Best Running Shoes For Cushioning in 2021

Natalie Cecconi
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If you spend a lot of time running, you may be thinking about getting some new shoes to keep you in your peak performance.

Suffering from knee pain or any number of injuries? If so, you may want to get some new cushioned running shoes.

Top trending running shoes right now are those with a lot of cushioning and good arch support.

Below, we review the top running shoes available right now so you can focus more of your attention on your training.

NameCategoryProduct
HOKA ONE ONE Mens Bondi 6 Running ShoeBest OverallHOKA ONE ONE Mens Bondi 6 Running Shoe
ALTRA Women's Paradigm 4.5 Road Running ShoeBudget PickALTRA Women's Paradigm 4.5 Road Running Shoe
HOKA ONE ONE Womens Bondi 6 Running ShoeUpgrade PickHOKA ONE ONE Womens Bondi 6 Running Shoe

1. HOKA ONE ONE Mens Bondi 6 Running Shoe

Our rating: 9 / 10

HOKA ONE ONE Mens Bondi 6 Running Shoe

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Pros:

  • Has a wide range of colors to choose from just like the Venture model that we previously reviewed
  • Lightweight
  • Awesome traction, responsiveness and cushioning performance
  • They're suitable for most sweaty and intense workouts as well

Cons:

  • A little pricey compared to other models
  • You may need to go one size down upon initial wear

The Hoka One One Bondi 6 is a running shoe designed for everyday wear and performance.

The Bondi 6 has many of the same features that made the Bondi such an exciting shoe in the first place. Although, you should note, that in this model, the Bondi is not as cushioned as it was in previous models.

The Bondi 6 is lightweight, but it's also rugged enough to handle more rugged terrain. You’ll also likely notice the Bondi 6’s flexibility throughout the shoe.

2. HOKA ONE ONE Women's Clifton 7 Running Shoe

Our rating: 9 / 10

HOKA ONE ONE Women's Clifton 7 Running Shoe

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Pros:

  • Provides exceptional cushioning
  • Will actually last quite a long time
  • Nice style

Cons:

  • Not great for longer runs
  • Flexible material makes it feel a little cheap
  • Upper material is a bit stiff

Whether you're seeking a running shoe with solid support or willing to sacrifice some of that support for a better cushioned ride, the Hoka One One Women's Clifton 7 Running Shoe delivers. Featuring an ideal blend of cushioning and support, this running shoe makes for an excellent overall performance.

The meta-rocker sole configuration offers you some of the highest levels of cushioning available in a running shoe. You'll can expect a plush ride, and this is just the type of shoe that many people with overuse injuries and/or chronic pain will enjoy. The Clifton 7 is not necessary the best running shoe for race performance, but it will allow you to run comfortably on the occasional long run or jog.

The Clifton 7 delivers a combination of Ortholite® and EVA cushioning. This provides lots of cushioning throughout the midsole. Yet, there is good support and flexibility from the Meta-Rocker design. You'll enjoy the combination of comfort and support. While the shoe is not lightweight and does not offer a lot of flexibility, it's still a good pick for people seeking comfortable supportive shoes.

3. ASICS Women's Gel-Nimbus 22

Our rating: 9 / 10

ASICS Women's Gel-Nimbus 22

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Pros:

  • Boost your energy with high cushioning
  • Generous stability
  • Promotes a smooth heel-to-toe transition
  • Excellent shock absorption, ideal for flat courses
  • Controls pronation
  • Breathable mesh and synthetic leather surface improves comfort
  • Well-made outsole
  • Great traction on most surfaces
  • Quality material
  • Stylish design

4. HOKA ONE ONE Men's Elevon Running Shoe

Our rating: 8 / 10

HOKA ONE ONE Men's Elevon Running Shoe

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Pros:

  • Modular crash pad system delivers a progressive run
  • Cloud cushioning system absorb impact for a sort run
  • The midsole offers durability and bounce for the forefoot
  • The midsole is super lightweight
  • The breathable mesh keeps the feet dry

Cons:

  • The upper is not supportive enough
  • The heel is loose
  • The tongue is hard.

