The 7 Best Cushioned Running Shoes for Women

Our expert agrees the ASICS 33-M Women's Running Shoes are the best

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If you pronate, experience plantar fasciitis, or find your feet move around the shoe as you run, consider running shoes with good cushioning to fend off pain before an injury develops. The best cushioned runnings shoes for women are sized properly, shock absorbent, affordable, and equipped with any extra features you need.

Reviewed & Approved

Our top pick is the ASICS 33-M Women's Running Shoes because they're versatile, lightweight, and durable. If you plan to run long distances, try the Saucony Ride Women's Running Shoe.

When choosing running shoes (especially for the first time), it is important to get properly fitted. Your running shoe size is likely to be different than your casual or dress shoe size. Whether you love running shoes with a tight fit or you prefer bendable and versatile ones for different terrains, you can find shoes with added cushioning for extra protection. We researched popular options that fit a variety of needs and budgets with these features in mind.

Here are the best cushioned running shoes for women, including helpful reviews from a running coach to help you become an educated buyer.

Best Overall: ASICS 33-M Women’s Running Shoes

4.8
ASICS 33-M Women’s Running Shoes

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If you’re looking for a high-quality, well-cushioned, versatile shoe that’s also lightweight and durable, look no further than the Asics 33-M women’s running shoe. It’s a great all-around shoe, whether you’re running, walking, or cross-training. If you’ve suffered from plantar fasciitis or other foot pain in the past, this shoe can also help prevent future issues.

The shoe’s midsole is made from Amplifoam, an extremely soft, yet durable, material that provides excellent cushioning and response. The Asics 33-M’s flexible feel promotes a natural running style, making it a nice option for running both short and long distances. The ComforDry material provides plush underfoot comfort, as well as excellent moisture management, breathability, and antimicrobial properties.

Users love the fit and comfort of this shoe, right from the first wear. Like many other well-cushioned running shoes, the Asics 33-M is not cheap, but it’s worth the price for a long-lasting, quality product.

Best for Distance Running: Saucony Ride Women’s Running Shoe

Saucony Ride Women’s Running Shoe

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With an outstanding cushioning system and great shock absorption, the Saucony Ride women’s running shoes are a perfect choice for women who run frequently and log high mileage. The shoe’s midsole is made of SuperLight EVA, which provides excellent cushioning and rebound, while still maintaining a lightweight feel. Saucony running shoes are known for their roomy toebox, so this is a good option if you have wide feet. The molded foam insole is removable, so it can also accommodate other inserts or custom orthotics. A smart pick if you’re training for a half or full marathon, you can comfortably go the distance in these shoes.

Best for Trail Running: ALTRA Olympus Women’s Running Shoes

ALTRA Olympus Women’s Running Shoes

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Your feet can take a beating on rugged trails and rough roads, so you may need some more cushioning when you’re off-roading. If you’re looking for a trail shoe with more padding, the Altra Olympus women’s running shoes are a terrific option. This shoe features a max-cushioned feel, while still providing the superior grip and traction you need to handle all types of terrain and elevation changes when you’re trail running. Despite the shoes’ excellent cushioning and protection, the Atlra Olympus shoes aren’t bulky and have a flexible feel, allowing you to run more efficiently and fast on the trails. The foot-shaped toe box keeps your feet stable and comfortable, even when climbing and descending hills.

Available in three colorways—reviewers love these for their arch support and a few have noted that just switching to these shoes has improved their running.

Best for Road Running: Adidas Women's Supernova Glide 8 W Running Shoe

Adidas Women's Supernova Glide 8 W Running Shoe

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If you are seeking a highly cushioned ride when you hit the pavement, the Adidas Supernova Glide women’s running shoes are a great choice. The shoes’ Boost EVA midsole features energy-returning properties, making each stride feel light and quick, and helping to improve your heel to toe transition. The shoe’s rubber outsole offers great traction on different surfaces, even on wet pavement, so you can run in all types of weather. The toe box is made of flexible mesh and is roomy and comfortable for all types of feet.

