Friday, September 5, 2014

Hoka One One Kailua Trail

(pronounced Ho-kah Oh-nay Oh-nay, although I've never heard anyone in real life say it that way)
Maori for "Time to fly over the Earth!"

I should probably start off this post saying this is not a shoe review.  There are 100's of Hoka reviews out there, so if you want one, fire up Google and have fun! We certainly did when I started hinting that I may finally be willing to get on the Hoka train and drink the Kool Aid (thank you, NTL).  If you've been to a running event in the last 5 years, you've no doubt seen Hoka's.  I remember the first time I saw someone in a pair and I thought, "what the heck is on his feet? Can you really run in those?" Hoka's started out as those huge, over sized, super cushioned, super wide based shoes.  They looked a lot like moon shoes. This at a time when running was in it's "minimal shoes are the best" phase. So you would see everything  from no shoes, to sandals, to vibrams, to super thin (minimal) shoes, to hybrids of all sorts....and then the dude in the moon shoes, bucking the trend. You still see a wide variety of shoes at every race, but you see a lot of moon shoes now, too, although they are more stream lined than they were in the beginning.  And really, that variety is one of the things I love about running.

 We are all constantly changing - getting older, bigger, smaller, faster, slower....and with those changes our gear tends to change. Yes, some people have super strong opinions about what's best for your body, what the best "thing" is that is gear related....but I sure don't, and I think most of the running community doesn't either.  Just find what works for you and go gett'r done. Moon shoes? Fine, have a good run! Tutus? Cool, have fun. Fake mohawk? Awesome, and have fun. Barefoot? Cool, mind the cow pies, and have a good run. Nathan running vest VS super expensive running vest...I don't care what you're wearing, just happy to have you on the trail with me.

So along the constantly changing line of thought (did I have a line of thought when I started this???), this past year I took a huge break from running. It started last winter with an injury sustained while training for WTC, then some family/life changes that shifted priorities....and I find myself getting back into the running game eager, but both a year older, heavier, and slower.  As I mentioned, part of enjoying running is finding the right gear for you, and I now need a more substantial, thicker, cushier shoe.  So, after 3 paragraphs of randomness, I would like to introduce you to my new Hoka One One Kailua's -

 Initially, while trying them on, I had to agree with the reviews that the toe box was narrow, however while running I never felt they were too tight, or small.

 There are a lot of little details to appreciate

 This morning it was time to introduce them to my mountain.

  They ate their first dirt this morning! They said, "Aahhh, that tastes good!"

 I did feel that climbing was easier a bit, especially near the end of the run, although this could be due to all the reviews saying that climbing is made easier by a certain percentage.
Flats felt really, really nice, although I don't enjoy running flats, I do enjoy the rocking feel.

 I took them on the scenic tour.

 They were trucking is supplies for the annual Save Mount Diablo dinner on the mountain behind China Wall.
 This is what a lot of the downhill consisted of, loose, slippery dirt. 
 About half way done, and time for some downhill.  They feel very different on the downhills, and it'll take a bit of getting used to.  Everything I read said you fly on the downhills...not the case with me, I felt a bit slippy.  The ground is super dry right now, though, and mostly loose dirt, so it very possibly could just be the terrain I was on.

 I predict a long, happy relationship with these shoes.

I could spend hours linking you to info and videos, but if you really are interested in learning more about Hoka's, your best bet is to just Google.
For those curious about price, Hoka's are known for their high price tag.  We were able to find mine online at Zombie Runner for under $90, which is a great deal!


  1. Wow - that really is a great price! The narrowness is what has steered me away from them towards Altras, but I have really wide feet. One thing that you may have noticed is that they have a much lower heel drop than traditional shoes, which usually shows itself with sorer than normal calves. What I really love is how my feet don't feel beat up at the end of a race.

    Congrats on making the jump - I suspect you will end up liking them a lot.

    1. I have heard that mountain goat feet are not suited to Hoka's, glad to hear the Altras are working for you!