Cushioning doesn't refer to how soft a shoe feels but rather how long a shoe will provide shock absorption before it begins to break down.  There is a direct relation between the amount of cushioning needed and your body size.  Runners who do best in cushioned shoes typically do not overpronate.  You can also use a cushioned shoe along with a more controlling insert if you do over-pronate.  As with pronation control categories, cushioning levels are broken down based on the amount of cushioning in a particular shoe.

Maximum Cushioning 

  • Largest and heaviest cushioning devices
  • Midsole materials resistant to compression
  • Good for high-mileage, larger runners 

Moderate Cushioning 

  • Medium-sized cushioning devices
  • Good for any amount of training volume and body frame size

Minimum Cushioning 

  • Smallest and lightest amount of cushioning devices
  • Best for fast-paced training and racing 
  • Good for runners with smaller body frames
Dr. Misty McNeill
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D.P.M. - Founder of Prairie Path Foot and Ankle Clinic