This month, we tested a slightly special pair of shoes that we used on the Ironman of Nice and which is used by our two recent French long distance champions, Charlotte Morel and Frédéric Belaubre. Discover the Hoka One Huaka.
Test realized by Sébastien RODRIGUEZ, photos SR@copyrights / test published in TrimaX-hebdo Magazine#143 _ august 2015
Personally, we use Hoka One One shoes for several years now. First, when wearing these oversized shoes, we looked like aliens and everybody was watching at us ! But the brand became more and more known and now, wearing these shoes, is just normal. It is also true to say that Hoka improved its shoes, revisited its design to make it visually lighter with a narrow shape… a lot of things changed, except its cushioned midsole, which is exactly why we choose these shoes !
As we already said, we are Hoka One addicts for some seasons now and a few Bondi’s are gone shabby …
We took Hoka shoes for our long running training sessions only, never during a race, because of their weight. What a surprise this year, when we discovered the Hoka Huaka, an ultra light model , keeping the cushioned midsole. As real aficionados of the brand, we had to test them as quick as possible in a race : the Ironman of Nice. Here’s the result.
Technical characteristics :
The shoes blew us away !
The sensation of lightness is very present from the beginning, even if it is rather disturbing to wear such big and at the same time very light shoes. The visual constrast between the sole unit and the upper unit increases the sensation of lightness. This is not really surprizing, because it is the reason why we had chosen these Huaka. We were excited to check that in spite of a design diet, the cushioning was the same as our previous Hoka shoes, that made that we loved them so much.
One long ride was enough to reassure us : no doubt, this Huaka is a real Hoka !
The cushioning is present, but not oppressive, the shoe remains very dynamic, it does not crash on the road, on contrary it offers a real interesting ride compared to our old Bondi’s. If we add that very low drop of 2mm, we really have a very lively shoe. Its behavior is diametrically different to the first visual impression. It really incites to start the ride on the front of your shoe and rather naturally urges to accelerate the rhythm. It will be necessary to learn how to canalize speed with this Huaka if we want to last ! These characteristics are also interesting during your split training sessions, light and dynamic, but with an interesting cushioning to limit important shocks on the high speed series.
On short or long training sessions, your feet will be happy to feel the Hoka effect. It seems like even fatigue and muscle soreness is being delayed.
Honestly, we do not hesitate to say that this shoe can ride everywhere. We had chosen it for the marathon on an Ironman, but after testing the shoe, it really can be used for short- or long training sessions, always with huge satisfaction.
If this Huaka is intended to ride on the road, it is also great on a forest path. The oversize sole erases the small rocks and other roots … It will however be necessary to stay on the path, this Hoka is not a trail shoe. In fact, the sensation is rather simple to describe : wether you run on road, grass, path, … you have the impression to always run on the same ground cover.
The only negative point is the outer sole. It marks very fast and the front grips disappear rapidly. However, it seems not to evolve over time, so that we can say that the shoe has a good life expectancy, around 1000 km.
Here at Trimax, we are really conquered by this new Huaka. It is the shoe we were looking for on long distance races, but in fact, it is even more ! These shoes really surprized us, even on rides where we did not expect them : they can go almost everywhere. So, yes, we will for sure use them on Half and Ironman, but we will also use them on much shorter formats !