Sole Man: 12 Things We Learned About Minimalism

Hoka was the first brand to pioneer oversized cushioning technology, but they'll be one of several brands with pillowy shoes in 2014.

Minimalism Begat Maximalism

All hot trends run their course — think leisure suits, Beanie Babies or “tramp stamp” lower-back tattoos — but quite often they spur other ideas that become new trends. Look no further than the maximalism trend that is upon us now. Although category pioneer and leader Hoka didn’t originally develop the maximum cushioning concept to be the antithesis of minimalism, that’s the way the trend will take off in 2014.

Several brands — including Brooks, Skechers, Altra, New Balance, Vasque, Pearl Izumi and Hoka — will be releasing shoes with crazy thick midsoles next year and several others are working on it. It’s not just about the amount of foam, it’s how resilient and responsive the foam is. The bottom line is that several brands are specifically pitching these “high cushion” shoes to runners who got burned by minimalism or never wanted to go down that road in the first place. Don’t expect your running friends to utter “oooohs” and “aaaaahs” during long runs and hard track workouts, but this new generation of shoes definitely puts a premium on comfort like never before.

RELATED: Sole Man — Maximally Cushioned Shoes

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