Categories
hoka one one Reviews

HOKA CARBON X 2 REVIEW

After it’s debut, the smartly updated HOKA Carbon X 2 is ready for the running season ahead.

THE BUZZ

The Carbon X returns after the successful first edition won races and set records. It proved itself among the best of the initial crop of long-distance racing shoes built with carbon-fiber plates embedded in thick, cushy midsoles.

The Carbon X 2 is a maximally cushioned neutral-oriented speed shoe. It has a staunchly rocker profile and an energetic vibe that promotes fast-cadence running.

Hoka Carbon X 2 - What's New

WHAT’S NEW

The smart updates HOKA Carbon X 2 to make this edition slightly lighter and cushier. It is more consistent and efficient and, ultimately, even faster than the original.

Specifically, the shape and positioning of the carbon-fiber plate have been updated slightly for smoother, more efficient transitions. The midsole is slightly thicker and slightly softer for a more plush ride. Add to that the new, extended Achilles-friendly heel tab improves comfort and fit.

A stretchy Lycra bootie finishes off the Carbon X 2. This feature creates a gusseted tongue for a locked-down feeling at the mid-foot. It’s topped off with an engineered mesh upper that delivers breathable comfort.

FIT, FEEL, RIDE

The Carbon X 2 has a true-to-size fit with a medium width from heel to toe. It also brings in a little bit more room in the toe box. Compared to other carbon-fiber racing shoes, it’s a bit more roomy, especially in the toe box.

It’s a unique shoe that feels soft at step-in, but it tends to feel a bit firmer the faster you run in it. That’s a good combination that allows it to be comfortable, responsive, propulsive and fast. The most unique feature about this shoe is the rolling sensation of the ride.

Unlike some other super shoes with carbon-fiber plates that are bouncy, the Carbon X serves up a smooth, rhythmic, rolling ride. This stems from the distinct rocker geometry and catapulting sensation of the carbon-fiber plate embedded in the foam midsole.

There’s not much flex in this shoe, but it’s supposed to be firm and snappy. It’s takes a short amount of time to get used to it, but once you find that rhythm you’ll feel the energetic boost in every stride. It will feel almost effortless.

Hoka Carbon X 2 Review 2021

WHO IT’S BEST FOR

If you’re interested chasing a new personal best in the half marathon or marathon or want a proficient performance trainer for long runs and tempo runs, this is a definitely one every runner should consider.

While it’s a ideal choice for front of the pack runners, it’s an especially good shoe for committed age-group runners and middle-of-the-pack runners. This is because it accommodates a wide range of stride styles and encourages quicker and more efficient turnover for moderate paces too.

Hoka Carbon X 2 - Pros

For the encore edition, HOKA made some adjustments to the placement of the carbon-fiber plate. Embedded in the midsole, this allows the rolling vibe and energetic toe-off to be more accessible to every type of running gait. The plate is split under the flared midsole forefoot platform, allowing for optimal resupination to set up the toe-off phase of the stride.

The midsole of the Carbon X 2 is 2mm thicker and slightly softer than the original. This creates a more plush feeling from touch-down to toe-off. That includes slight changes to the cushy foam above the carbon-fiber plate and the durable and responsive injected-molded, rubberized EVA foam below the plate.

The outsole is made from a durable, injected-molded rubberized EVA. This provides a secure grip on wet and dry surfaces while also contributing to the propulsive ride.

Hoka Carbon X 2 - Cons

If you prefer or typically run in shoes with soft, compressible midsoles, the ride of the Carbon X might seem too rigid and rolling for you.

The Carbon X 2 much softer and more accessible than the first version. But it still a different ride than most carbon-fiber racing shoes that feature a soft, bouncy ride.

TECH SPECS

Hoka Carbon X 2 - Tech Specs

SHOP HOKA CARBON X 2

Hoka Carbon X 2 - Men's
MEN’S CARBON X 2
Hoka Carbon X 2 - Women's
WOMEN’S CARBON X 2
Categories
hoka one one

HOKA TO LAUNCH CARBON X 2 AT 100K WORLD RECORD ATTEMPT

What better way to launch a new long-distance racing shoe than to stage a world-record attempt to prove how fast it is? Introducing Project Carbon X 2.

HOKA ONE ONE will launch its new, fast and efficient Carbon X 2 carbon-fiber racing shoe with a multinational assault on the 100K world record on Jan. 23 in Phoenix, Ariz. and Chiba, Japan.

