Thursday, October 20, 2011

Hoka Mafate Review

When I showed my new Hoka Mafate shoes to my seven year old daughter her eyes lit up. She said "Dad! You can be a clown for Halloween. And you can wear those shoes!" She has a point.


I had been intrigued by the Hoka shoes after seeing lots of top ultrarunners wearing them. They are the complete opposite of minimalist shoes. I love the book Born To Run. I've read it at least four times. I admire people who wear minimal shoes. But I'm very nervous to do anything that puts me at a higher risk for stress fractures. I ran 20 miles in the Hokas right out of the box and was in heaven.

The best way I can think of to describe running with Hokas is like running on bubble padding. Your feet still have support but more cushioning. Compared with other shoes, Hokas look heavy and bulky.


So I weighed them. My Saucony TR4 trail shoes weigh 12.8 ounces each. But the Hoka Mafate only weighs 12.3 ounces each! I was surprised by that.

I was also worried that being higher off the ground would make an ankle sprain more likely. I actually haven't had any more trouble with that than I normally do running trails. The Hokas run a little small so I bought a half size bigger than I normally wear.

I have been running in these for a month now. I wanted to have plenty of experience with them before I told you about them. I have experimented with them a lot. I have run 10 miles in my Sauconys then switched mid-run and wore the Hokas for 10 miles. Another time I ran 10 miles in the Hokas then switched mid-run to Sauconys and ran another 10 miles. Doing this showed me how dramatically different the shoes are.

My biggest hesitation in buying the shoes was the $170 (gulp) price tag. When I found them on sale I decided to take the plunge. That was one of the best decisions I've made all year. (They have a road version called Hoka One One Bondi B.) Plus the Hoka Mafate has more cushioning if your legs spontaneously jump into the air.


I can't minimize the enormous price tag. That is a crazy price to pay for shoes. And if I didn't have a discount and wasn't running high mileage I'm not sure I could justify the cost. But in training for my first 100 miler, these shoes have positively saved my feet and knees enabling me to do lots of high-mileage training.

Now I just need to add a wig and big red nose to my clown costume.

19 comments:

  1. That may be the most girly jump I've ever seen you do. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

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  2. Wow, those are some interesting shoes and to think that they are lighter than your Sauconys. That amazes me.

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  3. haha! i am so glad you did a review on these! the first time i ever saw them was mid-race during Utah Valley...except at that point during my first marathon i just figured i was seeing crazy things. ha! but later i googled them and found that they were real...i just didnt understand the purpose! now i do!! glad you like them!

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  4. Hmmm, maybe they would cushion my foot problem and then I could run more than three miles. Sadly, I don't think I could pay that for my paltry running amounts.

    Hey, don't know if you ever went for that 50 mm canon lens, but I figured out that the problem I was having with mine was that at super wide apertures the focal length is so small that almost no autofocus can work. In wider apertures, it is an amazing lens, and love the sharpness.

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  5. As silly as those look, they seem like they would be great! I'm also very afraid of minimalist running. I have enough problems even going for short runs in my Nike Frees. Shoes seem like they are more expensive here so the price tag doesn't seem so bad to me. Most running stores sell shoes for $140-$180 here so those definitely fall in the range! Still expensive though. It hurts for me to buy new shoes. Luckily I found my last pair on sale but other than that one occasion, I'm usually spending at least $150 :(

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  6. Ha! Multi-purpose shoes are the best kind of shoes! I've got big feet, so most of my shoes look like clown shoes ;). Geez, I say if you are running the kind of miles you are, then $170 is justified. Your blog makes me feel like a wimp for being tired after my 6 miles this morning- that's a good thing, I swear. I need to toughen up.

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  7. those shoes do look crazy, I agree /w your daughter but they would be a comfy ride. I spent $179 + tax on my brooks b/c I couldn't find them any cheaper - living in Canada sucks. I found them so cheap online but add the ridiculous shipping costs and it wasn't worth saving $5 :P lol

    Great review I think the best money a runner can spend is on shoes. It's really all you NEED

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  8. Cool. Maybe I'll get the road version for the next marathon I run. Running on pillows sounds delightful.

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  9. THESE SHOES ARE AN ANSWER TO MY PRAYERS!!! The shoe gods are finally listening. High heeled running shoes!! I MUST order these. Thanks cory!

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  10. Umm I think Hoka needs to send you 10 free pairs for this awesome plug. And dude how do you jump so high? Must be the hokas.

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  11. Wow, those shoes look crazy! But as long as they work for you, that is all the matters. It seems like every trend is going more towards lower heels on shoes, but this shoe bucks that trend! I'm curious to see how you like them over time, seems like they are good so far...

    And you should be a clown for Halloween with those shoes!

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  12. Have you seen theclymb.com? I've seen Hokas on there for like half price. I don't know anything about which ones, and you never know what's going to show up on there, but you might check it out and keep an eye out for them.

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  13. Yay! I knew you would love them. Erin calls them Dorkas but I don't care. They are the best running shoes I have ever worn. And if they help with your jumping skills, even better!

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  14. You are right, those are exactly the opposite of a minimalist shoes. Interesting, I haven't seen them before. Glad they are working for you though.

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  15. I have heard lots of great things about them and some friends of mine wore them in the Leadville 100 and had success with them. YAY!

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  16. I agree with your daughter! They look so silly, but YOU pull them off! Especially in jump form.
    My SIL is training for her first 100. She'll be here on Friday for a 50 miler...I'll show her your blog!

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  17. I didn't even know these exist. Now I do. And my curiosity has been peaked!

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  18. Glad you reviewed them.i see that many ultra runners wear thembut I did not know that they were not heavier than normal trail shoes.

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  19. Ran them in the flatirons of boulder today - better than my cascadias, newtons or pure grits. Definitely a comfortable shoe.

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