On first look I am thinking, what? I can’t run in those, I’ll trip over my own feet. To be honest, I still think that is what will happen if I use their trail shoes on technical terrain. Take that with a pinch of salt because it is come from me, a very strong proponent on ‘barefoot’ shoes like Vivobarefoot. That is what you must bear in mind when you read the rest of this entry.
Hoka One One South Africa launched in late 2016, an event I was privileged to attend, there I was enamored by the triathlon focused shoes as I pictured myself running to the finish, they looked good, they felt good, it is true that there is a marshmallow effect when you put them on. There is, also, a dampening effect on the feedback from the ground; which might not matter too much on the road, as for the trail, hmmmm, maybe one day I will try the Speedgoat 2. Having said that. I did get a chance to run a little around the wine farm in the Speedgoat, not enough to offer judgment, and not enough or enough technical terrain to allay me fears. One of my greatest motivations for zero drop and minimal cushioned shoes is the feedback and proprioception I get, that will hopefully warn me quicker when problem strikes.
So with much trepidation I put the shoes on, and guess what? I did not twist my ankle or develop strange compensation patterns. If fact, over the various run I completed with the shoe, I was able to up my speed and my mileage with a little bit of comfort thrown in.
Looking like a boat if you ask me, and looking like I can walk on water with them boats. Yet, like all of the Hoka One One shoes they are quite colourful. They also look so big and weighty, but when you pick a pair up that perception disappears and is replace by thoughts of marshmallows and candy floss.
Very comfortable in spite of the narrow toe box, why oh why do so many shoe manufacturers do this? The first few times I ran in them it was as if I was running on a thick carpet. The laces were the best thing for me, being elasticated and light they stayed in place and did not bounce around.
These shoes could not have come at a better time for me, being winter and oh so dark in the earlier hours I have opted for almost 100% road running during the week. This has led to two significant outcomes; one, I have clocked more mileage without injury, and two, I have picked up speed. Yes, these shoes seemed to add and extra spring to my step for less effort – I am almost tempted to go for the Gun Run 21km and finally break that 90 min mark.
Now you might want to ask; have I given up ‘barefoot’ running? Hell no. The Hoka One One shoe is just another tool that I can use to hone my skills and ability as a runner, and just like any tool set I need lots of different types of tools, because there is never one tool for all jobs. Sometimes you need a mallet, sometimes you need a drill, and sometimes you need a cushioned shoe to offset some of the pounding on the road. For me, the Clayton 2 has been the tool with which I could pound away at the tar in comfort and style.