We live in times of incessant stress and confusion, where rush is the need of the hour, and chaos is imminent in every-day’s schedule. In the midst of all this, fitness comes across as a welcome respite to give you a few hours of escape from the hustle-bustle of life and rejuvenate your system to meet any challenge that comes your way. However, there is much more to fitness than just getting the motivation to wake up early. One important aspect that determines how much you get from your training time is the kind of gear you wear. In this regard, running shoes top the list. A recent study has found out that comfort and fit are the two most important requirements to go the extra mile each day. In other words, running shoes that offer both these benefits are what you need to last on the track and treadmill. Keeping that in mind, we have put together a list of 10 best running shoes with good cushioning that is sure to appeal to both casual runners and fitness enthusiasts alike.
Running Shoes with the Best Cushioning
1. Hoka One One Bondi 5
An all-rounder in every aspect, the Bondi 5 looks like a solid, supportive and optimally cushioned shoe at the first glance. Its rockered design promotes the natural movements of your feet, while accommodating enough space to allow them to breathe and heal at the end of a long-day’s run. The tapered shoe also serves to create a seamless transition as you shift pressure from heel to toe, thereby giving you support in every foot strike.Pros
- The shoe is designed to fit various sizes of feet, and encourage intrinsic foot movements, such as flexing, bending and contracting.
- It comes with a thick layer of cushioning that gives you solid compression and comfort during long runs.
- The EVA midsole creates a stable base and provides holistic support regardless of the nature of the terrain.
- The outsole is made of solid rubber that allows for a steady grip.
- Some users have noted that the tongue attached on the shoe upper rubs against your foot every time you bend or twist. However, you can eliminate this issue by lacing up the shoe in a different fashion.
- The upper is not very durable and does tend to come apart at the seams after consistent use. However, a quick trip to the cobbler should solve the problem.
All in all, the Bondi 5 does live up to its hype. A competitive neutral runner, it offers supreme cushioning to allow for a smooth and comfy ride. And while it’s not the hard-core race-specific shoe, it’s certainly a worthy companion for your daily training exercises, and hence worth every dollar.
2. Under Armor Flat Tire 2
With a burly undersole construction that appears just like the bike’s tire, the Under Armor Flat Tire is true to its name. But that’s not all you need to know about it. This neutral trainer comes with extra cushioning to help you log many miles, and a sturdy body frame that feels fast during your runs.Pros
- This shoe comes with a soft-shell upper and a tough rubbberized panel to provide durability without adding weight.
- The UA Storm technology engineered on the exterior serves to repel away water without compromising on breathability.
- The snug bootie-like construction makes for a sock-like fit, and increases support, while acting as a shield against any debris you encounter.
- The cushioned midsole absorbs impact and quickly converts it into responsiveness.
- This shoe is slightly heavy as compared to other competitors of the same price range.
- The upper is a bit too porous and tends to allow entry of rainwater during a heavy downpour.
With an impressive design that is built to last, the Under Armor Flat Tire shoe deserves a spot in your wardrobe. It is one of the most comfortable running shoes you can possibly way on long runs. Plus, it comes at a modest price, and offers years of use before requiring a replacement.
3. Saucony ISO 3
The third edition of the popular Triumph ISO line, this shoe continues to embody the best characteristics of its brand, such as the ISOFIT technology, as well as the Everun sole. Besides offering the perfect balance of flexibility and firmness, it is responsive and rebounds well to give you optimum propulsion with every stride you make. And that’s not all, it also comes with a revamped upper and a modified heel landing zone to minimize blisters at the end of a long run.Pros
- The lightweight and breathable mesh upper comes with two straps, and hence provides more room in the forefoot area.
- The sole has the same amount of flexibility as that of its predecessor model. However it has improved durability due to the POWERGRID material that enhances the shock of stepping on hard surfaces.
- Moderate use of the EVERUN material in the outsole makes for a springy and responsive landing, thereby preparing your feet for the next step.
