfortable as well.
Pros

Great breathability

Wave technology offers exceptional energy return

Good shock absorption

The Ortholite sock liner keeps sweat away

Mizuno U4ic technology a responsive ride.

Provides great traction 

Excellent cushioning

Cons

Not as flexible as many expected

Sizes may run small

Can be seen as expensive

8. New Balance Fresh Foam 1080

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New Balance 1080 is the top neutrally cushioned shoe of New Balance line. In other words, this is the most luxuriously cushioned ride. This shoe mixes the right amount of cushioning with responsiveness. Additionally, it is lightweight, and flexibility making them an ideal choice as a good trainer and long­-distance running shoe.
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Comfort / Stability
This is a very comfortable and stable running shoe. It has good breathability, a molded foam insole is removable, and a roomy toe box. Its molded foam collar helps support your ankle, it fits snug & comfortable, and fresh Foam delivers a soft cushioning. It has flex grooves that provide flexibility, and no-sew materials that prevent irritation.

Durability / Quality
This is a highly durable running shoe made with quality materials and will last a long time.

Cost or value
The price of the Fresh Foam 1080's can be quite expensive, but they do offer good cushioning, and breathability.
Pros

Quality construction

Good breathability

Molded foam insole is removable, allowing use of custom orthotics

Roomy toe box

Molded foam collar to help support your ankle

Fits snug & comfortable

Fresh Foam delivers a soft cushioning

Flex grooves provide flexibility

No-sew materials provide comfort

Cons

Sizing may vary

Some users felt it was too tight

Some wearers found the heel area to be rough

9. Asics’ Gel Nimbus 17

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Asics’ Gel Nimbus 17 is a training shoe that is ideal for daily runs with superb cushioning. Asics has made some changes to the 17th model from their the Nimbus line. The upper provides a superior fit and reduces chafing and friction during activity. The Fluid Ride technology in the midsole also provides greater responsiveness, while making the shoe a bit lighter weight. Generally, this is a great shoe for neutral runners and who are looking for plenty of cushioning to enjoy daily workouts.
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Comfort / Stability
The upper of the Gel Nimbus 17 is seamless therefore reducing any amount of irritation you might have gotten. The heel clutch provides stability by keeping your foot in place and adding comfort to your run. The Gel Cushioning System absorbs the impact of the shock when your foot hits the ground allowing you to focus more easily on your run. Some users have complained that the toe box is too narrow so keep in mind you may need to purchase a 1/2 size up.

Durability / Quality
You can rest assured that this is a durable running shoe. Asics uses soft blown rubber on the forefoot, which is relatively standard when it comes to running shoes, but the hard rubber in the middle of the shoe and in the heel add extra durability. Most runners have gotten 300 miles out of them.

Cost or value
This running shoe can be a bit pricey, but it is well worth your money.
Pros

Sturdy, supportive construction

Provides great flexibility

Upper that provides a comfortable fit and allows your feet to breath.

Fluid Ride technology provides responsiveness

Heel clutch provides stability

Soft midsole that gives your foot a nice cushion as you run.

Durable outsole that gives you a great grip on the ground.

Gel Cushioning System absorbs  impact

Cons

Heavy shoe that doesn’t provide much flexibility.

Toe box is a bit narrow

May be seen as expensive

10. Nike FREE RN Distance

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The Nike RN Distance will provide you with the proper amount of cushioning and spring. It works well on 5K and 10K marathons.
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Comfort / Stability
The RN Distance is a highly comfortable and stable running shoe. It has a circular-knit upper that provides breathability, Phylon foam that provides soft cushioning and superior cushioning and responsiveness. Additionally, it has a light and comfortable upper.

Durability / Quality
The durability on this shoe seems to be average, with only a few users stating the outsole wore quicker than they had thought it would. Its hexagonal rubber outsole pods do provide great traction.

Cost or value
The Nike brand in generally can be a bit pricey, but is usually worth the price.
Pros

Circular-knit upper provides breathability.

Phylon foam provides soft cushioning

Allows natural range of motion from heel strike to toe-off.

Hexagonal rubber outsole pods provide great traction

Superior cushioning and responsiveness

Light and comfortable upper

Cons

Sizes run a half-size small

The outsole unit’s hexagonal grooves were not very durable for some and wore quickly.

Conclusion:

There are some things should be considered when buying cushioned athletic footwear. You have to know where your foot first hits the ground when you run. Secondly, what materials are used for the shoe, whether they are high quality or cheap materials. In addition to fitting perfectly, it is important that the shoes are also going to be comfortable for the activity that will be performed while wearing them. When purchasing online, in order to have perfect fitting shoes, you should try them on at a store before ordering, as fit and sizes tend to differ between different brands.

The Criteria We Used For Our Evaluation Of the Best Cushioned Running Shoes:

We don’t just  randomly select some shoes that have great cushioning. We have actually gone through thousands of customer reviews of cushioned running shoes to determine which ones are the best for runners.

Below we have broken down and explained each of the points we keep our eyes on when choosing the best cushioned running shoes:

ladies-running

How much cushioning is there?

When it comes to comfort it’s all about the cushion. Will your feet feel like they are on clouds when you run in them? Do you want a triple layer of foam, or do you prefer gel cushioning? The amount of cushioning preference typically varies by user.

Are they breathable enough?

Most runners don’t want a shoe that produces a lot of sweat while they run. The idea is to find a shoe that is well ventilated and allows your feet to breathe easily. This is typically provided by the upper materials of the shoe with holes in the fabric.

Do they provide enough flexibility?

When you get a running shoe it’s imperative that it flexes properly when you run. There’s nothing worse than a stiff shoe that won’t move to your every movement.

green-running-shoes

How is the Outsole?

