Do you want a softer underfoot feel without compromising responsiveness? Get yourself a pair of cushioned running shoes. This running shoe category is very popular among neutral foot type runners.
Cushioned footwear absorbs shock to allow you to run more naturally. They also help minimize the impact of some conditions like plantar fasciitis and previous stress fractures.
The choice of these shoes in the market; however, is extremely huge. This makes choosing the right model a little bit stressful. So, in my selections, I took into account the most important features you would want your best cushioned running shoes to have.
The Best Cushioned Running Shoes Are:
|1. Brooks Men’s Ghost 13 Running Shoe|
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|2. Brooks Ghost 12 Running Shoe||Check Current Price|
|3. Mizuno Women’s Wave Rider 22 Running Shoe||Check Current Price|
|4. ASICS Men’s Gel-Nimbus 22 Running Shoes||Check Current Price|
|5. HOKA One Men’s Bondi 6 Running Shoe||Check Current Price|
|6. Under Armour Women’s Micro G Assert 6 Running Shoe||Check Current Price|
|7. New Balance Men’s Fresh Foam 1080 V9 Running Shoe||Check Current Price|
1. Brooks Men’s Ghost 13 Running Shoe — Best Cushioned Running Shoes for Men
Are you looking for a smoother running experience? Ghost 13 from Brooks is designed to offer you soft cushioning and super smooth transitions.
- Soft Gel cushioning
- Flytefoam propel technology
- Trusstic technology
- Engineered mesh upper
- Lightweight AHAR outsole
This incredible cushioned running shoe is for neutral runners. Someone with a medium to high arch and doesn’t need too much stability on the inside of the foot. If you roll out or stay straight throughout the run, the superior cushioning of this shoe will offer the best neutral support. The cushioning is great for 5K and even marathon runners.
The midsole components are amazing featuring a co-molded EVA cushioning system. The co-molded design has less glue in the shoe, which makes it slightly lighter and more durable. You’ve got the DNA loft cushioning running down the lateral side of the shoe then co-molded with the BioMoGo. The segmented crash pad on the midsole ensures you’ve got a nice transition through your forefoot.
The 3D fit print upper has an engineered mesh construction for breathability and targeted support. There’s plenty of cushioning both on the tongue and the collar. But the thing is, this shoe doesn’t offer too much stability.
- The co-molded cushioning system makes the shoe lighter
- Great neutral support for distance runners
- Provides smooth transition throughout your forefoot
- Highly breathable and supportive upper
- Traditional lace-up closure allows for a superior fit
- Not designed to offer stability
- Possible to receive a model with a flawed tongue design
Gentlemen! Ghost 13 will not just improve cushioning and support, but it will also offer you unmatched comfort for all your short and long runs.
Overall Rating – 4.8
2. Brooks Ghost 12 Running Shoe — Best Cushioned Running Shoes for Women
Ghost 12 from Brooks is a great neutral running shoe for women. It features BioMoGo DNA and DNA loft cushioning for the best softness and response.
- BioMoGo DNA and DNA loft
- High energizing cushion experience
- Synthetic and mesh upper
- Neutral support
- Traditional lace-up closure
The shoe features the brand’s proprietary cushioning, DNA loft, and BioMoGo DNA. These two cushioning technologies work together to provide superior softness under your foot without losing responsiveness or durability. Regardless of the heavy cushioning, the shoe feels lighter than ever.
The outsole is a segmented crash pad, which is great because it’s an integrated system of shock absorbers. The shock absorption ability of the outsole helps cushion each step and stride.
The upper is an inventively engineered mesh with 3D fit print. The 3D fit print applies structure to certain areas where your foot needs support while keeping weight down.
The tongue and collar of this shoe are padded to improve fit and comfort. You’ve also got a lace garage that keeps the lace secured. The heavy cushioning is a big plus for neutral runners, but some ladies may find the shoe to be a bit unstable.
- Provides superior cushioning and softness
- Feels lighter and easier to run in regardless of heavy cushioning
- Shock absorption outsole helps cushion your strides
- Engineered mesh upper is highly breathable and supportive
- Offers neutral support and energizing cushioning
- May not be the most stable shoe for some ladies
- Possible for some sizes to run small
Ladies! You’ve got to try this shoe out if you are looking for energizing cushioning. The BioMoGo and DNA loft will transform your running experience.
Overall Rating – 4.8
3. Mizuno Women’s Wave Rider 22 Running Shoe — Best Two-Layered Engineered Mesh
If you are looking for a state-of-the-art cushioned running shoe with a high-performing two-layered engineered mesh, look no further than the Wave Rider 22 from Mizuno.
