I ran with a guy today who is a serious runner, fast, ran in college, good on trails, etc. He runs in Hokas (not sure which model) and can't say enough good things about them - says they make him run faster and make running easier on his feet and legs. It was not before checking them out online that I realized they were $170 a pair. I'm curious about people's experience with them, what they like/don't like about them, whether their worth the $$, etc.
Uh oh... now what?
I doubt if their shoes make them run faster. If they're responsible for increased speed, then they are worth the $$, etc., maybe. On the other hand, I have failed the "serious runner" exam so many times I am in no way qualified to comment on shoes making a runner faster or serious.
I like them for really rocky trails but not for shorter runs and definitely not on the road. It's a quiver shoe, great in the right application, but not a daily driver.
I'm Holden McGruyen. Would you like to join me?
I've got a pair of Stinson Evos which I'm still trying out - about 15mi. I got them cuz of sore feet, esp. on gravel, and needing wide shoes. I don't usually do well in cushioned shoes, hence the jury is still out.
I've been chicken to try them on snow-covered trails, so have only used them on paved bike path which has been plowed. I think I'm liking them, but takes a little adaptation. (I originally got Mafate 2's and they're definitely too rigid for me.) My gut feeling is I may not like them on some of our trails because of the embankments and the height of the shoe. It may be a month or more before we see dry dirt in our trails. (snow, breakup, then need to dry)
While still testing, I'm liking them more with each run - including an almost subLT run on paved path this evening. (wasn't quite high enough effort outbound, slightly downhill, but was in the zone inbound, uphill - hence the "almost") I've never been able to maintain that effort before on that path. Haven't used them for over about 1:15 yet.
Besides being softer, they've got a rocker in them that facilitates your forward motion.
In the meantime, while waiting for these shoes, a podiatrist found my foot problem and fixed it (shaved off the dead skin). And I also tried the Saucony Xodus 3.0, which has a decently wide forefoot and forefoot protection (both shock absorption and rock plate). Sooo, if the LRS had had the Xodus in my size last summer when I was first looking, I may not have started looking at the Hokas. I think the Xodus will work well on trail, and Hoka for asphalt and gravel.
If you have a store near you where you can try them on, try them, and you'll see what people like about them. For me, it was "wow."
Who wears them - Karl Meltzer, Dave Mackey, and a few other elites. A friend of mine who just set the women's record in ITI350. I've read reports of people being passed by an "army" of Hoka wearers late in an ultra.
Another non-running friend of mine - with very sore feet from hours standing in the lab - didn't even blink an eye at them being $170 if they provided relief from her pain, which was occurring in her $120 shoes.
There's a couple discussions around, including one in the Ultra group.
I am a slowish 61+ runner barely into my 3rd year of running.
Initially I ran only on Brooks Glycerins and loved them and Cascadias for trails.
I had read about Hokas and saw a gal in them and talked to her about them at the Howl at the Moon 8-hour ultra in Illinois.
I bought a barely used pair from a lawyer in NC last fall and have run in them since.
I put at least 600 miles on my Bondi Bs and they still have some miles left in them.
I used them for streets (not much) and dirt roads and trails and they feel great to me.
Do they make me faster - no, but they feel great and my knees and hips really love them.
Recently I bought the new Stinson Evo Hokas and they feel great too - they have more lugs.
The wider platform helps me with my ankles not rolling so much (some people say the opposite).
Yes the stack height is higher, but honest;y they are not THAT much taller than many other cushioned shoes.
Plus, your foot is sinking into the "bucket seat" as they call it.
I also bought a pair of the Mafate water proof Hokas off Ebay and they are nice too - but do seem stiffer,
I love my Hokas. I do wear my Superfeet orthotics in them due to my very flat feet. No issues with that combo.
They will get me through however many miles I do at the new Indiana Trail 100 in 3 weeks.
If your knees tend to get sore on long paved or dirt road runs, Hokas may be for you. I can easily put in a 13 mile training run on pavement and have no joint soreness. With a "regular" road shoe anything over 5 leaves me with sore, aching joints.
Overall my runs are faster in the Hokas than other shoes. Why? Because the extra padding allows me to go faster down hill and over sharp rocks. Less wear and tear on the joints means less drop off in speed at the end of a run.
Right now I'm nursing a turned ankle that happened yesterday. I had to choose between my Cascadias and my Hokas for a trail race. I chose the Cascadias because these was still snow on the trails at places and with 900 miles on them the Hokas have very little traction. About 1 mile from the finish I hit a root the wrong way and rolled my ankle. While sitting there recovering enough to walk out, I looked over the area around the root and feel that if I had been wearing the Hokas the thicker sole may have absorbed the impact better and the wider base may have provided more stabilization. Obviously there is no way to know this for sure, but I have had no more problems with rolling ankles in them then in my Cascadias.
The biggest thing I don't like about them? I don't think the soles on my Mafates held up as well as they should have. Yes I have 900 miles on them, but most of that was on moderate terrain. While they absorbed the hits well from rough terrain and rocks, there was too much damage to the soles to suit me. If I had used these on a lot of technical terrain I doubt that I would have gotten this many miles out of them. I will point out that I think I have the first generation Mafates so maybe the soles are tougher now.
Overall I'll probably always have a pair for road running. If the toughness of the sole improves I can see myself switching to them almost exclusively.
As always there is a reason why there are so many different shoes on the market. Not everyone likes the same thing, so YMMV.
Wardian has been racing in them after coming back from injury and still has all of his speed. He said that they are a great recovery shoe. The biggest problem that I have with them is the CRAZY cost.
I got my Mafates cheap on Ebay.
Just keep checking there - there always some there at full price.
But usually you will find people who have tried them and did not like them and you can score a great price.
Also check The Clymb web site - every now and then they have a killer price, but limited shoe sizes.
But . . . also keep in mind that many Hoka users are getting double or more the amount of miles than normal running shoes.
So it may hurt at first if you pay full price, but you get a lot more out of them - I certainly am.
Also Zombie Runner and the iRunFar.com store have sales now and then.
I've put 100 miles on Bondi B 2s. They feel like canoe boats on my feet and my legs really are trashed after a long run. Plus they give me blisters on two different toes. But I do think they make me run faster.
Take Charge. Train Harder. Suck Less. No Excuses.
If mine did that to me, I would put on old shoes and run away from them!