Sunday, October 7, 2012

Hoka One One Shoes?

I'm pretty much a minimalist runner. I like lightweight, low heel-to-toe drop, flexible, feel-the ground, type shoes. I even run barefoot. But I'm thinking I may need a new "tool" for the Umstead 100 miler. Umstead is not a technical doesn't have rocks and roots that require a rockplate. The Umstead trail is basically a smooth dirt and crushed limestone path. But it is 8 loops of 12.5 miles equating to 100 trail miles.  That's a long time to be on your feet. I ain't running Umstead barefoot. Or in super-minimalist shoes. I need a little cushioning, maybe a lot of cushioning, to stay on my feet for 24 hours and 100 miles.

In addition to very minimalist shoes (Feelmax Osma, NB Minimus Trail, Mizuno Wave Universe, Merrell Trail Glove, Vibram FiveFingers), I have medium minimalist shoes too (NB MT110, Skechers Go Bionic, NB 730). And I have a "hard to define" shoe--the Altra Instinct. The Instinct is zero drop, has a wide toe box, little support, no motion control, and is cushioned. If I had to select one of my current shoes for Umstead 100, it would be the Instinct. I'm confident it'll see a portion of the Umstead trail next April. But I don't think it'll be used for the full 100 miles. I like to swap shoes during long ultras. For Umstead, I figured three shoes: first 25 miles, middle 50 miles, last 25 miles. I was thinking MT110 for 25 miles, then SOMETHING next 50 miles, followed by Instinct for last 25 miles. Something for the middle 50 miles. Something different? Very different?

Maybe the Hoka One One Stinson Evo Tarmac could be that middle 50 mile shoe?

Maximum cushion. Low heel-to-to drop. Fairly lightweight. Stable and wide. Did I mention maximum cushioning?

I like this guy's shoe review of the Stinson Tarmac shoe. It seems to be a little lighter and more flexible than the other Hokas. Designed for smooth roads or trails, it should work for Umstead. I'm worried it might be too narrow in the forefoot, especially after 30-40 miles. I eagerly anticipate Fellrnr's review of his Hoka use in recent runs and races.

If the shoe works, I don't mind looking like a crazed clown running down the trails!

UPDATE (October 12, 2012): I bought the Hoka Stinson Evo Tarmac in size 13 (my regular shoe size).  I found them a bit narrow and short.  I can't seem to find them in size 14, so these will go back and I'll need to find another neutral, low drop, cushioned shoe as my "go-to" 100 mile choice. Currently thinking the New Balance MT1010 might work.

NOTE: The "Running Barefoot" DVD give-away ends on October 8 at 11:59pm. Not much time to post a  comment on this Sept 29 blog posting to be entered in the drawing!


jeff said...

Have you found a store where you could try one on??

When you get one I want to try it on!!!

Chris said...

No local stores. I may go with a free ship and free return web store. I'm close to pulling the trigger...or computer click!