Hoka One One Mafate Review

As a Christmas gift to myself, I decided to investigate the hype surrounding this maximalist trail running shoe from France, used by, among other ultra running luminaries, Karl Meltzer. The attached photo gives a sense of the massively wide and thick sole offering wider grip and the most comfortable ride imaginable on a running shoes: the visual comparator is the old-school Hardrock, previously considered to be at the top end of heavy-duty support.

There are many reviews readily accessible by google, so I will not attempt to offer a full review, but rather a Pacific Northwest perspective.

The shoes are incredibly comfortable, and despite the lofty heights your feet are from the ground and the relatively minimal and low ankle support, feel reasonably balanced and secure. Running quickly round a corner must emulate the feeling of being in a monster-truck: the centrifugal force makes one feel like you are about to roll over, but all is kept in place. Despite the larger size, they are reasonably light.

The main criticism of the Hokas, and for running in the Pacific Northwest, a fatal shortcoming, is the lack of grip on a hard moist surface: hit a wet North Shore boardwalk, root, or skid row, and you may fly to your doom (as I almost did on the stairs going down into the Mackay Creek Valley).

The Hoka would likely be an ideal shoe for a non-technical 50mile+ run through the desert or on the road. For a shorter distance, the cushioning is probably surplus (although it may offer hope for those with sensitive feet or creaky joints). I will probably use them for the last 30miles of Western States, when my feet will feel good and pounded.

$190 at Kintec for the waterproof version (shown)(price is yikes, but cheaper than the 155 Euros on the Hoka website).

POSTSCRIPT: Just wore the Hokas for a 50K the day after a marathon. Perhaps psychosomatic, but they did appear to make life gentler, both during the run, and in recovery the day after.


I just got mine too!

picked up a pair of Bondi's today, can't wait to try them out tomorrow! I didn't go up like 5 sizes as recommended by lots of reviews. I went the same size as my regular Asics they feel just right but not sure how it would be on longer runs...

Hokas are great!

 I have had a pair since this spring. They not only took me on 100 mile trek around the Mont Blanc in Europe with pack but have been sensational on smooth trails. They are very slippery on ice and wet leaves. They are not great on steep side angles but I have never rolled over. I have run trails in Europe, Utah, and NH with good results. Pusing well over 250 miles with no significant wear or collapse of all that cushy foam. I didn't think they would climb well but due to the steep rocker sole in fact they do. And downhills are incredible.

Now for their real strength. Long hauls with fresh legs at the end I have taken to running my long road runs and recovery runs in them. Yesterday 2:05 on the roads and legs fresh at the end and this morning. They are not for running fast on the road but the rocker does encourage a nice quick mid foot stride. I posted a bit of a review of the Hoka One One  a few weeks ago on my blog www.samwinebaum.blogspot.com and tied the review  to the incredible exploit of Karl Meltzer. He ran the entire Pony Express Trail this fall: 40 x 50 miles at day!



Hoka Bondi-B First Look

I had a chance to see and try on the Hoka One One Bondi-B road runner at the Outdoor Retailer in Salt Lake City today. 20% lighter, 10% less cushioning, road sole. 8.8 oz size 9!  If I can get a pair I will run Boston in these beauties.  I also wrote briefly about the new Golite Tara Lites and Adidas CC Trail which is like the Nike Free in its flexibility See picture and more info on my blog www.samwinebaum.blogspot.com


neil ambrose's picture

West Highland Way Shoes Perhaps??

Well we are signed up for the WHW for the 3rd year in a row and I haven't yet mastered the feet issues. These might just help! It looks like there would be a few good inches between the balls of my feet and that old stone. What do you think?


David Crerar's picture

These shoes would be very very fine....

...for those hard-pounding Wade military roads. Perhaps switch into them at Auchtertyre Farm after most of the semi-technical/rooty terrain is out of the way AND if the weather has been pretty good?

neil ambrose's picture

Och... I'm excited!

Can hardly wait to try them...there is a Santa Claus!

Ean Jackson's picture

Santa was good to me, too!

'Should have known you'd beat me to the punch.  I was planning to test drive mine on the trails today, but opted for a more traditional run with my high-mileage montrails. 

We'd look like quite the pair skipping down the trail together in the Hokas =;-)

David Crerar's picture

The Coast Guard would have to issue

a Code Red full ultradork alert.  Your original description of 'em as 'clown shoes' nails it.

I might wear mine at the FA50K.

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