10 Best Running Shoes Reviewed & Tested with Cushioning

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Looking for the Best Running Shoes with good support? We have tested cushioned running shoes for Men 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.

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. Just scroll down and check out the ones we liked the best.

Last Updated: October 20, 2017
By Brian Price:

As another update to this guide, we chose to update Asics’ Nimbus to the latest version, as this one remains a solid cushioned option.

Additionally, a little more info has been added to help in the search.

Hoka One One Bondi 4
  • Hoka One One Bondi 4
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Improved larger toe box
  • Price: See Here
Altra Olympus 2.0
  • Altra Olympus 2.0
  • 4.7 out of 5
    Our rating
  • FootShape™ toe box
  • Price: See Here
Brooks Glycerin 15
  • Brooks Glycerin 15
  • 4.5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Stretchable Air Mesh upper
  • Price: See Here

10 Best Running Shoes with Cushioning

 

Hoka One One Bondi 5

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 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.
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 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

Altra Olympus 2.5

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 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

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

Brooks Glycerin 15

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 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 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 15 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

Brooks Ghost 9

Brooks Ghost 9
A seemingly softer, more cushioned model from previous versions, the Ghost 9 Absolutely deserves to be on this list. This version, actually from mid 2016 is still going strong among its competition in this particular category. Let's take a look at why so many runners stick with the Ghost series from Brooks.
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Comfort / Stability
As mentioned above, this version of the ghost offers soft and plentiful amounts of cushioned comfort. However, it still doesn't seem to overdo it. Meaning, these really don't lose too much in the way of responsiveness or efficiency. Additionally, they do not feel like they are strangling your feet. The BioMoGo midsole provides excellent impact resistance, protecting the feet from harder landings on longer runs.

The breathability seems pretty good with these as well. The mesh upper with large perforations, which are located in the right places, really allow a decent amount of airflow through the shoe.

This neutral runner is actually very stable. The upper and midsole are put together well, providing a supportive fit for most. The upper's secure fit keeps the foot right where it needs to be.

Durability
Brooks' footwear in general do fairly well in this area. The Ghost 9 really isn't an exception here. The carbon blown rubber in the sole provide this model with a durable platform for consistent high mile use. There really aren't any major issues in the durability department.

Cost
They are certainly not the cheapest option around, but still not too bad. The cost weighed with the benefit makes the commonly found price tag just about right. These will last, so for that you can expect to pay slightly more.
Pros

Exceptional underfoot cushioning

The upper allows decent breathability while still providing a supportive fit

The segmented Crash Pad gives the wearer excellent shock absorption

Cons

Price is a little high

Salomon Sonic Pro

Salomon Sonic Pro
Here is a road model from Salomon, a company who 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 hat will last quite a while.
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

Cons

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

Hoka One One Vanquish 3

Hoka One One Vanquish 3
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.
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

Under Armour Speedform Gemini

Under Armour Speedform Gemini
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

Saucony Triumph ISO

Saucony Triumph ISO
If you are looking for a running shoe that you can really pound out many miles in, than 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 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 provides structure and stability

Pwrgrid+ provides midsole cushion

Rundry 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

Altra Instinct 4.0

Altra Instinct 4.0
Definitely not as thickly soled as most others on our list, The instinct 4 still provides decent cushioning for those longer runs. This one of course 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 of course 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 brethability, 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 have 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 seems to be worth it.
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

Mizuno Wave Enigma 6

Mizuno Wave Enigma 6
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

Saucony Ride 9

Saucony Ride 9
Although Saucony's Ride 9 is a rather sleek shoe with a lower profile upper design, The cushioning that this one provides is exceptional. As a neutral runner, the Ride has done really well with its previous version, so let's take a look at this newest upgrade to the line and see what they're all about.
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Comfort / Stability
Some would call the level of cushioning to moderate or even plush. Either way, there aren't many complaints about it. In fact, These are a ideal choice for those times when you will need to be on you feet for quite a while or even all day long.

When it comes to running, these do have a bit of a break-in period, so you might not want to take them on a long run straight from the box. The stability is quite good, but without being to constrictive to your foot's natural motion. However, these are an ideal choice for those who need that extra support for overpronation.

The Ride 9 seems to also be a great option for runners who are dealing with injuries, shin splints, and even some knee injuries.

Durability
There have been some limited reports of some tearing in the upper, but in all, these have a pretty good track record regarding their durability. The outsole was designed well, with two types of rubber that also helps provide excellent grip on the road.

