Last Updated: August 28th, 2022
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Trail running is fun but full of challenges. They’re your best friend and will be your running shoe.
Although some people love minimalist trail running shoes, many of us still prefer cushioned running shoes.
We found that in this cushioned running shoe category, Altra Women’s Lone Peak 4.5 Trail Running Shoe is the best.
It has optimal cushioning, stability, and durability. Also, the toe-box is very comfortable and your toes can easily relax due to the width.
However, we also know that, for running shoes, there is nothing called one size fits all.
So, below we have reviewed 5 more best-cushioned running shoes for women.
Best Cushioned Trail Running Shoes for Women
- Quantic midsole for lightweight ride.
- Improved upper for better durability.
- Claw-like lugs made from durable MaxTrac.
Saucony Koa ST
- Large lugs for excellent grip.
- Trendy upper.
- Decent cushioning.
Hoka One One Challenger ATR 4
- Dual layer mesh.
- Internal heel-counter.
- Early stage meta rocker for smooth ride.
1. Altra Women’s Lone Peak 4.5 Trail Running Shoe
This is one of the best trail running shoes and is well-cushioned.
Also, it is a zero-drop running shoe, which provides you with a near to natural running experience.
The midsole is made from EVA foam which is a standard for mid-sole industry-wide.
Apart from that it also has A-Bound cushioning. This is an energy return compound that sits directly under the foot and reduces ground impact.
Also, it adds a spring to your stride and makes your run more energetic.
Between the A-Bound cushioning and the EVA foam, there is a StoneGuard layer.
This layer deflects the rocks to the mid-sole and provides you with a smooth and stable ride.
This running shoe comes with Fit4Her technology and is customized for women’s foot anatomy.
So, it will fit you nicely without any trouble.
The toe-box is foot-shaped and will help you to relax and spread your toes during uphill and downhill movement.
Also, it has TrailClaw which are cantered lugs positioned strategically to provide traction at toe-off.
- ✓ Responsive and comfortable.
- ✓ Lightweight and roomier.
- ✓ Good for even moderate hiking.
- ✓ Good long-distance running shoes.
- ✓ Excellent traction.
- ✓ Blister-free experience.
- ✓ True to fit.
- ⤫ Less depth in the shoe box.
- ⤫ Some felt the cushioning has reduced since 3.0
2. Salomon Women’s X-Mission 3W
This running shoe is great for trails as Salomon is the master of those terrains.
However, if you have a wider foot, check the fit in some physical stores as some users mentioned that the fit is not that wide.
Being said that, let’s see how this shoe can help you with cushioning and trail running.
The mid-sole is made from molded EVA midsole which is durable and lightweight.
This is the reason that these running shoe weight so less and doesn’t weigh you down during running.
It comes with a 3D Grip for traction from all directions and on various surfaces.
It has a high abrasion Contrgrip and provides you with long-lasting stability.
This grip also provides you with traction on wet surfaces.
Sensifit cradles the foot from the midsole to the lacing system and provides you with a secure, snug, and customized fit.
This one also has the Salomon famed QuickLace system.
You can tighten or loosen your running with only one pull.
- ✓ Lightweight and responsive running shoe.
- ✓ Very cushy.
- ✓ You will never feel a rock under your feet.
- ✓ ContraGrip for traction on the wet surface as well.
- ✓ Available in vibrant colors.
- ⤫ For some, the toe box area seems to be smaller.
- ⤫ Tongue seems to be narrow.
3. Brooks Women’s Caldera 4
This is a trail runner from Brook and as anyone will expect, these are supremely comfortable.
These shoes are lightweight and responsive. Also, they will provide you with supreme traction on those muddy trails.
It is a low drop shoe and will provide you with a very natural running experience.
The mid-sole is made from BioMoGo DNA and provides a dynamic cushioning.
This kind of cushioning will adapt to your feet and will do it with every stride, to provide you with a more comfortable running experience.
The outsole is made from sticky rubber and HPR Green and has lugs that cover more surface area.
This makes them great with uphill and downhill traction.
The midsole has a geometry that supplies inherent protection and a stable ride that helps as fatigue starts to set in.
Upper is made from protective, double layer mesh which has a strategic stretch and structure.
This provides you with a truly customized fit and provides you with a nearly seamless feel.
- ✓ Good shock absorption and cushioning.
- ✓ Responsive, supportive, comfortable, and lightweight.
- ✓ Very stylish to look at.
- ✓ Good for any running distance or for training.
- ✓ Can be used for moderate hiking.
- ✓ Good for any weather conditions.
- ⤫ Less lateral traction.
- ⤫ The toe box seems to be a bit narrow.
4. Saucony Women’s Koa St Running Shoe
These running shoes are very stylish looking and come from the house of Saucony.
They are affordable and are great for trail running.
Also, they provide you with ample cushioning for a comfortable run throughout.
It comes with a thick EVA foam midsole which is great for cushioning.
Also, it provides you with a lot of support and responsiveness.
Since EVA foam is inherently is lightweight, these running shoes are not at all heavy.
So wearing them will never make you feel weighed down.
Also, there is an additional top-sole of 3 mm in thickness.
This makes it even more responsive and springy.
The outsole is made from highly durable rubber to improve the longevity of these running shoes.
Also, they have aggressive lugs which will provide you with traction on any kind of terrain.
The upper is made from mesh material and will provide you with ample ventilation and a customized fit.
The best part of these running shoes is the price. They are very affordable and are of great quality.
