Our Favorite Maximalist Running Shoes Reviewed
Not all runners are neutral runners, in fact, many runners need additional support and cushioning to ensure that they can run to the best of their ability. The best maximalist running shoes will offer the maximum amount of cushioning for those of you who need.
Regardless of the type of runner you are or the distances you prefer to hit, if you need additional support then you have to get a pair of maximalist running shoes. These selections will ensure you stay comfortable and prevent injury from occurring.
Take a look at our top picks below.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 13 hrs of research
Newly designed mesh upper
Supreme cusioning, as standard with Hoka's shoes
Improved durability in the upper construction
Early Stage Meta-Rocker provides responsiveness
- Hoka One One Clifton 4
- Hoka One One Vanquish 2
- Merrell All Out Peak
- Mizuno Wave Sky
- Hoka One One Constant 2
- Skechers GOrun Ultra R
- Hoka One One Bondi 4
- New Balance Fresh Foam 980 Boracay
- Adidas Terrex Fast R GTX
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Other Factors to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
Our Favorite Maximalist Running Shoes
1. Hoka One One Clifton 4
Newly designed mesh upper
Supreme cusioning, as standard with Hoka's shoes
Improved durability in the upper construction
Early Stage Meta-Rocker provides responsiveness
They tend to still run a bit narrow
Although maximalist shoes tend to be bulky due to the amount of cushioning they provide, the Hoka One One Clifton remains fairly lightweight. This 4th update to the Clifton line is quite extreme compared to previous versions.Read more
Comfort is where it's at with the Hoka One One Clifton 4. It has a seamless design that helps prevents irritation, its full EVA Midsole provides great cushioning. and its 10 Degree Heel Bevel provides good heel-to-toe transitions.
These running shoes offer optimal support and ensure that your ankles don't roll over.
Although there are some concerns about the construction of the shoes upper and outsole, there have been no reports of durability issues. This is a running shoe that will last a long time and is made with quality materials.
The upper is the most noticeable change to this version, as the material from the last version has been replaced by a more durable yet breathable mesh. This update really moves the Clifton line ahead with improved durability, fit and breathability.
2. Hoka One One Vanquish 2
Enhanced midsole layered provides comfort
Absorbs impactHighly durable
Early Stage Meta-Rocker Geometry provides good responsiveness
Web design provides support
Seamless design prevents irritation
Sizing may run narrow
Not as breathable as other shoes
A highly cushioned, comfortable running shoe that absorbs shock and provides good responsiveness. The price of the Hoka One One Vanquish 2 can be on the high end, but well worth it if you seek comfort, cushioning, and support.Read more
There's no doubt it will be comfortable. It has an enhanced midsole that is layered to provide comfort, it absorbs impact when your feet hit the ground, and its Early Stage Meta-Rocker Geometry provides good responsiveness.
It has a web design that provides support, and its seamless design prevents irritation.
This is a highly durable and quality made running shoe that will last a long time.
The only drawback in comfort seems to come from the lack of breathability.
3. Merrell All Out Peak
HyperWrap 360 Degree Fit System provides good stability
TrailProtect technology provides great underfoot protection
Vibram Megagrip Outsole provides good traction
Uni-Fly midsole absorbs impact
Nylon arch shank provides flexibility
Sizes may run narrow
Can be seen as expensive
A highly comfortable maximalist trail running shoe that provides a good amount of cushioning and stability while you run. This is a running shoe that can be quite pricey, but well worth the price for the extra protection on trails.Read more
Most users of the Merrell All Out Peak were quite satisfied with the comfort and stability of this running shoe. It also has reflective components that will allow others to see you more easily while you run, and its nylon arch shank provides a good amount of flexibility.
As far as support, when we took a look at these shoes we found that they offer a lof of support and stability. Enough to prevent injury and your ankles from rolling.
There were few to no reports of durability and quality issues of this running shoe. It has a TrailProtect technology that provides great underfoot protection, and a Vibram Megagrip Outsole that provides good traction.
They found it to be highly breathable, they liked its HyperWrap 360 Degree Fit System that provides good stability, and found the Uni-Fly midsole to absorb impact quite well.
4. Mizuno Wave Sky
Many runners say that it’s very easy to find the appropriate size
Many runners appreciated Wave sky technology
The price is quite high
Did somebody say real comfort? Well, if you want to feel like literally running on clouds, then you need to check these Mizuno shoes. They will be great for runners with normal arch and road will be the best place to test them out. Why these shoes are so unique? Check it out!Read more
If you were wondering why it’s called Wave Sky, then we know the answer. This is because these shoes are so comfortable- there’s new maximum special cloud wave technology that will make you feel like running on clouds. There’s a special midfoot sock-like panel and it makes these shoe lightweight. These shoes might not be the best option for people with narrow toe-box.
