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10 Best Running Shoes Reviewed & Tested with Cushioning

last updated Oct 12, 2018
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.

There is often a misconception about what cushioned running shoes really are supposed to look like. Many people imagine an awkward looking shoe on top of a sole that looks like it is made from marshmallow. While there are a few thickly soled picks on our list, you might be surprised by a few of our favorites which don’t fit that particular image. With new technologies and updated materials, it is possible to get the much needed cushioning in a slightly less bulky form. This is something that seems to be even more popular, especially in newer designs for mens’ running shoes.
Interviewed Experts
5
Interviewed Experts
Researched Sources
18
Researched Sources
Total Readers
10k
Total Readers
Reviews Considered
13k
Reviews Considered
Hours Researching
18
Hours Researching
Products Evaluated
15
Products Evaluated
Last Updated:
By Richard Haberkost:

We have added in at number 5 the Adidas Ultra Boost 4 to join our list of 16 current popular shoes. Some of our offers are holding because the updated version does not offer the same cushion performance. If the shoe is tried, tested, wanted and available we will retain it on our list for you. We regularly update and add new models which FIT the criteria required by runners. Enjoy reading through our review criteria to see how we find the best-cushioned shoes if you have questions look for answers in our FAQs

Sorting Options
Breathability Flexibility Durability Support Comfort By Default
Rank
PictureProduct
Name
Rating
Shops
1
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.2
Breathability
82%
Flexibility
89%
Durability
95%
Support
98%
Comfort
97%
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.11.18)
$94.97
$149.95
Best Deal
2
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89.4
Comfort
97%
Flexibility
90%
Support
86%
Durability
88%
Breathability
86%
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.11.18)
$166.00
$179.95
Best Deal
3
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
86.6
Breathability
78%
Comfort
91%
Support
86%
Durability
88%
Flexibility
90%
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.11.18)
$77.95
Best Deal
$82.99
$119.95
Best Deal
4
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
85.6
Comfort
95%
Durability
85%
Flexibility
82%
Support
79%
Breathability
87%
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.11.18)
$84.95
Best Deal
$146.91
$149.95
Best Deal
5
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
84.8
Breathability
88%
Durability
72%
Flexibility
81%
Comfort
93%
Support
90%
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.11.18)
$119.95
Best Deal
$134.95
Best Deal
$199.95
6
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
84.4
Durability
80%
Breathability
85%
Comfort
92%
Support
87%
Flexibility
78%
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.11.18)
$84.95
Best Deal
$139.95
$149.95
Best Deal
7
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
83.2
Comfort
90%
Flexibility
81%
Breathability
85%
Durability
82%
Support
78%
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.11.18)
$65.99
$89.95
Best Deal
$129.95
Best Deal
8
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
81.8
Comfort
85%
Breathability
80%
Support
79%
Flexibility
78%
Durability
87%
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.11.18)
$79.90
$159.95
Best Deal
9
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
81.4
Comfort
85%
Durability
82%
Breathability
78%
Flexibility
80%
Support
82%
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.11.18)
$70.21
$109.95
Best Deal
10
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
81
Breathability
79%
Comfort
89%
Support
80%
Flexibility
75%
Durability
82%
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.11.18)
$159.97
$169.95
Best Deal
In Depth Review Top 10
  • Altra Olympus 2.5
  • Adidas Ultra Boost 4.0
  • Brooks Ghost 10
  • Brooks Glycerin 15
  • Hoka One One Bondi 5
  • Salomon Sonic Pro
  • Under Armour Speedform Gemini
  • Saucony Triumph ISO
  • Altra Instinct 4.0
  • Hoka One One Vanquish 3
Table of contents
  • Criteria Used for Evaluation
  • Other Factors to Consider
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Sources

Our Favorites

1. Altra Olympus 2.5

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.2
Altra Olympus 2.5
Breathability
82
Flexibility
89
Durability
95
Support
98
Comfort
97
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$94.97
$149.95
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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

Altra's Gaiter trap holds their proprietary trail gaiter in place to help protect 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

Tired of your feet hurting when you hit the trails? Try the Olympus 2.5 which offers maximum cushioning and is perfect for running on trails and one of the better running shoes for men with cushioning. This one definitely falls into the "maximalist shoe" category.

