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Hoka flexibility? (Read 306 times)

    Do the various models of Hokas have different flexibilities - or put another way, less rigid - or do they flex a little more with time?

     

    I got a pair of Mafate 2's (size 9 women's, based on earlier discussion) which seemed fine on flats (including a figure 8 around some obstacles to test agility) and stairs (both indoors), but they seemed a little big even with my heavy winter socks on. Stairs are still a flat surface, rather than ramp like a real hill. I tried them briefly on a steep hill (about 25%, packed snow) after I'd already done some running on it in my regular shoes. I was able to get up on my toes in the Hokas, BUT that was by movement inside the shoe - the sole was still straight, and the heel dropped about half way off my foot, even with the extra loop tied at the top. Toes definitely felt the work of stabilizing when on a marshmallow.  It was definitely a weird sensation. (This wasn't a good place to test, but it's what was available without making a big commitment to the shoes.)

     

    My initial impression is that these won't work on steep uphills (25%) for me. (and I can't use them for the down unless I can get up the hill first)  And they may not work that well on twisty single track. But my main intended use for these was gravel (or asphalt) roads (max slope probably about 10%). And the little bit I used the shoes in the parking lot (lumpy snow), I was greatly impressed with the way they rolled over the ground variability.

     

    I'm debating about trying an 8.5 to see if that fits better and could maybe use on some trails.

    Just using on paved and gravel paths, roads that are < 10% slopes.

    Trying a different model if they are more flexible in the sole. That's why I'm wondering about others' experiences. I think I was noticing that the models that people like Meltzer and Mackey use were road shoes, iirc, and why I'm wondering.

     

    I was originally thinking the gravel would fit between the lugs thus smoothing out the ride, but I'm thinking the sole itself may be enough to smooth the footing - hence road shoe might work.

     

    Shoes are from Zappos, so should be able to return whichever shoe doesn't work for me. (Anchorage store - 50mi away - does have some other models that I could try, if they have my size.)

     

    Shoes that have given me issues in the past were motion control or ones that were cushy inside. But the Hokas are a different kind of cushy.

     

    Thanks.

    "So many people get stuck in the routine of life that their dreams waste away. This is about living the dream." - Cave Dog

      Different Hoka models are very different in flex. After running in Bondi B's and Stinson Evos, I find the Mafate 2s very rigid. I much prefer the Evos for trail. I didn't feel as though I needed to break them in like the Mafates. I haven't put enough miles on the Mafates yet to actually get them to loosen up.  I need to do a few trail runs soon.

      Live the Adventure. Enjoy the Journey. Be Kind. Have Faith!


      Trail Monster

        I tried Hokas and gave up on them. I have a barely used pair of Bondi B's (I think size 8) if you want to try them. I just can't run anything but flat and down in them and that's really not feasible. I also felt too tall and awkward in them, like I was wearing stilts or heels.

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          Thanks. I've since seen videos of the Tarmac and one of the others, where they showed how flexible those models were. The Mafate 2 video from same series did not have a flexibility demo. Wink

           

          I haven't really tried to break the Mafates in yet since that hill test was so disastrous and they still looked new, I'm thinking of returning them, esp. if other models may work better. But they may be ok on gentler slopes.

           

          My LRS (50 mi away) does carry the Stinson Evos, but they and the manufacturer were out of my size until end of December - which is what started this whole issue.

           

          In the meantime, the Saucony Xodus 3's have been working well for me - including decent forefoot protection. They get their 4mm drop by reducing some of the heel and adding to the forefoot so they have 3mm more in the forefoot than Adrenaline ASRs.

          "So many people get stuck in the routine of life that their dreams waste away. This is about living the dream." - Cave Dog

            Glad you found a shoe that works.  I bought the Mafate 2s for less than half price and to try them out so I will keep them.  Personally, I would send them back and get a different model if I didn't already own any others.

             

            Mta: I am not a fan of having to break in shoes.  I really think they should feel good out of the box.  In my opinion it is a design issue if they aren't comfortable on first wear.

            Live the Adventure. Enjoy the Journey. Be Kind. Have Faith!


              In the meantime, the Saucony Xodus 3's have been working well for me - including decent forefoot protection. They get their 4mm drop by reducing some of the heel and adding to the forefoot so they have 3mm more in the forefoot than Adrenaline ASRs.

               

              How's the room in the toe box on the Saucony?  I've been running in Inov8 Roclite 268 for trail and Road X-238 for the road.  I like them because of the have a very room toe box and low heel.  However, I'm having issues with a reoccurring torn ligament in the left foot and am thinking I may need to look for a shoe with a little more cushion in the forefoot than what the Inov8 provides.  Actually, will (hopefully) find out tomorrow my status on being able to run again period.  But if he tells me I need a shoe with more cushion, I'm trying to figure out which way to turn.

