Maximum Cush ‘Fat Shoes’ Are Trend for Multiple Brands in 2014

Minimalist-style running shoes have been the rage over the past five years. Now, the pendulum has swung. In 2014, look for “maximalist” shoes coming to market — thick foam midsoles and an extra-cushioned ride for runners is the new theme at several big brands.

Richmond, Calif.-based Hoka One One started this trend. In 2011, at the height of the barefoot-running and minimalist-shoe trend Hoka bucked convention and released a mega-shoe. It was designed to take on rugged mountain races with major foam underfoot to dampen downhill blows.

Hoka got lots of strange looks. But testimonials of runners going faster and safer on rugged terrain became common, and the Hoka quickly gained acceptance in ultra-running spheres.

For 2014, a handful of shoe brands are jumping on the fat wagon. This includes New Balance, Brooks, Vasque, Altra, and others. Here’s a breakdown of five new obese shoes, all coming to market next year. —Amy Oberbroeckling

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Amy Oberbroeckling, an Iowa native, joined GearJunkie out of college and brought a passion for endurance sports as well as a flawless record in arm wrestling matches against famous rock climbers. Find her biking, trail running, cross-country skiing, camping, or tipping back a cold IPA.