Know Your Tech: Maximalist Running Shoe Technology

It’s interesting to see how trends emerge. I feel like it was a year ago that the minimalist shoe craze was at a fever pitch. I can recall reading several posts and magazines glorifying the minimalist concept. There almost seemed to be a backlash on anything that wasn’t minimalist; maybe that was just me. Now maximalist running shoe technology has entered the fold. Is it another slick marketing ploy or a serious running shoe technology. Let’s take a look.

What is Maximalist Running Shoe Technology?

Well, it’s not exactly the opposite of minimalist shoes. Maximalist running shoe technology uses high cushioning and a dynamic midsole. Yes, the shoes might be perceived as larger but not necessarily heavier (the Hoka Clifton weighs in at 7.9 oz). The other attribute found in maximalist shoes is that the footbed is higher off the ground. The Brooks Adrenaline can go up to 30mm while a minimalist shoe might have a height of 13-19mm.


I read maximalist shoes described as pillowy, plush, or float. They definitely provide more cushion than most shoes. It looks like the adopters to this type of running shoe technology goes back to the trail or ultra runners. Which kind of makes sense knowing what maximalist shoes are. If these are runners are challenged with running over rocks, debris, and other obstacles a shoe with a enough cushion should be up to the job.

Is it another running shoe fad?

It’s funny when the minimalist movement started, I thought it was a fad. Some guy writes a book about running barefoot and it’s perceived as the right way to run. I was never sold on the idea. For some reason the maximalist trend hit some for me. Maybe it’s because I run in stability type shoes. I enjoy the extra cushion and higher footbed.

Running shoes companies aren’t dumb, I’m sure someone saw the minimalist market and noticed a bunch of runners wouldn’t necessary fit in this shoe (i.e. me).

I’m more comfortable with the maximalist idea of a running shoe. Personally, I think it appeals more to the everyday runner who doesn’t have the traditional runner’s build.

Shoe Examples

Looking at specific examples of the maximalist running shoes should give you idea of just what the stark differences are to their minimalist counterpart. I’ve compiled a short list to make the point:

Hoka One One

Brooks Transcend

Skechers GoRun Ultra

Puma FAAS 1000

New Balance Fresh Foam 980

Altra Olympus

Final Thoughts on Maximalist Running Shoe Technology

Like a lot of trends, time will tell if this new maximalist era has any teeth. I’m in favor of it because, in my opinion, it lends itself to runners couldn’t possibly run in a minimalist shoe.

The technology used to create these maximalist shoes has the opportunity to bring more people into the sport of running. You could argue this to be a good or bad thing. Either way, shoe companies certainly see the opportunity to sell to different runner types.

Have any experiences with maximalist shoes? Share them in the comments below!

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  1. says

    Have a pair of Hoka One One Bondi 3… I notice that my quads aren’t nearly as sore and they feel great for long distance running but I don’t feel comfortable with them when running technical trails, particularly rocky ones.

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