Looking for the plushest ride possible for your next running outing? Hoka One One shoes have taken the running world by storm the last couple of years by standing in stark constrast to the increasingly minimalistic designs from other manufacturers by focusing on “overbuilt,” highly cushioned, yet surprisingly light running footwear. This radical shift rapidly caught attention across the ultramarathon, trail, and running landscapes, making Hoka One One the hottest brand out there. Interested? Read on.
What are Hoka One One Shoes?
They are a different kind of run shoe that is engineered for maximum cushion, comfort, protection and responsiveness using the following designs:
Hoka’s rockered midsole geometry, including a low heal to toe differential provides a smooth, energy efficient stride transition from the heal strike to the push off. This movement encourages a mid-foot strike and an overall smooth forward motion whether the user be a walker, jogger, ultra runner, trail runner or triathlete.
Hoka models offer up to 2.5x the volume of EVA in the midsole as compared to standard running shoes. This extra foam provides outstanding impact absorption and a highly comfortable underfoot feel. Originally the Hoka got its start as a trail running shoe. Athletes using Hoka One Ones have won numerous ultra distance races all over the world. Trail races such as the Leadville 100, American River 100k, the Superior Trail marathons, and Ultras across the world all feature rocky terrain which many runners choose to run in Hokas to maintain speed while protecting their feet from bruising on the tricky down hills. The Hoka cushioning absorbs the heal impact and acts as a buffer allowing runners to move more freely over rocky trails.
BUCKET SEAT HEEL:
All Hoka One One shoes feature a unique patented bucket seat design. The foot is recessed between 20mm and 30mm into the midsole. The heel is thereby firmly supported which allows for precision striding and optimum foot stabilization. Much like a seat belt in a car, the bucket seat locks the runner's heel in place, allowing them to handle steep descents and abrupt changes in terrain with more confidence.
GRIP & STABILITY:
Grips are designed to synchronize with whatever terrain YOU the runner, choose. A wide variety of tactile lug construction with varying depths are offered through the different Hoka models. The midsole thickness and density, meanwhile, have been precisely engineered to allow for the correct amount of deformation that provide constant contact with the ground no matter how or where the runner strides. The Hoka line includes models designed for pure road use, extreme trail running, and road-to-trail, do-everything versatility.
Hoka’s are LIGHT! These shoes may look big and cloddy but try a pair on and you will find they're shockingly feathery. Worn race-day by ultra trail runners and Ironman triathletes alike, it's amazing just how responsive and fast Hoka One One shoes really are.
WHO ARE HOKA ONE ONE'S FOR?
Hoka One One has models for runners of all types from new runners to veteran racers. In fact, anyone who wants a comfortable, forgiving and stable shoe willfind Hokas to be a great option. Their unique design gives them one of the most flexible fit profiles on the market, providing pure comfort and performance to many body types and athletic needs. They work for BIG persons with sore feet who too easily compress lighter-weight shoes, for runners who heel strike, and for avid runners who just like a variety of shoes to mix it up and to keep feet healthy. From 5k runs to Ultra Trail marathons, Triathlons (from Sprint to Ironman distance), long training runs to just walking, Hoka shoes fill a shoe niche for ultimate in comfort.
To illustrate, the owners of Gear West use Hokas for different reasons. Jan Guenther loves them for foot protection on trail racing such as the American Birkebeiner Trail Marathon in September in Hayward Wisconsin, the Superior Trail runs in Duluth, MN and the Imogene Pass in Telluride, CO, where hilly, rocky terrain, long tricky descents, or just lots of loose stones can destroy feet. Additionally Jan likes to add Hoka One Ones to her mix of shoes, sort of like a quiver of skis, to use under different run conditions and foot needs, such as when her feet are sore from running in minimal shoes and or returning to running after a winter of XC skiing.
On the other hand, Gear West co-owner Brian Knutson needs his Hokas to protect his feet from hours of standing on them. Says Brian: “They are amazing!. My feet do not hurt at all after standing 10 hours a day on them fitting skis” .
WHICH HOKA SHOE IS FOR YOU?
Gear West carries the following models of Hoka trail shoes and Hoka run shoes:
Hoka Bondi 3 - Full Oversized Midsole
The Bondi 3 is engineered primarily for road use yet it performs very well on dirt and less technical trails. With a slightly reduced midsole profile and rocker profile, the Bondi 3 is well suited as an efficient everyday trainer for med sized runners and a lighter training shoe for heavier runners. These shoes work great for longer training runs where comfort is required.
NEW. Hoka Conquest - Full Oversized Midsole
The Conquest is a brand new model for 2014 and will feel more springy and responsive than the Bondi. The Conquest is built with Hoka's new midsole, an injection molded midsole foam that provides a state of the art weight to resilience ratio and excellent energy return while still offering Hoka’s signature cushioning and stability.
NEW. Hoka Men's Rapa Nui 2 / Women's Kailua Trail - Ultra sized Midsole
A more nimble, lighter shoe with a very responsive fit and feel. You will still get maximum cushioning and a rocker profile standard in all Hoka shoes but with the Rapa Nui’s injection molded midsole, the energy return and light weight design makes for a faster performing shoe off road.
Hoka Stinson Trail - Ultra sized Midsole
The Stinson is Hoka's ultimate trail monster and features additional cushioning over the Rapa Nui/Kailua. Designed for trail Ultras, the Stinson can also act as a goto shoe for everyday training runs.