- The shoe integrates the same ISOFIT technology, albiet in a modified version. The snug and sleek fit is much-needed for long runs.
- The toe box features loose fabric which leads to flimsy feel around the forefoot area.
- The black strips on the upper part of sole tend to mar easily.
Whether you wear them to the treadmill or the track, the Sacony Triumph ISO 3 doesn’t disappoint. Its a nice choice for daily training and stays light and tight on your feet. While its not perfect to wear in a race, the unmatched support and responsive make it suitable for any distance.
4. Altra Torin 2.5
You don’t have to be an expert runner to appreciate the characteristics of the Altra Torin 2.5. Its cutting-edge foot-shaped design accommodates and cradles your feet in the most drastic conditions, and the extra heel support makes for a precise fit and a snug feel, both of which are extremely desirable when you are miles away from home.Pros
- The extremely wide toe box gives enough space for your toes to spread out, making you feel as though you are wearing slippers, or no shoes at all.
- The narrow heel compartment locks your feet securely and gives you the confidence for treading on bumpy terrain without the fear of falling down.
- The zero-drop feature is one of the major tenets of this shoe. It helps you adopt a natural running form and take each step in a stable fashion.
- The cushioning is extra thick, making it specifically suited for long runs. Also, the large amount of cushioning is able to withstand the weight thrown by heavily built runners.
- The zero toe drop doesn’t seem to impress the traditional-style runners.
- The shoe upper lacks sufficient ventilation as offered by its counterparts.
Overall, the Altra Torin 2.5 is a high-mileage trainer with minimal drop designed for optimal stability. For its price, it offers lots of benefits, especially for fans of zero-drop shoes. It is also the perfect example of footwear that lays focus on cushion while offering all the other features that have made Altra famous over the years.
5. Sacuony Guide 10
A supportive and reliably padded runner, Saucony Guide 10 strikes the perfect trade-off between comfort and responsiveness, while sacrificing on neither. It focuses on improving underfoot feel and the upper fit, while conforming to the natural biomechanics of your feet, and even expanding a little to accommodate wide and swollen feet- the two common consequences of a long run.Pros
- Saucony Guide 10 features an Everun outsole that provides a nice amount of springy bounce, while giving you a good grip over the terrain.
- The SSL EVA midsole makes for consistent underfoot feel, and increases your confidence for stepping on precarious terrains.
- The upper has been designed afresh to eliminate stitched-on overlays found on the predecessor versions. As such, it is lightweight and renders a breathable and versatile fit.
- The toe box is a tad too narrow and tight, though it doesn’t feel as restrictive after a couple of runs. However, it could still do a little more room.
- Fit is a serious problem with the Saucony Guide 10. For some reason, these shoes run half-a-size smaller, so you should be careful while making an order.
Runners will love the durability, responsiveness and lasting comfort offered by the Saucony Guide 10. If you are looking for a supportive everyday running shoe, look no further!
6. Nike LunarGuide 8
Unique in its own right, the Guide 9 gives you the feeling of wearing flip-flops, and yet functions like a hard-core runner on track. Offering the best combo of comfort and speed, this robust running shoe comes with a tread-heavy outsole, revamped mesh and super-strong Flywire cables, in order to give you unmatched performance when you need it the most.Pros
- It features plush Lunarlon foam for high energizing cushioning that is designed to keep your feet close to the ground and rebound quickly, in order to stay prepared for the next footfall.
- It offers a smooth and responsive ride and never feels squishy. Additionally, it’s versatile and can be worn for a variety of various runs.
- The shoe upper is comfy, snug and uses mesh and thin synthetic upper material with a sock like liner that creates a tight pocket for your feet. It wraps your entire feet and cradles it in each stride.
- It breathes well and doesn’t feel hot at any point of time.
- Soft IU midsole technology allows the foam to expand and contract, allowing the foot to splay.
