Sunday, July 29, 2012

Sometimes bigger IS better...

I’d been been debating myself about getting Hokas for quite some time. You know those shoes - the ones with the cushion practically twice as big as ‘normal’ shoes. Or as one of my friends recently called them: the mattress shoes. Each time that I’d decided to get them, I’d talk myself out of it. They were too expensive (more on this later), they were only available on-line and I really prefer to try shoes on before I buy them (regardless of their liberal return/exchange policy), they looked too odd (they they may), etc.  

I’ve always preferred a shoe with cushioning - no minimal this or that for me. My friends swear by minimal shoes, but I’ve gotten in my head (and my feet) that I need my cushioning.  I have only used trail shoes for one race. The majority of my trail running has been on road shoes, and I feel they’ve worked adequately. 

I think my feet lately have gotten used to the ‘softer’ (if rocky trails are softer than road/sidewalk) surface of trails because as soon as I run on the street/sidewalk, they become achy. Not only do they become achy, but it takes me a while to lose that achy feeling. Plus, towards the end of last week’s Muleshoe Trail 60k, I was having to sidestep rocks because my feet were feeling each rock - regardless of the size.

Two of my friends who run in some seriously rugged terrain (Tim Smith & Ben Phenix) in the CenTex area run in these shoes and they swear by them. After suffering through some foot pain issues, nerding out online about them, and interrogating them about the shoe, I decided to give them a try.

A recent post on fb said Hokas were available at  a store in ATX since, apparently, they’re only available online. When I was in ATX a couple of weeks ago I decided to go and try them on. I was pleasantly surprised that they were so light. They look so bulky and I expected a heavy shoe. WRONG. I think my current road running shoe is twice as heavy as this. It also felt like I was standing on a padded cushion. So far so good, but, unfortunately, they did not have my size in the grey color I liked and I didn’t want them in the ‘hey look at my bulky and fluorescent shoes’ yellow.  Yes, I talked myself out of buying them again. 

Earlier in the week I called Luke’s Locker and my size had arrived in the cool looking grey color. As luck would have it, a friend of mine was coming down to the RGV so I asked her to get them for me. 

The price tag is a little staggering (for those of us on a budget): $170, but, hey, it’s for my feet. I ask a lot from them, so I gotta pamper them every now and then (again, justifying it to myself).

The Hoka One One Bondi Bs have arrived and I’ve run twice in them. It’s early but I’ve done a 5 mile run on the street and a 10 mile run on dirt trail. The shoes feel incredible! Each run, I purposely sought out rocks, cans, or roots to step on. I wanted to see if I would even feel what I was stepping on. The verdict: I didn’t feel a thing. Normally, after running on the street followed by a trail run, my feet would be a little sore/achy. I realize it’s only 2 runs but my feet are reaping the benefits of all this cushioning already. They actually feel pretty darn good. 

They are incredibly light and it feels like I’m running with pillows strapped to the bottom of my shoes. I expected them to feel somewhat heavy/bulky  but they didn’t. Anybody that knows me will tell you I’m a clumsy runner (I have the scars and a broken hand to prove it), so I was a little worried that the bulkiness of it would have me tripping over myself - I did not fall or trip not even once. (DISCLAIMER: if I do trip/fall, it’s probably my own clumsiness and not the shoe’s fault). 

I know, I know, I know, they look a little odd but as Forrest’s mom (one of my favorite movies) said: “what’s normal, anyway?” I think they look different when you aren’t wearing them as opposed to when you are wearing them. 

To sum it up, I wish I’d gotten these sooner. It’s too early to say how durable they are or will be. I'd like to put over 500 miles on them - quite a bit over 500, really, but the first real test will be in 2 weeks when I run my next trail 30k but so far so good. 

My only complaint: it’s a shame I have to start getting them dirty so soon. 


  1. Great post... Arent you glad you listened to me.

  2. I want to try the mizuno wave ascend 7, great post

  3. Wait, if they're so cushiony, wouldn't thorns be a problem??

    1. negative. i think the few times we've had thorns go through our soles have been freak occurances.

    2. That's always on my mind when I'm running trails. I'm always on the lookout for freak occurrences.

    3. Guess what I found stuck to my shoes this morning - yep, a big thorn stuck in the side. You jinxed me, Andy!!!

  4. I'm sorry, but incredibly light???
    They may feel light for the size, but they weigh about the same as regular running shoes, and far more than shoes considered lightweight.

    1. Gunnar, I've always run in asics 2150-70, o, so to me, it does seem very light. Perhaps, you're correct, it looks like a big shoe do I was expecting it heavy. I've never felt comfortable running in minimal shoes but I'm sure the hokas are not as light as that type of shoe.

  5. Replies
    1. I told you. I'm still thinking of getting a 2nd pair just for work. I can imagine walking in them all die for!!!