The 7 Best Cushioned Running Shoes – [2020 Reviews & Guide]

Any runner knows how painful and uncomfortable it can be when you don’t have the right pair of shoes on. Our feet take the majority of the impact, so it’s important that they’re well taken care of!

The best way to do this is to get yourself a pair of good cushioned running shoes. We’ve spent more than over a month researching diligently to bring you the top models out there today.

No matter what your budget or needs are, we have at least one great choice for you. Let’s get started!

Best Women’s Cushioned Running Shoes

 Brooks Women's Levitate 2 Road Running ShoeSaucony Women's Triumph Iso 5 Running ShoeASICS Women's GEL-Nimbus 20 Running Shoe
editorschoice
Uppers:FabricFabric / MeshTextile / Synthetic
Sizes:5-125-12 Wide5-12.5 Wide, Narrow
Colors:14627
Features:High energy returnContoured FootbedHigh energy return

Quick Answer: The 7 Best Rated Cushioned Running Shoes

  1. Brooks Women’s Levitate 2 Road Running Shoe
  2. Saucony Women’s Triumph Iso 5 Running Shoe
  3. ASICS Women’s GEL-Nimbus 20 Running Shoe
  4. Adidas Women’s Pureboost DPR Running Shoes
  5. Mizuno Women’s Wave Rider 23 Waveknit Running Shoe
  6. Brooks Women’s Glycerin 17 Cushioned Road Running Shoe
  7. ASICS Women’s GEL-Venture 5 Running Shoe

Our reviews of the top rated cushioned running shoes with our comparison table and buyers guide will help you choose the right running shoe for you.


Cushioned Running Shoes Reviews

No, looks may not be everything but they are something, especially when it has to do with the articles of clothing we wear on our body.

With that being said, the Brooks Levitate 2 is quite possibly the most visually attractive cushioned running shoes we’ve come across.

With colorways like Pink/Black/Aqua, Black/Grey/Rose, Aster/Purple/Blue, and more, you’re sure to turn heads and wear this pair with pride.

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It’s not just the uppers that stand out, visually, though. The outsoles are one-of-a-kind, made with translucent/crystal rubber which creates a more modern, sophisticated look.

They also come in different colors, though performance-wise they increase the longevity of the shoe, making them perfect for indoor and outdoor use.

Going back to the upper, it’s the brand’s “Fit Knit” which is one of the most comfortable we’ve had the pleasure of wearing – particularly for long runs.

They offer the perfect amount of stretch and breathability, while never restricting you and the natural movement of your feet.

Finishing things off is the DNA AMP midsole, which is ultra-cushy, adding stability and control to those who overpronate. Despite being so thick, they’re surprisingly lightweight.

The flexible chevron outsole pattern moves naturally as well, creating a quick heel-to-toe kind of snappy transfer.

 

Brooks Women’s Levitate 2 Road Running Shoe at a Glance:

  • Uppers: Fabric
  • Sizes: 5-12
  • Colors: 14
  • Features: Translucent rubber, high energy return

Saucony Women's Triumph Iso 5 Cushioned Running Shoe

The Saucony Women’s Triumph Iso 5 Running Shoes are undoubtedly some of the best cushioned running shoes currently available on the market.

It’s not surprising at first glance, either, where you can tell just how much cushion is available in the sole. If you want to feel like you’re running on clouds, then keep on reading.

The color schemes here are quite unique, with options like Seafoam Quakemustard and White/Purple/Citron – each offering a kind of metallic feel to it.

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The top-of-the-line cruiser comes with a thick, full-length Everun midsole while a slightly thinner rubber outsole which is tacky and tough.

The foam is nice and soft, though tough enough to provide excellent energy return and stability. Moreover, you’ll find a 3mm Everun topsole right under the high-quality footbed to further add to the cushion.

As far as the upper goes, it’s comprised of a full-length, double-layer jacquard engineered knit mesh.