Maximalist shoes can sometimes be very bulky but we can’t tell them about Mizuno. These shoes have great design, they look very good on the feet. Runners also adored the colors of the shoes.
Like the most shoes in this category, there’s rubber to boost durability. There’s sock liner that is thick enough to provide comfort. Mizuno is the bend that offers high-quality shoes but the price isn’t very low. You need to be ready to spend on these shoes more than 130 dollars. The investment in comfort and support is worth it, isn’t it?
When it comes to the overall breathability these running shoes provide, you will find that these offer excellent ventilation and help prevent chafing and hot spots from occurring.
5. Hoka One One Constant 2
Special Late Stage Meta-Rocker Geometry provides more stability while running
The shoes are well-ventilated
Good for runners with wide feet
The shoes may be too bulky for some runners, they’re a little bit heavier
Great maximalist shoes for those who want to run off-road. They will be great no matter if you run in the forest or on the rocky/ muddy terrain. Let us show you Hoka One One Constant 2.Read more
Debris or small rocks aren’t your biggest friends while running so that’s why Hoka offers shoes with padded tongue for more protection against these little things. These shoes also have asymmetric lacing so there isn’t too big pressure on the foot. These shoes may be very comfortable for runners with wide feet. The midsole is really well padded.
Although these running shoes look bulky, that is only because they offer a lot of additional support and stability features that ensure they are well-cushioned and able to do what they were designed to do.
Many runners appreciated breathable mesh upper that will be great for those who need a big amount of breathability. The outsole is made of rubber and it’s said to last a long time and it’s also great improvement for better traction. There’s 4 mm heel to toe drop.
While these are not the most breathable running shoes on our list, you will find that they will ensure your feet stay cool and dry--as long as you don't have excessively sweaty feet.
6. Skechers GOrun Ultra R
Reflective details make you more visible on the road
These shoes are really flexible
Some buyers encountered problems with sizing
If you look for maximalist shoes with great grip, Skechers come with help. These are adored by runners not only for the comfort but the design is also extraordinary.Read more
These shoes provide comfort and good stability with 5Gen cushioning. They have great stability and multi-surface traction with a lightweight durable parametric web outsole. They are very soft inside and the toe box is quite roomy.
These running shoes are well-cushioned and padded. They offer a great deal of stability and support to ensure injury prevention and guarantee comfort.
There’s mesh in the upper for more breathability and a special drainage system in the water-resistant upper to keep you dry on long runs. Users generally found the construction firm and durable.
When we evaluated the overall breathability of these running shoes, you will find that they are very well-ventilated and offer some additional features to guarantee their breathability.
7. Hoka One One Bondi 4
Blow rubber sole, with integrated grip system
A neutral running shoe, highly versatile
Lycra comfort frame upper, with synthetic overlays
Sharp and sleek design
Oversized midsole, 2.5 times the volume of typical running shoes
TPU External Heel Counter provides support
10 Deg Heel Bevel provides good transitions
Flat-waisted geometry provides good stability
The price is slightly higher than similar shoesTongue may cause frictionSizes may run narrow
The Bondi is layered with the company’s classic cushy midsole foam for a firmer, more structured (comfortable) ride. On the upper you’ve got a paper-thin, no-sew layer that offers excellent airflow and a seamless fit.Read more
There simply is no question the comfort level of Hoka shoes. This soft cushy feel is what made them popular in the first place and led to so many others emulating them.If sized properly these should be one of the most comfortable shoes that you’ve ever put on your feet.
This is a great starter with Hoka for runners who want to reap the benefits of added cushion, but are not ready to face up to the insane soft/bouncing feel of some of the earliest versions.
As a market standard Hoka has a pretty good reputation when it comes to quality. Depending on usage you can expect these shoes to last a good while without noticeable degradation of their condition.
Although they are not the most breathable running shoes, they certainly won't overheat your feet even when it is really hot out.
8. New Balance Fresh Foam 980 Boracay
Blown rubber sole, buoyant and reactive
Sleek and fresh New Balance aesthetic
No-sew stripes along with reflective logo overlays
Multi-stretch air mesh upper, allows air to circulate freely
Fresh foam in the midsole, provides firm and comfortable platform
OrthoLite footbed to an additional layer of padding
Not ideal for runners who need a lot of arch support
Seem to have an issue regarding the longevity of the outsole
Boracay is a bit of an excotic name and its fitting for these trainers. If there ever were a pair of moon boots these are them. Flashy color scheme/design aside, the Boracay’s pack an impressive performance punch. These shoes are a great value, and it often doesn’t take very much searching around to find your size and preferred color choice at well under or at a hundred dollars.Read more
A fresh foam midsole laid atop a blown-rubber outsole combine to give your foot a soft and well cushioned ride. Once you’ve adapted these shoes feel incredibly natural on your feet.
