In 2010, the dream envisaged by two outdoor lovers and adventure racing enthusiasts became a reality. After competing in various trail running competitions, in 2009 Jean-Luc Diard and Nicolas Mermoud invented a new type of shoe.
Driven by the surging popularity of outdoor pursuits, particularly trail running, they noticed that athletes are becoming faster all the time and that any variation in performance is largely observed during descents. This part of the race is often synonymous with fatigue, impact and muscle strain. In response, Jean-Luc and Nicolas designed a brand new product and brand with values centred around freedom and enjoyment.
The new concept enables athletes to improve their performance but also and more important, allows everybody taking part in outdoor sports to enjoy themselves safely and on all types of surface.
Run uphill as though wings are carrying you, fly down and still want to keep on going and going, all in one smooth, instinctive action…
Run and Become on Hoka
When we first saw the Hoka shoes we were a little taken aback. At a time when most other companies were coming up with leaner, lighter minimalist offerings, here were some enthusiastic French adventure runners going in the opposite direction and producing a shoe with an extra centimetre of cushioning!
However, they seemed to be totally passionate about what they were doing and several ultra runners of note were also raving about them (although admittedly after being given some pairs to trial!) We felt we had to at least try them out.
So what is so radical about Hoka running shoes?
- Using up to 2.5 x the volume of EVA in the midsole compared to standard running shoes, they offer outstanding impact absorption and a highly comfortable underfoot feel. On trails they just absorb any little stones and sticks and testers report that the extra cushioning delays muscle fatigue both on long training runs for marathons and ultra marathons.
- They have patented “bucket seat design”. So your foot is recessed well into the midsole so that the heel is firmly supported and you don’t actually feel you are higher off the ground.
- Despite being high off the ground, the differential between heel and forefoot is only 4mm so you basically have a minimalist profile shoe with incredible cushioning.
- They also utilise a 35% wider platform that is designed to enhance underfoot stability. This profile works to counteract the height ensuring that you are comfortable and confident with every step – on roads and firm packed trail.
- The wide base results in the shoes having a wide fitting toe box that allows the toes to spread naturally, always essential on long training runs.
- Great mid foot fit on the upper combined with the fact your foot is recessed into the midsole means there is very little side to side foot movement.
What runners are saying about Hoka OneOne…
I got my HOKA shoes just a month before the 7 DAY treadmill challenge and really do rate these as the most cushioned shoes I have ever worn. Instantly took a liking to them. The big test was the treadmill run, rotated between Bondi B and Stinson. I need a bigger size in these than my normal running shoes and my feet finished in good condition. Toes didn’t get squashed and feet didn’t swell and need bigger sizes. In the really long events it is always my feet that hurt far more than my legs, so this was a great response… Will be wearing HOKA in my next 2 world record attempts – Ireland End to End in March and 6 day race in Hungary 9-15th May.
One of the UK’s most consistent ultra runners of recent years
Topped ranked 24-hour runner for over 10 years
More at www.sharongayter.com
I run in the Hoka OneOne “Bondi B” model. These are what Hoka calls the road shoe. As we all know, I don’t run on roads, only mountain trails, but have found that the sole provides more than adequate protection from rocks and roots. They are hands down the most comfy shoes on the market. Give em’ a try and you’ll be pleasantly surprised as how comfortable these are. Time to fly!
Ultra running magazine ultra runner of the year 2006
Multiple winner of American 100mile trail races
More at www.karlmeltzer.com
Ultra running’s 2011 ultra runner of the year
Dave has been using Hoka shoes in the last 12 months
More at davemackey.blogspot.com