While it may be stretchy and breathable, it’s one of the most durable we’ve encountered, moving as your feet and ankles do without restraint. Thanks to the lack of overlays, you also don’t have to worry about hotspots.

Accommodating an array of different foot shapes, the interior bootie construction and ISOFit dynamic saddle system works well for most people. You’ll also notice the foot flexes with ease and fluidity, rebounding smoothly into the next stride.

 

Saucony Women’s Triumph Iso 5 Running Shoe at a Glance:

  • Uppers: Fabric / Mesh
  • Sizes: 5-12 Wide
  • Colors: 6
  • Features: Full-Length Midsole, Contoured Footbed

The ASICS GEL models are all known to be some of the best comfortable running shoes ever made. So much so, that we had to place a couple on our guide!

However, the Nimbus 20 has carved out a special space for itself as a neutral running shoe perfect for heel strikers.

Whether you need a daily runner or something to use occasionally on extended runs, these lookers will do the job.

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Coming in a huge amount of colors, you get to select between almost 30 options like Neon Yellow, Porcelain Blue/Asics Blue, Frosted Rose, Apricot Ice, and a ton more! Due to their generosity you can pick just the scheme that suits your personality and wardrobe best.

Their FLYTEFOAM technology is what really sets it apart, creating wonderful bounce and energy transfer to keep you quicker on your feet.

The rear/forefoot GEL technology is what the series became known for, absorbing a surprising amount of impact to protect your feet and ankles.

Moving to the outsole, it’s comprised of rubber which is abrasion-resistant and looks brand new even after various runs.

The shoe wouldn’t be complete without a high-performing upper to finish it off. The FLUIDFIT technology here is stretchy yet snug mesh to eliminate any risk of chafing/blistering, while thin overlays offer structure without causing hotspots.

 

ASICS Women’s GEL-Nimbus 20 Running Shoe at a Glance:

  • Uppers: Textile/Synthetic
  • Sizes: 5-12.5 Wide, Narrow
  • Colors: 27
  • Features: FLYTEFOAM Cushioning for high energy return

Are you in the market for the best neutral cushioned running shoes that can be taken seamlessly from the trails to the streets?

If so, look no further than our next pair: the Adidas Women’s Pureboost DPR Running Shoes. Don’t be confused by their trendy looks – they’re some of the most comfortable money can buy.

If you’re someone who often finds yourself running in the rain or on slippery surfaces, this model can’t be beat.

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Marketed as a specifically city street shoe, it features a rather wide platform to keep you more stable while adding extra traction into the mix.

The rubber outsole is one of the more “grippy” we’ve come across, enabling confident running, rain or shine.

The fashionable shoe is notably lightweight, coming with a knit upper with thick laces that offers a nice amount of protection despite being so thin.

The full-length Adidas Boost midsole lacks the plastic torsion system many shoes have, making it extra pillowy, though less snappy.

If you’re a jogger or prefer to take your time while running rather than speeding through, these will accommodate you well.

While it comes with significant padding, it’s interesting that it is designed with a close-to-the-ground feel to keep you connected to your surroundings. Overall, it’s ideal for street running!

 

Adidas Women’s Pureboost DPR Running Shoes at a Glance:

  • Uppers: Textile
  • Sizes: 5-11.5 Wide, Narrow
  • Colors: 8
  • Features: Full-length midsole

On the other hand, if you have the need for speed and snappiness then you’ll want to consider the Mizuno Wave Rider 23.

These are quite a bit different from the previous model, being streamlined and low-profile. If you’re more of a sprinter then you’ll definitely appreciate how these seem to form right to your feet.

In regard to appearance, the Wave Rider 23s are pretty basic and admittedly not much to look at – just regular running shoes.

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However, it’s hard to find a competitor when talking about how responsive these are.

The springiness will allow you to direct all your energy towards perfecting your form and speed instead of wasting unnecessary energy on the wrong shoes.

