These padded running shoes are like foot pillows

How we test

Runner’s World has the most comprehensive shoe testing process in the industry. We work with over 300 local runners of all abilities, ages and sizes for real-world wear tests on paved roads, dirt trails and rocky trails. After a month of running over 100 miles, our testers report their results on features such as fit, comfort, performance and steering. While our testers are putting kilometers on their shoes, the same models undergo a series of mechanical tests in our shoe lab so that we can objectively measure cushioning, flexibility, sole thickness and weight. We combine lab data and wear test feedback with our own running experience with these shoes to determine the best of the most cushioned.


Brooks Glycerin 18

Testers were thrilled with the pleasant feel of glycerin 17 in their runs, so comfortable that they would continue to wear their trainers long after they hit the last mile. But their feedback hasn’t been without criticism. Some wanted the shoe to be lighter; others wanted more flexibility. Brooks has acted on both fronts, making Glycerin 18 lighter and more flexible. And somehow, the brand has added even more foam to the midsole. Although our laboratory measurements showed that the cushioning in the heel and forefoot is “moderate” – a deviation from the normal “very soft” glycerin score – it did not translate into real-world testing; our runners felt Brooks’ most comfortable shoe retains its soft feel. Branded Shoes


Skechers GOrun MaxRoad 4 Hyper

We like MaxRoad because it is very attractive. Like the previous version, it’s still a lightweight, well-cushioned sneaker, but this model has a Skechers HyperBurst midsole. The material is made with fun science: when exposed to super-cooled carbon dioxide, the foam forms small pockets to create a platform that is responsive and cushioned, but weighs less than traditional EVA foam. “For my base miles, I like the extra padded shoes, as I have suffered from foot injuries in the past,” said one tester. “This shoe looks good with that spout with thick foam on the front and heel. But stability was something I felt was missing, as it had a sock-like heel that didn’t fully support my ankle. ” Shoes And Sneakers


Hoka One One Bondi 7

Hoka One One Bondi is the king of cushioning in its max shoe family. Our RW lab measured the Bondi 6 to be extremely soft compared to most of the shoes tested and the wear testers couldn’t stop chattering about the incredibly soft foam. “It took me a while to get used to the rocker style sole, but I found that my feet and legs weren’t as tired as usual after long runs,” noted one tester. We are pleased to inform you that the soft midsole remains unchanged in the seventh version. The main revision of this update is the new ankle collar made of a softer material similar to memory foam. It is designed to better fit narrow and wide heels for a secure, snug fit. Additionally, the 7 feels a bit lighter than its predecessor (lab measurements have located the trainer right in the center of the backpack) with no loss of durability or support. Best Sneakers

Read More: The best running shoes for flat feet


Saucony Triumph 18

Test editor Amanda Furrer described Editor ‘Choice winner, Triumph 17, as “buttery” underfoot. And our lab tests confirmed this; female and male models have proven that forefoot and heel cushioning is incredibly luxurious. Version 18 maintains its softness and energy return impressively high, but has added flex grooves and a new blown rubber outsole that makes an already impressive ride even smoother. (The 18 still has a hefty weight – in fact, it’s even a little heavier than the 17 – but you wouldn’t know that due to its surprisingly propulsive jump and aerodynamic upper.) My morning runs, ”Furrer said. “Still, my smartwatch read miles at a race pace on those trips, and I fell in love with the heel.”

Wave Sky Waveknit 4

The Wave Sky 3 showcased Mizuno’s completely redesigned midsole, which uses two layers of wave-shaped foam (you guessed it) and a third drop-in foam piece in between called XPOP. (Made with cast TPU pellets, it reminds us a little of bouncy, soft midsoles like the Adidas Boost.) The fourth Wave Sky includes yet another type of foam. Dubbed the Enerzy, this new material replaces Mizuno’s top layer of foam sandwich midsole and felt softer and more responsive to our testers. In addition, the shoe also improves breathability and adapts to the top to compete with the softness underfoot; the engineered mesh upper has multiple perforations, a silk-thin tongue and a revamped locked-down lacing system. Despite these big changes, rest assured that Wave Sky 4 retained all of its “extra cushioned, slipper-like” comfort that testers loved to ease the dreaded “next day, post-long haul” pain. Kacamata Rayban

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