Best for Neutral Runners: Brooks Ghost Women’s Running Shoes

Brooks Ghost Women’s Running Shoesr

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The Brooks Ghost women’s running shoes are highly versatile shoes with excellent cushioning and support, especially for neutral runners. From short treadmill runs to long-distance races on roads or groomed trails, the Ghost performs well during all types of runs. The midsole’s Caterpillar Crash Pad offers cushioning and stability for a very smooth heel-to-toe transition. Additionally, the shoe’s Omega Flex Grooves give it some nice flexibility, allowing for more natural forefoot movement and fluidity. The sole is soft, while the forefoot is a bit firmer, offering the perfect balance of comfortable and efficient running. These running shoes are available in women’s narrow, medium, and wide sizes, so it’s easy to get the fit that’s right for your foot.

Best for Plantar Fasciitis: HOKA ONE ONE Women’s Bondi 5 Running Shoes

HOKA ONE ONE Women’s Bondi Running Shoes

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With their trademark super thick and wide soles, Hoka’s super-cushioned shoes are not the prettiest ones on the market, but they certainly deliver when it comes to cushioning and comfort. The Bondi shoes are an excellent choice for women who are dealing with plantar fasciitis or are worried about a recurrence. The shoe’s superb cushioning slows the speed of the foot with each strike, minimizing the pressure under your heel and the ball of your foot. These shoes are a little more rigid than other running shoes from Hoka One One, so they provide some additional stability and support to defend against plantar fasciitis and other foot pain. The outsole is made of a very strong and sturdy rubber, adding to the shoes’ durability.

Best for Walking: ASICS Women's GEL-Nimbus 20 Running Shoe

ASICS Women's GEL-Nimbus 20 Running Shoe

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The Asics Women’s GEL Nimbus running shoes are extremely comfortable shoes that work well for walking, cross-training, and shorter distance running. They’re also a great option for women who spend a lot of time on their feet and have experienced foot pain in the past. The shoes’ trademark GEL cushioning system in the rearfoot and forefoot helps with shock absorption, making for more comfortable miles. The outsole features a durable carbon that protects it from wear and abrasion, which improves that shoe’s sturdiness and durability.

What to Look for When Buying a Running Shoe

Fit

Consider your foot type. If you have flat feet or experience plantar fasciitis, you need a good, firm supportive shoe with a snug fit. Runners who get shin splints could use a higher level of cushioning.

Special Features

If you compete in triathlons, you want shoes that can slip on and off easily for fast transitions. You also might want to be able to switch out the fabric shoelaces for elastic ones.

For trail runners, shoes with mesh fabric that can be cleaned with a simple spray of alcohol and water is generally preferable.

Comfort

You want shoes that won't cause blistering and bleeding after a number of miles. Look for ample cushioning for shock absorption to avoid these running problems.

Price

Running shoes can get expensive. If you are on a budget, check running stores for clearance sales used to move out old products. Shop at stores that offer a return policy in case you find the shoes uncomfortable once you put some miles on them.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How long do running shoes last?

    You should change your shoes every 350 to 500 miles, according to the American Heart Association. When running, perform an assessment of your shoes for the first half mile. Ask yourself, "Do the shoes feel supportive?" and "Do they feel breathable?" If not, replace them before a problem ensues.

  • Are running shoes good for walking?

    Some running shoes will work for walking. When shopping, look for shoes with as little flare at the heel as possible. Most running shoes offer a flared heel for runners who strike their feet on the arch or ball of the foot. You don't strike as hard when walking and don't need the flare.

  • How do you clean running shoes?

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests using a 70% mixture of alcohol and water, which you can spray on your shoes.

    Shoes made with mesh or canvas can often be machine washed using cold water. Do not use a dryer; allow shoes to air dry.

  • Can I wear running shoes when hiking?

    Running shoes can work for hiking, depending on the terrain. To search for running shoes that you can use for hiking, make sure you can bend the shoe in your forefoot, allowing for extra flexibility over rocks and up hills.

  • How do I know if a running shoe fits?

    Because your feet swell when running, you should purchase a shoe that leaves a half to a full thumb's width of space at the top of your foot. (This gives you room for your feet to swell and avoid the dreaded black toenails.)

    The shoes should also feel comfortable, but still have a good, tight fit, around the middle of your feet and heel. This will allow you to avoid your feet moving around too much when you run, which can cause injuries.

Why Trust Verywell Fit?

Christine Luff is a fitness writer who has held positions at Reader's Digest and Ladies Home Journal. She's been published in Women's Running, Cosmopolitan, Sports Illustrated for Women, and Rodale Online. Christine is a Road Runners Club of America (RRCA) certified running coach and a fitness nutrition specialist certified by the American Council on Exercise (ACE).

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8 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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