- Two-layered engineered mesh upper
- U4icX midsole cushioning
- Dynamotion fit
- Blown rubber outsole
- PEBAX wave plate and premium sock liner
This cushioned running shoe features a wave knit upper. So, it is breathable and gives you a sock-like fit but it’s got a great hold. You’ve got some overlays on the upper with ventilation throughout the shoe to keep air flowing in and out throughout your run. The unique styling on the upper is aesthetically appealing.
What truly takes my breath away is the Mizuno midsole, which features the proprietary U4icX cushioning. This is a lightweight cushioning technology that’s designed by Mizuno to deliver a softer underfoot feeling. This allows for superior heel strikes, midfoot strikes, and smoother transitions. There’s also a wave plate in the midsole that makes the shoe lighter and more responsive.
The outsole has two flex zones, which is great because they help with overall traction and longer wear. But the thing is, the Wave Rider 22 has so many updated features, which have somehow interfered with the overall performance and comfort compared to previous models.
- Provides a sock-like fit with a superior hold
- Lightweight cushioning for softer underfoot feeling
- Smooth transitions and great responsiveness
- Good overall traction and longer wear
- Pretty roomy toe box for balance and comfort
- Too many updated features interfere with the overall performance
- May seem to be a little bit stiffer for some runners
The Wave Rider 22 is a good all-around daily trainer. Expect superior cushioning experience with smooth transitions.
Overall Rating – 4.7
4. ASICS Men’s Gel-Nimbus 22 Running Shoes — Most Supportive Design
Get the extra cushioning and support you need during your short and long runs with this incredible running shoe from ASICS.
- GEL technology cushioning
- Trusstic system technology
- SpevaFoam 45 lasting
- FlyteFoam Lyte technology
- Synthetic mesh upper
It features the new gel technology cushioning that wraps around the rear foot for improved impact protection and underfoot softness. The gel unit ensures you get the best of both worlds in terms of cushioning and responsiveness. The advanced forefoot gel cushioning also reduces the load on your foot with each stride.
The Trusstic System is found under the arch of the shoe, which is great because it provides stability, reduces weight, and helps extend the life of the shoe. This piece offers added support towards the inside of the arch.
The shoe has been reconfigured with an extra two millimeters of soft bouncy flight foam propelled midsole. This allows the sole to compress a bit more when the foot first hits the ground for improved softness. Thumbs up for the gel cushioning and supportive design, but the sizes tend to run small.
- Improved impact protection
- Superior underfoot softness and smooth transition
- Reduced load on your foot with each stride
- Provides good support towards the inside of the arch
- Great shock attenuation during impact and toe-off
- ASICS sizes tend to run small
- Not the most breathable mesh upper
It’s time you experienced the new Gel cushioning technology with the Gel-Nimbus 22 from ASICS. But make sure you choose the ideal size and fit.
Overall Rating – 4.6
5. HOKA One Men’s Bondi 6 Running Shoe — Best Beveled Heel Design
This is the running shoe that is designed to deliver a balanced, smooth ride that’s consistent for all distances.
- Compression-molded EVA midsole
- Open engineered mesh upper
- Redesigned rubber outsole
- Lycra comfort frame heel
- Meta-rocker technology
The Bondi 6 is one of HOKA’s first heavily cushioned designs. It has the most cushion of any road model as well as the highest stack height. Bondi 6 is all about comfort and it starts with the upper. It’s made with a lightweight open engineered mesh that’s more breathable compared to its predecessors. The updated design has a slightly more accommodating fit. All the praise for the Bondi 6 goes to the midsole.
HOKA refined the meta-rocker geometry in this shoe for plush cushioning and an overall smoother ride. I truly appreciate the fact that the compression-molded EVA midsole runs the full length of the shoe for superior shock absorption and stability. The outsole features strategically placed rubber to reduce weight and increase durability. But this is not a fast shoe not unless you have super strong feet.
- Open engineered mesh upper is highly breathable
- Offers plush cushioning and smoother rides
- Full-length cushioning improves shock absorption
- Lightweight and highly durable outsole
- Beveled heel allows for smoother transitions
- This isn’t a fast shoe
- It seems to have a bulky appearance
HOKA Bondi 6 is an amazing choice if you are looking for an ultra-cushioned, super comfortable shoe with smoother transitions.
Overall Rating – 4.6
6. Under Armour Women’s Micro G Assert 6 Running Shoe — Best Value Model
Micro G Assert 6 from Under Armour is purposefully designed to transform your cushioned landings into quick-tempered takeoffs.