Thanks to their excellent cushioning, these running shoes offer impressive support that will ensure you get the stability you need when you run,.
A few users found some issues with the durability of the outsole, but most likely this is a durable and quality made running shoe that will last about average time.
Here you’ve got a form-fit, breathable mesh upper, with no-sew overlays wrapping your foot in all the right places. The result is a seamless fit.
9. Adidas Terrex Fast R GTX
Forefoot plate protects your foot rugged terrain
Advanced Traxion outsole provides great grip
Molded OrthoLite sockliner provides comfort
Drawcord-style laces are secure
AdiPrene+ midsole that absorbs shock
Sizes may run small
Rim of shoe is hard to some users
A comfortable trail running shoe that is highly breathable and provides a great amount of protection against sharp rocks and other terrain. The price of the Adidas Terrex Fast R GTX can be quite expensive, but it does come with additional trail running perks.Read more
Aside from the rim of the shoe feeling a bit hard due to the plastic material used, this is a fairly comfortable running shoe. It is highly breathable and keeps sweat away, it has a molded OrthoLite sock liner that provides comfort, and its draw cord-style laces are secure, and fast to operate. Additionally, it has a AdiPrene+ midsole that absorbs shock when your feet hit the ground.
When it comes to support, these offer a great deal of it. They will ensure that your feet stay well protected and that you get the stability that you need to ensure your ankles don't roll.
This is a highly durable and quality made running shoe that will last a long time. THe forefoot plate protects your foot in rugged terrain, and its Advanced Traxion outsole provides a great grip.
These running shoes are certainly not the most breathable or well-ventilated options on our list of best Brooks running shoes. However, they are breathable enough given all of the additional features they have to offer.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
When it comes to anything you wear, you need to make sure that you are comfortable when you wear it--especially running shoes.
When evaluating the best Maximalist running shoes cushioning is a big part. We want to make sure there is ample cushioning that will provide great comfort while you run. As runners, we all know the pain that comes along with running having proper running gear is a big part of minimalizing some major running pains.
You want to be comfortable when you are working out or going for a run so it is important to find shoes that offer you the features that keep you comfortable and keep your feet pain free from start to finish. The most important thing you need to remember, however, is to watch out for your own specific comfort needs and preferences.
When we took a look at where each of our running shoes fell in terms of comfort, we made sure to take a look at countless reviews. It is important to take a look at what real-world users have to say if we want to understand how comfortable the running shoes really are. Make sure to do this as well0--we certainly did.
Support is crucial, especially in a pair of maximalist running shoes.
Some shoes provide more support than others. Typically, Maximalist shoes will have good arch support, because of the amount of cushioning they provide. We've gone through each of them to let you know if they have adequate support or could use more. There are several ways we have considered support for these shoes- arch support, upper foot support, sole support, and overall stability support.
Each of these factors can influence whether or not a shoe is right for you and each one may be important for you and should be carefully considered. Make sure to consider your foot type as well. If you overpronate or underpronate you will have specific needs that cannot be addressed with a standard pair of running shoe.
Lucky for you, our list of the best maximalist running shoes offers running shoes that provide runners with excellent support and stability. If you are tired of running shoes that do not offer what you need, then you we feel confident you will find a pair that works for you on our list of the best maximalist running shoes.
We all want a pair of running shoes that will last us the long haul.
Most running shoes last between 300-600 miles. A durable outsole is important for traction and underfoot cushioning. A durable midsole also is important to provide long-lasting support and shock absorption. The upper material needs to be durable enough that no holes or tears happen.
No shoe is worth much if it does not last long and won't hold up to the wear and tear of an active runner. You want your investment to pay off so your running shoes must be durable and we took great measures to make sure the shoes on this list are very durable indeed. If you want to find out for yourself how durable they really are, then you will want to check out some real-world reviews.
When we established how durable each of our nine selection were we made sure to sift through and read countless reviews to see what people have to say about their overall longevity and durability. We can attest to how durable the selection on our list are, so make sure you narrow down the selection that will work with the terrain that you run on.
No one likes blisters or chafing, so make sure you get a breathable pair of running shoes.
No one wants sweaty feet that will make your run uncomfortable, so we've sifted through these maximalist running shoes to let you know which ones offer a good amount of breathability and which ones could be better. Shoes that have good breathability will keep your feet cool and comfortable and protected.