Made up of double-layered mesh, the upper looks clean and feels fresh, providing a solid amount of air flow for longer runs.

Moreover, it provides stretch and structure that work well with an array of foot types and never restricts your feet, no matter the motion.

Due to the internal heel counter, you’ll always feel locked in, which will allow for a more efficient run with a lowered risk of injury!

The U4ic foam located in the midsole works to reduce impact and add durability while adding another level of comfort.

The rubber sole/outsole is abrasion-resistant and also stays tough, even if you’re in environments with sharp objects like pebbles and twigs.

 

Mizuno Women’s Wave Rider 23 Waveknit Running Shoe at a Glance:

  • Uppers: Imported
  • Sizes: 6-12 Wide
  • Colors: 4
  • Features: CLOUDWAVE cushioning, Extra Midsole Foam

Brooks Womens Glycerin 17 Cushioned Road Running Shoe

As one of the longest-running, most reputable shoe manufacturers on the planet, Brooks has had time to perfect every one of their products.

Their Glycerin 17 is the perfect display of this meticulous detail to attention and cutting-edge technology they’ve become known for. Creating just the right balance between durability and luxury, you’ll never want to take these off!

In regard to aesthetics, these feature interesting, fashionable colors like Feldspar/Aqua Foam, Ebony/Wild Aster/Fig, Rumba Red/Teaberry/Gold and more.

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No matter which ones you select, they’re sure to stand out in all the right ways.

Stuffed with DNA Loft Foam, wearing these really feels like you’re floating on a supportive, squishy cloud. The mesh upper is snug yet stretches to accommodate the vast majority of foot widths and shapes.

An internal bootie helps support your feet, wrapping around the arch and midfoot but never causing discomfort.

The heel collar is one of our favorite features, providing a dense, smooth experience to eliminate any risk of blistering and chafing – even during longer runs.

Despite being so feature-full and foamy, the shoe is quite light to make strides more quick and efficient. With all that and more, it’s no wonder why many consider this model to be the best cushioned running shoes for women currently out there.

 

Brooks Women’s Glycerin 17 Cushioned Road Running Shoe at a Glance:

  • Uppers: Fabric
  • Sizes: 5-12 Wide
  • Colors: 7
  • Features: DNA Loft Cushioning, OrthoLite Sockliner

We figured we’d end things on a positive note by bringing you another one of the ASICS GEL models.

This time, we’re going to cover their Venture 5, which are a more rugged design that the aforementioned designs. Perfect for running on trails, slippery surfaces, and more, you’re sure to have these for many miles to come.

Visually, you can see that these are made to last. Featuring aggressive lugs built into the outsole, they’ll keep you steady on your feet in a variety of environments and surfaces.

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Run from the trails to the streets seamlessly – they’re made to adapt to any situation. However, be a bit more cautious if on slimy/slippery rocks, as they did slide just a bit here.

The rubber outsole and soles are incredibly tough, made to hold up well against abrasion repeatedly. Even after the toughest runs, you can expect them to look sparkly new.

The design matches its functionality, being a bit more rugged and evoking hiking shoe vibes. While they’re not that trendy or fashionable, we did appreciate the bright overlays which aided in visibility and structure, perfect for runs in low lighting.

They don’t let the exterior take all the spotlight, though. Inside, you’ll discover a removable foam sock liner which makes a big difference in cushioning.

Adding an extra level of comfort, you can also opt to insert orthotics if you use them. The GEL cushioning system finishes things off by keeping your feet stable and adequately supported, leaving them “floating” on a GEL pad.

