Does max cushion always equal max fun? Let's put the MaxRoad 6pm through its paces.
After one of last year’s surprise hits, the MaxRoad 5. Skechers have brought along the MaxRoad 6. With changes to the midsole and outsole, will this make the shoe even more fun? The team at Meta-Endurance were lucky enough to get their hands on some samples to find out. Would this be a deep cushioned dream or an over-engineered nightmare?
Specs – All Maxed Out
Stack: 41mm heel and 35mm forefoot.
Given sample weight 309g (10.9oz)
The MaxRoad 6 is a whole lot of shoe
I have never run in Skechers running shoes before. So I was interested when I got the chance to test the new iteration of the big chonker of their road running models, the MaxRoad 6.
First thing to say is: be careful with the size! I usually wear a US W 8.5 which is a European 40, but with Skechers it is a 38.5. Don’t choose your regular European size because it will run too small! If you choose by your European size, convert it by a classic sizing chart and order a US W size. That said my US W 8.5 fits true to size with a enough length for my toes. The weight is 260g in my size.
The engineered mesh upper is nice and soft, keeping your feet a bit on the warmer side. This is due to a dual layer upper. I don’t think this is necessary for the fit and it just adds the weight up. The well padded tongue is not gusseted. It is, however, held more in place by the lace loop on its top. Skechers own Arch Fit insoles are replaceable. There are lots of structural elements at the midfoot on both medial and lateral side. These synthetic almost rubberlike overlays cumulate to a compact heel part with a pull tag. The heel cup is designed low and it is also nicely padded. All in all the fit is comfortable and plush.
Let me be frank about it, the upper on this specific item doesn’t rank among my favourites. Firstly, it is excessively thick, uniformly throughout rather than in specific areas. Every piece of fabric appears to be bulked up. As a result, all this padding adds weight to the shoe, and it also causes discomfort by becoming uncomfortably warm. Moreover, it tends to absorb an excessive amount of moisture or water, making the overall experience unpleasant and burdensome.
I might have been able to tolerate these drawbacks if it provided a secure fit, but unfortunately, that is not the case either. The fit is rather loose. Despite the thick padding around the heel collar and tongue, I still had to employ a heel lock, and the midfoot wrap was too wide and didn’t offer a sense of security. All things considered, although it is actually soft, pliable and doesn’t directly cause discomfort, I would likely change almost everything about the upper if given the opportunity. However, it’s important to note that this is a matter of personal preference, and I can understand that others may enjoy such excessively padded uppers, particularly those who prioritise maximum plushness over functionality.
I agree with Ivan’s assessment of the upper of the MaxRoad 6. There is just too much of it. The tongue is absurdly padded. It isn’t an uncomfortable upper to stand in but once the run starts, that’s when the issues begin. As Ivan said, the shoes run incredibly hot. My socks have come back soaked from every run which I have taken in the shoes.
Along with the thickness of the upper, I also found an issue of size like Silke. I received the shoe in my usual US 8.5. Being a sample, there is no label inside with size conversions to be seen. However, I could go down at least half a size. Perhaps even a whole size. Make sure you try before you buy. With the upper, I also had to use the runner’s knot on every run to make the fit work for me without some unpleasant heel slippage.
Maximum midsole but not maximum fun
The name MaxRoad says it, this shoe has a huge midsole under its maximum comfortable upper. It is Skechers carbon infused Hyper Burst Ice foam that features dual-density HYPER BURST® technology for a soft but stable run. With this maximum cushion you wouldn’t expect this shoe to be twisting but it does and a real stable ride is not what you get.
I found the rocker geometry wants me to run a very specific way which is ok, when I am doing very easy runs on even terrain and even with some elevation. Running faster feels a bit strange to me and I found it a bit difficult to pick up the pace and run more on my forefoot.
Typically, I’m not a fan of tall and wide trainers with some heft, as they tend to feel bulky and heavy for my running style. Being a light runner with a relatively high cadence, I lean towards light and agile shoes with a narrow platform, even for easy runs. However, I do have a strong affinity for highly rockered shoes, especially when the midsole maintains a balanced density without being excessively soft and mushy. Fortunately, the MaxRoad 6 offers a pronounced rocker geometry and a foam density that aligns well with my preferences. Consequently, despite the shoe’s weight, the ride feels remarkably smooth and efficient. It can feel a bit cumbersome when picking up the pace, but it provides a pleasant experience when maintaining a steady pace.
