Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Review: Hoka One One Running Shoe

“Minimalist” or barefoot running has been one of the hottest trends in the running shoe industry over the past few years. Most major running shoe companies have already come out with lighter shoes that are closer to the ground, with a very small (or even no) angle downward from the heel to the toe and which have fewer motion control or stability features compared to the typical running shoe. Many of these new shoe designs have become quite popular within the running community. But this isn’t the only trend that happening within the industry.

In fact, some companies are moving in the opposite direction, and offering shoes that are bigger and have more features than traditional running shoes. One of the leading companies in this area is Hoka One One.

Hoka One One Running Shoe
Hoka One One Running Shoe
Hoka One One has come up with a shoe technology that provides a degree of cushioning that simply doesn’t exist in any other shoe. The midsoles of the various models of Hoka shoes are roughly two to three times larger than traditional running shoes. As far as appearance goes, this means that the shoes look different than just about anything else on the market. Hokas are tall; your foot will be about two full inches off the ground. Furthermore, the outsole and tread of the Hoka shoes are much wider than a normal running shoe.

But functionally, there’s a purpose behind the distinctive looking shoes. The cushioning in the Hoka One One shoes is comprised of a special type of foam that is more compressible and can dissipate much more foot strike impact and shock than traditional shoes. This can make the Hoka shoes a great option for runners who may have biomechanical issues that cause them to experience.

In addition, the Hoka One One shoe design does not come at the expense of a person’s running form or shoe weight. The bottoms of the Hoka shoes have a unique rocker design that makes it easy to transition through the running stride. In fact, by virtue of the sole shape many runners find that they can actually decrease the amount that their knees need to bend throughout their running gait, which lessens much of the damage that would otherwise occur in traditional shoes.

Surprisingly, this increased cushioning and comfort does make the shoe feel heavy or clunky. The trail running model of Hoka One One shoes actually weigh less than many traditional trail running shoes. This has made the Hoka One One a popular brand for runners who put in extremely high mileage, or who run log a significant percentage of their miles on rough trails.

There are currently several different models available. The Bondi is designed for running on pavement or hard-packed smooth trails. The Mafate and Mafate WP are designed for running on rougher trails. The Stinson and the Rapa Nui are the most heavy duty models, designed for hiking.

Because they are different from traditional running shoes, if you decide to check out Hoka One One shoes make sure to give yourself a little bit of extra time to adjust to how they work on your feet.


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