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Most Comfortable Running Shoes in 2022

 

Stability vs neutral. Cushion vs responsive. Yes, getting those right is key. But what really makes a difference is finding the most comfortable running shoe.

Comfort can make or break your run! You can have all the tech you want in your shoes, but if they’re uncomfortable, you won’t enjoy your run at all. And if you don’t enjoy your run, you’ll lose all motivation to run at all!

While comfort is definitely a personal thing, we’ve put together a list of the most comfortable running shoes on the market, based on many runners’ feedback and reviews.

Our top pick is the Hoka Elevon 2. It’s plush, cushioned, and fast. Combined, it feels great without slowing you down.

Keep reading to see what might work for you. You can count on these shoes being comfy.

Top 3 Best and Favorites

 

Hoka One One Elevon 2

 

  • Slim, soft, and comfortable tongue
  • Support wings help secure the foot
  • Thin, breathable mesh upper
CHECK MEN’S PRICECHECK WOMEN’S PRICE

 

Hoka One One Rincon 3

 

  • Roomier upper
  • Smooth ride transitions
  • Excellent foot lockdown
CHECK MEN’S PRICECHECK WOMEN’S PRICE

 

ASICS Gel-Kayano 28

 

  • Breathable mesh upper
  • Cushioned, propulsive ride
  • DUOMAX technology reduces overpronation
CHECK MEN’S PRICECHECK WOMEN’S PRICE

Best Overall

1. Hoka Elevon 2

The Elevon is lightweight but still feels like the max-cushioned shoe it is. It’s perfect for neutral runners who like a moderate heel-to-toe drop.

What We Like

The cushioning in the Elevon 2 is excellent, with an especially comfortable, shock-absorbing heel pad. It’s easy to feel from the first step you take in the shoe, and it’s great for moderately-paced runs.

A slightly extended heel makes a huge positive difference for heel strikers. It makes the heel-to-toe transition smoother, while also offering extra cushioning in the heel for shock absorption.

The upper is breathable and soft, adding to the nice feel of the shoe. A newly-revamped tongue is now thinner and notched for increased comfort.

Sticky rubber on the forefoot and heel help to keep you safe on your feet and assist in an easier toe-off. There are substantial flex grooves in the sole, but be aware that small stones, twigs, and dirt can get stuck in them pretty easily.

Why We Like It

It’s light but cushioned enough to be extremely comfortable. For heel strikers, it’s also one of the comfiest options out there, thanks to its unique heel shape.

What’s New

The latest Elevon weighs a tenth of an inch less than the original. This isn’t necessarily a huge change, but it is a step in the right direction.

This comes as a result of the updates to the upper. A unique-looking heel counter has been added, named “support wings” by Hoka. Also, the Elevon 2’s tongue is not thin and notched, unlike the original’s thick, chunky tongue.

PROS:

  • Firm, responsive, and well-cushioned ride
  • Slim, soft, and comfortable tongue
  • Support wings help secure the foot
  • Thin, breathable mesh upper

CONS:

  • Small stones can get stuck in the flex grooves on the outsole
 

Most Affordable

2. Hoka Rincon 3

The Rincon 3 features Hoka’s traditional high-comfort cushioning, but at a more affordable price than many of the other models.

What We Like

The Rincon 3 features classic Hoka comfort for a nice price. This neutral shoe uses Hoka’s signature EVA foam midsole, but it’s not as chunky as others.

There’s plenty of shock-absorbing padding underfoot, which makes the shoe comfortable and protective. An internal heel counter helps to get a great lockdown, and a rocker sole gives you a speedier forward motion.

The upper is a big part of the comfort on this shoe. It’s breathable and fairly soft, with a lightly padded collar. Oh, and it’s vegan!

Also, the tongue is thin, wide, and non-gusseted, which may cause some irritation if it moves around. If you get a good lockdown, it should stay put.

Overall, the upper is roomy, allowing for a comfy fit on wide feet. Narrow-footers might need to order a size down.

Between the responsive midsole, the light-as-a-feather upper, and the racing-inspired tongue, this shoe is suitable for easy runs as well as fast-paced races.

Why We Like It

You’ll get signature chunky, comfy cushioning for a lower price than the average max-cushioned shoe. Comfy shoe, comfy price!

