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Will maximalist running shoes help reduce impact?

Maximalistvs.Traditional

In the past several years there has been running shoes come out that have thick or oversized midsoles and an extreme amount of cushioning on the bottom. They are referred to as "maximalist" running shoes, because they  have so much cushioning on the bottom. The claim is that they reduce impact when running, so researchers put it to the test to see if it really does.

The research was published in the May 2018 issue of the European Journal of Sports Science. The running research conducted included a group of 27 distance runners. They had the distance runners conduct running four 5-minute running trials, wearing maximalist running shoes and wearing traditional running shoes. They tested them on both a level surface and a downhill surface (10% decline) on a treadmill. They analyzed such data as the runners' instantaneous loading rates, footstrike patterns, and their stride length, all within the last minute of each of the four trial runs that they did. 

What the researchers found was that there were no significant differences in the loading rates and stride length when running on  a level surface, as compared to a traditional running shoe. The majority of the runners maintained the same footstrike patterns for both the downhill running and running on a level surface. 

The researchers concluded that maximalist running shoes may not reduce the impact loading in runners during level and downhill treadmill running. Furthermore, they found that maximalist running shoes may increase the external impact loading during downhill treadmill running.

With maximalist running shoes becoming increasingly popular it's not a bad idea to keep this information in mind. You may still find them to be more comfortable overall, because of the increased cushioning they provide, but they also may have their limitations, as this new research suggests.

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