Researchers at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas took a closer look at the max-cushioned running shoe craze. Specifically, they wondered what larger, more cushioned running shoes can do to a runner’s economy.
The researchers—Miles A. Mercer, Tori Stone, Jack Young and John Mercer of UNLV—presented their findings last week at the American College of Sports Medicine meeting in Boston. In their small study, 10 experienced runners were fitted with a pair of neutral running shoes with traditional cushioning (a pair of Adidas with Adiprene cushioning) and a pair of max-cushioned running shoes (Hoka One One Bondi 4s). Over two days, the runners did several sessions on the treadmill at various speeds and inclines. Each session lasted about 10 minutes and VO2 Max—an indication of running economy—was measured.
The conclusion? Researchers found that VO2 Max was not influenced by the shoe the runners were wearing. VO2 Max, as expected, was impacted by the speed of the treadmill and the incline of the treadmill—but not by which shoe the runners were wearing.
“It seems that the cushioning of the shoe (extreme vs. regular) play no role in the influence of running economy,” the study concludes.
Mercer told the New York Times that his colleagues hope to study injury patterns of max-cushioned shoes in the future.