Friday, May 23, 2014

Friday, 05/23/14 Hoka Huaka

Just picked up a pair of the soon to be released Hoka Huaka.  Having run in many pairs of Hokas since I became a loyal fan back in 2010 (Mafate, Bondi, Bondi 2, several pairs of Stinson EVO Trail, Rapa Nui 2), I have found the Huaka to be a huge breakthrough for the company.

For starters, the Huaka is notably lighter than all of the previous Hokas, weighing in at sub 9 oz., yet still has plenty of cushion (27mm in the heel and 25mm in the forefoot, probably the most cushion you can get at this low of a weight, at least the best combination I have seen thus far.  The Huaka has a lighter and more pliable upper, yet still holds the foot in place extremely well and is the most comfortable Hoka I have worn by far, feels like a pillowy soft pair of slippers, but with excellent protection and response.

From the best I can tell, this shoe is made to be a road shoe, but it performs quite well for high speed running on the trails with plenty of traction, protection, control and stability for even steeper more technical trails. This shoe feels way more speedy, agile and responsive than previous models and just begs to be pushed hard.

I'll use these for the Bolder Boulder 10k on Monday and they are also my top pick for the Pikes Peak Marathon in August (my only reservation is that my test pair is a half size too small, so I question how they will work for me on a 13 mile descent).  Speaking of fit, these run a little large.  I normally wear size 10 in all of the other Hoka models, but my Huakas are a 9 and fit quite well for day to day use (though given the choice, I would go 9.5 for just a little extra room in the toe).

I'll also be interested to see how they wear over time, as the outsole is already showing a little wear and tear after just 16 hard trail miles (not entirely unexpected though, given that it is a road shoe with a lot of foam).

I think I have heard that these will be released in July, but I don't remember where I heard that, so I am not entirely sure.  Keep an eye out, I highly recommend them!

Those are insoles I robbed from another pair of shoes, as the supplied insoles felt somewhat awkward to me (low in the arch creating a very annoying sharp-ish edge, but putting in a "normal" insole alleviated this issue entirely).

Comparing them with other Hokas, (Huaka, Rapa Nui 2, Bondi 2, Stinson EVO Trail

With the Stinson EVO Trail

Comparing with the Bondi 2

Chasing the Rapa Nui 2

With the Mafate Speed (Allison's shoe)

Women's Huaka

Sage Canaday/Vo2 Max Productions has an excellent video review here: