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10 Best Running Shoes with Cushions Reviewed & Tested

last updated: Aug 10, 2020
Finding the best cushioned running shoes can be hard to do—after all, there are quite literally hundreds of different shoes to choose from nowadays! Lucky for you, however, we have done all of the research you need to find the perfect pair!

Running shoes with cushioning provide runners with the right support and comfort for neutral runners. They are a great option for those of you who underpronate and ensure that you have the stability, comfort, and flexibility you need for all of your runs.

In order to provide our readers with a thorough review, we rated each of the cushioned running shoes we chose based on their overall comfort, breathability, flexibility, support, and durability. Check them out below to find your next pair! Make sure you research thoroughly which one has the most cushioning for you.

This is the best product on our list that is currently in stock:

icon
Asics Gel-Kayano 27
96/100 our score
Comfort
97
Breathability
97
Flexibility
95
Support
96
Durability
95
Asics Gel-Kayano 27
Why is it better?
  • Breathable
  • Sizing fits accurately
  • Flexible
  • Great traction
  • Well-Cushioned
In a Hurry? Editors choice:
Asics Gel-Kayano 27
Test Winner: Asics Gel-Kayano 27
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Interviewed Experts
5
Interviewed Experts
Researched Sources
6
Researched Sources
Reviews Considered
1.4K
Reviews Considered
Hours Researching
12
Hours Researching
Products Evaluated
18
Products Evaluated
Sorting Options
Comfort Breathability Flexibility Support Durability 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.
97.2
Comfort
99.9 %
Breathability
98.9 %
Flexibility
92 %
Support
99.9 %
Durability
98.9 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (28.10.20)
#2
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
96.8
Comfort
99 %
Breathability
95 %
Flexibility
98 %
Support
96 %
Durability
96 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (28.10.20)
#3
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
96
Comfort
97 %
Breathability
97 %
Flexibility
95 %
Support
96 %
Durability
95 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (28.10.20)
#4
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95.8
Comfort
98.9 %
Breathability
94 %
Flexibility
95 %
Support
97 %
Durability
95 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (28.10.20)
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#5
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95
Comfort
96 %
Breathability
98 %
Flexibility
93 %
Support
96 %
Durability
92 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (28.10.20)
#6
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94.6
Comfort
95 %
Breathability
95 %
Flexibility
95 %
Support
95 %
Durability
93 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (28.10.20)
#7
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.4
Comfort
99.9 %
Breathability
89 %
Flexibility
80 %
Support
98.5 %
Durability
96 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (28.10.20)
#8
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.2
Comfort
95 %
Breathability
89 %
Flexibility
93 %
Support
94 %
Durability
90 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (28.10.20)
#9
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91
Comfort
96 %
Breathability
91 %
Flexibility
91 %
Support
94 %
Durability
83 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (28.10.20)
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#10
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90.8
Comfort
97 %
Breathability
94 %
Flexibility
89 %
Support
93 %
Durability
81 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (28.10.20)
Amazon Link
#11
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90.4
Comfort
93 %
Breathability
95 %
Flexibility
98 %
Support
86 %
Durability
80 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (28.10.20)
Amazon Link
#12
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
82
Comfort
85 %
Breathability
82 %
Flexibility
83 %
Support
80 %
Durability
80 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (28.10.20)
#13
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
80
Comfort
80 %
Breathability
80 %
Flexibility
80 %
Support
80 %
Durability
80 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (28.10.20)

10 Most Cushioned Running Shoes

1. Hoka One One Bondi 6

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
97.2
Hoka One One Bondi 6
Hoka One One Bondi 6
Hoka One One Bondi 6
Hoka One One Bondi 6
Hoka One One Bondi 6
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Comfort
99.9
Breathability
98.9
Flexibility
92
Support
99.9
Durability
98.9
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Pros:
  • Excellent cushioning
  • Great support
  • Breathable
  • Lots of colors to choose from
  • Great traction
Cons:
  • Not as durable
  • Expensive
  • The tongue can be uncomfortable
  • Has a break in period

While the newest model of these high cushion running shoes has proven to have some durability issues, they are a great pair of shoes for a beginner or short distance runners looking for a supportive and well-cushioned running shoes. Aside from that, these cushion shoes look great and come in several color options to choose from.