- Not suitable for off road running
- Laces are not long enough to make a double knot
The Pegasus 33 emerges as a robust everyday neutral runner. The seamless upper and thin cushioning are two features that have been carried over from the previous year’s model, while the flywire cables is recent addition. Overall, this shoe is versatile, lightweight and offers a sock-like fit that improves your performance on track. It is a nice choice for mid-distance moderate pace runs.
7. Brooks Ghost 10
A solid and no-nonsense running shoe, Brooks Ghost 10 delivers on all aspects. The presence of a novel seamless upper makes for a great fit, while the pillow soft cushioning is a nice add-on to offset the firm outsole that helps build traction on wet, slippery surfaces. This traditional neutral shoe has a 12 mm drop and weighs less, allowing you to take each stride with confidence. While they are suitable for high-mileage runs, they are equally at ease on the track for intense workouts.Pros
- Brooks Ghost 10 is roomy and spacious, so it is essentially built to accommodate a wide gamut of foot shapes.
- Thanks to the adequate leg room and padded insides, the level of comfort is practically unrivaled for any foot.
- The enhanced heel to toe transition minimizes heel pain arising from plantar fasciitis and similar feet conditions.
- The framework of the shoe is sturdy and durable, and doesn’t give away in the face of abrasion and weather. It is built to last longer than its predecessors.
- For its quality, the shoe is super cheap, considering that all other premium-quality shoes start at a higher price range.
- The 12mm heel-to-toe drop may come across as a little hard on people although it is beneficial for runners with posterior tendonitis, plantar fascitis or Achilitis.
- The weight can be still lighter, as it is moderately heavy as compared to other similarly priced competitors.
Long story short, if you are looking for a trail-specific running shoe that is ideal for short and long distance runs both, Brooks Ghost 10 is your answer. It includes a moderate amount of cushioning for the average foot, and its plush interior and firm sole is sure to give you a balanced and steady ride.
8. New Balance 1080v7
The newest version of an equally famous predecessor, the striking New Balance 1080v7 combines refined interiors with a durable, lightweight body in an attractive package that is sure to never drag you down on track. There is a revamped mesh on the upper, which helps to cradle your feet and protects your delicate toes from the impacts of rocks and roots. Additionally, the entire shoe has been contoured to enable the natural movements of your feet.Pros
- The upper comes engineered with a mesh panel that contributes to a snug and tight fit, giving you extra control over your runs and negating the chances of slipping or falling down.
- The shoe has a wide and stable base that provides great response and traction, thereby allowing a friction-free run.
- The tongue fitted on the shoe upper is just the right size, and doesn’t hinder with your movements. Plus, it flicks out any debris and keeps your feet protected within.
- The outsole is made of solid rubber and comes with flex grooves that enable your feet to flex without any restriction.
- The sole lacks sufficient compression and is a bit too firm for maximum comfort.
- The seam located over the tongue tends to rub uncomfortable against the middle portion of the feet, leading to blisters with prolonged use for some runners.
Despite all the shortcomings, it would be fair to say that the New Balance 1080v7 is worth a second look. If you are looking for comfortable running shoes for a short distances, there are perfect. They are not all that light for long-distance running, but at least they are durable, and that’s what matters at the end of the day!
9. Mizuno Wave Enigma 6
Mizuno Wave Enigma 6 is often chosen as the poster model for a high-mileage trainer, and for a good reason so. Its sturdy, thick-soled, well-built and exudes a classic appeal that is sure to impress modern runners.Pros
- Long-distance runners are sure to benefit from the novel cushioning technology that improves heel strike force while increasing your momentum in the process.
- The sturdy and flexible construction is meant to support newbie runners during their training period. It gives them a sturdy foothold in unfavorable track conditions, and absorbs the impact of the hard surface on their legs.
- The shoe feels snug around the maximally exposed areas of the feet, such as the heel, ankle and arch. The loose space on the toe area contributes to a stable and comfortable feel for extended running.
- The forefoot cushioning is a balanced and feels neither springy nor spongy. This is especially beneficial for forefoot and midfoot strikers.
