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Our Top 7 Cushioned Running Shoes

Our Top 7 Cushioned Running Shoes Featured Image

There was a time when max cushioned running shoes were considered something of a curiosity, intended for the highly-specialized needs of niche fields of endurance running.


That was then, and this is now—where the benefits offered by max cushioning are recognized across the running spectrum. As an unsponsored athlete who runs a lot (like a lot), I get the opportunity to play the field and try out different brands. If you’re gearing up for a spring race, or just curious as to what this season's most cushioned running shoes are, here’s my unbiased opinion. 

 

Hoka Bondi 7

Hoka continues to dominate the game when it comes to premium cushioning and leading the charge is the Bondi 7. The Hoka Bondi 7 is a maximal cushioned running shoe (aka it’s got a lot of cushioning) that provides an unmatched combination of high-performance cushioning and stability. The Bondi 7 is designed to not only reduce the impact on your feet and joints but to increase your running economy (or the energy demand for your stride). The wider landing platform, oversize EVA midsole and structure of the shoe create an early-stage Meta-Rocker that encourages your foot to roll through your gait cycle. Consequently, the Bondi 7 has garnered a big name for itself amongst the medical community for accommodating orthotics and aiding in injury recovery. We’ve even seen a big rise in the amount of walkers choosing this shoe to conquer their daily pursuits.

For how big the Bondi looks, it’s surprisingly very light and brings an immediate step in comfort. Personally, I found the Bondi a bit too clunky but I have been known to pop a pair on now and then when my legs are needing a little extra love from the mileage.  If you’re looking to get into running, or are on your feet a lot and want to reduce the impact on your body, this shoe should be on the top of your list to try.

Specs: 
Category: Neutral
Open-engineered mesh construction delivers breathable comfort
Memory foam collar cradles ankle in plush comfort
TPU overlays offer additional midfoot structure and support
Internal heel counter provides a supportive, locked-in fit
Full-length compression-molded EVA midsole
Refined early-stage Meta-Rocker for a smooth ride
Beveled heel design offers a smooth transition and increased durability
Rubber outsole minimizes weight and maximizes durability
Offset: 4mm drop

 

$151.98 $189.98
  
$151.98 $189.98

    New Balance Fresh Foam More V3

    If the shoe has the name ‘More’ in it, it probably should be on your list of top cushioned running shoes. Simply put, the Fresh Foam More v3 is New Balance’s competitor to the Hoka Bondi line. Now in its third iteration, the More gets soft— pillowy soft. Every detail, from the mesh all the way down to the Fresh Foam X midsole was created to provide an ultra soft and plush running experience. The More is designed with a wider platform creating a nice balance between cushioning and support, and retains a more natural feel in the forefoot not felt in the Bondi. 

    I enjoyed running in this shoe, it’s soft, but not unstable. It’s rockered and efficient even though it’s wide and heavy. Individuals with wider feet will rejoice, the More v3 provides a generous fit and is available in multiple widths. I should note that it’s also a tank, durability should not be a concern and you should easily be able to squeeze a lot of mileage out of them. Individuals looking for a high cushioned, daily mileage running or walking shoe that provides a bit more flexibility this is the shoe for you! 

    Specs: 
    Category: Neutral
    Fresh Foam midsole cushioning is precision engineered to deliver an ultra-cushioned, lightweight ride
    Wider platform applies underfoot cushioning to more areas of the foot, balancing comfort, support, and protection
    Increased rocker for smoother heel/toe strike transitions
    Engineered mesh upper with zonal support and breathability
    Data informed outsole placement
    Screen printed 3D N logo
    Offset: 4 mm drop

     

    $159.98 $199.98
    $159.98 $199.98
    $159.98 $199.98
    $159.98 $199.98
    $159.98 $199.98
    $159.98 $199.98
    $159.98 $199.98
      
    $159.98 $199.98
    $159.98 $199.98
    $159.98 $199.98

      Saucony Endorphin Shift 2 

      The Endorphin Shift’s tagline “Feel-good cushioning and speed” really nails the essence of the model. The Endorphin shift is a sleeker, faster and more responsive maximal cushioned shoe. Runners will love this max cushioned shoe for everyday runs, recovery between speed days and for added comfort and support everyday of the week.  It mixes a lofty bed of PWRRUN cushioning with propulsive SPEEDROLL Technology, so you get more comfort and speed out of each stride. And with its stable platform and touch of guidance, you can count on lots of feel-good miles. It’s the definition of effortless performance. 

      Narrow feet?  The second iteration provides a snugger fit, with a trim new heel counter, more breathable mesh, soft suede detailing and anti-slip laces to lock it in. I really enjoyed testing this shoe, so much so that I’ve added it into my current rotation. I find it provides a unique blend of cushioning and responsiveness and it can go quickly when needed, which other max shoes struggle with. Individuals searching for a ‘faster’ daily trainer or more cushioned trainer for those longer efforts should definitely test the Endorphin Shift 2 out. 

      Specs: 
      Category: Neutral
      SPEEDROLL Technology propels you forward effortlessly, so you can run faster, not harder
      A generous bed of PWRRUN cushioning provides a plush yet springy ride, perfect for any day of the week
      Lightweight mesh upper and improved lacing system offers enhanced breathability and a locked-in fit
      FORMFIT hugs the foot in 3D comfort and delivers our most personalized fit yet
      XT-900 outsole with reinforced high-abrasion zones provides optimal traction and durability
      Offset: 4mm

         

        New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v11

        The New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v11 continues to provide premium comfort with a fresh new look. Designed as an everyday running shoe the 1080v11 delivers enhanced softness and a more energetic rebound than its predecessor thanks to an updated Fresh Foam midsole. If you’re one for celebrity endorsements, the 1080 is the shoe of choice for R&R Ambassador and 2020 Olympian Lindsey Butterworth. Lindsey uses it to tackle all the rigours of her training, from easy off day mileage to faster tempos. 

        Personally, where I found the new 1080 shines is in its weight. Comparing it to the other max cushioned shoes on the market, the 1080 is a sleek alternative to its cumbersome competitors. I’m not sure how they did it, but they were able to shave a couple grams off its predecessor without compromising its cushioning and support. Individuals searching for a comfortable daily trainer that won't weigh them down— the 1080s are for you! 

        Specs: 
        Category: Neutral
        Fresh Foam midsole cushioning is precision engineered to deliver an ultra-cushioned, lightweight ride
        Synthetic/mesh upper
        Bootie upper construction hugs your foot for a snug, supportive fit
        Ortholite sockliner for comfort
        Ultra Heel design hugs the back of the foot for a snug, supportive fit
        Offset: 8 mm drop

         

           

          Brooks Glycerin 19

          Brooks advertised the Glycerin 19 as “their softest shoe yet” and it's hard to argue with them on that. The new Glycerin 19, is packed with DNA LOFT cushioning throughout the full-length of the midsole, delivering a softer experience from heel to toe than ever before. They’ve been able to harness the right balance of foam, air and rubber to deliver a soft comfortable running experience.

          We’d often refer to this shoe as “the Cadillac of cushioning” when describing previous versions of the Glycerin. Comfort was always paramount and I often found the cushioning compromised the overall feel of the shoe. However, I found that the 19th iteration broke free from that mold,  hitting a sweet spot of soft cushioning with high energy return providing a more fluid daily trainer of my liking.  If you're needing a little extra cushioning but not wanting to sacrifice that responsive feel— try the Glycerin 18 out.

          Specs: 
          Category: Neutral
          DNA Loft foam delivers plush and luxurious cushioning while maintaining responsiveness and durability.
          Omega Flex Grooves enhance midsole flexibility without compromising cushioning.
          3D Fit Print saddle applies strategic overlays to provide a seamless and secure fit.
          OrthoLite sockliner provides premium step-in comfort.
          Offset: 10mm drop

           

          $159.98 $199.98
           

           

            Saucony Triumph 19

            Everything about the Saucony Triumph 19 feels just right. Now forewarning, I’m a bit biased with the Triumph as it’s been my go-to daily trainer for over the last year.  They’re my preferred shoe for easy days, long runs and the odd progression run. With an ultra-plush bed of PWRRUN+ cushioning and a cloud-like lightness, it's a dreamy shoe that’ll have you waking up stoked for your next run. 

            One of the reasons I keep coming back to the Triumph was its durability. I found the Triumph 19 a more solid daily trainer without being too clunky on my feet. I feel like it provides the right amount of cushioning and flexibility allowing my foot to still naturally work. Warning, it will feel a bit heavier compared to the 1080 or Glycerin but I think that added weight allows you to pile on more miles in the long run. Highly recommend testing out the Triumph 19 for your everyday mileage. 

            Specs: 
            Category: Neutral
            New engineered mono-mesh upper 
            Heel-to-toe Offset: 8mm (32.5mm heel/24.5mm forefoot)
            Weight: Men’s 10.2oz (290g)

            $159.98 $199.98
            $159.98 $199.98
             
            $159.98 $199.98
             

              Mizuno Wave Sky 5

              Last but certainly not least is the Mizuno Wave Sky 5. The Sky, a premium-comfort training shoe, is arguably one of the most underrated shoes on this list. A few years ago we were visited by a Mizuno Product Development Team to test the yet to be released Sky. Unlike other models in Mizuno’s lineup the Sky was designed sans Wave Plate; instead turning to a three-part foam midsole to create a similar shock absorbing effect. The top layer embedded for stability consists of the U4ic X, below is Mizuno's ENERZY CORE boosting responsiveness and on the bottom-most layer, there's the ENERZY FOAM, generating a balance between firmness, softness, and energy return.  It marked a departure from their roots and an attempt to compete with the other plush max cushioned shoes on the market. 

              Now in its 5th iteration I found they've worked out the kinks and refined the shoe into a premier everyday mileage runner. My initial impressions of the Sky 5 were ‘poppy’ and ‘plush’ with loads of energy return. I found the new version to really lock onto your foot and provide a more contoured touch that previous versions missed. To revisit our car reference, the Sky is a ‘luxury sedan’ for your feet, made for easy runs from short to long distances and something I’d definitely roll into my weekly rotation. 

              Specs: 
              Category: Neutral
              MIZUNO ENERZY CORE: New advanced midsole material delivering the most resiliency and softness. It improves comfort and adds spring to drive optimum performance.
              MIZUNO ENERZY (FOAM): Offering versatility in its application, while still maintaining softness and resilience.  It will help enhance performance capabilities.
              MIZUNO WAVE®: The MIZUNO WAVE® disperses energy from impact to a broader area providing a stable platform and a superior cushioning.
              X10 Outsole: Durable carbon rubber that allows for longer wear.
              Stretch Woven Upper
              Drop: 8mm

              $159.98 $199.98
               

               

              So where do you go from here?

              As you can tell it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the great footwear options out there. Everyone’s feet are different and what might work for me might not work for you. Hopefully with this list you’re able to narrow your search and find something that works for you. At the end of the day, it’s the fit that’s important, so come to the store and try them out.  

                

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