What’s New

Not a whole lot has changed between the Rincon 2 and 3, but there are some slight modifications. The 3 is a touch softer than the 2, as well as having a little more bounce than its predecessor.

The midsole has been updated to be a bit more comfy, responsive, and durable. On the outsole, there’s a little more rubber, which also helps the shoe to last longer.

The upper has been redesigned with a more roomy fit, which allows increased comfort for wide-footed runners. Other upper changes include a more vented mesh material, a thinner pull tab at the heel, and an asymmetrical tongue for comfort.

PROS:

  • Versatile shoe for easy runs, up-tempo, or threshold pace
  • Roomier upper accommodates wide-footed people
  • Smooth ride transitions
  • Excellent foot lockdown

CONS:

  • Non-gusseted tongue may cause some irritation
 

Best Stability Shoe

3. ASICS Gel-Kayano 28

Overpronators can run in comfort wearing the ASICS Gel-Kayano 28. The ASICS Gel range is known for its superbly comfortable cushioning and the Kayano features a plush, step-in fit.

What We Like

Unlike most traditional stability shoes, this one is lightish and non-clunky. DUOMAX technology features in the shoe to help prevent overpronation, which is denser foam along the medial side. It’s subtle but effective.

As well as that, it uses a unique SpaceTrusstic System. This system is fairly out-of-the-way, so you don’t notice it much. But it’s also gender-specific, which increases the comfort for both genders.

The midsole is made up of three components. The base layer is ASICS’ Flytefoam, which is fairly solid and makes a good foundation. On top of that, there’s a shock-absorbing GEL layer, which is present in the forefoot and rearfoot.

Finally, a layer of Flytefoam Blast adds a bit of pop, giving you the best of both comfort and responsiveness.

The upper hugs the foot, but it’s worth noting that the extremely thick tongue (14mm – more than twice the average!) can cause the shoe to run rather warm.

Why We Like It

It’s light and it does a great job of stabilizing overpronating feet. The three layers of cushioning, especially with the Gel foam, make it super comfy!

What’s New

The previous version’s plastic Trusstic System has been replaced with the Space Trusstic system. It’s shaved half an ounce off the previous weight, and has been moved to the midsole instead of at the base of the shoe.

This results in the Gel-Kayano 28 being much more comfortable while still being extremely stable. A layer of Flytefoam Blast foam has been added on top of the regular Flytefoam.

PROS:

  • Breathable mesh upper hugs your feet
  • Lightweight, gender-specific Trusstic system
  • Cushioned, propulsive ride
  • DUOMAX technology reduces overpronation

CONS:

  • Extremely thick tongue causes the upper to run warm
 

Top for Long Distance Running

4. Brooks Glycerin 19

Plush and cushioned from top to bottom, the Brooks Glycerin 19 is the ideal companion for long runs.

What We Like

This shoe is extremely plush, from upper to outsole. Multi-layered mesh on the upper contours to your feet and moves with them as they move.

A smooth, seamless inner lining is soft on the skin, has a lovely step-in feel, and reduces friction.

A plush heel collar adds to the comfort as well as providing an exceptional lockdown, keeping your feet where they should be for the long haul.

A softer-than-usual DNA Loft midsole gives the shoe a good mixture of comfort and light responsiveness. However, the midsole has a bad habit of stiffening up in cold weather, taking some of the bounce out of it.

Softer rubber on the outsole gives you excellent grip and helps you to transition from heel to toe easily.

Why We Like It

Long distance runs have never felt so good! Plush and comfy, your feet will stay comfortable and friction-free for as long as you need.

What’s New

Not a lot has changed from the 18, but it does have a slight bit more softness in the midsole and a new outsole pattern that speeds up transitions.

PROS:

  • Plenty of step-in comfort
  • Generously cushioned shoe
  • Firm heel counter locks your heel in
  • Fully gusseted tongue

CONS:

  • Softness of midsole changes with temperature
  • Runs slightly warm
 

Best for High Arches

5. Mizuno Wave Creation 20

Perfectly supportive and yet unusually comfortable, the Mizuno Wave Creation 20 is an excellent choice for runners with high arches.

What We Like

Surprisingly, the Wave Creation isn’t exactly plush, unlike the others on this list. It only features a thin layer of cushion underfoot, but the built-in support features provide excellent, robust support for runners with high arches.