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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 and 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.

2. Adidas Ultra Boost 4.0

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89.4
Adidas Ultra Boost 4.0
Comfort
97
Flexibility
90
Support
86
Durability
88
Breathability
86
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$166.00
$179.95
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Pros:

Boost midsole gives top responsive cushion capability

A foot-hugging FIT through the PrimeKnit upper

Good grip/traction

Light in weight and extremely comfortable

Cons:

Some are cautious about the price

This shoe hits the mark for good cushioning and has been given a lot of supportive feedback for having an appealing silhouette, reliable and durable materials are used in the construction of the shoe, many runners have praised the midsoles level of response. This shoe has been put together to ensure maximum comfort right through a run, be it a short or long distance. For neutral runners, this shoe runs well on all road surfaces while offering plush cushioned comfort, stability, traction and good protection.
The midsole boost system gives invigorating under foot spring while the upper affords a high level of breathability, the shoe is ultra comfortable and gives a sound sense of freedom. The upper features a prime knit weave which offers breathability and is designed to aid the upper stability of the shoe. For this review, we are focused on the level of cushion capability and this shoe certainly achieves a very good degree of cushioning comfort.

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Comfort/Stability

The shoe looks stylish and fashionable so it can be worn as casual or for running. The midsole ensures a lightweight performance combined with a fine level of constant comfort. Designed in shoe tech in the form of a high return energy boosting system which means runners get underfoot cushion with a high level of responsiveness. Zero potential shoe wobble due to a superb heel counter, the heel to toe drop runs at 10mm, the shoe weighs in at 303 grams for men and 266 grams for ladies. This shoe is perfect for daily running and has a neutral quality with thoughtful arch support, feedback points out that this shoe works really well on roads.

The shoe qualifies for high mileage training because the boost shoe tech in the midsole is supported by EVA foam which works to bring down any feeling of instability. The outsole is coated with a thin layer of continental sourced rubber which is usually used on car tires, this increases grip/traction.

The upper is constructed from a prime knit material and gives a reasonable degree of breathability. The shoe construction incorporates a TPU construction plastic cage which stretches from the heel cup up through to the shoe mid-foot.

Durability/Quality

Durability will work for this shoe when the shoe is used for the purpose for which it is designed if you take the shoe into challenging terrains this will conflict with the design purpose. The FlyKnit upper can get wet if you use the shoe in rainy conditions and take a while to dry out. The construction of the shoe involves high-quality materials which serve a purpose and adds to comfort, stability along with protection.

Cost

The shoe offers superb cushioning which is reflected in the price. There may be some products on the market that are cheaper than these but there are also a number of shoes that cost significantly more.

3. Brooks Ghost 10

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
86.6
Brooks Ghost 10
Breathability
78
Comfort
91
Support
86
Durability
88
Flexibility
90
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$82.99
$77.95
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Pros:

Heel and upper holds securely

High-performance shock absorption

Good stability

Sturdy sole

Very comfortable

Smooth transitions

Flexibility

Cons:

Disappointing longevity

The updated Ghost 10 has excellent cushioning ensuring a high level of comfort, the shoe looks good, has durability when used in context, and good for different distance running. Feedback suggests the shoe is very good for half marathon running or further. It is considered a neutral running shoe which gives stability combined with good performing cushion, the heel, and upper holds securely to the foot with smooth transitions. Clearly, this shoe combines support, comfort, flexibility and very nice cushion factor. This shoe is a step up from the Ghost 9 and will serve runners well, read our review to see if it will work for you.

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Comfort / Stability

Constructed with an intent for high performance, take a long run and you won't experience any discomfort or foot issues. Designed with high-performance shock absorption characteristics resulting from an innovative midsole system. The shoe offers high comfort, good stability and a sturdy sole which appears to be less bulky. Feedback on the shoe performance often cites a feeling of running on air clouds, for a more secure lace-up system the top of the tongue features a secure lace holder.

Durability / Quality

The shoe is an update on the previous Ghost 9 which was also a high performing shoe. All durability and quality performances have been retained.

Cost

The Brooks Ghost 10 is just above a mid-range price. As a result, these shoes can be considered a good purchase and an excellent addition to your running gear.