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Comfort

These are high cushion running shoes and they are comfortable for some runners, but some users have reported that they have a long break in period--they can be pretty stiff at first. While some runners like the tongue on this shoe, others state that they have experienced chafing and blisters because of it, so you should definitely try these on beforehand.

Breathability

These shoes provide excellent breathability and ventilation to ensure you get the airflow that you need. This is important for all runners but especially for those of you who already have to deal with sweaty feet.

Flexibility

Unfortunately, these shoes are not really flexible, especially in the beginning when you are still breaking them in. However, if you need the added stiffness and thus stability that these shoes provide, you will find that these are a great option!

Support

These shoes offer great support for neutral runners and those of you who don't have any major issues that you need to address. They will keep you supported and stable during all of your runs while you stay comfortable during each and every run.

Durability

Like we mentioned earlier, these shoes are not very durable--especially for those of you who run long distances. If you can handle the durability issues, or if you don't plan on using them for hundreds of miles, then these are a great pair of shoes to consider.

2. Altra Olympus 3.5

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
96.8
Altra Olympus 3.5
Altra Olympus 2.5
Altra Olympus 2.5
Altra Olympus 2.5
Altra Olympus 2.5
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Comfort
99
Breathability
95
Flexibility
98
Support
96
Durability
96
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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 3.5 which offers maximum cushioning and is perfect for running on trails and one of the better shoes for running with cushioning. 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. Read in-depth below why you should opt for these softest running shoes.

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Comfort

If it's maximum comfort you seek this is the perfect 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.

Breathability

One of the best features these cushion shoes have to offer is how breathable they are. They have a quick-dry trail mesh upper that allows for proper ventilation with sacrificing protection when you are on your favorite trails--and you can definitely count on them to keep your feet cool and dry.

Flexibility

The Olympus 2.0 offers a Quick-Dry trail mesh upper, and a Natural Ride System that helps provide a more natural foot motion.

Support

These might be one of the most comfortable running shoes with cushions on the market. They fall into the "maximalist shoe" category--so you know you are getting a ton of support. If you are tired of dealing with shoes that won't protect your arches from collapsing and that leave you with painful shin splints, these may be the perfect pair of max cushion running shoes for you.

Durability

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.

3. Asics Gel-Kayano 27

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
96
Asics Gel-Kayano 27
Brooks Ghost 11
Brooks Ghost 11
Brooks Ghost 11
Brooks Ghost 11
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Comfort
97
Breathability
97
Flexibility
95
Support
96
Durability
95
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Pros:
  • Breathable
  • Sizing fits accurately
  • Flexible
  • Great traction
  • Well-Cushioned
Cons:
  • Some users don't love the new upper

The Kayano has been a solid shoe since the initial version was released so many years ago. It started out in the time of of the bulky white sneaker, now fast forward to today, and what we have is a still solid shoes that has been lightened, improved, tweaked, and enhanced to the supportive running shoe that is great on various surfaces that we have today with the Kayano 27.

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As far as cushioning goes, the Kayano has it. The responsiveness and support is what this shoe is known for, going back a few versions. The overall comfort and fit of the shoe is spot on for a majority of the runners who have given this one a try.

The grip is also pretty confident, even over various surfaces, including light paths. There is also some decently energizing bounce back in the midsole, which helps with impact resistance.

4. New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v10

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95.8
New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v10
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Comfort
98.9
Breathability
94
Flexibility
95
Support
97
Durability
95
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Pros:

Ideal for long distance runs

Decent support for many different foot types

Flexible midsole, cushioning doesn't restrict movement

Cons:

A bit narrow in the toe for some

If you had to describe this shoe with only one word, you could do it with "comfortable". The overall support, cushioning, responsiveness, and performance put the 1080v10 right up there with the top picks for distance running. In fact, looking back at the 1080 series, it has consistently been a great shoe.

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"Fresh Foam" screams "cushioned"! Looking now at the 10th version of the 1080 series, this shoe just keeps getting better and better. As already implied, you definitely get the cushion part here. The support and response is also there with the 1080v10.

The upper material has also been greatly improved to allow better breathability, as well as a more performance focused fit all around. The knit upper gives just enough to allow functional movement, while maintaining a secure fit, which is what you'll need to get through all the miles this shoe is capable of comfortably.

5. Brooks Glycerin 18

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95
Brooks Glycerin 18
Brooks Glycerin 17
Brooks Glycerin 17
Brooks Glycerin 17
Brooks Glycerin 17
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Comfort
96
Breathability
98
Flexibility
93
Support
96
Durability
92
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Pros:
  • Breathable
  • Flexible
  • Lightweight
  • Well-Cushioned
  • Responsive
Cons:
  • Pricey

The Brooks Glycerin 18 cushioned running shoes are replacing the previous Brooks Glycerin 17 shoes that were on our list--because this model is just that good! These shoes are designed for long-distance runners anywhere and are built to take on the mileage. They are comfortable, breathable, and they even look great--so, what's not to love!

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Comfort

These shoes manage to be really comfortable, plushy, and cushioned without sacrificing anything else. This is thanks to their DNA Loft underfoot, which also increases responsiveness, and their well-cushioned fit is perfect for neutral runners looking to go the distance.

Breathability

The upper on these shoes is really breathable and allows for optimal ventilation. If you want to make sure your feet stay cool and dry, then these are definitely the softest running shoes for you.

Flexibility

If you want a pair of high cushion running shoes that allows for a full range of motion without sacrificing the cushioning you need, then this is a great pair for you to consider. They feature a flexible 3D mesh upper that is not only breathable and soft, but it also adjusts itself to your stride and gait so you can move as needed.

Support

While these provide great support for neutral runners, don't expect them to help you with any serious issues you may have. If you are a neutral runner then they will give you the stability and support you need to push through mile after mile without any risk of injury or discomfort.

Durability

Built for long distances, these shoes will definitely help you log in mile after mile. If you are looking for a pair of shoes you can train in for the long haul you will definitely love these!

6. 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.
94.6
Adidas Ultra Boost 4.0
Adidas Ultra Boost 4.0
Adidas Ultra Boost 4.0
Adidas Ultra Boost 4.0
Adidas Ultra Boost 4.0
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Comfort
95
Breathability
95
Flexibility
95
Support
95
Durability
93
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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. Adidas Ultra Boost 4.0 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. 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

These women's running shoes have been put together to ensure maximum comfort right through a run, be it a short or long distance (there are men's models too). For neutral runners, this shoe runs well on all road surfaces while offering plush cushioned comfort, stability, traction and good protection. 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.

Breathability

The midsole boost system gives invigorating underfoot 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. 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 that stretches from the heel cup up through to the shoe mid-foot.

Flexibility

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 well on roads.

Support

These are some of the softest running shoes and they qualify 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.

Durability

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.

7. 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.
92.4
Hoka One One Vanquish 3
Hoka One One Vanquish 3
Hoka One One Vanquish 3
Hoka One One Vanquish 3
Hoka One One Vanquish 3
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Comfort
99.9
Breathability
89
Flexibility
80
Support
98.5
Durability
96
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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. 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.

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Comfort

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.

Breathability

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.

Flexibility

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 max cushion running shoes are very similar, although the Vanquish 3 has a slightly slicker looking upper design

Support

If you are a neutral runner you will find that these cushioned running shoes provide you with the right amount of support to get you through your runs and ensure that you can keep going, no matter how far you are going.