Personally, I foresee myself primarily using it for easy paces and particularly for recovery runs. However, I believe it will integrate nicely into my rotation for that specific purpose. I can envision heavier runners using it as their go-to shoe due to its exceptional cushioning, smooth heel-to-toe transition, and apparent durability in all aspects. My only concern revolves around its stability as a daily trainer. I have noticed some medial collapsing, possibly attributable to both the loose upper and the considerable height of the midsole.
Much like the upper, there is a lot of midsole. Coming in at 41mm in the heel, you won’t be able to claim any prize money in World Athletics events while wearing it. The 6mm drop takes you down to a still substantial 35mm in the forefoot. The shoe feels thick. I was also lucky enough to receive the Ride 11 at the same time as the MaxRoad 6. For my tastes, bigger is not always better. In this case, the Ride 11 feels bouncy, beautifully rockered and a joy to run in. Despite having the same Hyperburst Ice foam and a similar rocker, I find the Max Road 6 to be all too much. Thick, clunky and unlike Ivan, I did find this a heavy feeling shoe.
I’ve used this shoe for some longer runs and easy runs. It is really not my kind of ride. It protects the legs and has a real depth of cushioning but I have found it a chore to run in. I always feel like I am putting in more effort than I am getting in return. Perhaps because I am on the lighter side and the shoe may be of more use to a heavier runner who is not looking for a lot of stability despite the presence of the carbon-infused H plate in the forefoot.
Goodyear = Good grip?
I can’t say any negative things about the outsole. It seems to be grippy on dry and wet surfaces. It felt a bit slippery when I ran over slightly damp debris from trees. Although I guess every classic road running model would feel slippery in these conditions. After just 65k there is no wear to be seen. As there is plenty of GoodYear rubber on the outsole I would think this will hold up very well.
The outsole of the MaxRoad 6 has undergone a more traditional design compared to the previous version, which featured numerous smaller separate “pods” and exposed foam. This alteration has resulted in a less flexible outsole and a slightly diminished ground feel compared to the previous iteration. However, it’s worth noting that there were some complaints about the pods in the earlier version collapsing, and in that respect, I believe this “standard” outsole configuration with just a few flex grooves in the forefoot will prove to be more durable in the long run.
In terms of grip, I personally haven’t encountered any problems with the Goodyear rubber outsole, even in wet conditions. It provides reliable traction and ensures a secure footing.
Will we be using the MaxRoad 6 for maximum mileage?
I understand the theory of big packed midsole trainers to pamper your feet when you are running at high mileage. But running 80-100k a week I have never needed this kind of shoe. As a lighter runner I tend to pick lightweight trainers with more energy return instead even for my easy runs. Having run about 65k with the MaxRoad 6, I would recommend the shoe for shorter (up to 20k) distances at your easy or recovery pace. Running longer distances makes the weight more noticeable and the effect of a leg saving run will melt like snow in the sun. When I first ran in the shoes I couldn’t imagine taking the MaxRoad 6 to more than 50km. Now I think that once a week I will take them out just for plodding along.
In conclusion, the Skechers MaxRoad 6 is a fairly heavy daily trainer that offers exceptional cushioning and durability, making it suitable for easy paces and recovery runs. While the upper’s excessive thickness and loose fit are drawbacks, the shoe’s rocker geometry provides a smooth and efficient ride. The outsole’s updated design enhances durability, although sacrificing flexibility and ground feel. Overall, it is a reliable option for those seeking ample cushioning and durability, but may not be ideal for those prioritising a snug fit or lightweight design.
If you want a whole load of shoe for your money, the MaxRoad 6 is it. As Ivan said, it is a shoe for more relaxed paces, this won’t see you setting records. Of the two Skechers shoes I received, this one will not be making many more miles in my rotation. The Ride 11 on the other hand…
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