Designed to deliver a performance fit, the HOKA ONE ONE Men’s Elevon running shoe comes with a breathable mesh upper that is laced with the company’s unique lacing system. Thanks to the combination of these two features, your feet will be able to breathe easily and stay dry even in extended use.

The shoe’s Cloud cushioning system provide full-time comfort and protection, while the company’s unique crash pad system work with two different levels of cushioning. The crash pad provides progressive cushioning where additional protection is needed, with more compression protection as you press harder into your run.

The outsole of this shoe offers 4% more bounce in the forefoot compared to the HOKA ONE ONE Stinson II. The Company places this feature within its Sole-Mid design. This is why you won’t find yourself fatiguing early in your run.

5. New Balance Men's Fresh Foam 1080 V10 Running Shoe

Our rating: 8 / 10

New Balance Men's Fresh Foam 1080 V10 Running Shoe

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Pros:

  • Lightweight cushioning
  • Extra wide toe box
  • Minimalist design
  • Cushioning lasts miles
  • Minimalist design
  • Wide toe box
  • Extremely lightweight
  • Perfect for running or cross training
  • Great traction
  • Anti-microbial technology

Cons:

  • A bit narrow for some runners
  • Heavy shoe for a runner
  • Great for slower runners

New Balance is probably the most well-known running shoe manufacturer in the US. This shoe is under the cushioning series for good reason: it provides ample amounts of cushioning under your foot without being overly weighty.

Furthermore, you can wear this shoe for multiple purposes on top of running. If your long runs are getting boring, you can definitely incorporate this shoe into your training.

6. New Balance Women's Fresh Foam 1080 V10 Running Shoe

Our rating: 8 / 10

New Balance Women's Fresh Foam 1080 V10 Running Shoe

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Pros:

  • Lightweight and breathable
  • Incredibly durable and comfortable
  • Great value for its price range
  • Offers a sufficient amount of support
  • Outstanding durability
  • Great for wide feet

The New Balance Women's Fresh Foam 1080 V10 Running Shoe offers amazing value for the price, better cushioning, excellent durability, and a snug, sock-like fit for wide feet.

The shoes feature a lightweight and breathable mesh upper combined with an IMEVA midsole and a no-sew overlaid tongue.

The Fresh Foam midsole provides a superbly comfortable fit thanks to its oversized foam pods that absorb and spread any impact.

7. Saucony Men's Hurricane 22

Our rating: 8 / 10

Saucony Men's Hurricane 22

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Pros:

  • Deep heel cup offers great cushioning
  • Great stability and support
  • Multiple color variations
  • Lightweight and flexible

Are you looking for a supportive running shoe that has a deep heel cup that offers great cushioning and protection? One that will allow you to run any distance with confidence? The Saucony Men’s Hurricane 22 running shoe is an excellent option for you.

It has a firm construction that maintains great stability and support. It maintains a lightweight design along with a flexible midsole. It also has a stylish design with multiple color variations to choose from.

There are some users who may find that the shoe is a bit narrow. However, keep in mind that every shoe is unique. Like other shoes, this one may or may not fit you. So, be sure to try it out before taking the plunge.

8. ASICS Men's Gel-Nimbus 22 Running Shoes

Our rating: 8 / 10

ASICS Men's Gel-Nimbus 22 Running Shoes

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Pros:

  • Provides maximum cushioning and comfort
  • Stable and anatomically shaped heel counter
  • Enhanced rubber sole for added traction and support

9. Hoka One One Speedgoat 2 Trail Running Shoes

Our rating: 8 / 10

Hoka One One Speedgoat 2 Trail Running Shoes

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Pros:

  • Strategically placed cushioning for maximum comfort
  • Great for barefoot running purists
  • Stable support with a minimalist design
  • Aegis Microbe Shield
  • Durable rubber outsole

Cons:

  • May be too big for some users
  • Heavy and bulky
  • Not ideal for very technical trail running

Hoka One One is an innovative brand that seeks to blend the best aspects of running shoe technology with the benefits of minimalism. They achieve this with their innovative midsole construction.

The Hoka One One Speedgoat 2 is a lightweight, cushioned trail running shoe with a balanced ride and great traction on trails.

The thick, padded insole virtually eliminates transfer of ground impact to the body. This makes it a great trainer for those who want to transition into a minimal shoe, but need a little extra protection for their feet.

