So I’ve been hearing a lot about these new Hoka One One shoes. They are pretty much the polar opposite of a minimalist shoe, yet they have features to incorporate natural foot motion. More details on that below. As you can see in the picture they have a huge sole which is designed to provide more cushioning. Their theory is the more cushion you have, the longer you can run because it’s decreasing the impact on your body. We all know that higher impact is more likely to lead to a chance of injuries so maybe they have a good idea here…

Hoka-One-One-Conquest-front

My local running store, FootZone, held a run this week with the offer to demo a pair of Hoka One One’s Conquest. The run was at a killer time of 5:30pm which is usually impossible because of two young kids and dinner time but luckily my husband was in town to take over. I arrive early to make sure they have my size and luckily I did because it was the last one! Putting them on I honestly feel and look like a clown. I do like their laces as it reminds me of some snowboarding boots I have tried. No need to worry about laces coming undone while running is nice. But then again I’ve never had issues with a double knot. It is a nice feature though.

The color is bright pink with a florescent yellow sole. Wow, now I really look like a clown. But then I look around at everyone else who has them on and the uniform of it all is kind of fun. I had a few minutes to walk around in them before we took off for a simple 3 mile run and I noticed how cushioned they felt. I was excited to try them for a run.

Go time finally rolled around and after a quick word of caution about the icy roads we were off. My first impression, hated them. Why? Pretty much the first mile I felt like my feet were dragging. Almost like I was running in sand. The extra cushion made me feel like I had no ability to push off the ground with any speed. But as I got into a groove 1 mile into the run I began to like the shoes a little better.

One thing I had to remind myself is that these are not racing shoes, at least for anything under a marathon. So once I let my competitiveness subside and just have a relaxing 3 mile run things started to feel better. I chatted with a few other runners about their Hoka One One Conquest experience. I met one woman who owns 3 pairs of Hoka’s and thought these were a little stiff. Another man I spoke to wasn’t too crazy about them simply because of the large cushioning design.

hoka-one-one-conquest-sole

Overall I thought they would be a good shoe if one day I had the guts to train for an Ultra Run. I only ran 3 miles in these so I can’t attest to how they would feel in 10+ miles. I did miss the feeling of my minimalist shoes which allow me to feel the ground. Even with all the explanation of “minimum drop geometry along with a rolling rocker design to promote consistent rhythm in the runner’s foot strike” on their website, I still felt like I had traveled back in time to using a traditional running shoe with extra cushion.

Would I buy them? If I sign up for an Ultra Run then yes. If I continue to train for races in length of marathon and under, then no. And to add, I would only use them on LSD (long slow distance) runs. I would not use them for any interval style runs.

As a side note, I had a woman come to a strength training exercise class I teach at a local gym with Hoka One One’s on. We used the BOSU that day and those two combinations probably wasn’t the best idea. She would have been better off going barefoot. No need to add a cushioned bouncy surface under the Hoka One Ones.

Are you a Hoka One One fan?