Best Cushioned Running Shoes 2021
Buyer's Guide | Fleet Feet
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:
- HOKA Bondi 7
- Brooks Glycerin 19
- ASICS GEL-Nimbus 23
- Karhu Synchron 2021
- Saucony Triumph 19
- On Cloudstratus 2
- Mizuno Wave Sky 5
- New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v11
- Nike React Infinity Run
- Altra Paradigm 5
[This article is part of the Fleet Feet Buyer's Guide for The Best Running Shoes 2021. 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 ONE ONE Bondi 7
The HOKA Bondi 7 is their most cushioned shoes, and one of the best cushioned running shoes you can find.
Plush EVA foam provides plenty of bounce while the tall stack height works to absorb impact as you run, delivering a cushioned, soft ride. Even with all that foam, the Bondi 7 is crazy light and doesn't feel clunky on the run. Thanks to HOKA's early stage Meta-Rocker shape, the Bondi 7 promises smooth transitions from heel to toe, all day long.
When you're craving maximum cushioning for a long run or long shift at the hospital, the HOKA Bondi 7 is up for the challenge.
Read more: HOKA Bondi 7 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 19
Don't settle between stability and cushioning. The Brooks offers both in the Glycerin 19 and Glycerin 19 GTS models.
DNA Loft foam provides plush cushioning to every step, and even adds a little bounce thanks to its energetic formula. This makes the Glycerin 19 an excellent daily trainer or wear-everywhere shoe for people on their feet.
The Brooks Glycerin 19 maintains its max-cushioned ride, but Brooks added a second version this year to give you a stability option, too. The Glycerin 19 incorporates Brooks' GTS technology into the plush bed of DNA Loft foam to give you a supremely stable and soft feel underfoot.
Read more: Glycerin 19 review
Best-Cushioned ASICS Running Shoes
ASICS GEL-Nimbus 23
The ASICS GEL-Nimbus 23 is the newest addition to ASICS Nimbus collection and packs a super-soft ride with unbeatable support.
Featuring strategically placed cushioning, the GEL-Nimbus 23 is softer than ever. The midsole is lined with FlyeFoam technology throughout for responsive, lightweight cushioning to propel you forward on your run. Additional GEL cushioning technology layered into the heel absorbs impact and promotes proper compression necessary for smooth heel-toe transitions.
As an added plus, the GEL-Nimbus 23 takes a step in a sustainable direction with a mesh upper constructed with 20 percent recycled material. The lightweight mesh adds breathability and flexibility to the shoe and supports the top of the foot.
Read more: ASICS GEL-Nimbus 23 review
Best-Cushioned Karhu Running Shoes
Karhu Synchron 2021
The Karhu Synchron 2021 is the most luxurious shoe from Karhu yet.
Featuring a generous bed of AeroFoam Nova, the Synchron's midsole delivers a plusher feeling than typical EVA foams—making it the most-cushioned running shoe in Karhu's lineup.
Designers paired the AeroFoam Nova midsole with Karhu's Fulcrum technology. The H-shaped piece of composite material helps transfer momentum from landing to takeoff.
Fleet Feet reviewers said the updated model delivers soft landings and smooth transitions, making it ideal for long runs and recovery miles.
Read more: Karhu Synchron 2021 review
Best-Cushioned Saucony Running Shoes
Saucony Triumph 19
The Saucony Triumph 19 provides springy cushioning to each step, making it one of the best cushioned running shoes in Saucony's lineup, and a great daily trainer.
A stack of PWRRUN+ midsole foam absorbs impact upon landing and delivers energetic takeoffs to make your runs feel bouncy and effortless. The shoe is feather-light and offers an instantly snug fit thanks to Saucony's FORMFIT fit system.
Whether you're in the market for a daily trainer or something comfortable to spend the day on your feet in, the Saucony Triumph 19 offers long-lasting cushioning.
Read more: Saucony Triumph 19 Review
Best-Cushioned On Running Shoes
On Cloudstratus 2
Double down on cushioning in the On Cloudstratus.
Two layers of CloudTec technology run the full length of the midsole, giving you heel-to-toe cushioning. Patented Helion foam on top of the CloudTec offers responsive cushion while the integrated Speedboard provides a responsive kick to each step.
With a widened toe box, the Cloudstratus has a more stable feel than ever before, and accommodates wider foot shapes.
Read more: On Cloudstratus review
Best-Cushioned Mizuno Running Shoes
Mizuno Wave Sky 5
We named the Mizuno Wave Sky 5 one of the best cushioned running shoes of the year because it uses a stellar combo of two foams to achieve a soft, smooth ride.
Designers packed the newest Wave Sky with a generous amount of Mizuno Enerzy and Mizuno Enerzy Core foams. Each foam provides a unique element to the shoe: Enerzy is the slightly firmer of the two compositions, which gives the shoe versatility, while Enerzy Core is the softest and bounciest foam Mizuno makes.
When they work together, the two types of foam give you a well-cushioned, balanced ride. Fleet Feet reviewers love how comfortable it feels on pavement.
“The foam makes it feel protective,” a tester said in the Mizuno Wave Sky 5 review. “I really like the middle ground they hit with the generous bed of Enerzy foam: It’s soft but still bouncy, so it’ll work for a wide range of abilities and workouts.
Topped with a lightweight mesh upper for a secure fit, the Mizuno Wave Sky 5 gives you all the cushioning you need for as many miles as you want to go.
Read more: Mizuno Wave Sky 5 review
Best-Cushioned New Balance Running Shoes
New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v11
Max cushion meets minimal weight in the New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v11.
New Balance updated its popular 1080 with a new mesh for a better overall fit. The refreshed upper is super stretchy and lightweight, and it breathes exceptionally well to keep you comfortable when your workout heats up.
Powering the 1080v11 is a generous bed of Fresh Foam cushioning. New Balance's premier foam is incredibly soft and very responsive.
Read more: New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v11 review
Best-Cushioned Nike Running Shoes
Nike React Infinity Run
Instant swagger, instant comfort. The Nike React Infinity Run packs React foam and a prominent rocker shape into the perfect cushioned running shoe.
The Infinity Run has more foam underfoot than other Nike running shoes, making it one of the most cushioned shoes the brand offers. The soft, springy foam makes light work of any workout, and looks good while doing it. Plus, a wide base geometry provides inherent stability to the shoe, so you can run fast with confidence.
A sleek upper and bold accent colors help the Nike React Infinity hit blistering hot speeds while serving hot looks.
Read more: Nike React Infinity Run review
Best-Cushioned Altra Running Shoes
Altra Paradigm 4.5
The original Altra Paradigm was created for 100-mile races, so it needed enough cushioning to stand up to the job.
The latest version is no exception.
The Altra Paradigm 5 is a packed with a responsive and durable EGO midsole that helps power the shoe from the first step of your run to the last. With Altra's signature FootShape toe box, the Paradigm 5 isn't just well-cushioned, it also mimics the natural shape of your foot for premium comfort.
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.