Durability

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.

8. Saucony Triumph ISO 5

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.2
Saucony Triumph ISO 5
Saucony Triumph ISO 5
Saucony Triumph ISO 5
Saucony Triumph ISO 5
Saucony Triumph ISO 5
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Comfort
95
Breathability
89
Flexibility
93
Support
94
Durability
90
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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. The price of this running shoe runs average to quite pricey depending on where you purchase them from.

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Comfort

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.

Breathability

Although these cushioned running shoes do provide some breathability, they do not offer as much breathability as some users would prefer--so, if you have sweaty feet or run in hot weather you might want to think twice about these shoes.

Flexibility

As far as flexibility goes, these cushion running shoes are flexible enough to allow for a full range of motion. However, it is important to note that they do have a break-in period, so they won't be as comfortable at first.

Support

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.

Durability

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

9. Mizuno Wave Inspire 16

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91
Mizuno Wave Inspire 16
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Comfort
96
Breathability
91
Flexibility
91
Support
94
Durability
83
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Pros:

Great option for runners who need a stability shoe

WaveKnit upper is decently breathable

Wave midsole provides support, responsiveness, and impact resistance

Lightweight materials

Cons:

Narrow toe box

Mizuno's Wave system is a little more than simply the shape of the outsole. It works with the midsole to offer responsive control while maintaining a cushioned landing throughout a stride. Many shoes from Mizuno are iedal options for heavy guys who want to get into running to lose some weight. Their Wave Inspire 16 has some decent cushioning for longer runs, but is also good for a little speed training too.

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Mizuno's "Wave" support design is in full force with the Inspire 16, offering premium support, responsiveness, and of course effective cushioning.

10. Saucony Triumph 17

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90.8
Saucony Triumph 17
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Comfort
97
Breathability
94
Flexibility
89
Support
93
Durability
81
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Pros:

Bouncy response

Contrary to appearance, this is a very lightweight shoe

Super durable construction and materials

Breathable knit upper

Cons:

A few felt like the cushioning of the midsole is a little too firm

The 17th version of Saucony's Triumph running shoe is intended for putting some miles under. We're talking about long distance running. On top of the cushioning that is supportive, as well as responsive, the midsole seems to help energize during each step off.

11. Nike Epic React Flyknit 2

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90.4
Nike Epic React Flyknit 2
Amazon Link
Comfort
93
Breathability
95
Flexibility
98
Support
86
Durability
80
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Pros:

The knit upper offers excellent breathablilty

Works well on uptempo as well as longer distance runs

The cushioning is not too bulky for speed work

Super lightweight overall

Cons:

Higher priced than many equal, or even better, running shoes in the same category

With updates to the already breathable upper and super lightweight build of this shoe, Nike's Epic React Flyknit 2 builds on the main points that got the original verion of this shoe so much love back in 2018. Although the overall design hasn't changed very much, at first glance, there are some subtle yet effective enhancements that have been given to this newest version.

12. Skechers GOrun MaxRoad 4 Hyper

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
82
Skechers GOrun MaxRoad 4 Hyper cushioned running shoe
Altra Instinct 4.0
Altra Instinct 4.0
Altra Instinct 4.0
Altra Instinct 4.0
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Comfort
85
Breathability
82
Flexibility
83
Support
80
Durability
80
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Pros:

Hyper Burst midsole material is super bouncy

Great traction on varied surfaces

Good amount of responsive cushioning

Supportive fit

Cons:

Upper tends to not breathe as much as expected

Perhaps Skechers is often overlooked when it comes to serious running shoes, but don't count the brand out. Remember, the whole idea behind the brand is comfort, so that should serve well in shoes for distance running as well. Their GOrun MaxRoad Hyper gets it right, with comfort and support that will last.