The cushioning of the shoe seems to really last though. Even after a ton of miles have been put on them.

Cost
These are really affordable. The value which they offer, from the technologies involved in their build to the exceptional comfort the offer, these are a smart purchase for sure.


Pros

FlexFilm upper overlays provide a supportive fit

The sole's Everun technology gives the shoe a smooth ride and decent energy return

A good distance shoe

Ideal for overpronation

Cons

A bit narrow in the forefoot

hese take some time to break in

New Balance Fresh Foam 1080

New Balance Fresh Foam 1080
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

Asics Gel Nimbus 18

Asics Gel Nimbus 18
Asics’ Gel Nimbus 18 is a continuously well received trainer that is ideal for daily wear with superb cushioning. Asics has made some changes to the 18th 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 Nimbus 18 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

Nike FREE RN Distance

Nike FREE RN Distance
The Nike RN Distance will provide you with the proper amount of cushioning and spring. It works well on 5K and 10K or even more.
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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.

On Cloud

On Cloud
The obvious thing that you'll first notice about this one, is the unique sole. Slightly similar to a style that has been tried before with footwear for other uses, this one really works.

A creation out of Switzerland, On has emerged as a innovative approach to footwear for running. The sole design seen on their products is supposed to offer a cushioned, responsive, rebounding ride. Let's take a closer look and see what these are all about.
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Comfort / Stability
The sole, which is made of there Zero Gravity Foam, is extremely lightweight as well as surprisingly soft and pliable. We were wondering if that would be an issue, but it doesn't seem to be. The fit might be a bit of an issue if you feet are a bit wider, as the overall build of the Cloud is quite narrow.

As far as ride comfort goes, well these made the list for a reason. That unique design, which is the first thing you notice with these, actually works pretty well with providing decent impact resistance over most intended surfaces. That soft Zero Gravity foam sole seems to kick in and do its job.

As far as stability, it is good, but there are some things we felt could be improved on a bit. The upper, though decently breathable, could use some support points or overlays of some kind. Also, these really do have a sock-like fit. But, If you have wider feet, these are probably not for you.

Durability / Quality
We were curious if the sole would stand up good enough to continuous long distance use. The design has some features added that help maintain the shoe's durability. For starters, the rigidity of the sole is increased by the woven plastic Speedboard, which is added right between the shoe and its sole. This not only allows the ability of more energy transfer, but also assists in the lifespan of this model.

Cost
The cost of the Cloud is a little higher, but won't break the bank. The cost vs. value offered by the benefits makes it fairly reasonable.

Pros

Additional lacing points toward the forefoot for custom adjustability

The unique sole design gives great rebound

good over moderately uneven surfaces

Cons

Small stones tend to easily get stuck in the sole

Not ideal for wide feet

There are some things should be considered when buying cushioned athletic footwear and especially running shoes made for men because they have a higher grund impact force. 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 Running Shoes with good cushioning

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

Cushioning

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. Cushion is kind of a general term when it comes to running shoes, as there many different types cushioned designs out there. Even more so than just a few years ago, thanks to new developments in materials and technology.

One thing to keep on 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.

Then 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 cushioning, 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 means 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 overall comfort. It is horrible when you get half way into your run and start to feel your sweaty feet move around more because of the moisture that has built up from not having enough air flow 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 want 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 you 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.

green-running-shoes

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 cover 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 the 1080 from New Balance.

Forefoot / Toes

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.

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 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 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.

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 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 choce 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.

 

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

How to buy the right pair for your feet?

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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.

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.

Personal Preference:

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?

Existing Injuries Or Foot Conditions

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 though. One side says that barefoot or minimalist runners offer 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, underpronation, plantar facsiitis, or other issues, the are some options which made it into the top because they were able to provide the comfort and support needed for those problems.

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. 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 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.

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 stability models. 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 fall 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 but of 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.

FAQ

We did some looking, to see what others had for questions or concerns while shopping for a similar range of products. As a result, we came up with some frequently asked questions that we thought might be helpful to your search. If you have questions of your own, please drop us an email through our contact page or simply leave a comment below.

 

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 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.


Here are some sources we used while conducting our research

In an effort to provide the best and most accurate information we can, we have done quite a bit of research. While conducting our research, we read through many different sources, and we would like to share them with you here:

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. Asics, Clifton Bradeley, Choosing the Right Running Shoe - 3 Types of Running Shoe Explained, Shoe store,
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