- ✓ A high level of cushioning makes you feel like walking on clouds.
- ✓ Lightweight and responsive.
- ✓ Great for distance running.
- ✓ Aggressive lugs for great traction.
- ✓ Additional top-sole for better responsiveness.
- ✓ Extremely affordable.
- ⤫ They do not drain well.
- ⤫ Less lateral support.
5. ASICS Women’s Gel-Kahana 8 Trail Runner
Another affordable superstar and this one is from ASICS.
These are low drop running shoes and are meant to provide you with the most natural running experience possible.
It comes with rear-foot gel cushioning and it attenuates shock when your feet touch the ground.
Also, this allows for a smooth transition to mid-stance.
The mid-sole is made from SpEVA material and this improves the bounce-back characteristics.
Also, due to the nature of the foam, this reduces the midsole breakdown.
There is a dual-density midsole system called DuoMax support system.
This enhances support and stability and provides you with a great running experience.
The outsole has trail-specific reversed lugs.
This provides you with great stability in any terrain.
Also, since the outsole is made from AHAR or ASICS High Abrasion Rubber, they are excellent in durability.
- ✓ Very comfortable, responsive, and lightweight.
- ✓ No breaking in needed.
- ✓ Great for long-distance running and trails.
- ✓ Long-lasting.
- ✓ Good support.
- ✓ Affordable.
- ⤫ Not great on wet surfaces.
- ⤫ There is an initial squeaky sound.
6. HOKA ONE ONE Women’s Challenger ATR 4 Trail Running Shoes
Want to run on clouds when out on the trails?
Well, then Hoka One One Challenger ATR is just for you.
These running shoes have a thick midsole and provide you with plush cushioning.
Although the midsole is over-sized, it doesn’t mean that this running shoe is heavy.
It is lightweight as the midsole is made from EVA foam which is inherently lightweight.
Also, it comes with an early-stage meta rocker.
This helps you to have a smoother heel to toe transition and provides you with a smooth ride.
It comes with an internal heel counter which keeps your feet stable in any kind of terrain.
There is an extended toe-cap for added durability.
The outsole has aggressive lugs which helps you to get proper traction in any kind of terrain.
On the upper, you have dual-layer mesh which balances support, durability, and breathability.
- ✓ Very comfortable even for the heavy runners.
- ✓ Lightweight and responsive.
- ✓ Highly shock absorbing.
- ✓ True to size.
- ✓ Fits like a glove.
- ⤫ May show early signs of wear and tear.
- ⤫ Expensive.
Q) Can you use trail running shoes on a treadmill?
A: You can use trail running shoes on a treadmill.
If you are planning to do so, you should use a running shoe that is lightweight, flexible, and responsive.
For example, Merrell Trail Glove 4 Runner is a very good option.
However, it is not very cushy.
If you want a more cushy version then opt for ASICS GT -2000 8 Running Shoes.
But if you are more of a treadmill runner than a trail runner, then selecting a specialized running shoe for the treadmill will be ideal.
What you can do is, choose running shoes that are great for the treadmill and will also support your occasional trail running venture.
Q) How long does a cushioned trail running shoes last?
A: Cushioned running shoes are no different than regular running shoes in terms of durability.
Sometimes, they may last a little less due to the added cushioning which is made from a softer material.
Generally, running shoes with the most cushioning lasts for 300 – 500 miles.
Here is a general guideline fr shoe replacement:
As you can see,
- If you run 1-5 miles/week, then your running shoe will last for 9 months.
- If you run 10-15 miles/week, then your running shoe will last for 6 months.
- If you run 20-25 miles/week, then your running shoe will last for 4 months.
- If you run 35-45 miles/week, then your running shoe will last for 2 months.
Q) What should I look for in a cushioned trail running shoe?
A: Since you are looking to buy a cushioned trail running shoe, we will assume that comfort is of utmost importance to you.
So, when you are picking a running shoe for trails, check how much cushioning it has on the heels and the forefoot.
Also, the inner lining of the upper should also be smooth and if possible, devoid of seams.
The footbed should be soft and cushy and the lugs should be well defined and multi-directional.
This will provide you stability from all directions.
Also, the padding of the collar and the tongue should be good.
This will keep your ankles stable and will reduce your chances of twisting.
And finally, you should also check the kind of pronation this running shoe supports
- Overpronation – Your feet rolls inside when it touches the ground.
- Neutral – Remain perpendicular to your leg.
- Underpronation – Your feet rolls outside when it touches the ground.
Q) Can I wear a trail running shoe for walking?
A: You can wear a trail running shoe for walking.
However, walking shoes are structurally different than running shoes.
At the very least, their heel structure is different.
If you can get a trail running shoe with a wider heel base then you can use it for walking.
Here also, if you are walking on the roads or concrete, your shoes will wear down early.
Q) Can I wear cushioned trail running shoes for road running?
A: Yes, you can use cushioned trail running shoes for road running.
However, there is only one caveat to this.
Cushioned trail running shoes and trail running shoes have softer soles.
This is because they provide more stability on muddy terrain.
However, roads are made from concrete or asphalt.
Both of them are many times harder than your trail track.
As a result, your running shoe will be worn out much faster.
So, if you will be using a trail running shoe for roads, use something which will have a tougher sole.
Also, use something which is affordable for a trial run like ASICS GT-1000 8 Running Shoes.
They are a full-fledged trail running shoe but costs way less than the regular ones.
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