 

ASICS Women’s GEL-Venture 5 Running Shoe at a Glance:

  • Uppers: Synthetic
  • Sizes: 7-11
  • Colors: 8
  • Features: Aggressive Lugs, GEL Cushioning System

Cushioned Running Shoes Comparison Table

Cushioned Running Shoes UppersSizesColorsOtherRating
Brooks Levitate 2 Running ShoeFabric5-1214High energy return4.5 / 5.0
Saucony Triumph Iso 5 ShoeFabric / Mesh5-12 Wide6Contoured Footbed4.5 / 5.0
ASICS GEL-Nimbus 20 ShoeTextile/Synthetic5-12.5 Wide, Narrow27High energy return4.2 / 5.0
Adidas Pureboost DPR Running ShoesFabric5-11.5 Wide, Narrow8Responsive cushioning4.5 / 5.0
Mizuno Wave Rider 23 Waveknit ShoeFabric6-12 Wide4Extra Midsole Foam4.5 / 5.0
Brooks Glycerin 17 Cushioned Running ShoeFabric5-12 Wide7OrthoLite Sockliner4.9 / 5.0
ASICS GEL-Venture 5 Running ShoeTextile / Synthetic7-118GEL Cushioning System4.3 / 5.0

How to Choose the Best Cushioned Running Shoes – Buying Guide

Best Cushioned Running Shoes

After reading through all of the detailed reviews, have you decided which pair of cushioned running shoes are right for you? We know that it can be difficult to narrow things down, especially if you’re unsure of which features to look for.

That’s why we’ve decided to take it upon ourselves to write up a user-friendly buying guide, below. This guide will take you through each feature to consider when choosing your shoes, to ensure you’re as successful as you can be in your running ventures.

Cushioning

Obviously, on this guide cushioning plays a huge role in the shoes we’ve chosen. However, not every one is the same. Some have more foam, some have less. Some cushioning is heavier than others, some is harder, some is squishier. You should also look into the location of the cushioning.

Midsole material is made to lower the impact shock of a heel strike, which can be painful on harder surfaces like cement or on treadmills. Certain models come with a softer “crash pad” zone on the outer edge of the foot, or have a rounded outer heel to make the landing smoother and help you transition faster.

Forefoot shoe cushioning helps keep the structures of your feet safe. You don’t want the tendons and metatarsals to have so much stress on them that you’re uncomfortable or in pain. There are many energy-returning materials we found in the models on our guide that will increase comfort and make you quicker on your feet, propelling you forward.

most cushioned running shoes

Breathability

Having wet, sticky feet can ruin even the greatest of runs. They can make your feet slip and slide around, increasing the risk of blisters and chafing, which can be incredibly painful. Due to this, you need a shoe that will keep your feet cool and dry for the duration of the time you are wearing them.

Search for an upper that is comprised of mesh to give you a nice amount of airflow and to let moisture escape and evaporate. This also helps to prevent foul odors and lower the chance of bacteria growing which will keep both you and others around you happy.

Protection

While mesh definitely has its pluses in terms of light weight and airiness, there needs to be a balance between breathability and protection. If the uppers are comprised of pure mesh, then they’re going to leave your feet vulnerable to bruising and even injury.

However, there are also different types of mesh. The material in the models we reviewed above is generally much more durable, and more tightly knit to offer more structure and support. You should make sure the fit is snug enough so no debris makes its way inside, while also allowing for stability and a bit of stretch.

A reinforced toe will if you run cross country or or on trails will keep your toes safe from unsuspecting rocks or logs, and solid soles won’t let anything puncture it. As you will most likely end up encountering water in some way or another, it’s important you also look for those resistant to moisture.

Motion Control

One of the benefits of extra cushioned running shoes is that they help control excessive motion that can be detrimental to our runs. Different manufacturers and models will have different types of technology to combat overpronation/rolling inward.

However, many people will not require this, so make sure you actually need pronation correction first. These pieces of technology will typically come in the form of a medial post, varus wedge, and guide rails.

Sockliner

Not every model is going to have a nice sockliner, but those that do are greatly appreciated by most runners. These will have a removable pad of foam inside the shoe which cushions your feet, and adjusts to contour to the individual shape of them.