Traction is a key component of a good running shoe. You’ll want to know if you can get a good grip on the road or the trails while you run. We’ve sifted through thousands of customer reviews to let you know if the sole is too thick, too thin or just right.

Is there room for the toes to move?

There’s nothing worse than having toes that are all squished together. Having adequate room in a toe box is essential. If you’re toes are cramped it could cause unnecessary foot pain or blisters. We’ve gone through these cushioned shoes to determine which shoes have a roomy toe box and which ones run a bit narrow.

How durable are they?

Depending on how much you run you’ll need to buy new running shoes. Typically, runners need to buy a new pair every few months. A good pair of running shoes should last between 400 and 600 miles. We want you to know if these shoes meet that criteria as far as durability goes, or if they will likely wear earlier or last even longer. Will the outsole wear quicker than expected, or the upper fray more easily? These are the things we consider when choosing our top 10.

 Other Important Factors To Consider When Selecting The Best Cushioned Running Shoes:

How to buy the right pair for your feet?

business-man-exercise

There are 3 different types of cushioned shoes:

  • Air cushioning features a pocket or pockets of air in the sole which has a function as an absorption zone on impact.
  • Gel cushioning features a layer of compressible gel which perform similarly to air cushioned shoes.
  • Foam cushioning normally consist of a layer of foam in the sole intended to function the same as gel or air.

Finding a running shoe that has the right amount of cushioning

Finding a running shoe that has the right amount of cushioning for you usually consists of two important things:

Body Frame:

Did you know that running puts 3 to 5 times your bodyweight onto your feet?  That means considering your body frame is important when selecting the right amount of cushioning of a running shoe. For example, if you’re tall and a bit heavier you may need more cushioning than someone who is short and thinner.

Preference:

Personal preference is something that you runners learn by trial and error. Sometimes runners find a specific brand that fits them well. You’ll need to ask yourself a few questions like; do you like a lot of cushioning so you can feel like you’re running in the clouds, or perhaps you like a barefoot approach and the feel of your foot hitting the ground, or maybe something neutral?

Do cushioned shoes help with reducing injury?

The overall conclusion is inconclusive. There are so many mixed opinions about whether or not cushioned shoes actually help in reducing injury. Some studies have shown that it doesn’t make a difference whether you wear a soft or hard running shoe.

Types of Running Shoes:

Although the focus of this particular post is on cushioned running shoes, it’s important to know that there are 3 different types of running shoes. Knowing this can better assist you in finding the right pair of running shoes.

Motion Control Shoes

These are running shoes that offer maximum support for your feet while you run. They are best utilized by runners that overpronate while running (your feet roll inward).  Typically speaking running shoes that offer motion control are firm and a bit heavy. The support is heavily aimed in the medial of the foot allowing the process of overpronation to be slowed.

Stability Cushioned Shoes

These are running shoes that offer a good balance of cushion, stability and motion control. They offer support for mild to moderate overpronators (feet roll inward). This type of running shoe is the most popular and usually offers a good amount of shock absorption when your feet hit the ground.

Cushioned/ Neutral Shoes

These are the shoes we have listed here as our top 10 for best cushioned running shoes. You can get shoes that have anywhere from a little to an extreme amount of cushioning. There are all types of materials that are used in order to enhance the cushioning of neutral running shoes (gel, air, foam). Additionally, with cushioned shoes you’ll typically find enhanced forefoot and heel components that provide better support.

Bottom Line

It is difficult, but important for any runner to choose a shoe which will meet all of their demands. There are different brands who manufacture cushioned running shoes. Asics, Nike and Saucony are considered as the most common brands of cushioned shoes on the market. Each brand has their own strong points in their shoe designs.

You may also be interested in: The Best Overall Running Shoes

FAQ

jogging-couple1. How do I know if I overpronate?

Most runners do show some pronation in general, but if you over-pronate you’ll know right away because the insides of your shoes will seem to be wearing quicker that the rest of them.

2. Which type of cushioning is best for me?

How do I know if air, gel, or foam cushioning will be best for me? Brands continue to improve shoes so that they can best meet the needs of runners, but overall the type of cushioning that works best for you will come down to personal preference.

3. If I have a high arch what type of running shoes are best for me?

These top 10 well cushioned running shoes are best suited for you! If you have a high arch a well-cushioned shoe is just what you need. Typically, runners who have high arches will want a running shoe with little or no arch support or stability features

4. If I have flat feet what type of running shoes are best for me?

It’s pretty easy to spot if you are flat footed. You’ll have no visible arch in your feet.  Runners with low arches are more likely to overpronate. Runners with flat feet need to look at shoes that provide support, because when you run your feet are supported 3 times their body weight on your arch.

5. Is comfort determined by the amount of cushioning in a shoe?

Not necessarily. It’s more likely that comfort is determined based on foot type and preference. Since all our feet differ the type of shoe that will be most comfortable for each runner is quite unique.

Here are some sources we used while conducting our research:

Sources

  1. Verywell, How Long Does It Take To Break in Running Shoes?, Informational site, May 08, 2016
  2. Road Runner, How do I know what amount of cushioning is right for me?, Informational running site,
  3. Competitor, Top 5 Shoe Buying Tips For Runners, Informational running site, Nov 18, 2014
  4. Runblogger, Finding the Most Comfortable Running Shoe for You, Informational running site, Feb 07, 2014
  5. Runners world, Cushioned Running Shoes Don't Reduce Injuries, Informational running site, Mar 13, 2014
  6. Running Shoes Guru, 3 types of Running shoes for 3 types of feet, Informational running site, Sep 16, 2012
  7. Asics, Clifton Bradeley, Choosing the Right Running Shoe - 3 Types of Running Shoe Explained, Shoe store,

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