Why buy a Hoka Trail running shoe? What makes them different and why should they work for you?
Our new range of Hoka trail running shoes has arrived and (as always) discussion turns to the pros and cons of new products when they land. There's always the excitement of getting new product out of the box. Often it's long-awaited, ordered months in advance and now it's arrived, it's new or improved.
But what's the buzz? Will it work for our customers? What makes it different? All these questions come up when talking about Hoka shoes and talking to customers about them. With this is mind, here's a quick summary of what's arrived in our Hoka summer range and why we think it's worth you considering them.
In terms of our trail running shoes and our locale, grip is everything. Take a few steps out of our shop and you are into the Yorkshire Dales National park, whilst the trails are sometimes built with slabs or gravel, there's a good range of grip-testing conditions within a few minutes of the shop. Finding a shoe with the capacity to handle mud and wet (limestone) rock is often a real concern for customers. We get a lot of rain in Yorkshire and we have our fair share of mud.
When we first saw the Hoka Mafate Speed shoe, we were really excited. Hoka's offer a lot of cushioning but grip? Decent lugs for wet or slippy conditions? The Mafate Speed seemed to fit the bill. Now the shoe has been with us for a season (and is back into the range for this spring/summer) the feedback from customers shows we were right to be excited. The shoe is great - finally an ultra-cushioned shoe with grip.
So what is all the buzz about Hoka Shoes? The Stinson ATR (there's a mens and a womens shoe) is a great example of how it all works (without all the jargon). The Hoka Stinson ATR is a trail running shoe that offers a little more (or a lot more - depending on how you look at it). As with all the Hoka range, there's an oversized sole unit that gives superior cushioning whilst running. Along with the thicker sole, Hokas are shaped with a slight rocker profile to the sole unit. The extra cushioning aids comfort and eases fatigue for customers covering longer distances or with particular problems associated with impact or sore joints, the rocker motion makes for better rhythm, a more natural style or better 'economy' when running.
Does it really work? We've been asked this a lot by customers. By using the shoes and listening to customers feedback, we're massively impressed by the results. Keeping things simple is best with new products and in the case of Hoka Shoes, the cushioning makes perfect sense for customers looking to cover longer distances or with specific impact problems. Also, in our experience, the rocker motion in the sole unit works on the trails when rhythm is possible - it's not excessive and we've found a lot of ultra-distance runners feel the effect enhances their running.
It's also worth talking a little about the newer developments of the Hoka brand. In terms of trail running, having become established in offering radical cushioning (and equally radical looks) Hoka have been paying a little more attention to the middle ground - i.e. still offering a superior level of cushioning but at a more acceptable level for some customers.
The Hoka Rapa Nui 2S mens shoe and the Womens shoe - the Kailua S Trail are the latest examples of this. They still offer a lot of extra cushioning together with the signature rocker shape to the sole unit. But the cushioning (and hence the look of the shoe) is more moderate. These are great shoes - the feel and fit is spot on for most customers, but the concept is not so radical (and hence the appeal is more widespread to runners of all types). Both of these shoes come in at prices that are reasonable for any trail running shoe and they offer distinct advantages in terms of cushioning and running style. They are well worth a try.
We've only touched on Hoka shoes a little here, there's more information in our Hoka Shoes section but please feel free to get in touch with any questions. As always, we are happy to pick up the phone or chat in store too!