10. ALTRA Women's Paradigm 4.5 Road Running Shoe

Our rating: 8 / 10

ALTRA Women's Paradigm 4.5 Road Running Shoe

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Pros:

  • Water resistant mesh upper with synthetic overlays
  • 3D LADYFIT Sexy Redesigned Upper
  • ABZORB Ruby-infused midsole foam with Goga Max White lining
  • Twin Power Trusstic technology
  • Lady-specific volume in the forefoot and heel
  • Superelastic Eva midsole foam
  • Altra EGO midsole compound
  • Sticky rubber outsole
  • 4mm drop
  • 8.8 ounces

The good stuff first. The Paradigm is a lightweight shoe that is perfect for runners that like a low heel-to-toe drop. They have lots of cushioning and they are comfortable right out of the box. The tread is quite sticky and the shoe is ideal for long training runs and mid-distance races.

Many people commented on the super-cushioned feel of the Paradigm, but as a result, some people felt they were extremely heavy and bulky. They become quite heavy after several miles.

The Paradigm fit is somewhat narrow. People who have wider feet may find them uncomfortable. There is no option for a half-size up.

11. ALTRA Men's ALM1948G Paradigm 4.5 Road Running Shoe

Our rating: 8 / 10

ALTRA Men's ALM1948G Paradigm 4.5 Road Running Shoe

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Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • 1.96-inch heel-to-toe drop
  • A durable and well-made shoe
  • Very breathable
  • Extra cushioning and support
  • Great traction

Cons:

  • Not the best for trails
  • Does not hold its shape perfectly
  • Does not have the same visual appeal of other brands

Sometimes, all you really need in a running shoe is lightweight quality and supportive cushioning. That is exactly what you get with the ALTRA Men’s ALM1948G Paradigm Running Shoe. This shoe delivers superior cushioning and support with great breathability.

We will look at some of the features of this shoe in more detail below.

This popular sneaker still has that classic look that we were all used to, but this time the ALTRA Men’s ALM1948G Paradigm Running Shoe is made of high-quality materials to ensure a comfortable ride.

12. Saucony Women's Hurricane 22 Running Shoe

Our rating: 7 / 10

Saucony Women's Hurricane 22 Running Shoe

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Pros:

  • Extremely lightweight
  • Great for running
  • Maximum comfort and support

This running shoe from Saucony is a top pick if you are looking for an Olympic running shoe. Its ultra lightweight design means you can run for longer without experiencing fatigue.

The fit is very flexible and breathable. It is made of synthetic suede-like mesh to ensure comfort and flexibility.

This model from Saucony also has a unique athletic silhouette that makes it versatile so it can be used in all conditions. This option is also available in a variety of different colors.

13. HOKA ONE ONE Women's Elevon Running Shoe

Our rating: 7 / 10

HOKA ONE ONE Women's Elevon Running Shoe

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Pros:

  • Hard foam material provides excellent cushioning
  • Maximum stability and support
  • Breathable shoe and lightweight upper
  • Outsole tread is aggressive and grippy
  • Ideal for Amazon customers who need a snug fit for narrower feet
  • Extremely comfortable even after hours of walking or running
  • Very good traction

Cons:

  • Runners who opt for a specific fit should choose half a size smaller to get the snug fit they want
  • Pricey compared to other shoes

The shoes offer the maximum amount of cushioning and comfort, without sacrificing lightweight performance. The entire outsole tread is made of durability-tested blown rubber to enhance traction.

14. HOKA ONE ONE Womens Bondi 6 Running Shoe

Our rating: 7 / 10

HOKA ONE ONE Womens Bondi 6 Running Shoe

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Pros:

  • Great cushioning
  • Great ventilation
  • Good-looking design
  • Wide toebox
  • Good support for overpronators

Cons:

  • A little heavy
  • Not as comfortable as the Pure Flow
  • Not the cheapest shoe out there

Hoka One One are well-known for their innovative designs. Their Bondi 6 running shoes feature a revolutionary cushioning technology called Huuboam – it’s a distinctive combination of their premium foam with a more durable high-rebound EVA.