4. Brooks Glycerin 15

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
85.6
Brooks Glycerin 15
Comfort
95
Durability
85
Flexibility
82
Support
79
Breathability
87
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$146.91
$84.95
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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

The Brooks Glycerin 15 has some serious cushioning, as you would expect from a product in this category from Brooks, allowing you to glide down the road with plush comfort as well as solid support

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Comfort / Stability

This is a highly comfortable and stable running shoe. It comes complete with a super DNA midsole that 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, supportive overlays allow for flexibility, and the new moisture-managing knit mesh material of the upper help 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 15 can run anywhere between average and expensive in price depending on where you shop for them.

5. Hoka One One Bondi 5

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
84.8
Hoka One One Bondi 5
Breathability
88
Durability
72
Flexibility
81
Comfort
93
Support
90
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$119.95
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Pros:

Breathable air mesh upper

Padded tongue and collar for snug fit and comfort

Stability from TPU External Heel Counter

Plenty of cushioning

Smooth transition with Early Stage Meta-Rocker in the midsole

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

This iteration of the Bondi has proven to be as successful, if not more so then its predecessor. When you think of highly cushioned shoes, no doubt Hoka One One comes to mine. The Bondi 5 follows this trend with max cushioning for neutral runners. These shoes are made to pound the pavement for many miles, keeping feet comfy the entire time. There is no doubt that they are unique with the high stack height, and the color options are plentiful and sure to stand out at your next race. If you are looking for max cushioning, look no further than the Bondi 5.

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Comfort / Stability

The thick EVA foam cushioning in the midsole is the first obvious comfort feature of the shoe, but it's not the only feature that makes this shoe supremely comfortable. The Bondi 5 features an air mesh upper, keeping your feet cool and dry. The Lycra ComforFrame upper also adds a layer of comfort. The tongue of the shoe is padded as well.

As far as stability goes, the TPU Heel Counter locks in your heel for a super stable ride, while the Early Meta Rocker Geometry guides your foot through a smooth transition.

Durability / Quality

There were a few reviewers that had issues with the outsole, in terms of durability. They found it wore out prematurely. However, for most runners, the shoe lasts for a good amount of time.

Cost or value

Like most Hoka One One shoes, the Bondi 5 runs a little higher than most running shoes. However, as soon as you slip them on and feel that marshmallow thick cushioning, you might consider that the price justifies the quality.

6. Salomon Sonic Pro

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
84.4
Salomon Sonic Pro
Durability
80
Breathability
85
Comfort
92
Support
87
Flexibility
78
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$139.95
$84.95
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Pros:

3D Stretch Air Mesh provides excellent breathability

Sensifit design offers stability through a precise, secure fit

The EndoFit internal sleeve gives the wearer better feedback with the shoe

Tough and comfortable

Cons:

We couldn't find much in the way of cons, other than these probably aren't ideal for marathons

Here is a road model from Salomon, a company that does a great job with trail shoes. The Sonic Pro is a mix of protection and comfort in a design that doesn't seem as bulky as it should, considering the amount of cushion provided. As a company that puts out a great trail runner, the protective features and durability should be noticeable factors here.

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Comfort / Stability

The fit follows in line with this brand's success in that department, allowing the foot to stay in place and maintain exceptional grip. Secondly, the upper is covered strategically in what Salomon calls Sensifit diagonal overlays. These overlays add support by connecting the midsole to the lacing system. As far as breathability goes, the thin 3D Stretch Air Mesh material does an exceptional job of allowing air to flow well through the shoe. In fact, these really work well in keeping feet reasonably dry in hot or humid climates. This model also has their EndoFit internal sleeve, which wraps the foot and gives the wearer much better feedback and response with the shoe.

Durability / Quality

We couldn't find any complaints so far regarding durability. The Sensifit design is built with bonded construction, which helps to increase the shoe's overall lifespan under continuous use.
In fact, it seems that this factor was well thought out when designing this one, as they really don't seem to show too much wear, even after running them a few time for longer distances.

Cost

Like most things from Salomon, these are not exactly cheap. Although, they aren't the most expensive on the list either. Considering factors such as durability, fit and overall comfort, we feel like these are probably worth the price tag, especially if you are looking for something that will last quite a while.