TWO RUNS, TWO CONTINENTS

With 62.2 miles of race-pace running, the Project Carbon X 2 event will be no small task. HOKA-sponsored ultrarunners Jim Walmsley, Camille Herron, Elov Olsson and Caitriona Jennings will be going after the record at 7 a.m. PST in Phoenix, while Japanese runners Aiko Kanematsu and Yoshiki Otsuka will be racing the same distance at 7 a.m. JST in Japan.

The current men’s 100K world record is 6:09:14. This is a blazing 5 minutes, 56.5 seconds per mile pace – set by Japan’s Nao Kazami in 2018. The women’s mark is 6:33:11 (6:19 mile pace), set by Japan’s Tomoe Abe in 2000.

Two years ago when HOKA launched the original Carbon X carbon-fiber racing shoe, Walmsley set a new world-best for 50 miles. He clocked a 4:50:08 at a similar ultra-distance time trial in Sacramento, Calif. HOKA says the new shoe is slightly lighter and faster with a smoother, more propulsive ride.

The U.S. event will be live-streamed for free at hokaoneone.com and the Japan event will be live-streamed for free at hokaoneone.jp.

Project Carbon X 2

HOKA CARBON X 2

The Carbon X 2 has updated curvy carbon-fiber plate technology, a lighter, softer and more resilient midsole foam package. The upper features a cleaner design to match the upgrade to the engine. It weighs 8.4 ounces (Men’s 9), a 5mm heel-to-toe offset and an MSRP of $180.

“At HOKA, we have grown into the brand we are today by setting lofty goals, not compromising, and taking a bold and unexpected approach to meet those ends,” says Mike McManus, Director of Global Sports Marketing at HOKA ONE ONE.

“Perhaps no shoe embodies that spirit better than the Carbon X 2 – designed without compromise to offer the very best in performance innovation to all athletes, empowering them to fly no matter their goals – and perhaps no event embodies it better than Project Carbon X 2: a chance for some of our elite athletes to try and go farther and faster than we once thought possible.”

HOW TO WATCH PROJECT CARBON X 2


Project Carbon X 2 will be live-streamed from the Phoenix, Arizona area starting at 7AM MST on January 23 at hokaoneone.com/project-carbon-x-2 ; and from Chiba, Japan at 2PM PST on January 22 (7AM local time January 23) at hokaoneone.jp/project-carbon-x-2.

Categories
hoka one one Reviews

HOKA CHALLENGER ATR 6 REVIEW

THE BUZZ

The HOKA Challenger ATR 6 is a crossover road/trail hybrid shoe that tackles many types of trail surfaces with aplomb.

The Challenger ATR is a soft, comfortable and accommodating maximally cushioned, neutral-oriented shoe. It’s versatile enough to handle both smooth, semi-rugged and mildly sloppy trails, as well as roads and bike paths on the way to a trailhead.

HOKA Challenger ATR 6 - What's New

WHAT’S NEW

If you ran in the previous versions of the Challenger, you’ll find the sixth edition has a similar fit, feel and ride.

The most notable change is a new, more pliable upper material made from recycled yarn . This really adds to the shoe’s smoother flexing demeanor. It also features a slightly updated lacing eyelet structure that helps keep your feet more secure on the run.

Like its predecessors, the Challenger ATR 6 is a good all-around running shoe that runs well on a lot of surfaces. It’s not exceptionally energetic for fast-paced workouts. However, it’s light and cushioned enough to offer smooth-striding consistency in most other applications.

The outsole features low-profile, 4mm lugs. These provide good traction running on dirt, gravel, over small rocks and roots and through shallow puddles. The lugs aren’t quite deep or aggressive enough for running over sloppy, muddy trails and dramatically technical terrain.

FIT, FEEL, RIDE

The HOKA Challenger ATR 6 accommodates a range of foot shapes and sizes, but is slightly wider in the mid-foot/arch and the toe box. (It’s available in two widths for men and women.)

Runners with narrower feel will have to snug down the laces tightly, but not to the point of being uncomfortable. The step-in feel is decidedly soft and comfortable. There’s an added plush sensation from the padded heel collar and cushy, partially gusseted tongue.

Out on a run, the Challenger feels soft and supple on all types of terrain. This allows the foot to move naturally without inhibition from foot strike to toe-off.