The Bondi 6 is one of the best shoes for overpronators to wear. The midsole is made of something called TetraFlex. It’s a high-rebound cushioning technology, and it offers a decent amount of comfort when running. Even though this design is a bit on the heavier side, it’s still pretty good at dissipating impact and providing ample support.

Another factor that Hoka One One paid attention to when it designed this shoe was to ensure that it has a supportive fit and that the toebox is wide enough. Wide toeboxes are a key factor for wider feet types. You’ll feel pretty comfortable when wearing these, no matter if you’re standing or running.

15. HOKA ONE ONE Men's Arahi 2 Running Shoe

Our rating: 7 / 10

HOKA ONE ONE Men's Arahi 2 Running Shoe

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Pros:

  • Provides incredible comfort and cushioning
  • The treads are very deep for maximum grip in most conditions
  • Breathable mesh upper offers plenty of ventilation
  • Lace-up closure offers a very snug fit
  • They are designed for runners with wide feet
  • They come in different colors to match your personality
  • Weight – 11.2 ounces each

Cons:

  • * The shoe is high-priced compared to others

The HOKA ONE ONE Men’s Arahi 2 Running Shoe are incredibly lightweight low-profile running shoes with a light rubber sole that features a multi-directional traction design.

These running shoes are inspired by traditional Polynesian design aesthetics and they are engineered with a breathable mesh upper that makes them perfect for various outdoor settings.

Hoka One One Arahi 2 also features dual-density midsole foam and light rubber in the heel area for enhanced cushioning. This works in harmony with the Microfit DRB molded EVA footbed to create a plush and comfortable fit.

16. HOKA ONE ONE Women's Arahi 2 Running Shoe

Our rating: 6 / 10

HOKA ONE ONE Women's Arahi 2 Running Shoe

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Pros:

  • Full foot cushioning
  • Design is conducive for running
  • The wide toe box and low heel to toe drop make it a very comfortable running shoe for women
  • Well priced

Cons:

  • A little heavier than light weight running shoes
  • It runs small so you have to order 1 full size larger than you would otherwise
  • The tongue can be too snug for some

Hoping to run faster, further, and more comfortably? Then consider the HOKA ONE ONE Women’s Arahi 2 running shoe.

Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned runner, you will be able to enjoy the smooth ride that this shoe offers. The wider toe box, along with an overall thicker midsole, will provide a very comfortable ride. As a bonus, the midsole is very lightweight!

There’s a lot of cushioning on this shoe. This gives your feet a very smooth stride. The cushioning will give your feet maximum comfort and protection. It also reduces the shock that you feel with every step. The end result is a better running experience for the user.

17. Brooks Women's Glycerin 17

Our rating: 5 / 10

Brooks Women's Glycerin 17

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The Brooks Women’s Glycerin 17 Running Shoe is an extremely comfortable running shoe that offers a great combination of features including great cushioning and adequate support. It comes in many different sizes, widths, colors, and foot shapes.

The Brooks Glycerin has great motion control, and stability which is great for runners looking for a supportive yet comfortable running shoe.

This shoe is great for those looking to alleviate some foot, ankle, or knee pain as it contains a compression panel that holds the foot in place creating the right amount of pressure and reducing any rubbing.

18. Brooks Men's Glycerin 17

Our rating: 5 / 10

Brooks Men's Glycerin 17

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The Brooks Men's Glycerin 17 is a serious running shoe with plenty of tech packed into a comfortable and lightweight shoe. The main features of the Glycerin 17 are its full-length IGNITE foam, Nano-Cush and Dynamic Support features.

It's jam-packed with a lot of cushioning and stability features, thanks to its IGNITE foam. It also has an Ortholite sock liner, which ensures a great fit.

The midsole is moderately thick and has some pronation control (if you have poor ankle stability). The shoe provides natural transition from heel strike to toe off.

19. HOKA ONE ONE Men's Clifton 7 Running Shoe

Our rating: 5 / 10

HOKA ONE ONE Men's Clifton 7 Running Shoe

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Pros:

  • Lightweight and comes in multiple color options
  • Great for overpronators
  • Relatively inexpensive
  • Great durability

Cons:

  • Some customers found the shoe to run a bit small as far as size
  • The shoe felt stiff for some
  • The width of the shoe was too narrow for some

This shoe is intended for the natural to mild overpronating runner. It has a unique design that utilizes a mix of cushioning, support, and flexibility to offer some of the best cushioning shoes on the market.