13. Under Armour Speedform Gemini 3

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
80
Under Armour Speedform Gemini 3
Under Armour Speedform Gemini 3
Under Armour Speedform Gemini 3
Under Armour Speedform Gemini 3
Under Armour Speedform Gemini 3
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Comfort
80
Breathability
80
Flexibility
80
Support
80
Durability
80
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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 3 provides great comfort that you'll be pleased with. They are our top pick for the most comfortable running shoes with cushions.

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Comfort

Comfortable Under Armour shoe #3 is the Speedform Gemini. It has a dual-layered midsole that allows for strong take-offs.

Breathability

These cushioned trainers are well ventilated allowing your feet to breathe easily and have an embedded sock liner that helps keep moisture away.

Flexibility

When it comes to flexibility, you will love these cushion running shoes. Although they do have a break in period, once you get used to them you will find they allow for a full range of motion.

Support

ArchForm offers additional support, and Ultrasonic welded seams for a snug, yet flexible fit.

Durability

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.

Overall, the most cushioned shoe that can boost your performance on the market today.

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. A cushion is kind of a general term when it comes to running shoes, as their many different types of 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 men's’ 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 the 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 that mostly sport bulkier soles, which usually scream “comfortable ride” just at the sight of them.

The bulky sole isn’t for everyone and may take some time to get used to if switching from a lower profile model. For 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 of running shoes.

Breathability

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 is when used. Breathability is something important for a few different reasons. The first is overall comfort. It is horrible when you get halfway through your run and start to feel your sweaty feet move around.

This is because of the moisture that has built up from not having enough airflow to escape or evaporate. The second is the 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 can affect your stride if your feet are kept from functioning correctly.

This, of course, means that your 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 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 toe running shoes is not exactly a feature that many want with their running shoes. However, those models with wide toe boxes aren’t for everyone either. At the end of the day, you need to understand your foot type and what your comfort needs are.

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 affects 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.

Expert Interviews & Opinions

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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

Compatibility

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. Once you have taken this into consideration you can then take a look at what shoes actually work best for you and your needs.

There is no single cushioned running shoe that will work for every runner--in fact, not every runner can use a cushioned running shoe. If you have any serious foot issues you will need to make sure that you get a different pair that fits your needs. On the other hand, most neutral runners can use the shoes on our list.

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. When it comes to your favorite brands, however, we made sure to include a wide selection of options on our list to ensure you find the best cushioned shoes that's manufactured by your favorite brand.

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?

All in all, you need to take a look at what real-world users have to say about the brand and the running shoes--even if you are choosing a brand that you already love. Overall, however, all of the brands featured on our list of reviews are reputable and well-known in the athletic world so you won't have to worry about any bad options.

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?

Read also about best shoes for mud runs.

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.

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 cushioned trainers 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. 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 extra cushion running shoes for support.

The last thing you want is an outsole that will wear down quickly and not last you the long haul--which is why it is important to take a look at the overall durability of the outsole as well. This means choosing a shoe with an outsole made of durable materials that will be able to handle the terrain and use you need from them.

Bottom Line

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, we have options for you!

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. However, if you are unaware of the degree of your pronation (if there is one) then make sure to figure that out before investing in your next pair of shoes.

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 cushioned trainers 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. The best way to know which one you like best is to try those soft running shoes on and walk in them to see which one is the best fit for you.

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! But make sure to take a look at each of the reviews to see if they will be a good fit for the arch in your foot before you buy.

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 the most cushioned shoes that will be comfortable for each runner is quite unique. However, if your foot type does best with a well-cushioned shoe then it is safe to say that the best cushioned running shoes featured above will definitely be comfortable enough for you!

Sources

  1. Christine Luff, Verywell, Informational site
  2. Road Runner Staff, Road Runner, Informational running site
  3. Cielestia Calbay, Competitor, Informational running site
  4. Peter Larson, Runblogger, Informational running site
  5. Amby Burfoot, Runner's world, Informational running site
  6. Clifton Bradeley, ASICS, Shoe manufacturer