The rigid, internal heel counter keeps the foot securely in place. Add to this, the wider forefoot allows your toes to splay for optimal balance and toe-off on uneven terrain.

The HOKA Challenger’s low-profile lugs offer good traction on smooth dirt paths, mildly technical terrain and gravel roads. Add to that it can also feel as smooth as a road shoe on paved or concrete surfaces.

Although the soft midsole isn’t quite as energized or robust as some other shoes out there, our wear-tests suggest it should be a shoe that’s durable enough to get through about 400 miles of running.

HOKA Challenger ATR 6 - Mid Blog

WHO IT’S BEST FOR

The Challenger ATR 6 is a great option for road runners who occasionally run on trails or trail runners who primarily run on mild or moderate terrain.

It’s versatile enough to be the only trail shoe in your quiver. Or, it can be an ideal shoe for long runs on smooth terrain or dirt roads.

Hoka Challenger ATR 6 - Pros

PROS: CHALLENGER ATR 6

This edition of the Challenger weighs slightly less than the previous version and is lighter than many road running shoes. Combined with the “rockered” (or convex) geometry, you’ll feel a light, rolling sensation that promotes quick-cadence strides — especially on firmer surfaces.

The softness of the compression-molded EVA midsole makes running in the Challenger ATR 6 similar to running in your favorite road shoes, although slightly softer and a tad less energetic. That will be especially appreciated if some of your training runs include a variety of trail and paved surfaces.

Hoka Challenger ATR 6 - Cons

CONS: CHALLENGER ATR 6

The Challenger ATR 6 doesn’t have a lot of inherent structure in its midsole/outsole chassis, so runners who need or want additional stability might consider a trail shoe with more support or a more rigid outsole.

Although the Challenger can suffice on some more technical trails, it’s most at home on smoother terrain and not ideal of extra gnarly mountain terrain. That’s partially because it lacks a rock plate and offers limited protection with a from a minimally reinforced toe bumper.

TECH SPECS

HOKA Challenger ATR 6 - Tech Specs

SHOP CHALLENGER ATR 6

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Brian Metzler has run races at every distance from 50 meters to 100 miles. He has wear-tested more than 1,500 pairs of shoes, is a three-time Ironman finisher. He occasionally participates in the quirky sport of pack burro racing in Colorado.

He’s the founding editor of Trail Runner magazine, is a former senior editor at Running Times. He was and editor in chief at Competitor Magazine.

As an author, he has penned “Kicksology“, “Running Colorado’s Front Range” and the co-author of “Natural Running: The Simple Path to Stronger Healthier Running” and “Run Like a Champion: An Olympian’s Approach for Every Runner.”

Brian Metzler - Trail racing
Brian Metzler - trail running
Categories
hoka one one Reviews

HOKA BONDI 7: A TRUE ROMANCE

The HOKA Bondi 7 is in for the long haul. Endurance athlete, Lori Pacheco has taken every version of the HOKA Bondi with her over the course of her Ironman career. She shares her unique perspective on how the HOKA Bondi has evolved and what the 7th edition has to offer.

Hoka Bondi 7 - Chasing down the competition

HOKA BONDI

by Lori Pacheco

I am an early adopter of HOKA ONE ONE shoes; I remember purchasing the very first Bondi available. At the time it was a unisex model (I know, right?!) In that era of minimalist, zero-drop shoes, my body was feeling old(er) and battered, so was really interested in a shoe that would provide extreme cushioning but with zero or close-to-zero drop.

The Bondi fit the bill.

My first impression back then was, “Man, these shoes are ugly and make my feet look huge, but it’s like running on marshmallows!”  Remember this was an era when minimal was in and HOKA stormed in with these – in comparison – enormous looking shoes!

Fast forward to 2020, I’m now on my 7th pair of Bondi’s. You could say, in the world of running shoes, we’re into a long term relationship.

I have mixed a few other shoes in the past couple of years, including HOKA Clifton 5, Saucony Ride ISO and New Balance trail shoes. But I remain a faithful Bondi user for the vast majority of training and long course triathlon miles.

I’ve worn a Bondi model for my last 7 Ironman races and a few half-marathons and 70.3 races.

WHAT’S NEW FOR THE BONDI 7

The HOKA Bondi 7 pairs the maximum cushioning you expect with a 4 mm drop. The sole on this model is still the nice cushioned ride, but the responsiveness feels like a BIG upgrade.