7. Under Armour Speedform Gemini

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
83.2
Under Armour Speedform Gemini
Comfort
90
Flexibility
81
Breathability
85
Durability
82
Support
78
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$65.99
$89.95
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Pros:

ArchForm offers good support

Cool color options

Dual-layer midsole for strong take-offs

Embedded sock-liner wicks moisture

Flexibility ensures smooth transitions

Toe cap provides excellent durability and support

Ultra-breathable upper

Snug yet flexible fit

Cons:

They run narrow

Sizing runs small

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 sock liner 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 and Value

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

8. Saucony Triumph ISO

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
81.8
Saucony Triumph ISO
Comfort
85
Breathability
80
Support
79
Flexibility
78
Durability
87
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Pros:

Everun cushioning provides responsive underfoot support

Isofit upper adapts to the shape of your foot

Lightweight Support Frame provides structure and stability

Pwrgrid+ provides midsole cushion

Run-dry collar keeps away sweat

A variety of color options

SRC Impact Zone provides shock absorption

Reflective components

Cons:

The forefoot is a bit narrow.

Not as breathable as some would like

If you are looking for a running shoe that you can really pound out many miles in, then the Saucony Triumph ISO is a great choice. With its EVERUN midsole, you are sure to get a comfortable ride on every run.

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Comfort / Stability

The Triumph ISO has an amazing amount of cushioning that will provide comfort and stability. The EVERUN cushioning in the midsole is responsive and supportive. The Isofit upper wraps around the foot for an individualized fit and its Support Frame provide structure and stability while remaining lightweight. Ut gas Pwrgrid+ that provides midsole cushion, a Run-dry 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 and Value

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

9. Altra Instinct 4.0

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
81.4
Altra Instinct 4.0
Comfort
85
Durability
82
Breathability
78
Flexibility
80
Support
82
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Pros:

FootShape design offers a wider toe box to allow the natural splay and function of the toes

Zero drop build is great for some foot conditions and injury recovery

Decent breathability

Fairly precise fit

Cons:

A bit expensive

Definitely not as thickly soled as most others on our list, The instinct 4 still provides decent cushioning for those longer runs. This pair has that wide toe box or "FootShape" forefoot design that we are familiar with from Altra. This zero drop platform is the newest upgrade to the Instinct line and is certainly worth a look. The women's version is called the Intuition, but is essentially the same shoe, but built for women.

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Comfort / Stability

Comfort is something Altra has learned how to do well. Though there are certainly lighter weight runners out there, the Instinct 4.0 provides a very smooth and responsive amount of cushioning without overdoing it. Instead of layering the sole with different types of foam, this one only uses one density, which doesn't seem to matter much. you can't really say that this shoe fits like a sock, due to its wide toe box, but the overall fit is quite nice. if you size correctly, there isn't any slipping or rubbing that goes on during a run. That wide toe box does help some with the overall stability, as it allows the toes to spread and function naturally, which helps with balance.

Breathability

The upper isn't mesh and isn't really a knit. It is perforated enough in the right spots to allow decent airflow, but probably could be a little better. Still, they provide a decent amount of breathability, enough so to land them on our list.

Durability

The 4.0 is still a fairly new model, so there isn't much out there which say one way or the other. But, the previous version has a pretty good track record when it comes to durability.

Cost

This is not really a cheap shoe. If you are purchasing outside of the U.S. it will cost a bit more, but the ride and stability that you will get from this one seem to be worth it.

10. Hoka One One Vanquish 3

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
81
Hoka One One Vanquish 3
Breathability
79
Comfort
89
Support
80
Flexibility
75
Durability
82
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$169.95
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Pros:

Dual-Layer Midsole provides comfort

Excellent cushioning from EVA midsole

Fantastic breathability and support

Abrasion-resistant rubber provides durability and traction

Terrific support for transitions

Cons:

Toe box may run narrow

Shoe sizes may run narrow

The Vanquish 3 is on the lighter side of the heavy running shoes. It will provide you with a well-cushioned running shoe. This newer version is a lot like the previous one, but with some subtle improvements. On the outside, the shoes are very similar, although the Vanquish 3 has a slightly slicker looking upper design

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Comfort / Stability

You can still expect the same amount of comfort that Hoka gave us with 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 cost of this newer version of the model does tend to run on the higher end of the price range, but it will be worth your money if comfort is what you are searching for.

