Saddle choice is so personal, it's really difficult to solicit, or offer, opinions. For most people, it is trial and error. That can get a bit expensive, but is worth it. You might ask your local bike shop if they have a "take off" or used saddle box in the back room. They will often sell, cheaply, brand-new saddles that are taken off a new bike when the buyer installs their own.
What you are looking for is not so much the exact saddle model as the shape. Width is the most critical dimension for most people. Once you find the size and shape that works, you can narrow down your trials to models that match. Many bike shops also offer "saddle fit" tools which measure your sit bone width and can recommend a starting point based on that.
Also, it's very common to equate soft with comfortable, but that is only the case for very short rides. If the saddle is properly supporting your "sit bones" it will be comfortable, though it may not feel soft.
As for brands, a lot of people love Brooks leather saddles. Also, WTB saddles and the Body Geometry series from Specialized seem to have a lot of fans.
I recently got the supercheap sprung saddle from Nashbar. Kind of a budget Brooks lookalike, also probably good for folks who aren't up to breaking in or maintaining a leather saddle (which I probably wouldn't be even if I could afford one). The jury's still out on the arched shape of the plastic backbone, but for $15 I'm quite impressed. This saddle's give comes from the springs instead of thick padding, which for me at least seems to be a superior solution.