The sole is a little more structured, a little stiffer, and feels a little quicker off the pavement than previous models. There is less of the sense of energy loss that comes with the running on marshmallow feeling that came from those first editions. A great improvement!

The early stage meta-rocker delivers a very smooth and comfortable stride. It feels as though it makes my stride a little more efficient, and reduces my tendency to heel strike, which may also help it be easier on the hips and knees.

The rubber areas of the sole provides additional structure and firmness. For those with longer toes like me, the inflection point is behind the first metatarsal which is critical for avoiding turf toe.

This is by far the best and most supportive mid-sole design for my long toes of any shoe I’ve worn in the past decade.

The upper is very breathable. There was no sensation of overly hot feet, even running in 95 degrees days; my only option for wear-testing!

HOKA’s information states that these have a wide toe box. It may be wider than the Bondi 6. For me, the shape of the upper does appear to be a little narrower than models 5 and earlier, particularly at the ball of the foot.

Since I have a long, fairly narrow foot, it’s an almost perfect fit for me. There’s no need to tie the laces extra tight to keep the foot stable. The shape of the shoe holds the forefoot firmly and comfortably in place. 

HOKA Bondi 7 review

WHO’S IT BEST FOR?

Don’t let my ‘experienced’ endurance athlete age bracket fool you, the Bondi is not just for a mature athlete. Runners of any age can benefit from the cushioning and meta-rocker technology, especially at the longer training distances.

I would particularly recommend this shoe for those stepping up in distance, from a 10K to a half, or a half to a 26.2. 

Given there are very few races currently, now would be the perfect time to add this shoe to the rotation for long base miles and runs in zones two and three.

It would also be a great shoe for anybody generally increasing mileage for Covid stress relief. I would even recommend it for walkers as well as the heel stability is good. For those who spend a lot of time on their feet at work, the shoe’s combination of cushion and support would be excellent. 

EVOLUTION OF THE BONDI

Any discussion of the Bondi has to acknowledge that over the course of 7 model years, the fit has bounced around a bit.

The earliest models were very roomy in the toe box and I had to tie them so that the lace holes were almost touching to keep my foot from moving around.

The Bondi 6 ran quite long and I ended up not loving it and made a temporary switch to the Clifton 5, although to be fair I also ended up with a full size smaller than normal in that shoe as well. I’m normally a 10 but ran in a 9 that season!

That being said, the Bondi 7 does seem to be back to a more traditionally sized last. For this demo, I have been running in a 10. They do feel a teeny-tiny bit longer than I normally like, but it’s not detrimental and could just be because I’m a bit of a freak about how my shoes fit. 

DURABILITY

So far, these Bondi’s seem very durable. I have about 100 total miles in wear testing and there is minimal to no sole compression.

The bottom of the soles are not yet showing any of the smoothing of my normal wear patterns yet, and the uppers are still in great shape with no holes or noticeable stretching.  

FINAL THOUGHTS

In the past I would have recommended the Bondi only to people looking for a maximally cushioned shoe, and willing to live with the sensation of the softer sole.

The new, more responsive sole makes this new Bondi 7 a good option for a much broader slice of the running world. This model, the Bondi 7 is by far the best and most potentially crowd-pleasing Bondi yet. 

SHOP HOKA BONDI 7

Categories
hoka one one Reviews

HOKA BONDI 7 REVIEW

Brian Metzler reviews the HOKA Bondi 7, the top-selling max-cushioned shoe known for being the best friend of high-mileage runners.

The Buzz:

The Bondi is HOKA’S top-tier maximally cushioned, neutral-oriented road running shoe, and it serves up a luxuriously soft ride for high-mileage training and cushy recovery running.

The Bondi is one of the highest shoes available in 2020, but it’s also relatively light for its size.

The HOKA Bondi has always been a comfy cruiser and this edition excels at that more than previous models. You’ll find there is a lot of shoe under your feet when you lace them up, but that means there’s a lot more to love.

Hoka Bondi 7: What's New?

WHAT’S NEW?

Aside from a smartly redesigned upper, not too much has changed from the previous edition of the Bondi.

The new engineered mesh upper enhances the fit, adds some support around the ankle and also improves the shoe’s breathability in hot weather.

The new upper configuration has slightly more structure around the ankle than the previous version, but it is considerably more vented than last year’s model. Soft TPU overlays add a little bit of structure and support along the sides of the foot to round up the fit.

