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Cushioning in Shoes: How Much is Just Right?

Updated: Nov 3, 2021

When you think of the most comfortable shoes possible, you probably think of plenty of cushioning. However, more isn’t always better when it comes to cushioning in running shoes.

A recent study completed on a handful of runners showed that runners tend to run differently with more cushioning. The runners studied had harder impact with the ground than when they ran with less cushioned shoes, which may indicate that it’s not necessarily a good thing to have that extra cushioning.

How Much Cushioning is Right?

More than anything, you want to be comfortable while running, so test out some shoes and see which ones work best for your feet. You should be able to tell exactly which shoes feel best on your feet and that will be different for everyone.

If possible, get the shoe that has slightly less padding, but is comfortable. If you only feel comfortable in highly padded footwear, then those may be the right option for you.

Can Cushioned Shoes Hurt Your Gait?

While everyone runs differently, high impact forces can be dangerous to the feet and legs. You do need some cushioning from that impact and that means you should test different shoes to determine what is best for you. It’s also a poor idea to run with minimal cushioning, as this can cause impact, too. Your legs adjust to the shoes you wear, which is not always a good thing. The best way to ensure that your shoes are not affecting your gait negatively is to perform a gait analysis. This will indicate where changes need to be made and you can then evaluate whether or not your shoes are affecting this.

While your shoes may affect the way you run, the amount of cushioning isn’t likely to drastically change your chances of injury.

Overall, your goal is to prevent injury while running better. This can be a difficult task and you may need to test a few different types of shoes to find just the right one. Talking to a shoe salesperson with knowledge of running may also help you, since they can help you determine what your specific needs are. Running shoes can make or break your running. Be sure to look after yourself by investing in quality shoes and finding the right amount of cushioning that works for you.

Need to find the best running shoes? VeloRunning has a range of options to suit your particular needs.

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