The shoe is designed with an Ortholite sock liner, which offers additional cushioning for your foot. It also comes with a HOKA ONE ONE ESSENCE software which allows you to customize how your shoes fit. The Clifton is offered in multiple running shoe widths, so you can find the right fit.

With an awesome 6mm heel-to-toe drop, this shoe is designed to help you avoid injury and deliver strong shock absorption. The drop coupled with this shoes outsole design is ideal for helping you when you are out on the road.

20. HOKA ONE ONE Women's Speedgoat 2 Trail Running Shoes

Our rating: 4 / 10

HOKA ONE ONE Women's Speedgoat 2 Trail Running Shoes

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Pros:

  • Ideal for trail running
  • Specifically designed to cushion hard impacts
  • Lightweight at 7.9 ounces
  • Offers an excellent fit
  • Highly supportive
  • Excellent traction
  • Breathable upper material improves airflow
  • Vibram sole comes with rounded lugs for extra traction
  • Shock-absorbing midsole
  • Top notch customer service

Cons:

  • The toe box is not narrow enough for some running styles
  • These shoes are only available in full sizes and half sizes
  • A little heavy and bulky as compared to other running shoes
  • Can get uncomfortable after long hours and even cause blisters
  • The vast majority of the customer reviews are all positive

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Are cushioned shoes better for running?

Cushioned shoes are widely accepted as the best option for most people who do a lot of running or other high impact activities. This comes from the simple fact that on hard surfaces, there is a fair amount of impact from landing, which can be very harsh on feet and legs and affect your performance. Running shoes with cushioning greatly reduce this effect, as well as lessening the impact of running on knees, ankles, and backs.

This is not always the case, however, as some runners prefer firmer-soled shoes. These tend to have a lower heel-to-toe drop. A runner comfortable with this style of lower drop shoe, typically a runner with a natural stride with forefoot striking, is likely to feel more comfortable in this shoe and would not require the cushion more typical runners would.

What are the best running shoes for 2021?

There are several brands of shoes out there so your decision will really depend on your needs and your budget.

Most fairly new running shoes made today are made with numerous features that will decrease impact during your run and make your run more comfortable.

You want shoes that give you enough support such as midfoot support, along with cushioning technology.

You also want shoes that are suitable for your running speed.

Shoe companies have developed different shoes for different running speeds.

The following are some of the most popular and most comfortable running shoes of 2021.

What is the most comfortable running shoe?

The most comfortable shoe will differ from person to person. At the end of the day, everybody has a unique foot shape. Some may experience pain from an improper fitting shoe but others will feel pain through a healthy fitting shoe for foot variety of reasons.

There is a big difference between what runners feel is comfortable and what manufacturers claim is a comfortable shoe. If you are experiencing pain during a run and you just picked up a new shoe and assumed it would be good for you, think again. You’ve got to take the time to test out a pair of shoes before purchasing. You do not want to order a bunch of pairs of running shoes and experience pain just to realize they were not properly suited for you.

Do I need support or cushioned running shoes?

It is getting more and more clear that runners need to be able to test shoes for themselves. Not just be told what to buy.

As your feet strike the ground with each step, there is a high degree of variation depending on your running speed, weight, shoe type, gender and of course running surface.

Evidently enough the right kind of cushioning is good for every runner. But obviously there are some basic requirements as well. If you are running more than 10km or so per week it is advisable to invest in well cushioned running shoes. It will make a huge difference in your running performance.

Conclusion

The versatility of these shoes is best illustrated by the fact that you can go from running on trails, to running on slightly wet and muddy terrain, to trail running on a rocky path. With that kind of versatility, you can’t go wrong with picking up these shoes.

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
HOKA ONE ONE Mens Bondi 6 Running ShoeBest OverallHOKA ONE ONE Mens Bondi 6 Running Shoe
ALTRA Women's Paradigm 4.5 Road Running ShoeBudget PickALTRA Women's Paradigm 4.5 Road Running Shoe
HOKA ONE ONE Womens Bondi 6 Running ShoeUpgrade PickHOKA ONE ONE Womens Bondi 6 Running Shoe