Shock is absorbed by the unique Infinity Wave Plate. You can see the Wave Plate easily from the outside. It’s a goggle-shaped device in the heel, which compresses as you land and takes away some of that vibration.

Layering the top of the Wave Plate is U4icX, an EVA-based foam. It’s very light in the heel and more robust in the forefoot, but just enough to provide a good level of comfort.

For just a touch more responsiveness, a strobel board has been placed on top of the foam. An impressive, medical-grade insole finishes up the in-shoe comfort.

Also present, and a great plus, is the Intercool midsole ventilation system. This uses open sections in the midsole (in the area of the Wave Plate) to allow for an excellent airflow from below.

The only possible downside is that the toe box is a bit on the narrow side. Those who need extra space there may find the shoe to be a little less comfy.

Why We Like It

It’s supportive for high arches and extremely comfortable, without being overly plush. Shoes with good high arch support can be tough to find, so thumbs up for this one!

What’s New

The shoe has been fitted with both an Infinity Wave Plate and a Pebax plate for stability and bounce.

The rest of the updates are to the upper, which is now more breathable and features light stitched and printed overlays.

PROS:

  • Comfortable support for high arches
  • Midsole ventilation system adds to breathability of the shoe
  • Wave Plate absorbs shock and adds bounce
  • Rubber outsole provides excellent traction

CONS:

  • Not suitable for those who need a spacious toe box
 

Most Cushioned

6. Hoka Bondi 7

The Bondi 7 is well-known as a super cushioned shoe, so runners who are looking for serious foam underfoot will enjoy the ride.

What We Like

The stack height of this shoe is just enormous. The men’s has 33mm of soft, foam cushioning in the heel and 29mm in the forefoot. The women’s loses 2mm on both, but it’s still a significant size.

You pretty much can’t get more cushioned than that! The padding is plain old EVA foam, which is shock-absorbing and fairly soft underfoot, but doesn’t contain any specific technologies and won’t offer you much energy return.

A breathable mesh upper and Meta-Rocker sole add to the comfort of the Bondi 7. It’s also a fairly wide fit (and comes in wider widths) so it can accommodate those with wide feet.

Take note that forefoot strikers may find this shoe to be uncomfortably heavy. It’s by far better for midfoot or heel strikers.

Why We Like It

When it comes to cushion, you can’t beat the Bondi 7. The 30+mm of foam under your feet offer great protection against shock and the ground, as well as medium-soft comfort.

What’s New

The Bondi 7 isn’t that different from the 6, save for a few improvements. Breathability has been improved, which definitely adds to the comfort of the shoe. And the heel lock is now more effective, which is great for achieving a better lockdown.

Other than those 2, the improvements to this iteration of the well-loved Bondi are purely aesthetic and won’t make any difference to the fit or feel of the shoe.

PROS:

  • Generous layer of EVA foam cushioning
  • Plush, breathable mesh upper
  • Wide, stable platform
  • Available in wide widths

CONS:

  • They’re a little clunky if you’re used to a sleeker shoe
  • Not much energy return
 

Best for Wide Feet

7. New Balance 1080v11

New Balance is known for being accommodating for runners with wide feet. The 1080v11 is one of their most comfortable shoes and comes in wide to extra-wide sizing.

What We Like

First up, wide-footed runners will be pleased to know that the 1080v11 is available in multiple widths. Nobody is left out with this shoe!

The combination of comfortable cushioning and the lightweight design make it a joy to wear. Firm in the forefoot and slightly softer in the heel, the 30mm/22mm stack height offers excellent shock absorption.

Some runners might find that the stack height combined with the 8mm drop makes the shoe a touch wobbly, so it may not be great for those with weak ankles!

The upper is super comfy but very flexible. Coupled with the Ultra Heel design, the shoe struggles to get a great lockdown.

Why We Like It

Runners with wide feet shouldn’t have a hard time finding a good fit. The shoe is lightweight and well-cushioned too.

What’s New

The 1080v11 only has two small changes from the previous version.

One, a new laser pattern on the upper allows it to be a touch more stretchy to accommodate foot movement but still provide support.

Two, the heel counter has been made smaller in an effort to reduce chafing on the Achilles.

PROS:

  • Soft, seamless sock-like upper
  • Lightweight, high-cushion shoe
  • Available in multiple widths
  • Well-balanced and cushioned ride

CONS:

  • Hard to get a good lockdown
 

Most Breathable

8. New Balance Fresh Foam More v3

Nobody wants sweaty feet, and the Fresh Foam more v3 is designed to keep your feet cool and as dry as possible. All while being extremely comfortable!

