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Top 10 Cushioned Shoes


Updated May 29, 2014

Walkers generally have less need for cushioning than runners, because they strike the ground with less force. But if you are doing a lot of walking on concrete or doing high mileage days in training for a half marathon or marathon walk, you need enough cushioning. These shoes are designed for those who have no more than mild overpronation, they do not correct for rotation. These shoes have maximum midsole cushioning with minimum support.

1. Brooks Glycerin

Brooks Glycerin 11
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These shoes are flexible, lightweight, and have plenty of cushioning for the walker who has a neutral gait. I have been using them for walks from six miles through half marathon distance (13.1 miles). They have enough cushioning for distance training, yet are light enough for walking at a faster pace. I am shocked that for the first time in over 12 years of half marathon and marathon walking, my feet and legs have no fatigue after a 13 mile walk. I have also been able to maintain a good fast-paced stride while wearing them, with correct heel landing and roll through of my step. The Glycerin 11 trimmed the weight they added with the version 10, so I'd definitely recommend getting the 11 rather than close-outs on the 10. They are also durable -- the cushioning has remained intact through six months of training and racing at the half marathon distance. Typically, I would have had to replace the shoes after four months of intense use.
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2. New Balance 1080

New Balance 1080 v4
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This is a lightweight performance training shoe that is also a cushioned shoe. It is flexible. It comes in narrow, normal and wide widths. The cushioning helps relieve leg fatigue in long walks and runs such as the 10K, half marathon and marathon. I found this shoe to be very comfortable. With the 1080v3 in 2013, they reduced the heel drop and the weight a bit, making it better for walkers. Then they changed to a new last, the PL-8 for the 1080v4 in 2014. If you've been happy with the previous versions, be sure to try on the v4 to ensure the last still provides the best shoe shape for you.

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3. Saucony ProGrid Ride

Saucony ProGrid Ride Running Shoes
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This flexible, lightweight cushioned shoe is great for those with a neutral gait who want cushioning. I found the toe box to give plenty of room for my wide foot. I could feel the cushioning without any appreciable extra weight. These should feel great for longer distance walks and all-day strolls.

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4. Nike Air Pegasus

Nike Air Pegasus 30
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This cushioned trainer is flexible and good for high-mileage walkers. It's best for small to medium sized people and comes in extra widths. I was impressed with the fit and feel in the latest 30 version. It also comes in a Storm version great for all-weather and all-terrain walking. The Pegasus earned the Runner's World Best Buy Award in September, 2013.
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5. Mizuno Wave Rider

Mizuno Wave Rider 16
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A previous version of this shoe got me through the 2003 Portland Marathon. It is cushioned yet lightweight, with a low heel. The Wave Rider comes in widths and has both a wide toe box and a narrow heel. As of 2013, it's celebrating its 16th birthday and still getting five stars from runners and walkers. It earned the Best Neutral Shoe from The Running Network for Spring, 2013.

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6. Nike Air Zoom Vomero

Nike Vomero 8
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The Vomero is a cushioned trainer that is great for walkers who don't overpronate. Wearers love the cushioning for training for marathon and half marathon distances. It has more cushioning than the Pegasus. It also has a wider toebox than is typical for Nikes. I also like being able to find it in black, so I can wear it at work and not just change into it for a mid-day walk at break or lunch. For you who want bright colors, they have those, too.

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7. Asics Gel Cumulus

Asics Gel Cumulus 15
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The Cumulus offers good cushioning at a good price. It has a flexible forefoot and is designed for those with a neutral gait. The Cumulus 14 and 15 are lighter in weight than previous versions, in keeping with trends and the development of better materials that provide cushioning with less weight. They have a memory foam collar that provides you with a personal heel fit. It earned the Runner's World Editor's Choice Award.
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8. Asics Gel Nimbus

Asics Gel Nimbus 15
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The Asics Gel Nimbus is flexible but also is stable enough in the forefoot for heavier people. While the version 14 trimmed some weight, it's back in the 15. This is a neutral shoe and is suitable for heavier-weight people.
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9. SAS Freetime

SAS Shoes
Wendy Bumgardner ©
This shoe has been a favorite of volksmarch walkers for decades. It is a full leather shoe that has a flexible sole and lots of cushion. It's the only shoe you will want for standing in lines, and also good and durable for the trail. You can't buy them from the internet, but they are available at factory outlet stores and comfort shoe stores.

10. New Balance 1260v3

New Balance 1260v3
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This stability shoe also has great cushioning. They use a lightweight ACTEVA foam to produce a shoe weighing 9.3 ounces. It has a minimal heel drop, which is better for walkers. It provides a little motion control for overpronators. It comes in narrow, regular and wide widths. The version 3 earned the Runner's World "Best Update" award.
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