by: Kyle Larson
Owner Endurance House Madison
Guess what I did? I ran in a pair of Hoka’s? If you haven’t heard of Hoka, let me tell you a little about them.
Hoka is what many would call a “maximalist” shoe. It has lots of cushioning – so much so that you will tower above your running mates. How high? How about 30 millimeters or about 1.2 inches. What makes the shoe interesting is we just transitioned from the “minimalist” era where people were running around barefoot or in the “toe shoes.” Now we are moving back to cushion. Why? I do know that there were lots of injuries during the minimalist era. Let’s face it – we live on concrete paths and our feet need something between them and the harsh surfaces we run.
So, is maximalist another fad that will slowly go the way of Five Fingers?I don’t know for sure–but I don’t think so. While the shoe provides gobs (my word not Hoka’s) of cushioning they did a great thing with limiting the drop or the difference from the heel to the forefoot. The largest drop is 6mm versus 10mm in most running shoes. What we did learn during bygone eras is that a flatter shoe can help in our running form and the industry is landing somewhere around 4mm to 6mm for a “natural” category.
I have to tell you–I liked running in these shoes. They are extremely lightweight–the cushion feels good, but not overdone and I didn’t feel like a giant. I’ve run in them twice so far and believe it or not, they didn’t draw odd stares from other runners. Who should run in them? Anyone. If you have more pronation consider the Stinson –which provides great control without giving up the cushion.
As a store owner, I’ve been debating whether this shoe has a place or not– I believe it does have a place as a legitimate running shoe. We don’t like introducing fads because our guests trust us to offer best of breed solutions. Hoka is one of them. Come in and ask us about the Hoka.