To keep the Bondi lightweight, HOKA developed a segmented outsole with sections of durable rubber in high-wear areas interspersed with exposed foam.

The rubber provides exceptional grip on wet and dry surfaces, and the foam is durable enough that it won’t wear down significantly after months of high-mileage running.

The men’s version of the Bondi 7 has slightly higher loft specs, about 2mm higher off the ground than it was last year.

FIT, FEEL, RIDE

The HOKA Bondi 7 fits true to size with a medium-volume interior, but with a slightly wider toe box. The step-in feel is unique and almost astonishing, given that it’s so soft, semi-stiff and very high off the ground. (You’ll be almost 2 inches taller standing in these sneakers!) Any sense of awkwardness quickly disappears when you start running.

Like all Hoka shoes, the Bondi 7 features a Meta-Rocker design geometry and a slightly beveled heel. These create a rolling effect as the foot transitions from touch-down to toe-off instead of the distinctive flexing movement common to most shoes.

The Bondi 7 features a rigid internal heel counter and soft memory foam collar. These keep heel and ankle from moving around in the shoe as it rolls forward through the gait cycle.

The midsole is soft but firm, not marshmallowly soft. It won’t compress as much as other thickly cushioned HOKA shoes like the Clifton or Rincon models.

Once you get used to that, you’ll find the Bondi 7 satisfyingly smooth. 

Hoka Bondi 7 Review 2020

WHO IT’S BEST FOR

Runners who enjoy soft, thickly cushioned shoes will love the Bondi 7, especially for longer runs.

The HOKA Bondi 7 is best at running slow to moderately paced long runs and recovery runs. However, it could be a good choice for mid-pack or first-time marathoners or runners venturing into ultra-distance races.

However, it’s not a shoe that will inspire speed or quick-cadence running for faster workouts.

Hoka Bondi 7: Pros

PROS: HOKA BONDI 7

This shoe isn’t light, but it certainly runs light for its size, thanks to an airy, compression-molded EVA midsole foam that helps the shoe maintain a high cushion-to-weight ratio. One of our wear-testers described it as “a day spa for your feet,” which is good inspiration to lace them up every day. 

The soft midsole chassis and durable rubber outsole are unchanged from the previous edition, but that’s great but they’re the key to the Bondi’s soft, smooth-riding demeanor. It’s the opposite end of the spectrum from the juiced-up racing shoes, but that’s OK too. They feel good, look good and run great.

Hoka Bondi 7 Cons

CONS: HOKA BONDI 7

This might seem obvious, but the Bondi 7 is a high-off-the-ground shoe and not especially nimble.

If you’re a runner who likes feel-for-the-ground proprioception or likes a shoe with agility, this isn’t going to be your jam.

TECH SPECS

Hoka Bondi 7 - Tech Specs

SHOP HOKA BONDI 7

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Brian Metzler has run races at every distance from 50 meters to 100 miles. He has wear-tested more than 1,500 pairs of shoes, is a three-time Ironman finisher. He occasionally participates in the quirky sport of pack burro racing in Colorado.

He’s the founding editor of Trail Runner magazine, is a former senior editor at Running Times. He was and editor in chief at Competitor Magazine.

As an author, he has penned “Kicksology“, “Running Colorado’s Front Range” and the co-author of “Natural Running: The Simple Path to Stronger Healthier Running” and “Run Like a Champion: An Olympian’s Approach for Every Runner.”

Brian Metzler - Les Alpes
Brian Metzler - Trail racing
Brian Metzler - Boulder Running Company

Categories
hoka one one Running Gear Superfeet

SUPERFEET: TAKE A STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION

RUNNING INSOLES: A PERFECT MATCH

You walk into a running store and look at a wall of insoles. Does that confuse you? What are they, do I need them, what’s with all the rainbow of colors and options? Read on to learn why investing in a running insole could be the answer to longevity, comfort and making your running shoe, the perfect one for you.

Given no foot and no runner are alike, the invention of running insoles was game-changing for runners. Feet, like our minds, change over time. Being able to custom fit an insole to offer your arches, heels the support they need at that given time, is a recipe for a great running season ahead.

Superfeet are the masters of the insole having dedicated their technology, resources and scientific know-how to servicing the soles (and souls?) of runners. Offering running insoles for comfort, arch support and race days, read on to learn which we recommend with this year’s collection from HOKA ONE ONE.

