Moon Boots Rule
|HOKA ONE ONE Stinson Evo B|
“Running in Hoka shoes is like nothing you've ever experienced!”, were the exact words James the Hoka rep offered up as I cinched down the speed laces on the Stinson EVO B’s. The Hoka One One motto is, It's fun. It's fast. It's freedom. It's flying! Since my first trail ultra I had been searching for a shoe that offered a low heel to toe drop (efficient) while still maintaining a decent amount of cushion (comfort). As a forefoot striker I naturally gravitate towards minimalist like shoes, my one complaint being that I wanted more cushion. I know that sounds silly, but after 30+ hilly, rocky, root studded trail miles your feet and body appreciate a little comfort. Unlike shoes that produce a hard or rigid feeling, Hokas offer up a lot of softness and a sensation of floating.
After one 5 mile run, during which I purposely ran over every rock and root I could find, I was sold. The shoe not only absorbed the abuse of the trail and hills, but was stable on sharp corners, up hills, and down. My biggest concern was that with the amount of foam between me and the ground I would no longer feel the trail, rest assured though just as I was unable to feel sharp rocks I could fell every little divot or bump on the path! This shoe excited me so much that I immediately ordered a pair from Bryon at iRunFar.com, and wore them for a 50 mile trail race. Yes that’s right, no break in period (experts say not to try something new on race day), just out of the box and onto my feet. Holy cow did they work, these shoes helped absorb the punishment of the trail so well that I was able to run the final 13 miles in around 1:40, and yes that was after running 37 hilly rocky miles. This was due to the uniquely designed midsole which softens the increased impacts of downhill running and acts as a buffer against jagged obstacles on the trail.
Here are the specifics of the shoe:
Weight- 10.4 ounces, Men’s size 9
Heel to Toe Drop- 4mm (Thin Insole) 6mm (Thick Insole) yes it comes with both!
In doing a little research I was able to determine the rationale for the Stinson B model. It was to create a shoe equally at home on the roads as well as trails by combining the best features of its sister shoes, the Bondi and Mafate. The EVO is suitable for use on all types of on and off road terrain thanks to increased outsole traction while providing responsive cushioning, stability, and efficiency. I have put my EVO’s to use on the trail, road, and yes the treadmill! Oversized, light, and stable, the midsole provides a smooth, yet efficient ride. By reducing stress on the body it is an ideal training or racing shoe for ultrarunners, no matter the terrain.
A little more research and I was able to find the new features Hoka enhanced in the EVO which allow it to be used for everyday training yet make it light enough for race day. First, there is a new light-weight outsole design which has much better traction on all surfaces, thanks to strategically placed high abrasion resistant lugs. A 50 percent increase in outsole surface area (compared to traditional running shoes) improves grip and stability. The additional surface area allows greater contact with the ground, allowing your foot to dynamically engage the ground while the shoe's outsole gains maximum traction on pavement, dirt trails or rocky surfaces. Second, the fit and comfort of the upper has been improved particularly with respect to the forefoot area. Third, efficient, lightweight speed laces are now standard. Fourth, the midsole has been enhanced with a more contoured sidewall providing slightly more width while still remaining snug. Fifth, the EVO has been engineered for protection, comfort and propulsion with a rockered geometry that creates a platform for optimally efficient natural running mechanics. Lab tests have shown that Hokas rockered midsole geometry and low heel-toe differential encourages proper form by allowing a runner to easily strike the ground near the midfoot.
Like other Hoka One One models, the Stinson B EVO has a low heel to toe angle of 6mm or 4mm, depending on insert (it comes with two), and a rockered forefoot and rear foot. The midsole encourages the wearer to move in a manner similar to the way a barefoot runner does on soft surfaces. This low ramp angle also allows for tremendous confidence running downhill and the oversized midsole is designed to maximize muscle efficiency through the reduction of stress on all muscles and joints, regardless of surface or distance.
This comes directly from Hoka One One regarding to how the EVO works. “Recent breakthroughs in materials technology allow for 2.5 to 3 times the usual amount of ultra lightweight resilient foam to be utilized in the patent pending midsole, which is scientifically designed with a midsole geometry engineered to provide far superior biomechanical efficiency, cushioning, responsiveness and performance. When running or walking, the feather-light EVA midsole compresses to providing excellent shock absorption- it springs back under the forefoot for increased acceleration and propulsion. Despite the shoes being drastically more cushioned than virtually anything else on the market, because it has approximately 50% more surface area in contact with the ground and a midsole that positions the foot deeply recessed into it, the shoe provides lateral stability and protection on a level similar to many traditional stability running shoes without any midsole posting.”
I found the EVO to run true to sizing. I wear a men’s 9.5 in Montrail and New Balance and this is what I wear in the EVO’s. The additional set of thinner insoles is provided and can be used to accomplish one of two things; take up volume by adding them on top of the existing insoles, or to add more volume by removing the existing insoles in the shoes and replacing them with the thinner set. The purpose of the extra insoles is to help accommodate people with high volume and narrow feet.
The 2012 ultra season for me included; 2 50k’s, a 50 miler, a ½ marathon, pacing duties in a 100 miler, and too many long runs to count. All of these were done in my Hokas and all of them were on rocky, hilly trails. My EVO’s currently have over 700 miles on them and they are not showing any real sings of wear or breakdown, a solid 1000 miles+ is where I feel these shoes are headed. The tread on the sole is extremely durable with all of the lugs maintaining their integrity. I have not had any issues with the material of the shoe, which also happened to be extremely breathable.
In conclusion the Hoka One One Stinson EVO B is a fantastic addition to your running shoe collection. I believe that this shoe can benefit every runner. If you like comfort, it has it. Also if you normally run more minimal this shoe can work great for recovery runs. I would highly recommend this shoe regardless of terrain or distance. (Well maybe not a 5k, but I have done speed work in mine!) The shoe is a bit pricey ($170) compared to some, but with its durability the cost per mile of the shoe makes it relatively cheap. I will continue to run in Hokas! I am currently looking over my early 2013 schedule with a road 50K as my A race, so I may need to grab a pair of the new Bondi B 2.