Over the past year, Hoka One One, which introduced the first fat-soled running shoe in 2010, has grown by a whopping 400 percent. Naturally, other brands have noticed and begun producing their own beefed-up sneaks. But each company brings a unique twist to maximum cushioning. Here, a look at the technologies they’re employing.
The Olympus’s ($130) ergonomic toe box allows toes to splay, which improves balance and helps keep your foot from collapsing inward.
Max-cushion shoes all have wide soles for stability, but this one’s wider than most.
Hoka One One Conquest
The Conquest’s ($170) high sidewall acts like a bucket for your foot, increasing stability. Hoka’s latest offering also features a new foam that’s firmer and springier than in previous models.
Instead of a flat sole, a rockered shape facilitates transition from heel to toe.
Vasque Ultra SST
Vasque uses an injection-molded midsole in the Ultra ($170), thereby avoiding lots of stitching and multiple layers of material underfoot. The result is closer contact with the midsole foam for a more responsive rebound.
Rubber pods wrap terrain, morphing around small obstacles and gripping the ground.
Brooks uses a viscous material in the Transcend’s ($160) midsole that becomes harder as greater force is applied, providing extra support to heavier runners.
Firmer EVA foam lines the sides of the midsole at the top to prevent side roll.