What We Like

Engineered mesh with large perforations allows for great ventilation as you run. Your feet will stay lovely and cool, while moisture will be easily wicked away.

It’s interesting that this shoe is so breathable, given its extreme plushness. Everything from the upper to the midsole are super cushioned. Your feet will be cool, dry, and in heaven.

With a 33/29mm Fresh Foam X midsole, this shoe is like a wide-toe-boxed Hoka, just a little softer and more stable thanks to a deep heel cup. The ankle collar is lusciously padded too, and a 9.9mm thick tongue completes the plush upper.

It’s also got a slight rocker to the sole, which makes a huge difference to smooth, easy heel-to-toe transitions. Light but effective rubber covering the high-wear areas of the sole keeps you stable on foot.

Why We Like It

Not only will your feet be comfortable, but they’ll stay surprisingly cool in these shoes too. The best of both worlds, and a wide toe box to boot.

What’s New

The midsole hasn’t changed from the previous iteration, but the upper got an aesthetic remodel.

Also, the outsole was redesigned to be lighter without losing any of its traction. The 3D Ultra Heel has been changed back to a traditional design.

PROS:

  • Flexible, breathable mesh upper
  • Max-cushioned midsole
  • Superb, step-in comfort
  • Smooth transitions at any pace

CONS:

  • Weight has increased since last iteration
  • May run slightly warm
 

Best Wide Toe Box

9. Altra Torin 5

Runners with bunions, hammer toes, metatarsalgia, or who just want a barefoot-feel will appreciate the spacious toe box the Torin 5 offers. It’s a zero-drop shoe, which may take some getting used to if you haven’t run in one before.

What We Like

Altra shoes have a very particular shape, with a FootShape toe box that offers plenty of room for toes to spread out, flex, and be free from chafing. It’s ideal for those struggling with foot problems that affect the forefoot.

As well as more than enough space, there’s a light, bouncy, and comfy zero-drop midsole made of EgoMax foam. It strikes an excellent balance between comfortably plush and effectively responsive.

FootPod technology on the outsole helps your foot to flex naturally and move through its natural range of motion without losing that comfort.

It’s not the lightest shoe on the market, at around 9 ounces, but it’s also not clunky. You should feel perfectly comfortable with these on your feet.

Why We Like It

It offers more than enough room for those who need space in the toe box. The balanced cushioning and luxurious foam offer an excellent on-foot feeling.

What’s New

The Quantic midsole has been done away with and replaced by light, bouncy EgoMax foam. A little extra padding has been added to the ankle collar for increased plushness.

PROS:

  • Spacious, foot-shaped toe box
  • Lightweight, quick, and nimble shoe
  • Plush, responsive ride
  • FootPod outsole encourages natural movement of the foot

CONS:

  • The tongue is long enough to rub against the ankle bone
 

Most Comfortable Nikes

10. Nike React Phantom Run Flyknit 2

Nike fan? The React Phantom Run Flyknit 2 is one of their most comfortable models, and offers good support too.

What We Like

This shoe is both casual and comfortable. It doesn’t look like your everyday running shoe, featuring a laceless lockdown system instead of your transitional laces.

If you have an unusually narrow foot, you may experience some heel slippage. But in general, the upper provides a surprisingly effective lockdown, although it’s recommended that you order half a size down.

The medium-soft React foam midsole offers some lively energy return, but still cushions your feet enough to be extremely comfortable. A rocker-shaped sole helps to propel you forward.

This combo of features makes for a versatile shoe, although it works best as a mid- to long-distance shoe.

Why We Like It

The laceless upper adds a surprising amount of comfort to the shoe. In the midsole, there’s just enough of a mix between firm and soft for the shoe to be versatile.

What’s New

The only change to the 2 is an update to the upper. It doesn’t make a huge difference to the performance of the shoe.

PROS:

  • Redesigned upper provides excellent lockdown
  • Lively midsole foam cushioning
  • Wide and rocker-shaped shoe
  • Durable, rubber outsole

CONS:

  • High back of heel may cause chafing
 

Best Trail Running Shoes

11. Hoka Stinson ATR 6

Trail runners, you won’t find a more comfortably cushioned shoe than the Stinson ATR 6. Cushioned and durable, it’s the best of both comfort and durability.