              Leslie
              Living and Running Behind the Redwood Curtain
              -------------

              2015 Wish List:

              April 4 - Peterson Ridge Rumble (40m); June - A 50k somewhere; July 25 & 26 - Lake of Death 24 Hour; October 10 - Dick Collins Firetrails 50; January 2016 - Ordnance 100k (dream a little dream . . .)


              "The farther you go outside, the farther you go inside." (Unknown)
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              Fatozzi

                 

                How's the room in the toe box on the Saucony?  I've been running in Inov8 Roclite 268 for trail and Road X-238 for the road.  I like them because of the have a very room toe box and low heel.  However, I'm having issues with a reoccurring torn ligament in the left foot and am thinking I may need to look for a shoe with a little more cushion in the forefoot than what the Inov8 provides.  Actually, will (hopefully) find out tomorrow my status on being able to run again period.  But if he tells me I need a shoe with more cushion, I'm trying to figure out which way to turn.

                The Xodus 3 don't fit quite as well as my Vasque shoes (no pressure points at all), but they're wide enough I can wear my heavy winter wool socks with only a little compression. I haven't tried my neoprene socks, which I generally wear with my Blurs in about -20F. I can feel a little pressure in the widest part of my forefoot (bunionette position). Adrenaline ASR wides are a tiny bit wider, but there's little protection under the forefoot. I haven't used them much yet because we had no snow (some very frozen, lumpy ground = ouch, then icy). They'll probably be ok on soft ground. (92mi on Xodus, 26 mi on ASR - both bought the same day = I'll take the xodus ride over a tiny bit more forefoot width)

                 

                Across the years and various models of shoes, I've (about 150lb with some gear) found the ones that have a somewhat compressible lug work (Brooks Trespass, NB 749, Xodus) better for me than ones with flat lugs (like Adrenaline ASR, NB 876). IOW, the lugs provide some of the cushion.

                 

                Rock plates (Cascadia, Xodus) seem to help on gravelly stuff, which pushes through the softness of Badrocks, Trespasses, etc.

                 

                And being able to strap my foot in around the instep (keeping heel firmly in place) and leaving room for my forefeet to move and toes to wiggle - like my Blurs - is nice. Originally, the Xodus didn't seem that way, but with many hours on them now, they're starting to feel that way - like the upper has to loosen a little. I need to revisit gravel with them, but what isn't icy is soft right now. (chinook melted snow, turned to ice)

                 

                The Xodus aren't what I'd consider cushiony (like Badrocks), but they provide some protection and a comfortable enough ride so far that I'm growing to love them and will probably buy another pair when I'm in town in a month or two.

                 

                The Hoka's seem to have the cushion inside, and the foot works within that - at least that's my perception. That's different from what has worked for me. I just got an email from a friend who has used Hokas (including 350 miles on Iditarod Trail Inv last year), and she say she's had no problems with terrain with any of her Hokas, including Mafete. She commented that lots of Europeans use them in their mountain races. (she's done a couple ultras in Europe) Actually, the Hokas help keep her feet insulated from the cold ground and snow during the long winter ultras.

                "So many people get stuck in the routine of life that their dreams waste away. This is about living the dream." - Cave Dog

                  Thanks for the info, AK.  Interesting.

                   

                  I found out today that my problem may be circulatory, but am schedule for an MRI to see if there's the beginning of a stress fracture or some kind of bony protrusion pinching things.  Not sure where all this will lead, but all the info on the different shoes is a help.  We don't have many choices up here for buying shoes, either, and I have to rely on mail order.  Thus, it's hard to determine what to try.  I definitely need the roomy toe box, otherwise I get blisters like crazy.

                  Leslie
                  Living and Running Behind the Redwood Curtain
                  -------------

                  2015 Wish List:

                  April 4 - Peterson Ridge Rumble (40m); June - A 50k somewhere; July 25 & 26 - Lake of Death 24 Hour; October 10 - Dick Collins Firetrails 50; January 2016 - Ordnance 100k (dream a little dream . . .)


                  "The farther you go outside, the farther you go inside." (Unknown)
                  Ultrarunnerpodcast

                  Trail Runner Nation

                  Fatozzi

                    ooops - messed up

                    "So many people get stuck in the routine of life that their dreams waste away. This is about living the dream." - Cave Dog

                      Update: I've worn the Mafates around inside a little more, and they seem a bit better, but still not sure if they're just too big or too rigid (aggravated by being too big) or just not my shoe - but not far enough off that I've sent them back yet.

