A few weeks ago, Mac sent me a link to an article that Dan Empfield wrote about Hoka One One running shoes (here, if you’re interested: Slowtwitch Article ) . I had seen Hokas at my local running store and I thought they were some of the craziest looking running shoes I had ever seen. After reading Dan’s article though, I really began to give thought to trying a pair.
I knew my local running store, Naperville Running Company, used to carry Hokas, but I hadn’t seen them in the store in quite some time. I found a pair from 2012 online at a pretty deep discount, so I placed my order. They arrived on a day that I happened to be working from home, so I wore them in the house while I worked that day and then did a short run in them that night. In a word? CLOUDS
Right out of the box:
I am the type of person who (knocking on wood) has never had feet issues from shoes. I did, for some reason, have a aversion to a pair of Saucony shoes a few years ago where I developed a weird calf pain when I started wearing them (which went away immediately when I stopped wearing them – expensive mistake), but that’s a different story.
I have VERY flat feet and I overpronate, but not to the degree you might expect based on how flat my feet are. I have historically run in stability shoes – for years I trained in Asics Kayanos and raced in Asics DS Trainers. A few years ago I started branching out a bit – just to mix it up. I started with the K-Swiss Kwicky Blade and then tried Newtons. All the while, I continued to wear my Kayanos as well. Recently, my brother in law, who is a foot surgeon, finally convinced me to give orthotics a try. After some time at the running store, we determined that the Mizuno Wave Rider 16, with my orthotics, was really keeping my gait straight and stopping the pronation.
What I’m trying to say is that many shoes work for me, but, I am actually VERY picky about each shoe and how they feel. I can’t stand seams hitting my toes, I have low ankle bones, so I’m really sensitive to how far a shoe comes up on my ankle and I won’t wear shoes that don’t feel like they “wrap” my foot securely without cutting off my circulation.
First, sizing is true to size for me. I wear a 7.5 in every pair of running shoes I have right now. While the Bondis are marketed with “slight” stability, I tried them first with my orthotics and then without. For me, I’ve found that they provide enough stability that don’t feel like I have to wear my orthotics with them, yet they were actually really comfortable with them as well. Except for a few short runs, my runs in them have all been with my orthotics.
The Bondis have a nice roomy toe box, yet they wrap my midfoot perfectly. Additionally, I haven’t felt any heel slippage at all. My first run in them was an easy 3 miles on the treadmill. I’m not exaggerating when I say it felt like I was running on clouds. I did 3 more short runs in them before I decided to use them for my longer run that weekend. Due to the weather, I was running on the indoor track at the gym. This gave me the option of bringing along a backup pair of shoes, just in case the Hokas didn’t’ work out for a longer run. But, an hour and 40 minutes later, I finished my run in them and felt great.
Now, I’ve done at least 10 short runs and 3 long runs in the Hokas and I can tell that they are a great shoe for me. I’m pretty sure that I will wear them for the Cary half marathon next weekend. In fact, I’m looking forward to wearing them to race to see how they feel – especially on a hilly course.
I don’t think that I will get rid of the other shoes I have in my rotation; I really do like them all, but I’ve definitely been choosing the Hokas a lot lately. Let me know if you have any specific questions about the Hokas!