FINDING THE PERFECT RUNNING INSOLE FOR YOU

Partnering with HOKA ONE ONE and Superfeet, we worked with the team for their recommendations on suitable Superfeet insoles for some of their key styles.

HOKA ARAHI 4 + SUPERFEET RUN COMFORT

Run Comfort Women’s: As the mantra goes, ‘women are not small men’, and their feet are no exception. With that firmly at the front of their mind, Superfeet have devised the Run Comfort Women’s running insole. It is specifically adapted to the geometry of the female foot.

This insole features a narrower heel and specific arch length alongside the tried and tested deep heel cup and impact technology. 

HOKA Arahi 4: A classic stability shoe the HOKA Arahi 4 offers structured support for pronators and those needing arch support. Pair with the Run Comfort insole and you get the best of both worlds, support and comfort to keep on running.

Superfeet Insole + Hoka Gaviota 2

HOKA GAVIOTA 2 + SUPERFEET RUN THIN

Superfeet Run Comfort Thin: The Superfeet Run Comfort Thin insole is 20% thinner than other Superfeet styles for the runner who needs a slim fit in their shoes, but also need the support of an insole. The thin profile works with your race shoes and offers no extra bulk for a dialed in fit.  

HOKA Gaviota 2: Another stability shoe, the HOKA Gaviota 2 already comes with HOKA’s classic cushioning as well as support. So use a slim fit insole to dial in the fit without compromising the cushion that is already there.

Superfeet insole + Hoka Speedgoat

HOKA SPEEDGOAT 4 _ SUPERFEET RUN COMFORT

Superfeet Run Comfort Max:  This heel-cradling insole, the best-selling running insole from Superfeet is specifically designed with the runner in mind.

Slipped into your running shoe, the insole disperses impact for a more comfortable run allowing you to run longer with more efficiency. Remember, the Run Comfort Max is the ‘green insole’ when you’re shopping and are male, and the ‘pink insole’ if you’re shopping and you’re female.

HOKA Speedgoat 4: The classic of classic trail running shoes from HOKA, the Speedgoat is designed to take to the trail and go long. When it comes to an insole for long distance, technical trails, pop in a Run Comfort Max so your feet can run as long as you will can take you.

Superfeet Insole + HOKA Stinson ATR 6

HOKA STINSON ATR 6 + SUPERFEET RUN COMFORT

Superfeet Run Comfort Max:This insole is built for comfort and durability, and like all Superfeet insoles, they are guaranteed to provide reliable support and comfort of up to 12 months or 500 miles – whichever comes sooner.

HOKA Stinson ATR 6: An all-terrain shoe, the HOKA Stinson ATR 6 is ready for action. It’s durable and can go long from trail to road when you’re mixing up the best of both worlds. If you’re going to run long, get yourself the Run Comfort Max. You’re feet will thank you.

Categories
hoka one one Reviews

HOKA RINCON 2 REVIEW

Brian Metzler reviews the HOKA Rincon 2, the breakout from HOKA launched last year. Is the second edition of the style snappier? Read on to learn more.

THE BUZZ

Featherweight and fancy free, the speedy HOKA Rincon 2 continues to the defy reality with being such an impossibly light maximally cushioned trainer.

It’s light and fast enough to be an energetic performance trainer, but it has enough cushion to be a long-run shoe or even an everyday trainer.

Hoka Rincon 2 - what's new?

WHAT’S NEW?

HOKA revised its early-state rocker geometry for quicker heel-toe transitions, giving the second edition an even snappier, faster feel.

The engineered sandwich mesh upper provides more security along the mid-foot and better breathability across the forefoot.

There is an accentuated heel pull tab behind the heel for easier entry. The slim tongue design helps keep the weight down and allows for a streamlined fit.

The wide outsole remains unchanged, with a mix of exposed foam and carbon rubber segments at key places to align with common foot strike patterns. The wide foot print allows for maximal ground contact and a touch of inherent stability. Meanwhile, the small carbon rubber sections provide enhanced durability and traction in high wear areas.

Hoka Rincon 2 running speed

FIT, FEEL, RIDE

The HOKA Rincon 2 fits true to size and similar to the original version, with a medium volume from heel to toe. Runners with narrow feet will really have to torque down the laces to get an optimally snug fit.

