The aim of the present study is to develop a design guideline to improve the load capacity of gas foil thrust bearings (GFTBs). The Reynolds equation for an isothermal isoviscous ideal gas calculates the gas film pressure. The film pressure averaged in the radial direction determines the ultimate load capacity. The load capacity, film pressure profile, and film thickness profile are predicted for a GFTB with an outer radius of 55 mm, inner radius of 30 mm, and eight foils each of arc length 45 deg. The predictions show that the load capacity of the GFTB increases with increasing rotor speed and decreasing minimum film thickness. A parametric study, in which the ramp extent (or inclined angle) is increased from 5 deg to 40 deg, and the ramp height from 0 to 320 μm, reveals that GFTBs have an optimal ramp extent of ∼22.5 deg and ramp height of 30 μm for maximum load capacity. A series of maximum load capacity measurements are conducted on four test GFTBs with ramp heights of 50, 150, 250, and 350 μm at the speeds of 12, 15, and 18 krpm. To estimate the maximum load capacity, the applied load is increased until the drag torque rises suddenly with a sharp peak. The test results show that the maximum load capacity generally increases for decreasing ramp height and for increasing rotor speed. The GFTB with a ramp height of 50 μm shows the largest maximum load capacity of 510 N, for example. Test results are in good agreement with model predictions.