Our Favorite Maximalist Running Shoes Reviewed

In a Hurry? Editors choice:
Hoka One One Clifton 4
Test Winner: Hoka One One Clifton 4
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If you are on the hunt for the best maximalist running shoes, you will love all of the selections featured on our page below. Here we have the best of the best options currently available, along with their pros and cons and what to look for before making your purchase.

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 it.

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.

Standout Picks

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.
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A highly cushioned comfortable running sneakers that absorb shock and provide 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.
Amazon Link
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.
Amazon Link
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!
Amazon Link
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.
Amazon Link
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.
Amazon Link
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.
Amazon Link
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.
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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.
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Criteria Used for Evaluation

Comfort

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 well--we certainly did.

Support

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. When searching for them, be sure to ask or check online if they are marked as running shoes for undepronation or overpronation.

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.

Durability

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.

Breathability

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.

Top 10 Maximalist Running Shoes Reviewed

1. Hoka One One Clifton 4

Where to buy
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Hoka One One Clifton 4
Amazon Link

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.

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Comfort

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.

Support

These running shoes offer optimal support and ensure that your ankles don't roll over.

Durability

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.

Breathability

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.

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2. Hoka One One Vanquish 2

Where to buy
Amazon Link
Hoka One One Vanquish 2
Amazon Link

A highly cushioned comfortable running sneakers that absorb shock and provide 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.

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Comfort

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.

Support

It has a web design that provides support, and its seamless design prevents irritation.

Durability

This is a highly durable and quality made running shoe that will last a long time.

Breathability

The only drawback in comfort seems to come from the lack of breathability.

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3. Merrell All Out Peak

Where to buy
Amazon Link
Merrell All Out Peak
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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.

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Comfort

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.

Support

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.

Durability

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.

Breathability

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.

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4. Mizuno Wave Sky

Where to buy
Amazon Link
Mizuno Wave Sky
Amazon Link

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

Comfort

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.

Support

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.

Durability

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?

Breathability

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.

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5. Hoka One One Constant 2

Where to buy
Amazon Link
Hoka One One Constant 2
Amazon Link

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

Comfort

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.

Support

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.

Durability

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.

Breathability

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.

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6. Skechers GOrun Ultra R

Where to buy
Amazon Link
Skechers GOrun Ultra R
Amazon Link

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.

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Comfort

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.

Support

These running shoes are well-cushioned and padded. They offer a great deal of stability and support to ensure injury prevention and guarantee comfort.

Durability

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.

Breathability

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.

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7. Hoka One One Bondi 4

Where to buy
Amazon Link
Hoka One One Bondi 4
Amazon Link

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

Comfort

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.

Support

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.

Durability

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.

Breathability

Although they are not the most breathable running shoes, they certainly won't overheat your feet even when it is really hot out.

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8. New Balance Fresh Foam 980 Boracay

Where to buy
Amazon Link
New Balance Fresh Foam 980 Boracay
Amazon Link

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

Comfort

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.

Support

Thanks to their excellent cushioning, these running shoes offer impressive support that will ensure you get the stability you need when you run,.

Durability

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.

Breathability

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.

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9. Adidas Terrex Fast R GTX

Where to buy
Amazon Link
Adidas Terrex Fast R GTX
Amazon Link

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

Comfort

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.

Support

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.

Durability

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.

Breathability

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.

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Sources

  1. Editorial Team, Minimalist Shoes vs. Maximalist Shoes, Physical therapy Website
  2. Editorial Team, Maximalist Shoes, Informational Website
  3. Nellie, Maximalist vs. Minimalist: Which Running Shoe Are You?, Blog
  4. Brian Metzler, Sole Man: 12 Things About Maximalist Shoes , Running Website
  5. Dr. Stephen Gangemi, Fifteen Reasons to Wear a Maximalist Shoe, Health Website

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Inside RunnerClick Pro, runners of all strengths come together to meet and support one another, get answers to burning questions, learn from experts, participate in personal challenges, and more.