Epidemic spreading phenomena are ubiquitous in nature and society. Examples include the spreading of diseases, information, and computer viruses. Epidemics can spread by local spreading, where infected nodes can only infect a limited set of direct target nodes and global spreading, where an infected node can infect every other node. In reality, many epidemics spread using a hybrid mixture of both types of spreading. In this study we develop a theoretical framework for studying hybrid epidemics, and examine the optimum balance between spreading mechanisms in terms of achieving the maximum outbreak size. We show the existence of critically hybrid epidemics where neither spreading mechanism alone can cause a noticeable spread but a combination of the two spreading mechanisms would produce an enormous outbreak. Our results provide new strategies for maximising beneficial epidemics and estimating the worst outcome of damaging hybrid epidemics.