Best Cushioned Running Shoes 2024

Buyer's Guide | Fleet Feet

By Mandy Wahl, Tom Rivett, Evan Matsumoto Updated on

Cushioning can provide something different for everyone. Whether you use a cushioned shoe for everyday training, recovery days, or working long hours on your feet, benefits abound to wearing a well-cushioned shoe. The best-cushioned running shoes deliver a super soft ride and support smooth transitions for runners at all levels.

Shop our large selection of cushioned running shoes across multiple brands and find the just-right shoe for you.

Here are the best cushioned running shoes you can find right here at Fleet Feet:

[This article is part of the Fleet Feet Buyer's Guide for The Best Running Shoes 2024. Find all the best running shoes from the top brands for all situations.]

Best-Cushioned Walking Shoes?

If you're looking for the most comfortable walking shoes, don't overlook the best-cushioned running shoes.

While shoes can be tailored specifically for each activity, you can wear running shoes for walking, too. In fact, some of the best walking shoes for women and best walking shoes for men are actually running shoes.

Some walking shoes have slip-resistant outsoles that make them great for working. But, if you're walking for exercise or just taking a stroll around the block, these running shoes will pull double duty as the most cushioned walking shoes, too.

Best-Cushioned HOKA Running Shoes

HOKA Bondi 8

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The Bondi 8 is HOKA’s most cushioned shoe and one of the best max-cushioned running shoes you can find.

The newest version delivers a cushioned and soft ride with its upgraded ultralight and resilient foam that provides plenty of bounce while the tall stack height works to absorb impact as you run. Even with all that foam underfoot, the Bondi 8 remains crazy light and doesn't feel clunky on the run.

Thanks to HOKA's early-stage Meta-Rocker shape and an extended heel geometry, the Bondi 8 delivers easy landings and smooth transitions from heel to toe.

When you're craving maximum cushioning for a long run or a long shift at work, the HOKA Bondi 8 is up for the challenge.

Read more: HOKA Bondi 8 review

[For a walking and work-specific version, check out the HOKA Bondi SR, which includes a full-grain leather upper and non-slip outsole.]

Best-Cushioned Brooks Running Shoes

Brooks Glycerin 21

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Get ready for take-off in the new Glycerin and Glycerin GTS 21.

DNA LOFT v3 foam is infused with nitrogen to provide plush cushioning to every step, and even adds a little bounce thanks to its energetic formula. This makes the Glycerin 21 an excellent daily trainer or wear-everywhere shoe for people on their feet.

The latest Glycerin maintains its max-cushioned ride and also comes with the stability option of the Brooks Glycerin GTS 21, which incorporates Brooks' GuideRail technology into the plush bed of DNA Loft foam to give you a supremely stable and soft feel underfoot.

Best-Cushioned ASICS Running Shoes

ASICS GEL-Nimbus 26

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The ASICS Gel-Nimbus 26 combines a super-soft ride with a sleek, stylish look.

The Nimbus 26 is known for its cushioning. One reviewer even stated, “From the cushioning in the heel collar to the whole underfoot feel, it’s soft, soft, soft. When I run in these, I feel protected from the impact of the road since there’s such a tall stack of plush cushion,” in our ASICS Gel-Nimbus 26 review. The plush, bouncy and propulsive feel of the Nimbus cushioning is because of a combination of ASICS FF Blast Plus Eco foam and Pure-GEL technology.

The comfort and cushion continues with an engineered knit upper that hugs your foot and provides a luxurious feel around your entire foot. Plus, it looks good enough to wear around casually too.

Best-Cushioned Karhu Running Shoes

Karhu Mestari Run

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The Mestari Run may be Karhu’s first maximum cushioned shoe, but it’s so comfortable you would think they have been making it for decades. This shoe feels nice and soft on landings, while the Fulcrum and foam combine to give you plenty of toe spring to keep you running strong.

A soft and stretchy knit mesh upper accommodates all types of different foot shapes, while the asymmetrical lacing and overlays hug your foot to give you a secure fit. The Mestari Run is plush and comfortable for the long haul.

Best-Cushioned Saucony Running Shoes

Saucony Triumph 21

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The Saucony Triumph 21 gives you springy cushioning with each step, making it a great daily trainer and one of the best cushioned running shoes in Saucony's lineup.

A high stack of Saucony’s new PWRRUN+ midsole foam absorbs impact upon landing and delivers energetic takeoffs to make your runs feel bouncy and effortless. The shoe also has a rocker geometry that gives you smooth transitions from heel to toe. Our reviewers loved how this cushioning feels on their runs, saying it feels luxurious, soft, resilient and peppy in our Saucony Triumph 21 review.

