We all know that Skiing is the center of the universe, yet here is further proof: introducing Hoka One One - a fat, rocker inspired trail shoe.
Built off the notion that a rockered, excessively cushioned & wider with 35% more contact area shoe would provide a better ride, these guys are launching the anti minimalist movement in shoes!
With a slogan of "time to fly" Hokas are becoming an alternative to traditional running gear. While these are aimed at the ultra crowd- folks running in marathon plus type events, I decided to give them a try after video analysis this fall & a recovery from a fractured foot this summer.
For reference, I am primary a trail, ridge runner who prefers gnar & shorter distances. I have a bunch of Ultra pals who enjoy seeing me suffer, so I tend to get humbled on their grind fests on a routine basis. I also have more of a supination form & a ridged foot that does poorly w landing.
Due to the number of readily accessible 5k races in Vermont & that even a terrible event is done 20 minutes, I've become a bit of a 5k specialist.
So how does a fat, rockered Ronald McDonald shoe ride? I must say rather well if your foot profile fits. For a foot needing more cushion & wanting to run like a nut, this shoe is the bomb! I wanted a shoe for the winter that I could run trails & Vermont county roads without the pounding as I build a larger base for the spring.
My one Ultra pal & I have a rather stupid ideation for summer '13 as well.
This Hoka really does take the benefits of a wider platform to new levels of shock attenuation. Running takes some acclimatizing as they are a low drop heel to toe & overly tall shoe. I found that they were awesome on the trails & poorer gravel roads. I was less impressed on the actual roads, yet this seems to related to hitting breaks in pavement awkwardly. 99% of my runs this time of year are w a headlamp on.
While critics site uneven wear on the shoes profile, I have seen none of this. I imagine that this would occur with any shoe where the runner does not progress in the linear plane regardless of strike pattern or pronation levels.
While there is a learning curve to time the rebound of the shoe, cornering & berms were no problem to speak of. Going up hill, the feel like a regular shoe. Somehow, Hoka found a way to increase the wt by only 2 ounces compared to my racing flats & about one ounce lighted than the trainer I ran in this summer.
There are reports on the web of folks getting 800-1000 miles out of them. While I don't know about that, I have 200 or so on mine & for a winter milage crusher, they are working out quite well!
My only issues have been that the sizing / fit is a little less than perfect & as a new company, I expect them to improve quickly on this. Some have issue with the $170 price, yet I can tell you that after 200 miles on footwear in the $100 range under these conditions, I would only have another 100 to go. These still look new & I can see them lasting until spring.
So if you we're thinking how skiers really dominate the world, you would be correct!
As for my ultra buddies, I will be on the chairlift while you cover 120 miles per week!
A question I also field often is the misconception that these promote a slower, steady pace & are not a speedster shoe. I have not found this to be the case:
My legs do however feel well enough from all the cushioning to pound out skiing after my AM workouts!