I have been seeing more and more Clydesdales and near Clydesdales tromping around in Hoka running shoes, so I finally broke down and tried some on at Runner’s Roost in Louisville. Holly was kind enough to explain to me how the company strives for light weight and does a lot with the midsole materials. They had 3 models in stock I took a couple of laps in all 3.
Huaka – This model is most like a traditional running shoe. It fit my foot fine with a generous toe box. I also liked the lacing system which kind of reminded me of Speed Laces.
Clifton – This was the middle of the road model. Again the fit was fine and it felt pretty soft.
Bondi 4 – This is what I expected the shoes to feel like when I see other people running in them. They were springy and I felt a little elevated. I would feel uncomfortable on trails in this shoe.
After trying them on and running in them, it was a debate between the Clifton and the Bondi 4. I opted for the Bondi 4 as I really wanted a pair of soft shoes for my longer runs and also because most of my runs are on concrete. If I were looking for a pair of all around shoes, I would have opted for the Clifton. I leaned away from the Huaka as I am already pretty set on my traditional running shoe (Saucony Guide).
The shoes will take some getting used to, but I am kind of looking forward to that. The break in will certainly be faster than it was for my Newton running shoes or the racing flats I bought a few years back.