Me and Dzangel

Me and Dzangel
RMC 5K 2007

Friday, June 21, 2013

Hoka One One Stinson Evo Trail impressions

Howdy all. This is a new type of post for me. Instead of blathering on about my training, or racing or just whatever, I'm going to take a stab at a shoe review.
First off, I'm not a professional, not getting paid by Hoka, nor am I an expert in running analysis of any type. These are just my honest opinions and observations. Like 'em or not.
I purchased the Hoka One One Stinson Evo from an on-line retailer. The closest brick and mortar store is in Madison. Just a little far for me to drive.
The price was the biggest stumbling block for me. I'm used to buying last years models or sale shoes. I'm fussy though. I won't buy a shoe just because it's cheap. It has to fit well and work for my type of running and my weird feet. I did get a pretty good deal and saved a few dollars. Still at just north of $150, they are pricey-in my opinion. I'm used to spending less than $100.
My main reason for giving the Hokas a try was some foot problems I've never had before. Just very sore feet in general, especially in my arch. After my first 50K last May, my feet were actually bruised, in addition to being just beat to hell. I ran that in some Brooks PureGrit for the first 22 miles and then Cascadia 6 for the last 9 miles.
My first run was a short jaunt around town, mostly on roads and sidewalks with a short section of trail. The cushioning is definitely noticeable. It felt kind of like running on springs! An odd feeling but I got used to it fairly quick. It was an easy run. I was surprised when the first mile went by in just over 8 minutes. Not fast for some, I know, but faster than my normal training lately. It didn't feel that fast and it didn't feel like the shoes slowed me down. They didn't feel clunky, clumsy or heavy. Just different.
My next run in the Hokas was a true trail test. 16.5 miles in just under 3 hours on the Ice Age Trail in Waupaca county. Hilly, some roots and rocks. Tossed in some of the bike single track for fun. The shoes felt very comfortable. I was a little worried about catching a toe and doing my famous Superman imitation. It is a pretty normal occurrence when I run trails. No issues at all. And this was after eight hours at work. They didn't feel heavy going up the hills. They really allowed me to let it hang out on the downhills. I'm not exactly fast but the shoes did make me feel more comfortable going down hills. No issues at all with stability. I had imagined because of the thicker soles that there might be more of a tendency to roll an ankle. I've never had an issue with this, but I could see how it might be a factor if you have weak ankles or tend to easily roll an ankle. The sole seemed to have good traction. I've never had an issue on the trails I run, but I couldn't see much difference between the Hokas and my last few trail shoes.
The shoes come with quick laces. I'm not a big fan of that type of laces. I've had them in Salomon shoes and I've tried them in other shoes as an add-on. I either seem to have the laces to tight or to loose. I can't find that happy medium. They do come with normal laces if I want to change them, so it isn't an issue. Just a personal preference. I'll give them a few more miles.
I normally wear a size 11, and the shoes seem to be spot on. I read some reviews where people complained that they ran narrow. I had no problem with that issue. My feet have a wide forefoot and narrow heels. With a pair of normal thickness Injinji socks, I haven't had any issues with fit. They come with a pair of flat insoles and a pair with arch support. I'm using the arched pair since the flat ones made the shoes feel a little big.
In some very informal side by side comparisons with a pair of Brooks Cascadia 6 I came up with these measurements. Key word informal-well used kitchen scale and an inexpensive caliper. The weight was about the same-375 g/or just over 12 oz. per shoe-size 11 in both. Here are a few more measurements-
                    Brooks Cascadia 6          Hoka Stinson Evo
Heel width-               77mm                          92mm
Arch width-               64mm                          79mm
Forefoot width-         101mm                        100mm
I think there might be a very slight learning curve to running in the Hokas. I have had any difficulty, but depending on where you run and your current shoes, it could be a possibility.
Overall, I like the shoes. They will go in to my trail shoe rotation, mostly for longer (>25K) runs. I plan on using them in my upcoming Dances with Dirt-Devil's Head 50K. I'll let you know how they work out.
Questions? Comments? I welcome both. Thanks for taking the time to read this.