Maximalist shoes: Some bad press from ACSM 2018

The advent of "maximalist" footwear came at an impossible time, right in the thick of the "minimalist" boom!

Talk about flying in the face of it, companies like Hoka were originally vilified for their "clown shoes", but really only from the ignorant sweating masses who did not take the time to understand what the product offered, and what the creators, 2 ex Salomon guys, Nicolas Mermoud and Jean-Luc Diard, were trying to achieve.

In 2009, they sought to design a shoe that allowed them to run downhill faster, and created a model with an oversized outsole that had more cushion than other running shoes at the time. The shoes are named after the Maori language phrase loosely meaning "fly over the earth".

They also designed a fairly significant rocker into the shoe, which I have long suspected plays more than a fleeting role in the success of the shoe in allowing some runners, particularly older, broken down runners, to prosper where previously they were unable.

The shoes quickly became popular with initially, ultra distance runners, (perhaps the rocker assisted with the rollover process and had some fatigue reducing effect), and eventually mainstream runners.

Simon Bartold
Director of Bartold Clinical