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Comfort

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.

As this is one of the main points that our list focuses on, it becomes a major factor to take into consideration. A cushion is kind of a general term when it comes to running shoes, as their many different types cushioned designs out there. Even more so than just a few years ago, thanks to new developments in materials and technology. We are seeing a lot more interest in cushioning when it comes to mens’ running shoes for the heavier guys out there.

One thing to keep in mind these days is that a shoe design doesn’t necessarily need to be giant or bulky to provide more than adequate amounts of cushion. Take the footwear company On as an example. Their Cloud series isn’t what most would call a maximalist design, although they have figured out a way to offer decent cushioning within a pretty average mass.

On the other hand, we have companies like Hoka and Altra. Both tend to produce models which mostly sport bulkier soles, which usually scream “comfortable ride” just at the sight of them. The bulky sole obviously isn’t for everyone and may take some time to get used to if switching from a lower profile model. For the purpose of different tastes, running styles, and general personal preferences, we chose selections for our list which cover both ranges.

If you are in the market for a runner that offers to cushion, well then you aren’t going to want a minimalist model. So if you like the look of minimalistic shoe designs, there might be a bit of a challenge awaiting you, if what you need is something more along the lines of what we are discussing here. However, as mentioned above, This doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t find a model designed with a lower profile.

Breathability

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.

This is obvious to most. More holes mean more airflow. But, with new advances in materials, we are starting to see uppers constructed of textiles and fabrics which don’t always have to look like a fishing net to allow plenty of air to move through. With new styles such as knit construction and breathable membrane type fabric, a shoe’s upper might not always appear as breathable as it really is when used.

Breathability is something that important for a few different reasons. The first is an overall comfort. It is horrible when you get halfway through your run and start to feel your sweaty feet move around more because of the moisture that has built up from not having enough airflow to escape or evaporate. The second is bacteria. With moisture building up and nowhere to go, the sweat will soak into the interior on your shoes. This will eventually start to stink quite a bit. The odor is coming from the bacteria which forms from old sweat that wasn’t able to escape during your run. This could even result in foot fungus or other nasty foot issues.

Another reason why breathability is so important, besides hygiene and comfort, is the fact that in some footwear moisture will eventually affect the structure of the shoe. And, we already mentioned that smell.

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. Really, who wants to go on a long run with something that feels like a stiff board strapped to the bottom of your feet.

Along with comfort, the model’s flexibility also can affect your stride if your feet are kept from functioning the way they are supposed to. This, of course, means that you efficiency could be negatively affected. Taking into account the different styles we have gathered in our list, flexibility becomes something which differs some per model.

The thicker soled models will have, in most cases, slightly less or a different range of flexibility. Then looking at the models which are of a lower profile design, the flexibility will usually be a bit more free, as the soles are not as thick.

However, with newer technologies in rubber and foam materials, the flexibility found in those thicker shoes is still much more giving than earlier models.

Support

There’s nothing worse than having toes that are all squished together. Having adequate room in a toe box is essential. If your 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.

If you are looking for a regular fit, but want a wider toe box, we added two choices from Altra. This brand is known for their “FootShape” design, which offers an anatomical fit around the toes to allow the more natural function of the forefoot.

Pointy toes is not exactly a feature that many want with running shoes. However, those models with wide toe boxes aren’t for everyone either. Finding those which seemed to fit just right, not too constrictive or loose, was a key factor in placing on our list.

Durability

Depending on how much you run you’ll need to buy new running shoes. Typically, male runners need to buy a new pair of running shoes every few months. A good pair of shoes should last between 400 and 600 miles. We want you to know if these shoes meet those 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.

Durability doesn’t just factor into distance or gender. Where you tend to run matters quite a bit as well. The terrain or particular surface affect the longevity of your footwear’s lifespan. If a specific model is meant for light or moderate trails, then it most certainly needs to be able to stand up to those expected conditions. If a shoe is meant for long distances over a hard road, well the best choices should be able to perform well there too.

In addition to where another factor that needs to be considered with top picks is the climate in which you usually run. A solid choice should be able to stand up to the normal elements encountered with consistent running. If a particular model is specifically meant for wetter conditions, maybe being constructed with some kind of weather resistance, then that needs to work as intended. Otherwise, the life of the shoe may be shortened some.

