Are Cushioned Running Shoes Right for You?

Before you start your next mile, here’s everything you need to know about cushioned running shoes, and a few top picks, too.

May 19, 2023

Whether you’re logging mile after mile or just taking a lap around the block, there are certain elements of running shoes to consider before deciding the type of style that’s right for you. Cushioning is one of those elements. They look good and they feel plush, not to mention they’re super trendy. But what is cushioning for? What are the benefits of so much cushion?


The Benefits


They’re Super Soft


There’s more to cushion than meets the eye. Although you can visibly see the cushioning in some of these shoes, you can’t see all the technology that goes into making them so soft.

  • For instance, Brooks Running Shoes uses DNA LOFT v3 cushioning with nitrogen-infused softness which reacts to your unique stride. 
  • HOKA Running Shoes are designed with a well-loved lightweight, resilient foam. 
  • On Shoes delivers cushioning and energy with its unique CloudTec® system. 
  • Nike ZoomX cushioning is shaped like a rocker, giving you a soft feel upon impact.
  • ASICS GEL-NIMBUS® technology creates a softer and smoother running experience. 
  • And New Balance uses Fresh Foam X to deliver a comfortable, flexible feel.


They’re Springy


This is a huge benefit for runners. Many cushioned shoes boast powerful takeoffs, thanks to their resilient foam. However, if responsive energy return is your main priority, take a look at these shoes designed specifically to bring the speed. 


They’re Comfortable


This might be a given, but it’s worth noting that cushioned shoes are notoriously comfortable. You can visibly see how much plush material you are getting underfoot to help support every impact you make with the road, treadmill or trail.


The Can Help Reduce Stressors and Impact


With so much protection underfoot, your feet, joints and even back may benefit from the reduced impact. When your feet hit the ground, these high foam heights can take some of that contact and disperse it through the ground.



Our Top Cushion Running Shoe Picks

Brooks Glycerin

Why we love them: Built for cushion, support and speed, these running shoes offer an innovative nitrogen-infused underfoot with DNA Loft v3 midsole.

HOKA Bondi

Why we love them: Made for walking or everyday runs, these ultra-cushioned shoes are some of the most well-loved in the HOKA lineup. This style features ultralight foam and a rear crash pad for a soft and balanced ride.

On Cloudmonster

Why we love them: Light, durable and temperature resistant. These shoes feature On’s biggest CloudTec® ever for massive cushioning and max energy.

Nike Invincible 3

Why we love them: This shoe boasts maximum cushioning with Nike’s highest level of comfort underfoot to help you stay on your feet all day.

Asics GEL-Nimbus 25 

Why we love them: The GEL-Nimbus 25 is more comfortable than ever before. Its updated PureGEL technology and lightweight FF BLAST PLUS ECO cushioning deliver extra softness with every step.

New Balance 1080

Why we love them: Fresh Foam X midsole foam delivers New Balance’s most cushioned shoe for incredible comfort. Plus, the pinnacle underfoot cushioning features updated midsole mapping, which applies more foam to wider areas of the midsole and increases flexibility at the narrower points. 

Think you’d benefit from an extra bounce in your step? Explore our full selection of cushioned running shoes.

And if you need more guidance on stability versus neutral shoes and other fit tips, find it in our our How to Buy Running Shoes guide.