5 Maximalist Running Shoes to Try
After the "barefoot" running boom, footwear is soaring to new heights. Enter: chunky, heavily cushioned kicks.
Running is soaring to new heights thanks to those chunky, heavily cushioned kicks youâ€™ve been eyeing on the feet of everyone from casual weekend runners to Olympic silver medalist and middle-distance runner Leo Manzano. And while the popularity of the book Born to Run extolled the benefits of less paddingâ€”which unarguably was the start of the whole minimal/barefoot running boomâ€”weâ€™ve decided we want (a lot) more. Enter the maximalist sneaker trend.
â€œEven at the height of the minimalist trend, there were many runners who said, â€˜hey, this isnâ€™t for me,â€™â€ notes Johanna Bjorken, Merchandise Director for JackRabbit Sports, a specialty running store in New York City. â€œSo what weâ€™re seeing now is the pendulum swinging the other way, and manufacturers making shoes for that consumer who doesnâ€™t want to feel the ground.â€
And since you donâ€™t really have to â€œtransitionâ€ into these kicks the way you did with their minimal counterpart, making the switch should be relatively easy. For Bjorken, personally, she likes to think of these as â€œhangoverâ€ shoes. â€œI like them best on days when my body just feels like it wants a little bit more protection, regardless of the distance of the run.â€
Here are five plush pairs to consider for your next run.
At first sight, the supersized midsole on the Hoka One One Clifton ($130; zappos.com) may make you chuckle, but, trust us, your body will thank you for its robust padding. And that nifty rocker bottom? It helps promote a nice fluid ride, from heel to toe.
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Not only are the Asics 33-M ($140; amazon.com) runners pillowy soft, but they're super flexible, too, which is good news for all 33 of those joints in your foot. Plus a wide toe box allows those tootsies to splay properly upon impact.
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The New Balance Fresh Foam Boracay 980 ($120; amazon.com), which happens to be named after an island in the Philippines, comfortably cushions all of your steps, from mile one to marathon. Also handy: The neoprene stretch tongue allows you to adjust the fit without creating wrinkles in the toe area.
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Designed with a womanâ€™s foot in mindâ€”a narrower heel, longer arch, and higher instepâ€”the Altra Paradigm ($83-$130; amazon.com), which still sports a zero-drop platform, offers neutral runners plenty of plush running miles.
Not only does the Brooks Transcend 2 ($170; zappos.com) offer pressure zones that help disperse impact across the foot, but its midsole â€œguide railsâ€ keep moderate pronators in check. Did we mention that itâ€™s super cute, too?