Maximalist Running Shoes


The maximalist running shoe is an idea developed by Nicolas Mermoud and Jean-Luc Diard, both are experienced mountain runners from France and former employees of the Salomon footwear company. They started Hoka One One running shoe for years ago and based its design on the oversize concept used in powder skis and full suspension mountain bikes. The design is all about having a bigger sweet spot which can aid performance. In addition, the high cushion concept is also about dynamic midsole foams and modern shapes.

It is a fact that maximalist shoes have been more commonly seen during ultrarunning events than any other type of races. Between 40 and 60 percent of runners are wearing Hokas during ultrarunning races. Why? Because that high cushion can withstand long hours of pounding during the race. This capability makes maximalist running shoes become more prevalent in half marathons and marathons as well.

As of now, there has been no independent study at all on the maximalist running shoes. The only studies available so far are conducted by manufacturers and not surprisingly, their results will only support their marketing pitches.

This is entirely depend on what you define as maximalism. Just like minimalism, the definition can be blurred between person to person. Generally speaking, these companies – Hoka One One, Brooks, Pearl Izume, Vasque, Puma, New Balance, Altra, Skechers – have at least one maximalist model. Adidas Boost foam can also be regarded by some runners as a maximalist model. You could also argue Nike’s Lunar Eclipse 4 as a maximalist type of running shoe due to its thick midsole.

Answering this question is difficult. Our advice to you is that maximalist running shoes cannot suit everyone. Just like other running shoes, you need to find one that suits and fits your foot and is suitable for the kinds of runs you regularly exercise. Maximalism, for us, is just another option. It will fit some runners and will not do the same to others.