It's a question we get multiple times each day. And the answer is YES, we do sell Hoka--and here's why they're so special...
Here's a brief, nutshell version of the technology in one of the most disruptive running shoe brands in recent history.
Hokas Are Cushioned
Yep, the renowned "thicc boys" of the running scene, Hoka shoes are nice and cushioned. Hoka has managed to nail a nimble balance of high cushion and low weight in their running lineup--which includes road, trail, and even trainers.
But that's not all! There's more to Hoka than a high stack of foam!
Hoka's "Active Foot Frame" Hugs Your Foot
If you look at a pair of Hokas and think, "Yea right, I'm afraid of heights" you might want to look again.
Instead of sitting on top of that fat stack of foam, your foot sits within the foam. Think of it more like a cradle for your foot. Hoka's Active Foot Frame gives you a little more security--and some might say a little bit of stability--during your run
Hokas Rock (They Really ROCK)
Hoka calls this their "Meta-Rocker" and it's one of the most influential pieces of technology in their shoes.
The Meta-Rocker helps you maintain forward momentum and encourage gait progression. Because the shoe is promoting a transition from initial contact through toe-off, you spend less time on any given part of your foot--which can contribute to less pressure.
Hokas Are Wide
But not in the way you're thinking!
It's true, many Hoka models fit a bit roomier than other brands. However, it's the width of the midsole compared to the footbed that matters here. Let's revisit everyone's favorite subject: physics!
With great surface area comes less pressure. When you disperse a given force over a greater surface area the perceived impact is decreased. Basically, you don't feel as much impact with a wider-bottomed shoe.
No, it's not the most flattering look, but if you want these softies to stay comfy, stop looking down!
A More Balanced Midsole Promotes Better Landing
"Balanced midsole!?" Isn't that an Altra thing? Yes, it is, good observation!
Previously called "zero-drop," having a balanced midsole means that the height of the toes and the height of the heel from the ground are equal--so the weight of the material in each section is also the same.
Hoka does not have any zero-drop shoes at present. However, their shoes are in the more balanced range compared to traditional shoes like Brooks and Asics. They're generally around 4-6mm higher in the heel than toe (compared to the standard 10mm).
This more balanced midsole means that your foot can operate however it wants. There's no additional weight dragging your heel down and out as you swing forward, which promotes a landing underneath your center of mass. Plus, with everything else a Hoka is doing for you, you can land however you land. Forefoot, mid-foot, or rear-foot--doesn't really matter, just land how you land.
So, which Hoka is right for me?
Here's where the rubber meets the road (literally).
Like all other brands, Hoka makes a variety of models each with a unique purpose. If you've been wearing Hokas for a while you probably have your favorite picked out already. That said, they've come out with a few new models recently that you should try out!
Which one is right for you? You just have to try them on! We'll go over a few of the models we carry, but remember that the best thing you can do is come in to the store and try 'em out.
Bondi, Clifton, and Mach... Oh my!
These three models--the Bondi, Clifton, and Mach--should definitely be on your try-on list if you're new to Hoka. From most to least "Hoka-ness," they'll give you a sense of where you stand (or run!) in Hokas.
The Mach is a newer model that we're big fans of--especially the last 2 years. It's had a bit of a rough past but is now one of our favorites for everything from tempos and shorter races to easy long runs.
Gaviota and Arahi Bring the Stability
The Gaviota and Arahi are Hoka's mainstay stability shoe models (Gaviota is a little more cushioned and stable than the lighter, less-noticeable Arahi). Hoka uses what they call a "J-Frame" method of stability.
The J-Frame is your usual dual-density midsole, but the density under the entire heel is the same (or mostly the same), giving runners and walkers a solid landing and controlled transition throughout each phase of the gait cycle. The more dense part of the J-Frame which extends along the medial (towards the middle of your body) part of the shoe to bolster your arch.
Speedgoat and Torrent Send It On Trails
The Speedgoat is one of the most popular trail shoes these days. If you look around during an ultramarathon you might become hypnotized by a sea of Speedgoats. You've been warned.
The Speedgoat and Torrent (the Torrent has a less noticeable meta-rocker and better ground-feel) are great trail shoes for anyone doing short and fast frolics on technical trails of Turkey Mountain and for those of you preparing for the Pumpkin Holler Hunnerd out in Tahlequah.
Carbon X for Unsightly Speed
We're the age of SUPERSHOES.
Since Nike slapped a carbon-fiber plate on loads of resilient marshmallowy cushioning, everyone is putting the metal to the pedals.
Hoka has two main renditions of carbon-plated supershoes, the Rocket X and the Carbon X. We have the Carbon X in our store (it's about 0.8 oz lighter than the Rocket X) and if you're looking for a super light, super fast supershoe you'll regret not giving Hoka a try!
Hoka does have a new carbon-plated trail shoe, the Tecton X, but that's a story for another blog post...
But wait, there's more?
Hoka has become a household name in the specialty running industry. Sure, they finally look pretty cool and have a name that's fun to say, but thankfully there's more to them than that. Stop by our store at 41st and Peoria and try some on!
If we don't have the best Hoka for your foot in-store, we'll order it for you!
* It's worth noting that, as with most industries, when one company gets good feedback on something, other brands try to copy it. Our staff is trained in all the shoes and can help you find the right high-cushion, rocked midsole shoe for you even if you don't like Hoka!
Author: Cody Koontz
Cody is a major shoe-nerd and fully embraces that fact and works full-time at RunnersWorld Tulsa. He's not in the above picture but wishes it was him (what a scene!). Cody is also an avid runner, physical therapist assistant, and personal trainer, so he likes to apply seemingly useless shoe details to the big picture of gait and biomechanics.