A) When it comes to gear, you have to be weary of trends and ultimately fit out what works for you....and
B) You often chase a lot of trends to find out what works for you...
There is no running shoe brand hotter right now than HOKA ONE ONE. So...why are these shoes the next "BIG" thing in running?
Hoka's tend to run a little large to size for some people. For GearHaiku, a half size down was need, but once sized correctly, the Huaka was out-of-the-box comfy.
Looks are VERY deceiving. It’s almost shocking how light the Huaka is. While the Huaka looks over-sized and possibly bulky, on the foot, the shoe is feather light. Once you get over the weight of the shoe, the amount of cushioning is what becomes very apparent. This is one plush shoe!
Another very noticeable attribute is how your foot settles down into the shoe. One might think the over-sized Huaka would place you high up in the shoe, but while certainly not a flat, the Huaka offers stability that goes with feeling that solid, ground contact feel.
Lastly, the "Race-Lace" system and the non-cushioned tongue took a minute to get used to, but really, from a fit and feel standpoint, the Huaka is all about being super light weight and very cushiony.
GearHaiku put about 50 miles on the Hauakas.
Between shoe's lightweight and the plush ride, miles seemed to peel away smoothly. It's hard to overstate the difference between how the Huaka looks and how they ride. The big-time cushioning keeps legs fresh and the shoe’s weight allows you to crank up the speed when needed.
Possibly the most noticeable aspect of running in the Huaka is how they perform on the downhill. The cushioning really kicks in to lessen the impact downhill sections have.
While mostly tested on the road, a dozen trail miles were put on the Huaka with solid results. Small yet helpful lugs on the soles add the shoe's stability on a range of moderately technical terrain.
Another interesting attribute is that post-run soreness and recovery time seems to be diminished due to the huge cushioning nature of the Huaka. Even after longer and more taxing runs, the day after the lower body feels better and fresher than expected.
Trends in running gear can sometimes feel like noise and marketing fluff. In reality, it's all about finding what works for you as a runner. The Huaka (and HOKA ONE ONE in general) is certainly worth a go if you're looking for a smoother, lightweight ride but don't want to give up a grounded stable feel.
What ever you do, don't be fooled by the Huaka's (good!?!) looks.