The step-in feel is plush and comfortable, but it’s the rockered geometry that you feel right after you lace up this shoe. That convex curvature of the outsole-midsole chassis produces a significant rolling effect. This helps smooth the ride from foot strike to toe-off and promote forward propulsion.

The ride is buttery soft but extremely agile and lively. It doesn’t produce a bouncy sensation, but more of a snappy, fluid motion.

The HOKA Rincon 2 inspires quick-cadence running and a slightly faster pace than you might expect, even on long runs and recovery runs.

All in all, this new edition puts a distinct burst of energy in every stride, especially at faster paces.

WHO IS IT BEST FOR?

Runners who appreciate a lightweight, energetic training shoe will absolutely love the HOKA Rincon 2. It promotes fast, efficient leg turnover in every type of workout, no matter what speed you’re running.

It can be a do-everything training shoe for runners who prefer neutral shoes without much structure or support. The Rincon 2 is capable of inspiring long runs and faster efforts like tempo runs, fartlek runs or even track intervals.

Add to this, this versatile style is also a great race day shoe for distance from 5K up to marathon distance.

Hoka Rincon 2 - pros

Pros: HOKA Rincon 2

The single-layer engineered mesh upper has been updated to create a better lockdown at the midfoot and improve breathability. It gives this version of the Rincon a more performance-oriented fit and adds to the fun, fast feeling.

The Rincon 2 is unfettered and fast, but it still has a lot of cushioning in every stride thanks to the full-compression EVA midsole. It doesn’t feel like a stripped-down racing flat, but the soft, smooth and energetic demeanor allows it to perform like one when you want it to.

The Rincon 2 sits between the super-soft Clifton 7 ($130) and the firm Carbon X ($180) in the Hoka line. All three are great shoes for racing a half marathon or marathon, but the Rincon 2 ($115) a blend of both soft cushion and energetic snap at a value-oriented price.

Hoka Rincon 2 - cons

Cons: HOKA Rincon 2

Like its predecessor, the Rincon 2 doesn’t offer much in the way of support or structure. It’s a decidedly neutral shoe and runners who over-pronate or supinate will have find this shoe a bit unstable at times, especially when running fast and cornering.

SHOP HOKA RINCON 2

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Brian Metzler has run races at every distance from 50 meters to 100 miles. He has wear-tested more than 1,500 pairs of shoes, is a three-time Ironman finisher. He occasionally participates in the quirky sport of pack burro racing in Colorado.

He’s the founding editor of Trail Runner magazine, is a former senior editor at Running Times. He was and editor in chief at Competitor Magazine.

As an author, he has penned “Kicksology“, “Running Colorado’s Front Range” and the co-author of “Natural Running: The Simple Path to Stronger Healthier Running” and “Run Like a Champion: An Olympian’s Approach for Every Runner.”

Brian Metzler - trail running
Brian Metzler - Trail racing
Brian Metzler - Les Alpes
Categories
Brands hoka one one Reviews

HOKA ONE ONE CLIFTON 7 REVIEW

THE BUZZ

The original HOKA ONE ONE Clifton was the game-changing model that helped HOKA go big by meeting the needs of runners who wanted lightweight, well-cushioned shoes. 2020 sees the new HOKA Clifton 7 arrive on the running scene.

The max-cushioned Clifton has continued to evolve through the years, getting lighter, providing a better fit and enhanced heel-toe performance.

Although the Clifton 6 was an outstanding shoe, the Clifton 7 has been improved with a few minor updates.

Hoka Clifton 7 Review - What's new

WHAT’S NEW?

HOKA made a few small but significant changes to the Clifton 7. They have reduced its weight and improved the fit and experience.

These updates include a more ventilated, engineered mesh upper providing greater breathability at the mid-foot, a gusset connection on each side of the tongue for greater fit consistency on the run and a new extended vertical pull-on tab behind the heel for easier entry. 

The outsole of the Clifton 7 has strategically placed durable, lightweight rubber segments in high-abrasion areas. There is exposed foam where there is less significant interaction with the ground.

HOKA Clifton 7 Review - Cushioned Running Shoe

FIT, FEEL, RIDE

The HOKA Clifton 7 has a medium fit from heel to toe. The slight tweaks to this year’s model allow it to be snugged down better on narrower feet. It oozes soft, plushness when you step into them and lace them, but it feels even better when you’re running.

