10 Best Cushioned Running Shoes 2021

Finding the right running shoe can sometimes feel like finding the needle in a haystack. It gets even more complicated when you’re not familiar with all of the terminology and the different options you have out there.

If you’ve determined that you’re in need of shoes with a heavily cushioned midsole, then we can definitely help make your search a little easier.

Check out our top 10 picks for the best cushioned running shoes below and learn what other features you should look for in order to find the right shoes for your feet.

More cushioning isn’t the answer for everyone, so let’s start off my discussing whom they help.

Who Should Wear Them

There is a lot of debate between runners, experts and shoe manufacturers as to who should wear what kind of shoe.

The problem is that the average runner isn’t a foot expert, a shoe expert or a physics expert, so it’s hard to actually know if the shoe they want is actually the shoe they need.

Cushioned shoes, for example, would probably work best on experienced runners who have tried and tested many different running shoes.

If your body and muscles are conditioned from all of that running, then you might feel the need a cushioned pair every now and then for a particularly rough run.

Inexperienced runners don’t have conditioned muscles, so it’s easier to get what feels most comfortable even if it is the wrong shoe for them.

False sense of security, right there.

So Now What?

With that being said, we want to remind you what else you should take into consideration as you compare and contrast shoes: pronation.

  • Overpronator. If you overpronate (your feet tilt inward at an angle greater than 15°), then you should look for a stability shoe or motion control shoe.
  • Underpronators/Supinators. You’ll see both terms used interchangeably and what’s happening as your feet land is that they’ aren’t pronating enough, meaning that your feet roll too far outward as you run. Because of this, you are the ones who will do best with that extra cushioning or a neutral shoe.
  • Neutral Pronators. Lucky you! Your feet hit the ground at all of the right angles.

You do not need a super cushioned shoe. We would suggest the exact opposite in fact.

Something lightweight and low profile will work fine for you since you don’t need the extra cushioning and support that overpronators and underpronators do. Minimalist shoes might be right for you, but it also depends on how your feet hit the ground.

If you’re new to running and a neutral pronator, some extra cushioning might be helpful as you transition to something a little more basic. You might strike the ground heavily at first and until you learn proper foot placement and impact force, running on clouds sounds like a good idea.

Top 10 Cushioned Running Shoes Table

PictureNameForPriceRating (1-5)
Rating (1-5)
91j96JhwMpL. SP1101. Saucony Women's Ride 8 Running ShoeWomen$4.6
2. On Cloud 2.0Men$$$4.6
3. Altra Olympus 3 Trail Running ShoeWomen$$4.5
51kCn%2BIbgDL. SP1104. Hoka One One Women's Clifton 4 Running ShoesWomen$$$4.4
815E4E2GR9L. SP1105. Brooks Men's Beast 14 Running ShoeMen$$$4.4
81tW6UXbWhL. SP1106. Mizuno Men's Wave Enigma 5 Running ShoeMen$$4.4
81%2BZbR9hzvL. SP1107. ASICS Men's GEL-Foundation 12 Running ShoeMen$$4.4
81EXYtNlr%2BL. SP1108. Brooks Women's Ariel 14Women$$$4.3
913S5TWiadL. SP1109. New Balance Women's W980V2 Fresh-Foam Boracay Running ShoeWomen$4.3
81vZw5R1dDL. SP11010. New Balance Men's M1980V1 Fresh Foam Zante Running ShoeMen$4.3

Buying Information

Here are the top three picks below, but remember that they’re not right for every runner.

If they don’t work for you, check out the other seven options, which are all dedicated to a cushioned run.

Top 3 Best Cushioned Running Shoes Reviews

1. Saucony Ride 8

91j96JhwMpL. SP500

If you’re a neutral pronator who wants the feeling that you’re running on clouds, then the Saucony Ride 8’s are the best cushioned running shoes you could ever slip on your feet. You’ll “ooooo” and you’ll “ahhhhh” throughout the whole run.

Thanks to the Powergrid cushioning foam, you get 20% more cushioning than standard midsoles provide. The foam is designed to center the foot, absorb the impact and then distribute the pressure evenly throughout the entire gait cycle. That means a super smooth ride for you as you run.

If you’re not a neutral pronator and you still want a well-cushioned shoe, we have a few others for you to look at.

2. On Cloud 2.0

The ON Cloud sneaker is great for those of you who want a running shoe/cross trainer that is lightweight and well cushioned. Designing a lightweight minimal running shoe with plenty of cushioning is hard to do, yet they’ve executed it perfectly with this one.

Thea feature a Zero-Gravity foam and Swizz CloudTec technology that provides you with superb impact protection. They’re responsive, too, which means you have soft landings followed by explosive takeoffs. The lacing system and flexible heel strap offer you a glove like fit and comfortably lock your foot into the shoe.

Definitely not your traditional running shoe as far as looks go, but packed with cushioning and plenty of colors to choose from.

3. Altra Olympus 3 Trail Running Shoe

Trail runners, we haven’t forgotten about you.

The Altra Olympus 3’s are durable, flexible and packed with cushioning. Just what you need to stay comfortable as you weave your way through forests and up rocky trails.

The tread pattern provides you with plenty of grip (they have a 2mm lug depth) and they’ve upgraded the uppers with a more durable mesh.

This has a Zero Drop platform and FootShape toe box in order to offer you a more natural surface to run on (they allow your toes to relax and spread out more naturally in order to help you feel stable as you head uphill and downhill). We like the springy, bouncy feel they give you as you run, too.

They are heavier, but this is common with trail shoes. You need something that can handle the rough terrain and keep you on your feet, and the Altra’s do a pretty good job of it along with a hearty does of cushioning along the way.

The perfect combination!

An experienced runner and an active mom, Kelly is the research expert behind runninggearlab.com When you don't find Kelly training for her next 10k or 5k race you'll find her reading reviews and testing the latest running watch.

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