The Hokaone: Hoka or Hokey?
We have been off the grid for a week amassing new research for the website and looking into new products that have come online recently. But we are back now with new stuff. Lets start today on this shoe, the Hoka.
From their website “ By using an EVA 30% softer and increasing its total volume to 2.5 times that of a typical trail running shoe, we allow for more cushioning than any other shoe on the market today, dissipating up to 80% of the shock associated with heel striking when running. Allowing for as much as 20mm of compression in the heel, with a low ramp angle allows for tremendous confidence running downhill, as runners can now engage their gluteus and lower back as opposed to isolating their quads, relaxing the body and making running downhill fun and comfortable.”
What we like:
1-A low ramp angle definitely helps one to engage their glutes more.
2- light weight is often a good thing
What we don’t like:
There have been enough papers published that show increased cushioning decreases impact at heel strike, but increases overall impact forces sustained by the body. A thickened sole decreases the amount of proprioception and requires the body to work harder by compressing more of the EVA foam, and with this shoe, that will be quite a bit of body work.
A little sole rocker off the front endcan be a good thing, especially with people who lack great toe dorsiflexion, but enough to take up 50% of the sole length and 4 cm high? Wow ! This would decrease the amount of forefoot rocker and subtract from the 3 rockers that the foot was normally designed to work with (heel, ankle and forefoot). The research (which at least we have read) shows that rockered shoes increase knee flexion during the first part of the stance phase of ambulation, and less in swing phase. More significantly, ankle plantarflexion is increased at heelstrike through terminal stance, thus delaying pronation (plantar flexion, inversion and adduction are components of supination); this would dampen the shock absobtion afforded from pronaion and lowering of the ankle mortise. Interestingly, this increases the impact force at heel strike significantly as well.
“With 50% more surface area than the typical trail running shoe, and 35% more rubber crampons, you’ve never run as confidently as you will in a pair of Hoka’s.” Hmm. Doesn’t a larger footprint, especially at the midfoot, hamper the natural dampening mechanism of pronation? What about the increased mechanical requirements to move the extra sole? Sure, it will be more stable, but at the cost of mechanical efficiency.
Take a look at the break points on the undersole; Why put a break directly under the calcaneus and then one immediately anterior (under the sustantaculum tali) at a 90 angle to the plane of the joint? The ones across the transverse metatarsal arch proximally are in an arc OPPOSITE the plane of the articulations; it seems to us that this would cause mechanical conflict at the metatarsophalangeal joints; the distal ones seem more appropriate, but the ones anterior to that serve to abduct the phalanges.
In a nutshell ? We are sure this is a supercomfy foot spa that feels like walking on marshmallows but we question the science behind the design and would welcome the opportunity to review their research or even to trial a pair.
We think you will find that what we have addressed here merit some attention by everyone. As we always say though, every product has some uses and purpose, but also some drawbacks. Do your own homework though, go to their website…… http://www.hokaoneone.com/en/technology.html
Once again, We are and remain,…… The Gait Guys