Like all HOKA shoes, the Clifton 7 includes a Meta-Rocker design geometry and a slightly beveled heel. These together create a rolling effect as the foot transitions from touch-down to toe-off.

Combined with the lightweight and modestly responsive qualities of the max-cushioned midsole, it creates a natural, propulsive feeling in every stride. It doesn’t give off a high-energy, bouncy sensation, but it certainly facilitates forward motion.

WHO’S IT BEST FOR?

Runners who value a lightweight shoe and soft cushioning will love the HOKA Clifton 7.

Beginners will enjoy the soft, inviting fit and feel, while faster, experienced runners will appreciate the smooth, efficient and very consistent ride.  

HOKA Clifton 7 - Pros

PROS: HOKA CLIFTON 7

The midsole is unchanged from the Clifton 6. Why mess with a good thing? The thick layer of full-compression EVA foam offers exceptional impact cushioning and resiliency and a soft, smooth ride with a touch of liveliness.

The wide footprint provides inherent stability by way of maximal ground contact. 

The pull-on loop behind the heel has been replaced by an extended vertical heel tab that makes the shoe easier to put on, but it also creates soft support along the heel and Achilles tendon. It looks a bit like an elf-like flare, but it is a noticeable improvement.

Hoka Clifton 7 - Cons

CONS: HOKA CLIFTON 7

There’s little to complain about with this shoe, but some runners might find this shoe a bit too soft and not energetic enough for faster workouts or all-out racing.

Although it can still move fast, the responsiveness of the foam midsole isn’t on par with more performance-oriented lightweight training shoes.

TECH SPECS

Hoka Clifton 7 - Tech Specs

SHOP HOKA CLIFTON 7

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Brian Metzler has run races at every distance from 50 meters to 100 miles, wear-tested more than 1,500 pairs of shoes, is a three-time Ironman finisher. He occasionally participates in the quirky sport of pack burro racing in Colorado.

He’s the founding editor of Trail Runner magazine, is a former senior editor at Running Times and editor in chief at Competitor Magazine. He’s the author of “Kicksology“, “Running Colorado’s Front Range” and the co-author of “Natural Running: The Simple Path to Stronger Healthier Running” and “Run Like a Champion: An Olympian’s Approach for Every Runner.”

Brian Metzler - Boulder Running Company
Brian Metzler - Trail racing
Brian Metzler - Les Alpes

Categories
Brands hoka one one Reviews

INTRODUCING THE HOKA CLIFTON EDGE

HOKA Clifton Edge - White

The HOKA Clifton Edge has arrived, and we’re impressed at JackRabbit at this exquisitely energetic shoe.

When HOKA ONE ONE debuted a decade ago with maximally cushioned running shoes, it started a foam revolution. One of the first HOKA models that made waves was the HOKA Clifton, which combined copious amounts of midsole cushioning in a super-light package that created an almost euphoric floating sensation in every stride.

While the updates to the original Clifton continue to provide runners with that joy, the new HOKA Clifton Edge is a soft, light and exquisitely energetic shoe that puts a springy sensation in every step.

This new forward-thinking style combines HOKA’s most responsive midsole and softest, lightest foam ever and its signature rocker-shaped outsole with a unique, extended heel geometry that results in a soft, gliding sensation at foot strike and lively feel as the foot rolls to the toe-off phase.

Hoka Clifton Edge - JackRabbit

The HOKA Clifton Edge is an impossibly light and smooth shoe with a next-generation design that produces a smooth, resilient ride. A vertical pull tab for easy entry, a padded collar for ultimate comfort and a rubberized EVA outsole for a light, snappy ride round out this innovative new shoe.


SHOP HOKA CLIFTON EDGE

ABOUT BRIAN METZLER

Brian Metzler has run races at every distance from 50 meters to 100 miles, wear-tested more than 1,500 pairs of shoes, is a three-time Ironman finisher and occasionally participates in the quirky sport of pack burro racing in Colorado.

He’s the founding editor of Trail Runner magazine, is a former senior editor at Running Times and editor in chief at Competitor Magazine. He’s the author of “Kicksology“, “Running Colorado’s Front Range” and the co-author of “Natural Running: The Simple Path to Stronger Healthier Running” and “Run Like a Champion: An Olympian’s Approach for Every Runner.”

Brian Metzler - Les Alpes
Brian Metzler - Boulder Running Company
Brian Metzler - trail running