Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Which Hoka's are right for me?

I enjoy responding to friends frequently asking me about Hoka's.  I have loved running in them and working in them for years.  Being a Hoka athlete allows me to try out most if not all of the current models and here is a little bit of insight into my thoughts on the models I wear the most.


The Clifton's are very light (7.7oz) and have the perfect amount of drop for me (5mm).

Hoka has come a long way in the last couple years in terms of making lighter shoes that still have the Hoka feel that makes running feel smooth, easy and fun, as if you were skiing or riding a mountain bike downhill.

While these are road shoes, they handle extremely well on technical trails.  Looking at the outsole here you can see why they maintain traction in many conditions.  They are amazing all around shoes.  I plan to race in them at Whoo's in El Moro this Sunday.


These guys are similar to the Clifton's in that they are light (8.9oz) and have little drop (only 2mm), but they have a different feel.  These seem to be Sage Canaday's go to shoe for the road and trail.  Like the Clifton's, they are road shoes but they handle technical trails just fine.  For those looking for minimal drop these are the Hoka's for you.


The first thing I think about when I look at these shoes is, if I get into Hardrock next year I'll use these (like 2nd place finisher, Julien Chorier did this year).  They are well suited for big technical mountains - very stable, cushioned well for long steep descents and have aggressive outsoles.  I love bombing down nasty loose/rocky ridges in these puppies.


I wore these at Western States this year, the older version of them en route to my CR at Bishop 100k this year and at Hardrock and Zane Grey last year.  I chose them for the long descents, great traction and comfort over many miles.  They also feel wider in the toe box, which my feet like.


Durable is the word that comes to mind with these shoes.  I recently wore them while fastpacking a section of the Sierra High Route, which is half trail/half cross country and goes up an over many rocky passes with plenty of talus fields.  I wear these when I'm going out to do some class 3 scrambling, and/or am traveling over a bunch of granite that likes to chew up shoes.  

Leor Pantilat was wearing these in most of the pictures from his John Muir Trail FKT recently.  I think I saw a picture or two of him in the Huaka's as well.  


  1. Mafate SPD or Stimson atr for ac100?

  2. Between those two I'd suggest the Stinson's because they're slightly lighter and you don't really need the more aggressive tread that the Mafate Speed's have. BUT, it'd be worth trying them both on if you can to see if one feels better than the other when you run a few steps in them.

  3. Just off the Grindstone 100 with 64 miles in the Stinsons and 36 miles in the Cliftons. Great combo. Might take the Cliftons further than that next time. Contrary to rumor, they are great on technical trail.

    1. I agree Andy, the Clifton's do just fine in technical stuff. My buddy Mike loved 'em for all 100 miles of AC this year.

  4. great reviews dude and thanks for always answering my questions about the hokas. I'm still torn between the rapa nui's or the cliftons for sunday.... see you there!

    1. Try out the Clifton's! Either way, see you soon.