- Enigma 6 is not your regular lightweight sneaker, and neither is it built like one. The combination of heavy and light materials makes for a solid footwear, which may seem heavy at first but feels lighter with consistent use.
With breathable, durable uppers, a flexible yet stable midsole, and a cushioned yet reponsive outsole, the Mizuno Wave Enigma 6 ticks all the boxes for a shoe that is ideal for long-distance runs. Don’t hesitate to strap it on for acing a couple of half marathons without a shin splint and knee pain!
10. Asics Gel Kayano 23
Touted as the flagship model of its brand, the ASICS Gel Kayano 23 is the embodiment of robust stability. While its slightly on the pricier end, it is sure to deliver well on track. This new model remains true to its core and still manages to bring something new to the table. The Flyteforam sole unit, refined mesh upper, snug leg room and cushiony support are some of its major highlights.Pros
- At the first impression, the ASICS Gel Kayano 23 comes across as an appealing shoe with crisp, cool colors that are sure to jazz up your fitness look.
- The outer part of the heel is fitted with high-quality gel to combat against pronation and enhance comfort during long-distance runs.
- The shoe gives superior traction even in bad weather. It’s so tread-heavy that you will never feel out of control when you wear these.
- The midsole is made of a material that is roughly 55% lighter than regular foam. As such, it’s more responsive and increases stability in each stride.
- The seamless upper is made of a form-fitting material that wraps your feet like gloves and gives you a snug and tight feel.
- The Flytefoam sole unit allows for an easy run.
- This ASICS shoe is believed to be rather stiff. The stiffness probably is a compromise to achieve greater stability and speed.
- The shoe feels heavy at first, but when you lace them up and take your first run, you won’t feel like they are dragging you down.
When it comes to outdoor gear, you can’t go wrong with something from ASICS brand. Whether you are an expert athlete or just starting out, the Gel Kayano 23 has all the features to act as your faithful companion as you make your way through erratic weather and unfavorable terrain.
Are Super Cushioned Running Shoes Right For You?
If you love to run, but running causes you pain you may have been wondering about the super-cushioned, maximalist running shoes that came out a few years ago. Do they really help? How do they affect performance? Would they be good for you? In this article, we will explore these questions and provide sound advice on choosing the best running shoes with extra cushioning. Read on to learn more.
What Are “Maximalist” Running Shoes?
These specially designed shoes are equipped with twice as much (or even three times as much) padding as normal running shoes. They are also 20 or 30 percent wider and offer more room in the toe box.
The concept of “maximalism” is one that is carried out in lots of different kinds of exercise and sporting equipment. Think of full suspension mountain bikes, fat snow bikes, powder skis and oversized tennis rackets.
The idea behind all of these things is that the generous size gives you a bigger “sweet spot” and a better opportunity to enjoy your sport safely, successfully and comfortably. That is the concept behind super-cushioned running shoes.
Have There Been Any Studies That Prove The Benefits Of These Shoes?
In a word “NO!” There have not actually been in-depth studies that prove specific benefits of extra-cushioned running shoes; however, in the early summer of 2016, biomechanics professor John Mercer of the University of Nevada did conduct a few tests to see how these shoes affected running performance.
Dr. Mercer enlisted the aid of 10 skilled runners in testing these shoes. He asked them to use maximalist shoes to perform their regular workouts for a period of time. He also conducted experiments in which he measured the runners’ oxygen intake at slow, moderate and high speeds wearing various types of shoes while working out on a treadmill.
Dr. Mercer reasoned that greater exertion would cause greater oxygen intake. His measurements showed that the runners’ oxygen intake did not change significantly regardless of the type of shoes worn.
These findings would seem to indicate that maximalist running shoes do not make running harder or easier; therefore, use of them is really entirely dependent on personal preference. If you try them and like them, you should wear them.
Who Needs Extra-Cushioned Running Shoes?
