Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Shoe Review: Hoka One One Mafate 2

I am happy with my Stinson Evos (review) for the trail, but when I saw the Mafate 2 on sale for $59.99 at LeftLane Sports, I had to go for it. I am planning on another 50 miler this year so I figured another pair of trail shoes would be a good idea. It also helped that I was saving $90 off of retail price. That's not an easy thing to do on Hokas. I also really liked the look and color of the new Mafate 2s. Yeah, I said it. People often give the Hoka a bad rap because of the look, but it is hard to argue with performance. That said, these Hokas look pretty good if you ask me... as mom laughs and says "Your little bitty legs and those big shoes!" You bet she wouldn't give up her Bondi Bs though.

These look a lot better than the yellow, black and red color scheme
of the original Mafates I had purchased. My new wood floor
also looks pretty awesome. :-)

My first dance with the original Mafates wasn't a happy one. The tongue of the shoe was very stiff, and it dug into the top of my foot.  The other issue was that I had ordered a size 8, and they were just too large.  My Bondi B (review) were an 8, and they fit perfectly. I had read that Hoka had corrected sizing in the newer shoes and the tongue issue in the Mafates so I was ready to give the remake a shot.

So the first thing I did was pull out the insole and break out the old school scale to get the weight of the shoe. I ordered the Mafate 2 in women's size 7.5. Good choice! My Stinson Evos were 7.5. My old Bondi Bs were 8. Seems from here on out I will be ordering size 7.5 in the Hokas. (For reference, I wear a 8 in Saucony Kinvaras and 7.5 in most Asics. 8.5 in Brooks Pure Flow.)

Size 7.5 (no insoles) = 10 ounces
Stinson Evos = 9 ounces
Bondi Bs = 7.4 ounces
Stinson Evo + Mafate 2
Bondi B + Mafate 2

The other thing I noticed right away was that the tongue of the shoe was, in fact, different than the original. Good news! Soft! The toe cap is nice and stiff for those times you accidentally punt an iceberg rock running down the trail. 

So the first thing I noticed when putting these on is that they have a very stiff upper. After taking a step, I noticed that heel portion on my left foot slipping. Ugh. I tightened the laces and used the very first eyelet that I seldomly use in shoes (except for the Brooks Pure Flow). Unfortunately this made the area around the shoe near the front of my ankle dig right on into my ankle. Ouch. After playing around with the laces, I now have what I think may be a configuration that will keep my heel from slipping and keep the shoe from hurting my ankle. I did not have to do this with either the Bondi B or the Evos. I ran a mile on the treadmill in the Mafates. I then put on Evos for a mile. My Evos definitely seem to be lower to the ground. The uppers also have a lot more give.  Then again, they do have over 200 miles on them. I am not a big believer that a person should have to break in shoes. Shoes should feel good out of the box. You shouldn't have to hurt your feet until a shoe feels okay, but that's just my opinion. That said, I think these shoe uppers may soften in time.

Now on to the trail...

I took the shoes out to the super highway of trail running after an evening of rain. There was plenty of fun mud so it was a good a test environment. :-) The tread was great, and I did very little slipping unlike my trail running buddy who was wearing another name brand. I am also happy to report that the tread did not pick up globs of mud so I didn't have to carry around extra weight on my run. Since I haven't put in a lot of extra miles on these shoes, I still wasn't happy with the overall stiffness. Only time will tell.

I like the Mafate 2 much better than the original Mafates, but if given a choice, I would go with the Stinson Evos for the trail. YMMV. Time to fly :-)


  1. I'm still experimenting with my Hoka's. I'm not sure the evos' are stable enough...I've rolled my ankle many times in them. Hopefully the maffete 2s will be more stable. thanks for the post.

  2. It's funny how different shoes work for different people. They are a bit lower and wider than the Evos so it makes sense that they might be more stable as long as the fit works for you. When you get the chance, please let me know how the Mafates work out for you.


  3. I have had the same exact issues with the Mafate 2s. I have a pair of Stinson Evos, love them, but found such a deal on the Mafates that I had to give them a try. Mistake. They actually gave me shin splints they were so stiff. I also suffered with heel slippage, something I have never had an issue with regardless of the shoe. I just ordered another pair of Evos.

  4. Scott,

    I hear ya. I didn't continue running in the Mafate 2s because the Evos are so much more comfortable. I was speaking with Hoka reps at a local running store run, and they basically said that the two types of shoes are made for two different types of feet. That's a bummer because I really like the grippy outsole on the Mafate. I wish I could buy some Evos with that outsole.