Plenty of folks debate what type of shoe is the right shoe to wear. Some even say wearing no shoes at all is the way to go. I am just happy that there are multiple options available. The Saucony Kinvara was my "go to" shoe over the last year. Unfortunately I injured my foot a few months ago while walking around barefoot, and the ball of my foot swelled and stayed that way for quite a while. I figured out that I could cut a hole in my insole to take the pressure off of the ball of the foot which allowed me to walk normally, but running was still an issue. Around the same time, a friend completed a 100 mile ultra in a pair of Hoka One Ones.
I'm not a fan of not being able to run, but I also want my foot to last. I decided it was a good time to try the Hokas. Since I knew I would be doing a lot of road running during the colder months, I went with the road version: the Bondi B. These shoes are not cheap. I was happy to find them on sale at The Tri Shop, and I used a $25 coupon. Cheaper than a custom orthotic or a doctor's bill at least.
|Hoka One One Bondi B's (with Lock Laces)|
When I got the shoes, I removed the insoles and threw in a pair of Ortholites I had around the house to add a little more cushion. As soon as I started walking in them, it was what I didn't notice that counted the most. All other shoes pushed on the swollen part of my foot and hurt. I could not wear other shoes without my high-tech (aka insole with a hole) insole. The Hoka's with the Ortholites didn't hurt. I was happy about that because I didn't particularly want to butcher another pair of insoles.
Hoka - Time to Fly?
Well, I am not sure about flying, but these shoes have a lot of bounce. I wore them everywhere. I wore them to work so I could walk normally. I wore them to run. I wore them going to the kitchen to get water. (Walking barefoot hurt too much.) While I wasn't up to my normal weekly mileage initially, the Hoka's at least allowed me to get in some miles. Without these shoes, I would have missed a 200 mile relay, a couple of 5Ks, a 15K, and two half marathons. I did a test run in my normal shoes yesterday after two months, and my foot still isn't 100%. My normal shoes now feel lifeless, flat, and extremely stiff.
|Hoka Bondi B / Saucony Kinvara 2|
Hoka Bondi B Size 8 Women's (without insole) = 7.4 ounces
Saucony Kinvara Size 8 Women's (without insole) = 6.3 ounces
I thought these shoes were so comfy, I ordered a pair for my mom who has foot problems. She isn't a runner, but she walks a lot. After wearing them for a few weeks, she said, "I just wanted to say thank you for the shoes. When I wear them, I feel like I'm back to my old self. They make a big difference." Hey, moms know best, right?
Overall, I am very pleased with my Hokas. For me they were the difference between being able to run and having to stay on the couch. I've put over 200 miles on them, and they are still in great shape. With a perfectly well foot, I'm not sure that they would be my first choice if I were trying to PR at a 5K. The cushy nature of this shoe dampens the energy return to the legs somewhat. That characteristic is what also is saving my foot at the moment. They are my shoe of choice for my upcoming marathon.
If you are looking for something different, I would recommend giving the Hoka Bondi B's a try. The road calls. Time to fly!