- Micro GA foam technology
- EVA sock liner
- Breathable mesh upper
- Durable leather overlays
- Superior rubber traction
What we have here is a cushioned running shoe that is designed for the neutral runner. The shoe has the brand’s unique Micro G cushioning, which is great because this material is lighter and sleeker compared to conventional foams.
The Micro G foam cushioning is ultra-responsive, ensuring that you get low to the ground performance for superior comfort and natural stability. I appreciate the inclusion of the EVA sock liner that provides a custom fit and added comfort. Also, full-length cushioning improves support and stability.
The outsole has got that aggressive tread pattern for superior traction and durability. The heavy-duty crash pad improves cushioning for the heel to toe running. What I don’t like; however, is the fact that the shoe tends to run small and may not be the best for distance running.
- Ultra-responsive cushioning experience
- Provides superior low to ground performance
- Cushioning runs the full length for added stability
- Rubber traction on high impact zones
- Leather overlays help improve stability
- Exact sizes of the shoe tend to run small
- May not be a great choice for long-distance running
This shoe isn’t just aesthetically appealing, ladies! Its cushioning experience is remarkable. But you may want to get a size that doesn’t run small.
Overall Rating – 4.6
7. New Balance Men’s Fresh Foam 1080 V9 Running Shoe — Most Versatile Design
The 1080 V9 is your daily trainer with tons of cushion from New Balance. It is one of the best choices for neutral runners.
- Fresh foam midsole
- Engineered jacquard textile upper
- 3D heel construction
- Full-length blown rubber outsole
- No-sew material application
This incredible shoe brings back a similar engineered mesh seen in previous models with a few changes. It is breathable, feels good on foot, and provides targeted support for your foot. It is also much more seamless and clean.
All the praise from me goes to the midsole. It features New Balance fresh foam, which is softer and plusher cushioning technology. I truly admire the flex cutouts within the midsole that help with the transition from when you land until you toe-off, giving the foam a little bit more flexibility.
The inner layers are a bit softer for a plusher feel. The outside layers are a bit tougher for durability. What I certainly don’t like about the 1080 V9 is the bulkier look.
- Very breathable and good-fitting upper
- Fresh foam cushioning is softer and plusher
- Great transition from landing to toe-off
- The no-sew material application prevents irritation
- Ortholite sock liner adds cushioning and comfort
- Looks bulkier from the outside
- May not be the fastest shoe for some runners
You can rely on this shoe for superior cushioning, plusher rides, and seamless transitions. But don’t be too quick to judge the bulkier appearance of the shoe before taking it out for a run.
Overall Rating – 4.5
Buying Guide: Things To Look For In Cushioned Running Shoes
When looking for softness, plushness, and maximum comfort, cushioned running shoes are usually recommended. But! What should you be looking for in these shoes? Let’s find out.
Level of Cushioning
There are three levels of cushioned experience you can consider.
This level provides you with minimal cushioning. It is mostly recommended for athletes or regular runners looking for that softer running experience without too much cushioning.
With this level, you get medium cushioning. This is a cushioned running shoe for regular runners or athletes looking for a softer run experience with cushion.
This is the maximalist running level containing high amounts of cushioning. It is the best choice for those looking for maximum protection and a very soft running experience.
Types of Cushioning Technology
The best cushioned running shoes are mostly defined by the level and type of cushion in the footwear. Most cushion technologies by different companies are EVA-based. But few improvements make one type of cushioning better than the other.
DNA Loft Cushion
You will come across the DNA loft when dealing with Brooks running shoes. This is the softest cushioning technology in the Brooks lineup. It is a midsole technology that’s designed to provide comfort and protection.
This is Mizuno proprietary cushioning technology that is featured in the lightweight midsoles of the brand. According to the company, this type of cushion provides a stress-free running experience with high rebounds.
Fresh Foam Cushion
This is New Balance signature midsole cushioning material. What it brings to running shoes is a lightweight, responsive, and durable cushioning. This technology makes New Balance cushioned running shoes perfect for distance and recovery runs.
These three are the best you can consider, but there are other types of EVA-based foam cushioning technologies used by other brands.
The winner of this roundup is the Brooks Men’s Ghost 13 Running Shoe. When compared to the rest, Ghost 13 from Brooks offers more than just good cushioning. This shoe guarantees high energizing cushioning for superior plushness and improved transitions. It is integrated with a system of shock absorbers to make the shoe stable although it’s a cushioned shoe.
Ghost 13 offers you the third level of cushion. This means you get a softer running experience with medium cushioning and some level of stability. The DNA loft as we all know is the main feature of this shoe because it provides a softer underfoot feeling without compromising responsiveness and durability.