Now available at Rock/Creek and rockcreek.com are three of the most innovative (and, quite possibly, peculiar) running shoes to hit the market in some time, from a French company going by the name Hoka One One. “Time to fly,” proclaims each brightly-colored shoebox, and the shoes themselves are even brighter.
Some of our local visitors may have already seen these on the wall at our 2 North Shore and Hamilton Place locations, as they tend to catch the eye! We know, we know… they’re funny-looking. The available styles from Hoka are:
The Hoka Mafate for men and women is intended for trail running use, while the Hoka Bondi.B is meant primarily for road running. The first thing you’ll notice about these shoes is the massive amount of cushioning in the sole; they utilize approximately 2.5 times the EVA featured in a typical trail running shoe, and that EVA is 30% softer. The second thing you’ll notice is how light they are, being one of the lightest trail running shoes on the market.
This large sole not only provides plenty of cushioning to keep you running for longer, it also creates an uncommonly large surface area to grip the terrain beneath you. The foot is actually recessed into the midsole, and quite stable. The “rockered” front of the sole’s profile promotes a smooth, healthy stride.
So, why is Rock/Creek carrying these crazy things? Because they’re completely awesome, that’s why. Hear us out.
Rock/Creek Race Team member Randy Whorton received an advance pair of the Hoka Mafate trail running shoe, and was predictably skeptical. He immediately took them out for a 20-mile run, followed by a hard 6-miler on the most technical trails in the Chattanooga area. Thrilled with the results to that point, he decided to wear them while running the Black Mountain 50k. Here’s what he wrote after the race:
“I ran in the new Hoka Mafate trail running shoe. This makes my 20th race 50 miles or longer and I can say that, without question, every race I have completed that had me on my feet for more than 8 hours resulted in joint pain the rest of that day and for several days after. That is, until now. Sure, some of my muscle groups were a bit sore and still are several days later, but my knees, feet and hips are pain-free… the Hokas are a true revolution to me and I believe that they will change the running industry far more than the barefoot running movement has.”
Hoka’s combination of soft cushioning, exceptional grip, ultralight weight and a wide, stable base makes for a shoe that performs exceptionally well over long distances. Hoka One One is gaining popularity rapidly, with a number of ultrarunners making the switch; their pro team now includes several prominent racers including Karl Meltzer, who set a course record while winning 2010’s Moab Red Hot 55K. “Time to fly,” indeed.
In case you have any remaining doubt that the French do things a bit differently than we do, I present the following video from Hoka One One, which… well, you’re just going to have to watch it.