What are Cushioned Running Shoes?

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  • Written By: Alex Paul
  • Edited By: Jacob Harkins
  • Last Modified Date: 02 January 2020
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Running is a popular sport but can place a large amount of strain on an athlete’s joints. This is especially true for the ankle and knee joints. Cushioned running shoes help to dissipate some of the force, which is transmitted up the kinetic chain through extra padding on the mid-soles. This helps to limit the strain on the knee and other joints. Cushioned shoes, however, generally provide less support for the arch of the foot than other shoes and hence shouldn’t be used by people who over-pronate.

Cushioned running shoes have extra padding on the sole of the shoe. This increases the amount of time taken for the momentum change when the foot hits the floor, which in turn decreases the amount of force transmitted up through the leg. For athletes who run on solid ground such as roads this is especially important to reduce the chance of injury.

There are a number of different types of cushioned running shoes. For example, air shoes utilize a compartment of air on the sole of the feet that acts as a crumple zone on impact. Gel shoes have a layer of compressible gel that performs a similar job. Foam shoes replace the layer of gel with a layer of foam in order to provide cushioning.


Different materials used in cushioned shoes provide different characteristics. For example, certain types of cushioning provide greater stability while others are built for comfort. Some materials used in a shoe will also act in a similar manner to a spring and hence provide greater forward propulsion.

Whether a cushioned running shoe is right for a particular runner depends on a number of different factors such as whether the person over pronates, whether extra medial support is required, and how he or she runs. A cushioned running shoe has more mid-sole cushioning than other types. This means that the shoes have the least amount of medial support for the foot.

Over pronation is a problem that can cause a number of different injuries for runners. For example, patella tendinitis is often caused by excess force being transmitted through the tendon due to over pronation. Cushioned running shoes, therefore, aren’t built to be used by people who over pronate. If a runner has high arches or is a highly efficient runner who doesn’t have problems with pronation then a cushioned show may perform well.

There are a number of different brands who manufacture cushioned running shoes. For example, Asics, Nike and Saucony are a few of the most common. Buying running shoes is an important process for any runner as it’s important to choose a shoe that provides the right amount of support. For this reason it’s usually advisable to buy a shoe from a specialist running shop.

Some things to consider when buying cushioned running shoes include where an athlete’s foot first hits the ground when he or she runs, what materials are used for the shoe and how well it fits the foot. There is some variation in shoe sizes between brands so it’s important to try on a shoe before buying. Comfort is also an essential factor.


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