What We Like

The Stinson is made for the trails. Designed to keep you both comfortable and safe, it provides a smooth and soft ride on even the harshest of trails. This shoe feels like a sneaker on your feet but performs like a hiking boot on the trail.

Keeping you comfy is a typical Hoka-sized midsole of CMEVA foam, which absorbs shock and cushions your feet nicely on rocks and hard surfaces. A meta rocker helps you to move more naturally through your transition.

A reinforced toe cap protects your vulnerable toes from hazards. You can get an excellent lockdown thanks to the Anatomical Support Wings, which work with the laces to close up over your foot and provide a tight, comfortable lockdown.

4mm lugs with grippy rubber help to absorb even more shock and keep you even more comfy, as well as safe on uneven ground.

Why We Like It

It’s so comfy you won’t even feel like you’re hitting the hard terrain! Highly recommended for comfort.

What’s New

Unlike many of the updates to shoes on this list, the majority of changes to the Stinson have been to the midsole. It’s been widened a little, to provide a more stable platform.

It’s also a more environmentally-friendly shoe now, being made with recycled polyester fibers. Zonal rubber has been added on the outsole, with closely-packed lugs for improved grip.

Smaller tweaks include an upgraded lacing system and a plush-ified ankle collar, adding to the comfort of the shoe.

PROS:

  • Thick layer of soft CMEVA midsole foam
  • Smooth, soft ride on the trail
  • Grippy tread provides excellent traction
  • Great alternative to hiking shoes

CONS:

  • Some people don’t like the bulkiness of the shoe
 

Buyers Guide – Most Comfortable Running Shoes

So what exactly makes for comfortable running shoes? Here’s what we think are the important factors for a comfortable running shoe.

Superior Cushioning

The most comfortable shoes have excellent cushioning. Now, not everyone will be comfortable with a really thick chunk of foam under their feet. Some will prefer a bit less cushion, but regardless of the shoe’s stack height, the cushion needs to be comfy.

Cushioning that molds to your feet is the best kind. That means no matter what your foot shape, the cushioning underneath should adapt to it and offer you comfortable support.

Great Step-In Feel

When you slide your foot into the shoe, you should immediately feel comfortable. The shoe should cradle your foot like a hug, being snug but not overly tight.

Make sure you try the shoe on exactly as you would normally wear it. If you don’t wear socks, for example, the shoe needs to be comfy just like that.

Flexibility

A too-stiff shoe will prevent the foot from moving through its natural range of motion. This can have the opposite effect – a very uncomfortable one!

Your foot should be able to move comfortably and freely while still being properly supported.

Torsional Stability

This basically means that the shoe shouldn’t be able to twist much. If the shoe twists, you run the risk of injury.

But a twisty shoe is also pretty uncomfortable, as it doesn’t provide strong enough support when you’re running.

Breathability

Another important part of comfort is ventilation. Staying cool and dry is a must!

The shoe you choose should be breathable and allow for excellent airflow, as well as wicking away moisture.

FAQs

Got questions about the most comfortable running shoes on the market? Here’s what you should know.

What Is Cushioning in the Shoe?

Cushioning is… Well, comfy cushion. But in a technical sense, cushioning is the capacity of the shoe to absorb impact. When you run, every time your foot hits the ground, it sends a wave of shock up your foot.

This can be damaging to your muscles, tendons, and specifically the joints. Good cushioning in a shoe helps to absorb some of the vibration that arises from this impact, keeping you safer and more comfortable in the shoe.

Do I Need the Most Comfortable Shoe When I Run?

Comfortable means something different to everyone. You should be wearing the most comfortable running shoe for you.

For some, a substantial cushion underfoot will be the most comfortable element of the shoe. Others like the feeling of the ground under their feet, so they may be comfier with less cushion.

Of course, cushioning isn’t the only part of comfort. You need to be wearing shoes with the appropriate stability features for your feet. For example, if you overpronate, you’ll need a stability shoe or a motion control shoe.

If a neutral runner wears a stability shoe or an overpronator wears a neutral shoe, the level of comfort is definitely going to suffer.

We advise you not to simply go out and buy what your friends say is the most comfortable shoe! Do your research and make sure the shoe you like has all the features you need before considering buying.

The Wired Runner
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