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Archive for September, 2013

Review: Hoka One One

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Hoka One One Bondi B

Here’s how I sell Hoka’s at the store: I know they’re ugly, but they are the most comfortable running shoes you will ever wear.  And at mile 20, do you really care how they look?

First things first, what is Hoka One One?  From their website:

Hoka One One was founded by two trail-running adventurers that set out to design road and trail running shoes. While across the running shoe industry, the trend has been towards minimalism and creating lightweight shoes with less cushioning, Hoka One One went a different direction. Taking cues from the “oversized” trend that has surfaced in skiing, golf, tennis and mountain biking, Hoka One One introduced a revolutionary, first-of-its-kind oversized shoe concept in 2010. The goal? To provide a shoe for runners of all levels.

The result? By merging aspects of minimalism and maximalism, Hoka One One has pioneered a patented innovative design, engineering lightweight, nimble shoes utilizing an oversized outsole footprint, maximally cushioned midsoles and active meta-rocker technology. Hoka One One’s loyal customers use words like “weightlessness” and “effortless” to describe running in the shoes, which, counterintuitive as it may seem, are 15% lighter than the average running shoe.

Hoka One One shoes are designed to minimize impact while maximizing comfort, traction and stability and for a relaxed stride. Whether on pavement or trails, runners maximize their speed, efficiency and distance and achieve improved running form and body mechanics.

The first thing to note about any pair of Hoka’s that you try is that they have significantly more cushioning than a traditional running shoe, but they are about 15% lighter.  You wouldn’t guess that by looking at the shoe, but once you try it on, you will definitely be impressed.  I’m not normally one to go for a super cushioned shoe, but once I tried on the Hoka Bondi B, I was hooked.  The first time I took these shoes out, I intended to do a 5 mile run.  On my way back to the car I realized my feet and knees and hips felt great, so I just went for an extra 2 miles.  That’s how great they felt.

The cushioning is firm enough to not make it feel like you are wearing pillows on your feet.  It’s responsive and the meta-rocker bottom helped me do a mid-foot strike and therefore increase my turnover.  The shoe is wide (particularly the BondiB), so it will work great for someone with a wider foot.  The large midsole and wide base controls overpronation but works equally well for someone with a neutral foot.

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Hoka One One Kailua Trail

As for the price, it’s a little more spendy than other traditional running shoes ($170 for the BondiB and $135 for the Kailua), but it’s definitely worth the extra bucks, especially if you’re doing a lot of miles in one go.  Hoka One One was first made popular by ultra endurance runners, but it’s picking up steam in the marathon/half marathon market now.

Bottom line: I would definitely recommend this shoe for anyone looking for more cushioning or for a wider base/toe box.  I will warn you though, once you make the switch to Hoka it is incredibly difficult to go back.

For anyone in the Rochester area, next Thursday at 6pm we will be having a Hoka One One 5K (your $5 registration fee gets you a marked course, food and drink after, and the proceeds will go to a local charity).  Our Hoka rep will be here and you will get the opportunity to try out the shoes for yourself.  We will even be giving away a pair of Hokas to one lucky runner!

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I went for a trail run today, wearing my new Hoka One One Kailuas (review in the works).  I took my new dog, Toby, a Golden Retriever/Corgi mix that we adopted from Paws and Claws Humane Society just about two weeks ago.  He is a great running partner, although he could use a little conditioning (not unlike myself).  He approached the narrow trail head with trepidation.  It was a single-track dirt path winding through a small suburban forest.  Toby led the way, occasionally falling behind.

At the top of one particularly steep hill I realized that I needed to tighten my shoes.  The path was a little more harrowing than I had anticipated, and I felt like my feet were sliding around a little too much for comfort.  We stopped, Toby grateful for the break, and I bent over to untie my right shoe.  Immediately we were attacked by a pack of mosquitoes (a horde?  a gaggle?  a flock?).  Toby’s tail whisked back and forth over his hind end while he attempted to get the mosquitoes that had landed on his back with his teeth.  I’ve always been sensitive to mosquitoes and they’ve always been particularly fond of me, so this wasn’t good.  They landed on my neck, my face, behind my knees, on my arms, and in my armpits (of all places!!). A few flew directly into my mouth when I accidentally inhaled them.  The shoes were still loose, so I shook my head, blew raspberries to keep them off my face, and swatted, whilst simultaneously untying and retying my shoelaces.

When I finally got my shoes retied we headed off immediately.  And while I hadn’t noticed the mosquitoes in the woods before we stopped, now they seemed to come at me from every angle.  We hurried home as quick as we could.

When I peeled my sweaty running clothes off before getting in the shower, I counted the number of mosquito bites. Twenty-one.

Time for a chamomile bath.

tobymirror

This is Toby. He just can’t get enough of looking at himself in the mirror.

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