Second Review of Hoka Shoes Plus Mike Rutt Interview

I got a pair of Hoka One One Stinson Trails this past May and was immediately impressed. Not to be cliche, but it was Love at First Run, as that particular Strava activity indicated. I wrote about my first impressions of the shoes and those thoughts can be seen here.

As of today, the 25 July, I’ve run 378.5 miles in them, including the Leadville Trail Marathon. The shoes are much dirtier, but they’re just as good as the day I got them.

Honestly, I feel as if I’d be redundant attempting to write a more in-depth review. They’re stable, provide great traction, are well cushioned, and have held up exceedingly well – they’re still as good as the first day I put them on!

Actually, one of the lace eyelets pops out occasionally when being pulled tight. That’s all I’ve got in regards to criticism.

Since my longer-term “review” is lackluster, I reached out to Hoka One One sponsored athlete, Mike Rutt, to make your visit worthwhile.

Introducing Mike Rutt

Simply put, Mike is fast. He specializes in races from 800m to 1,500m and was a four-time All American at the University of Connecticut. In 2012, he was a finalist at the Indoor World Championship, running on the World’s second fastest 4 x 800m relay; he clocked 1:46:66 in the final leg a day after winning the Boston University Valentine Meet in 1:45:90. He currently runs for the New Jersey/New York Track Club.

Given that Mike’s specialty is speed and he runs a lot (~64 miles per week), I asked him a few questions to get a different perspective on Hoka shoes:

What’s the longest distance race you’ve run? And what’s your best event?

The longest race I’ve ever run is only a 10k and that was done long ago. In college I did a number of time trials around an 8 mile distance, so I guess you can call that a race against myself.  Nowadays if I race off the track it usually isn’t anything more than a 5k.  But my favorite event currently is the 800.  I’ve been taking a liking to the 1500 and mile distance as of late, so who knows what’s in store for me!

How do you incorporate Hoka One One shoes into your training?

I primarily use Hoka One One shoes for recovery runs.  I will occasionally use them for tempos and fartlek runs as well.  The Conquest, for example, has a more responsive foam which I prefer if I’m going to do any sort of run with intensity.  Hoka has recently come out with two lighter shoes, the Clifton and Huaka, and I can’t wait to get a chance to try them out for some more interval work on the track and roads!

What Hoka One One shoes have you run in and which is your favorite?

The Stinson Tarmac, Bondi, and Conquest.  I have loved all three, but I think my favorite has got to be the Stinson.  It feels great under my foot whether I’m on the roads or the trails and it’s just so soft!  

What’s the fastest mile time you’ve clocked in a pair?

Right around 5 minutes during a tempo run one day.  I have done some 400s and 600s in the Conquest around 4:36/mile pace, but not a whole mile distance at that pace….yet.

For someone on the fence about trying Hoka One One shoes, what would you say to them?

That there is the HOKA guarantee.  You have 30 days to try a pair and if you’re not satisfied, the company will replace or exchange the product.  So, the question really is, why not try a pair?  They fit great on your foot and the cushioning is like none other.  Many people are hesitant due to the unique shape and design, but like any other shoes, there is a break-in period.  Next thing you know, you’re not even thinking about the shoes under your feet.  The design of Hoka One One shoes allows you to run more efficiently using a lower heel-to-toe drop ratio than traditional shoes and promotes a mid-foot to forefoot strike while running. But at the same time, the cushion provides protection and shock absorption unlike many other shoes with similar heel-to-toe drop ratios.

I’m not trying to be salesy – mostly because I kind of hate sales – but seriously, Hoka shoes are good.

Whenever I decide to race another triathlon, Hokas will be on my feet. In the mean time, I’ll be wearing them on the trails and/or anytime I’m running.