Every body is different. Some people do better with “barefoot” style running shoes; some do better with super-cushioned running shoes, and some may do well switching from one to the other depending on gait, body type, foot condition, personal preference, terrain, length of run and a number of other factors.
One way to determine in advance whether maximalist running shoes might be a good choice for you is to evaluate your gait. If your feet roll outward as you run, extra cushioning may be a very good idea. The same is true if your gait is neutral. If your feet tend to roll inwards while running, you might do better with a different kind of shoe.
To determine what kind of gait you have, you can examine your old running shoes for wear. If they are evenly worn across the soles, your gait is probably neutral.
You can also determine your gait by looking at the imprint of the sole of your foot. To do this, dampen the soles of your feet and step onto a dry surface. Look at your footprint.
If you leave a print of your entire foot, your feet will tend to roll inward as you run. This may mean that you need shoes with very firm arch support and a less flexible sole.
If there is just a small, dry space for the arch, you have a neutral gait. If there is a large, dry space for the arch your feet will tend to roll outward as you run. This may indicate that you are a good candidate for super-cushioned running shoes.
Note that these results are not cut-and-dried. No matter what kind of foot you have, if you try extra-cushioned shoes and like them, you can certainly wear them.
2. Body Type
In the old days lithe athletes with a slim runners’ build ran. These days, people of all sizes and shapes enjoy this form of exercise. If you are slim and small, you may not need extra cushioning; however, if you are a person with a large frame, or if you are overweight and just starting out with exercise, maximalism in shoes can be your friend.
Extra cushioning adds extra shock absorption and more protection for your belabored feet. It may help prevent the development of foot, leg, hip and lower back problems that could interfere with your fitness project.
3. Foot Condition
People who are overweight and/or have diabetes are especially at risk for foot problems such as plantar fasciitis; however, they are not the only ones! Even slim people who are in good shape can develop this painful problem by exercising vigorously, running long distances and/or spending a lot of time on their feet without proper cushioning and support.
The super-cushioning of maximalist shoes cradles and supports the heels and arches of the feet. These qualities, along with superior shock absorption, can help prevent or even treat plantar fasciitis.
4. Personal Preference
People who love maximalist running shoes say that they appreciate the cushy comfort and relief from leg fatigue. They also say that they are able to run farther and take less time to recover when wearing these shoes.
People who don’t like them say that they are too big and awkward for comfort. Luckily, there are lots of different styles of super-cushioned running shoes made by many reputable manufacturers, so if you think they might be a good idea for you, finding a pair you will love should be an easy matter.
If you plan to run long distances or over rough terrain, extra-cushioning is definitely a good thing. Lengthy runs are simply less tiring when your feet are firmly sunk into soft, cushy support. If you are running over rocks and bumps, the soles of your feet will definitely appreciate the extra protection.
Shopping For The Perfect Extra-Cushioned Running Shoes
At least a dozen top shoe manufacturers have presented their own versions of these popular shoes in the last couple of years. While you might think these offerings would be quite similar, the fact is they vary widely in style, features and price.
The best way to choose the right type for you is to visit a well-stocked athletic shoe store and try on lots of different pairs. This will help you determine the features and designs that look and feel best to you.
Even if your very favorite pair is far out of your price range, you can take note of its features and then perform an online search to find those same features in other brands that might offer a more comfortable price range. You might even be able to find your preferred brand at a more affordable price online than in a brick-and-mortar store.
Getting Used To Super Cushioned Running Shoes
Anytime you change your footwear, you may experience some sore muscles and even some injury. When adding maximalist shoes to your running routine, you should keep in mind the fact that there haven’t really been any studies regarding the types of injury that may be associated with this footwear.
Take it slow, and be sure not to wear your new shoes exclusively. Use them for brief walks and runs to begin with so that your body can get used to the changes. Switch them out with tried-and-true shoes from time-to-time until you are used to them.
Be sure not to wear any single pair of shoes exclusively. Changing your shoes and your heel height several times a day can help prevent repetitive use injuries.