This will offer a solid amount of arch support and overall make them more comfortable. They’re overall probably not going to make you choose one shoe over another, but it’s a nice touch.

Sole

The sole of the shoe is quite possibly the most important, as it’s the part that actually makes contact with the ground.

Almost all shoes on our guide have soles made of a durable rubber material which will protect your feet against potentially sharp/hard objects like pebbles or twigs.

In addition, you want the sole to have flex grooves. These work to allow your foot to flex naturally, letting the balls of your feet roll without effort. The deeper the grooves are, the more stability they’re going to offer you on unstable or slippery surfaces, like you may come across on the trails or on wet roads.

Upper

The uppers play a huge part in the performance of a shoe. The wrong ones can cut into your skin, leaving blisters and hot spots that no one enjoys.

You want them to protect your feet against possible obstacles without being so thick and structured that they weigh you down and don’t allow your feet to move naturally. The best upper is just stretchy enough that it moves with your feet, though snug enough that you get a solid fit and nothing is sliding around.

Mesh is often the preferred upper material due to how lightweight and breathable it is, though you want it to also be thick enough that it protects you.

cushioned running shoes for women

Price

How much are you willing to spend on a good pair of cushioned running shoes? Regardless of the kind of budget you’ve set for yourself, we’re confident that we have at least one great selection for you and your requirements.

More expensive isn’t always better, though you can often expect that when you spend a bit more, for the materials to be more durable. So, while the upfront price tag may be more, it often pays off as they’ll likely last longer than the less expensive ones.

This isn’t 100% the case, but we can assure you that no matter what your budget is, we have at least one great selection that will suit your circumstances.

FAQs About Cushioned Running Shoes

Q: Are cushioned running shoes bad for you?

A: While there has been one study in particular which suggests cushioned shoes actually lead to higher impact, most actually say something on the contrary. They suggest that cushioned shoes help absorb stress, leaving our joints and feet feeling fresher and less fatigued.

Q: What is the most cushioned running shoe?

A: The Brooks models typically have the most cushioning, though it’s hard to state just one. The models on our guide all have a great amount of cushion, with the Saucony Trumph Iso 5s and ASICS GEL-Nimbus 20 offering just a bit more.

Q: Are cushioned shoes better for running?

A: Some super-cushioned shoes offer as much as 50% more cushioning than your “regular” shoes for even better shock absorption. They’re also ideal for those who are dealing with overpronation at all levels as they help provide stability.

Q: When should you wear extra cushioned running shoes?

A: You should wear them when you’re going to be running for long distances, or on particularly hard surfaces like cement or even treadmills. If you tend to overpronate, these may be good options to wear during walking and running to help prevent you from wobbling.

Tips For Choosing Cushioned Running Shoes

#1: Don’t just go for looks.

While it can be tempting to opt for the coolest-looking shoe, it may not be the right one for your feet, your running style, environment, etc. Your number one goal should be to find a shoe that’s comfortable and allows you to have the most efficient run possible.

#2: Select the correct size for you.

Many manufacturers vary in the fit and sizing. Just to make sure, it’s always a wise idea to check their sizing guide. There are some that purposefully fit tighter than most, and many runners need to go up a size.

#3: However, make sure that you have ample room.

Your feet are undoubtedly going to be moving around as you’re running. Make sure you have at least a thumb’s width of space between your longest toe and the end of the shoe to account for necessary movement.

Summary

Now that you’re practically an expert in cushioned running shoes, which pair is the one for you and your feet? No matter which model you select, know that you’re getting one of the best options on the market today, ensuring the optimal amount of support.

However, what’s most important is that you select the perfect pair for your individual needs and your environment. We hope that our guide has helped you do exactly that. Thanks for tuning in, and we’ll see you again soon. Happy running!

Comfort
Support
Quality

The Brooks Women's Levitate is our Editor's Choice for the best cushioned running shoes for women with their combination of comfort, support and quality.

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