You will experience less blistering and have less of a battle with sneaker odor when your feet stay cool and dry. These shoes offer good airflow and are made to be breathable so your feet stay cool and comfortable even on the longest of runs. A combination of ventilation, moisture-wicking properties, and odor resistance is your best bet.
Lastly, you will also want to take a look at whether or not you are someone who deals with excessively sweaty feet. If this is you, then you will want to make sure you pair your running shoes with socks that help wick away moisture and ensure that your feet stay cool and dry no matter how far you run.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
While it's true new running shoes generally don't need much of a break-in period, your body should be given ample opportunity to get accustomed to your new Maximalist running shoes.
The cushioning of the shoe causes your body to adjust differently. You need to let your body learn the shoe for maximum efficiency.
If at any point during your run with maximalist running shoes you feel discomfort, you should stop and let your body rest and try again on another day. Sometimes with the additional cushion, your body could adjust and put a different strain on your knee joints.
If you really want to be effective with your workouts and your training and if you want to hit your weight loss and fitness goals you cannot go at it alone. You need a support team to help you stay on track and stay focused when things get difficult.
Whether it's family or friends, other runners you know, or your doctor, there needs to be at least one other person you answer to who can keep you focused and help you adjust your routine and goals as needed so you stay motivated and avoid burnout.
Other Factors to Consider
Although maximalist running shoes do tend to run on the heavy or bulky side, we've sifted through and found ones that can be considered lightweight as well. There are many important factors to consider when choosing a maximalist running shoe. We will tell you the difference between maximalist and minimalist shoes, some of the pros and cons of maximalist running shoes.
Some of the top reasons runners choose maximalist running shoes so that you can decide if they are right for you. If you are someone who needs additional support and has specific issues that need to be addressed, then the most important thing is that they offer the right amount of cushioning and padding.
On top of that, if you want to hit certain terrain then you will want to look for shoes that offer additional grip and traction. If you have sweaty feet you will need shoes that offer moisture-wicking features and odor resistance to ensure that they last you the long haul and that you get the value you expected from them.
At the end of the day, if you are looking for a pair of maximalists running shoes it is because you need additional cushioning and support to ensure that you don't get injured and that you stay comfortable when you are out on your daily run. Before you make a decision, take a look at the following factors before your final decision and apply them to your specific needs.
Comfort and Support
These running shoes are made to provide you with additional cushioning and support--but they should not sacrifice comfort to do so. You need to make sure that the running shoes you decide to get will provide you with the right amount of stability without them digging into the wrong areas and causing your arches to bruise when you wear them for longer periods of time.
How long do they really last?
Here you will need to account for the overall durability and longevity of the running shoes. This means looking at their design and materials and seeing how they hold up when compared to the terrain you will be running on and the distances you will want to run.
Make sure that you get a pair of running shoes that won't overheat your feet and cause hotspots when you are out during the hot weather. This is especially important if you are someone who deals with sweaty feet already. Look for moisture-wicking capabilities as well as additional venting that will further ensure that your feet from staying cool and dry.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: How much more cushioning is there in Maximalist shoes?
The added amount of cushioning to the sole up to 2.5 times the volume of a standard running shoe. This helps to support your feet and protect them by reducing the shock impact your feet absorb with every steep and also helps keep your feet and legs balanced and stable as you run.
q: Are maximalist shoes only for ultrarunners?
They are used widely in long-distance running such as marathons, and half marathons since they are designed to offer the specialized support and custom features these kinds of runners want and need in their shoes. However, other runners and athletes who seek a good amount of cushioning in running shoes or those individuals who struggle with overpronating can also benefit from a maximalist running shoe. They are made to be more supportive and stabilizing, so anyone who needs this from their shos can benefit from maximalist shoes.
q: Are maximalist running shoes heavy?
Some are, but not all. They have tried to incorporate the lightest of materials so that they have a good amount of cushioning while remaining lightweight. They do tend to be a bit heavier than lighter shoes that are designed specifically to be light on the feet. However, if you need the added support and cushioning then the tradeoff for a little extra weight is pretty much guaranteed to be worth it for most runners.
q: Does it make you a less efficient runner to wear Maximalist shoes?
There can be a little bit of sacrifice as far as efficiency goes, but you won't have issues with muscle fatigue so it seems to be a substantial trade-off. You may not get as much oomph and you may b a little slower on the kickoff but you will be able to run longer and over harder terrain thanks to the added support and cushioning so unless you are in a sprint race, it usually is a fair tradeoff that will work in your favor.
All in all, the best maximalist running shoes will be efficient and effective for those of you who need the additional cushioning that your foot type requires.
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