So-called maximum cushioning running shoes, as the Conquests are often referred to, are definitely having a moment. Brooks has a new ultra-padded model out as well, and rumor has it that other major running shoe manufacturers are about to release oversized models any day now. But the one we can’t currently wait to test out is the Conquest, the first dedicated road running shoe from Hoka One One. The company has been making trail-oriented shoes with mongo midsoles for a few years now, and have become quite popular with elite pro athletes (the company boast that Hoka-shod athletes have graced the podium 30 times on 5 continents in the last 18 months alone).
So what’s the big deal with the big-soled Conquest? They’re extremely stable, allow you to run with a natural stride (they’re a bit rockered), and provide tons of shock absorption (the midsole has twice as much volume as you’d find on a traditional stability or training shoe). And here’s the kicker: they're way lighter than you'd think, thanks to a new-fangled foam in the midsole that's as light as EVA but way more resilient. Despite all that padding, the Conquests only weight 10.5 ounces. Maximally cushioned shoes like the Conquest aren’t for everyone, of course, but if you have ailing knees or some other nagging injury or are simply looking for a softer ride, you might want to check out them out.
Available January of 2014