Whether you're in the market for a new daily trainer or need something comfortable to spend the day on your feet, the Saucony Triumph 21 offers long-lasting cushioning.

Best-Cushioned On Running Shoes

On Cloudstratus 3

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Double down on cushioning in the On Cloudstratus 3.

Two layers of CloudTec technology run the full length of the midsole, giving you cushioning from heel to toe. A super soft foam on top of the CloudTec gives you easy landings, while the integrated Speedboard puts a responsive kick into each step.

With a wider toe box that accommodates a variety of foot shapes, the Cloudstratus 3 has more comfort and stability than ever before. Our runners loved the updated upper in ourOn Cloudstratus 3 review, noting that it was more padded, plush and secure than the previous version.

Best-Cushioned Mizuno Running Shoes

Mizuno Wave Sky 7

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Consistently one of the best cushioned running shoes, the Mizuno Wave Sky 7 now has 2 millimeters more stack height in the midsole for a cloud-like running experience.

Designers packed the Wave Sky 7 with a generous amount of Mizuno Enerzy and Mizuno Enerzy Core foams. The top layer is softer and more responsive Enerzy Core foam, and the bottom layer is Mizuno’s Enezy foam that gives you a smooth and stable ride.

Topped off with a breathable stretch woven upper for a soft and secure fit, the Mizuno Wave Sky 7 is supremely smooth, soft and energetic to give you comfortable and cushioned runs.

Best-Cushioned New Balance Running Shoes

New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080 v13

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The New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080 v13 provides a thick bed of soft and bouncy cushion for maximum comfort.

Powering the 1080 is a generous bed of Fresh Foam X cushioning. New Balance's premier foam is incredibly soft and very responsive, and designers added even more of it in the newest model.

This model rolls through each step with a gentle rocker shape that testers in our New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080 v13 review noticed propelled them through their run.

With all the extra cushioning, the newest Fresh Foam X 1080 v13 is a great choice for long walks, long runs or long shifts at work.

Best-Cushioned Nike Running Shoes

Nike React Infinity Run 4

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Instant swagger, instant comfort. The Nike React Infinity Run 4 comes packed with ReactX foam that delivers 13% more energy return than its predecessor for a cushioned and bouncy ride. That combined with a prominent rocker shape that gives you smooth and stable heel-to-toe transitions makes this the perfect cushioned running shoe from Nike.

Plus, a wide base geometry adds inherent stability to the shoe, so you can run fast and far with confidence.

Best-Cushioned Altra Running Shoes

Altra Via Olympus 2

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Altra’s max-cushioned trainer just got softer and more enjoyable with the Via Olympus 2.

Not to be confused with its trail-gobbling cousin, the Altra Olympus 5, the Via Olympus 2 packs a heaping serving of EGO Max foam for the road. Altra upped the cushioning to give you unbeatable comfort on pavement, but they made it light enough to not wear you out.

But even with the plush footbed, the Via Olympus 2 carries on some of Altra’s signature technologies: A 0 mm heel-to-toe drop puts you in a natural stance, and the FootShape toe box delivers an accommodating fit.

Whether you’re running your first mile or legging out the home stretch of a marathon, the Altra Via Olympus 2 gives you all the cushion you need—and then some.

Best-Cushioned Topo Athletics Running Shoe

Topo Athletics Phantom 3

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Topo Athletic Phantom 3 has a dual-density midsole that makes it both cushioned and responsive.

The Phantom 3 has Topo’s signature fit—a roomy, anatomical toe box with a secure midfoot and heel. A new engineered mesh upper is streamlined to give you a great fit with 30% recycled material to make it more environmentally friendly.

This is a great cushioned running shoe option for anyone who wants a wider toe box and also likes a bit of a heel-to-toe drop (it’s a 5 mm drop). Whether you are looking for a comfortable shoe for travel or a cushioned shoe for your long runs, the Topo Athletic Phantom 3 is a great choice.

How We Picked the Best-Cushioned Running Shoes

We chose the best-cushioned running shoes by poring over the details of each model. Through wear testing, interviews with shoe designers and professional athletes, and our own fit id® data, we chose the shoes we think will work best for most runners in most situations.

You can shop with confidence at Fleet Feet: We offer free shipping on all orders over $99, and you have 60 days to return any gear if you don’t like the way it looks, fits or feels. Plus, with our price-match guarantee, you can make sure you never pay too much for a new pair of running shoes.