                       

                      I emailed Hoka directly and explained my situation including what size shoes of various models. They're suggesting an 8.5 in the Stinson Evo - at least for what's currently available. They said the Mafate and Evo are built on same last. (They sure look different to me, but maybe it's just something different in the upper.)  That's a full size smaller than some of my shoes, and half a size smaller than the others.

                       

                      Regarding the heel slippage, the comment was:

                      The slippage in the heel is directly related to the stiffness of the
                      sole of the shoe which you have already figured out. The Shape and
                      density of the EVA is the problem as we need the thickness to add the
                      Rocker.

                      Now how do we help you...

                      For Fall deliveries (July on) we have increased the padding in the
                      collar around the Achilles to help prevent it.

                      I was impressed with their response.

                      "So many people get stuck in the routine of life that their dreams waste away. This is about living the dream." - Cave Dog

                        Update: I've worn the Mafates around inside a little more, and they seem a bit better, but still not sure if they're just too big or too rigid (aggravated by being too big)...

                         

                         

                        I have a suspicion my case of PF/heel spur in Nov was brought on by the Hokas being too thick/rigid. Does anybody have thoughts about that? I was wearing them almost exclusively then as my recovery shoe because they were so cushiony and felt great.

                           

                           

                          I have a suspicion my case of PF/heel spur in Nov was brought on by the Hokas being too thick/rigid. Does anybody have thoughts about that? I was wearing them almost exclusively then as my recovery shoe because they were so cushiony and felt great.

                          It wouldn't surprise me since they're only about a 4mm drop vs about 10-12 on most "normal" shoes. One of my friends had really sore feet after her first 100, so she switched to Hokas - exclusively, immediately - and had some tight achilles issues. She's since done two 100s in them (STinson Evos) with no problems. I think I've seen a few other people report same. Another friend has used Hokas (Mafate waterproof?) in ITI 350 last year (1st woman in foot division) and has had no problems with the stiffness.

                           

                          When I had AT/PF issues about 10 yr ago before I'd really started running much, a PT gave me foot / ankle strengthening exercises and switched me from mc (Grid Stabil) to stability (Trespass) so my feet could function. Cushioned shoes or floor exercise mats (gymnastics) were also an issue since my ankles were weak. 10 yr later with a bunch of trail running / strengthening I'm still a bit cautious about a rigid shoe, esp. with cushioning. Hoka cushioning seems to be more like a cradle, so it may not have the same issues as I've had in the past.

                           

                          When I head into town again, I'm going to try a Stinson Evo in smaller size. And I would most likely only use them on gravel roads, rather than twisty turny banked single track. That seems spooky. With the Mafate, my feet could move inside the shoe, but the shoe wasn't moving with them.

                           

                           

                          FWIW, the Xodus 3 seem to be working well for me thanks to some forefoot protection. I like my feet to work, but they don't have to feel every root and rock out there. Plus the podiatrist diagnosed a foot problem that we thought was a plantar wart as something else resulting from dry skin, shaved it off in layers, and gave me prescription moisturizing cream. That immediately removed the forefoot pain I was experiencing. I showed him the Hokas, and he thought they could be beneficial in certain environments. He didn't laugh at them, so he must have seen them before.

                          "So many people get stuck in the routine of life that their dreams waste away. This is about living the dream." - Cave Dog
                          valerienv


                          Thread killer ..

                            I have @250 miles on my Mafate and after much thought I did order another pair . I bought them specifically to serve one purpose to rehab after knee surgery last October . I use them on fire roads or the treadmill and they have been very friendly on my knee . One real problem I have is the heel slipage and it was interesting to read their reply . I do like the stiffness as it protects a joint in my foot with arthritis but I have real doubts about how they would work on anything technical . Here is a picture of what my heel slipping around has done to them after only 250 miles . I did order them again to just get me through the next couple months until I'm fully recovered while still running on smooth easy dirt roads .

                             

                            hokas

                              Wow, and I thought the heel slipping problem might go away with some miles on the Mafates.  Looks like that may not be the case.  I stopped wearing the Mafate 2s and went back to the Evos.  I don't see myself ordering another pair of the Mafates unless they do some major changes. I wish they would throw the Mafate tread onto the Evo trails though, as it seemed pretty grippy.

                               

                              mta: I have 850 miles on one pair of my Bondi Bs, and other than sole wear, they are fine. My Evo trails have 250 miles and no damage like yours show from the slipping.  I think my Mafates would suffer the same fate as yours since they slip so much.

                              Live the Adventure. Enjoy the Journey. Be Kind. Have Faith!

                                whoa. Impressive wear for only 250 miles. I'm more and more convinced my Mafates are going back, but probably not until after I look at the Stinson Evo. (If LRS hasn't seen the Mafates, he can take a look at them.)

                                "So many people get stuck in the routine of life that their dreams waste away. This is about living the dream." - Cave Dog
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