Why I’ll Never Buy Hoka One One’s

What swings one way to the extreme, surely must swing back just as hard in the opposite direction. This pendulum rebound is overtly (or covertly) expressed in every aspect of life. If you’ve been around long enough, you can really notice it happen in the fashion industry. (Since when are chokers cool again??) Maybe it’s just me, and my interests, but it’s also shockingly transparent in the running shoe industry. I have never considered myself a trend follower and generally stick to my tried-and-true, but when presented with solid research and a logical argument, I’ll change my mind.

“If someone is able to show me that what I think or do is not right, I will happily change, for I seek the truth, by which no one was ever truly harmed. It is the person who continues in his self-deception and ignorance who is harmed.” – Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

I was, granted, a late adopter of the minimalist running shoe, but it has changed the way I run for the better. I started running in minimalist shoes in February 2015 and haven’t looked back. My love for minimalist shoes runs deep. I’ve incurred so many benefits, and learned so much, from running in minimalist shoes. I have not transitioned to full barefoot yet, nor do I know if I ever will – DC sidewalks aren’t the cleanest/safest.I’ll write about minimalist shoes another time; the point of this post is to discuss why I’ll never buy Hoka One One’s. (Pronounced Hoka O-nay O-nay, fyi)

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Why I’ll Never Buy Hoka One One’s

  • The lack of ground feel – can you even feel a crack or slight undulation in those?
  • They look ridiculous – maybe I’m shallow, but they kinda look exactly like moon boots13e8cb49a744dfb1a81a64cf256e6367
  • Overturned ankles – self-explanatory. If you’ve ever tried to walk in platform wedges, you know the risk.
  • Harder landings – the cushion allows runners to put undue stress on their joints. This August 2016 study shows that runners wearing “maximalist” shoes put significantly more pressure on the patellofemoral joint as compared to traditional or minimalist shoes. (Jonathan Sinclair, Jim Richards, James Selfe, James Fau-Goodwin, Hannah Shore, “The Influence of Minimalist and Maximalist Footwear on Patellofemoral Kinetics During Running,” issue 4, vol. 32, Journal of Applied Biomechanics, Aug. 2016)
  • Lack of exercise diversity – I wouldn’t risk trying to do sprints, box jumps, or any other type of exercise in Hokas. They’re built for running, true, but regular and minimalist shoes enable me to squat heavy, jump into sprints, and perform literally every other physical task I please. I would rather run completely barefoot than try to wear Hoka’s on a trail.

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  • Running form suffers – the cushion in these shoes masks some of the feedback mechanisms your body uses to naturally regulate your running form. They essentially help you get away with crappier running form, and then when you go back to regular shoes, it hits the fan.
  • Lack of flexibility – this is a big downfall I’ve heard about the Hoka One One’s, and other extreme cushioned running shoes. The shape of the shoe, and the stiffness of the cushion, removes natural foot flexibility.

 

Anyone have any thoughts on or experiences with the Hoka’s? Am I way off here in my minimalist devotion?

 

 

 

7 thoughts on “Why I’ll Never Buy Hoka One One’s

  1. Ed Wyrd says:

    I agree, only in the other direction. I’m not a fan of this minimalist fad. I want to be cushioned from the road. Not sure why I would want to feel every crack. And to me, NOT being cushioned would put undue stress on my joints. Also, my running shoes are just for running. I have other shoes for doing squats and such. But that’s the great thing about the running shoe market, there’s something for everyone. I have not tried Hoka One Ones (o-nay o-nay? For reals?) , I think they’re at the other extreme from minimalism. I’ll happily stay in the middle.

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    • caseytris says:

      I’ve found that it forces me to run a little slower to maintain proper form and not hurt my joints. I occasionally alternate with normal running shoes (Nike Frees) just to change it up a bit, but I find the change hurts my knees. But thankfully, the market is so expansive, you can find any variation of shoe you desire. And yes, Hoka O-nay O-nay’s, shocking, right? I was surprised too. It’s a french company, so it makes a little more sense. I’ve mistakenly been calling them Hoka “Ones” for a while now.

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  2. Marc Vignocchi says:

    I agree in full. I ran in minimalist shoes from 2011-2014 and they esentually tought me to run with something that resembles a run form and not slam my feed to the ground with shin splints. I know the oposite of what you would think no pading would teach you. Now I run in shoes with a little more to them as the distance increases but still close to a racing flat. I’ve looked a the Maximalist shoes and I really only see them being good if your injured or imediatly after a marathon so you feel like your walking on clouds. I’ve gained a healthly respect for feeling the road. I don’t trip on inperfections like others I train with I believe mostly because my feet have learned to instantly adapt on each foot fall.

    Now I’ve also learned over the years that most people who are really against minimalist shoes tried them and make the mistake of runnin 5, 10 or 20 miles without allowing their muscles to adjust. They hurt themselves and now all wear Hokas. If you work your way into the shoes they are a great benefit.

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    • caseytris says:

      I agree, I can see some circumstances where a maximalist shoe would be useful, but the circumstances are few and far between. I had a hard time easing into the minimalist shoes too, but I’m glad that I purposefully took my time to adapt to them. Do you mind me asking what shoes you run in now? I’m currently training for a marathon and I’m finding that with all the miles I’m putting on my shoes, I’m going to need a new pair soon. Any suggestions?

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      • Marc Vignocchi says:

        After my Vibrams I used Merrill’s for a while (400+ Miles) I then started wearing New Balance. I’ve had several pars of the 1400’s various versions these are close to a running flat but have a 10 mm drop. You would never guess that was the drop but that’s what the stats list for them. I then switched to NB890’s which are no longer made and now run in the Fresh Foam Zante v2 with a 6mm drop. I’ve been very happy with the New Balance brand in general but could probably run in anything after the minimalist shoes as long as it’s not a supportive shoe with a high arch support (that one felt like I was standing on a rock)

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  3. Paul Lamb says:

    I’m a heavier runner, and I love my Hoka Bondis. I know I need the extra cushion. As to feel of the ground, I can feel the white strips on the pavement when I’m running in them.

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