Expert Interviews & Opinions

Most Important Criteria (According to our experts opinion)
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How much cushion is too much?

We all know those brands with the huge cushy looking soles, and how comfortable they look. But, does all that cushion take away from overall stability.

The answer, in most cases, really depends on the runner. If you go from a barefoot shoe to a heavily cushioned model, well, there might be a small amount of adjustment time.

What about ground feel and responsiveness?

It's true, you won't get the same ground feel in a pair of cushioned runners that you would have with a pair of barefoot or minimalist shoes, but it doesn't necessarily mean that you won't still have decent responsiveness on the road. The key is to get the shoes on your feet to know what you can really expect.

Other Factors to Consider

Accuracy

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.

A person’s body type should often be considered when picking out footwear for sports or fitness activities, to ensure the correct match is made with the required amount of support that is needed.

Brand

By personal preference, we don’t mean how do these also look with jeans. We are talking about how the footwear feels before, during and also after your run.

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?

Comfort

The overall conclusion is actually 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.

Without going too deep into the countering arguments we should at least cover the two main schools of thought. One side says that barefoot or minimalist runners offer the greater risk of injury, due to the intentional lack of thick underfoot protection and not having much in the way of structured support.

The other side, however, sees the extra cushion as taking away control, responsive ground contact, and that it even hinders the natural function and movement of the feet. With that argument and personal preference aside, there are some foot types and even specific conditions or injuries which require more cushion. As with many of the choices on our list, it offers more support and protection under your feet when needed.

Whether you are dealing with overpronation, under-pronation, plantar fasciitis, or other issues, they are some options which made it into the top because they were able to provide the comfort and support needed for those problems.

Model

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. It is important to note that, before knowing which type to go with, you should really know more about your own feet. Are you a pronator? if so, Over or under? Are you dealing with plantar fasciitis or other issues? Knowing these things will better ensure that you are able to find the right pair of running shoes.

Motion Control

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 is firm and a bit heavy. The support is heavily aimed at the medial of the foot allowing the process of overpronation to be slowed.
The motion control models, in most cases, also provide the correct support needed to deal with other conditions such as plantar fasciitis. Additionally, many injuries require solid control during the recovery period, so this type is good for that as well.

Stability

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.
Many of the same features found in motion control shoes are also found in the stability model shoe. Most often you will find more impact resistance with stability runners. These are also a great choice when recovering from some injuries.

Cushioned/ Neutral

A good amount of what we have listed here as our top 10 falls into this category. 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.
Neutral is what you might consider the standard amount of stability and control, which might not be ideal for those who do in fact need an extra bit of support.

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.

As you can see on our list, we have gathered shoes for not only different terrains but also for different levels of support and stability. There are even picks on our list which covers the higher level of all three points, like Altra’s Olympus 2.5, which is intended for medium trails.

You can also see models with a little less profile, which are intended for road use. One such model is 1080 from New Balance.

Frequently Asked Questions

q: Am I an overpronator?
a:

Most runners pronate to some degree, but excessive pronation, such as overpronation, can lead to potential injury and may need additional support in shoes to help correct it. Overpronation is seen in runners with low arches or flat feet. In order to find out if you overpronate, you can have your gait analyzed at a local running store or a foot specialist, or you can take a look at the bottom of your shoe. If there is excessive wear on the inside heel and under the ball of the foot, that you probably overpronate.

q: Which type of cushioning is best for me?
a:

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.

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

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. The entire weight of your body is supported by your arches, so they need all of the help they can get!

q: If I have flat feet what type of running shoes are best for me?
a:

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.

q: Is comfort determined by the amount of cushioning in a shoe?
a:

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.

Sources

  1. Christine Luff, Verywell, Informational site, May 08, 2016
  2. Road Runner Staff, Road Runner, Informational running site,
  3. Cielestia Calbay, Competitor, Informational running site, Nov 18, 2014
  4. Peter Larson, Runblogger, Informational running site, Feb 07, 2014
  5. Amby Burfoot, Runner's world, Informational running site, Mar 13, 2014
  6. Clifton Bradeley, ASICS, Shoe manufacturer,