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Eric Hansen
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PostMon Jul 30, 2018 12:14 pm 
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I recently bought a pair of Hoka Cliftons and like them for paved/smooth jogging/walking.

Love the cushioning but they seem a little high, little unstable. Or maybe I'm still getting used to the rocker sole.

Any thoughts on which Hoka model would be good for trail runs/speed hikes? Not off trail or sidehill traverses, just looking for the model that would be "most stable" while retaining the cushioning.

Memory has DIY Steve using Hokas for trail ultras?
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PostMon Jul 30, 2018 1:11 pm 
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I personally went from being a fanboy of Hokas to giving up on them.
Hoka is quickly turning into a company that is more concerned with making pretty colors and cool molded shapes for their shoes than on function and durability.

I sort of had to use the Hoka rocker sole as part of my fused ankle rehab.
I did a bunch of hikes and many miles with the Hoka mid Summit boots, which had great traction, good features, crappy waterproofing, sole wore very well, and I even had them restitched when all the seams suddenly blew out after a couple years of use.  Cushion was a bit less than other models, which was perfect as a stable hiker.

They obsoleted the mid height Summit model, replaced it with the Tech.   Tech was pretty comfortable, but with a high ankle it only had grommets, not lace hooks, which becomes a real PITA after awhile.  Not nearly as tough covering and you could literally spill a couple drops of water on your foot and feel like it just went right through the "waterproofing".  But hey, I still liked the cushion and rocker.   Deal killer was I noticed after just a couple hikes I was slipping more on the trails.  After about 60 miles, or less, of hiking they were like walking on ball bearings with their pyramid traction lugs turning into rounded roller skates.   I am not going to pay $180 for a pair of boots that only lasts a couple of hikes.   They have pretty colors though.

I do notice they have changed the lug pattern on the newer Techs.   Same bad lacing system and likely same lack of effective waterproofing.  No idea if the new soles keep their traction and wear any better.   Too pricey for me to gamble.  I wrote the company about my experience and they literally said they didn't care.

They have a "high end" hiking boot that Tor Ultra high, that comes in snazzy colors and costs $230 and is likely a one season, or less, boot.   I don't like to encourage that kind of Marketing and will vote with my dollars.

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RandyHiker
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PostMon Jul 30, 2018 1:51 pm 
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I have a ski buddy that used to trail run in Hokas -- until he busted his ankle.
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Eric Hansen
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PostMon Jul 30, 2018 2:16 pm 
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Well, so far it seems like persuasion to stay on smooth surfaces with Hokas
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PostMon Jul 30, 2018 2:44 pm 
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Yeah, I ran est. 40 ultras in Hokas. They were fine trail running shoes for me, although far from durable.

Eric Hansen wrote:
Any thoughts on which Hoka model would be good for trail runs/speed hikes?

Hoka Mafate, Challenger, Stinson and Speedgoat are popular with ultrarunners and speed hikers. (There is a big overlap of the two communities.) I have hiked and run hundreds of miles in each of the four. All of them worked for me. Of the four, Challenger and Stinson are closest to the Clifton. Mafate is quite a bit more structured. Speedgoat is sleeker. I have no personal knowledge re the other Hoka trail runner models. For fastpacking on maintained trail (which I haven't done in awhile) I'd consider Speedgoats, although with the knowledge that they'd be shot after 150-200 miles.

If you run much in your Cliftons, you will likely soon learn that Hoka running shoe uppers are fragile. [/warning]

I would avoid Hokas marketed at "hikers." For starters, they have ePTFE uppers, a deal killer for me. I was critical of Hoka hiking "boots" from the first time I wore them. Although they are marketed as "boots," they are merely cushioned trail running shoes with high tops, a bit heavier uppers and ePTFE sock. They perform on trail like Hoka trail runners with plastic bags on your feet (GTX). Off-trail they are awful.
Eric Hansen wrote:


Not off trail or sidehill traverses, just looking for the model that would be "most stable" while retaining the cushioning.

Okay, you get it. On scale of 1-10 for edging power, Hokas are a 1. Speedgoat might be a 2. Speedgoat is less tippy, which I suppose is more "stable" in a way.
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PostMon Jul 30, 2018 4:27 pm 
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The Speed Goat was mentioned.
Hoka just came out with a "hiking boot" version of the Speedgoat.
It is literally a Speedgoat trail shoe with a scree collar, and a few more eyelets to deal with to get in and out of it.  I doubt the scree collar gives any more support than getting a shortie gaiter. And I am guessing the durability will be measured in the two digit range of mileage before traction is marginal at best.
But hey, they look really snazzy and have cool colors.


I am really bummed that Hoka went the poser direction.  I had high hopes for them and they really do well with my fused ankle, just not at this price with this durability.

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JPH
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PostMon Jul 30, 2018 5:20 pm 
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I've got ~320 miles on my speedgoats and am looking at getting another pair soon so I can break them in on shorter runs before I get to 400 miles on my current pair.  They're great.
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PostMon Jul 30, 2018 6:08 pm 
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boot up wrote:
Hoka just came out with a "hiking boot" version of the Speedgoat.

Where does Hoka call that a "boot?" AFAICT, Hoka refers to it as a "hiker." It's just a Speedgoat with [yuck] ePTFE upper.

boot up wrote:
I am really bummed that Hoka went the poser direction.

Hoka has always had slick poser marketing. IME, Hoka quality has actually gotten better.
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wildernessed
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PostMon Jul 30, 2018 8:04 pm 
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I have put a few thousand miles on the Hoka Speedgoat trail runners since they came out running and another couple thousand miles on the Mid version on trail and off trail they just hit the sweet spot for me but they are what they are an ultralight, well cushioned, aggressively soled trail runner and the durability is what you would find in a running shoe even less with hiking and to me the benefits out weigh the down side of frequent replacement.

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slabbyd
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PostTue Jul 31, 2018 6:14 am 
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The soles literally fell off my speedgoat mids after 5 miles.  Serious quality control issues.   Will skip Hokas in the future.
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JVesquire
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PostTue Jul 31, 2018 7:27 am 
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I've run 100s and shorter distances in Clifton 3s, but I've also never had ankle problems. I love that shoe for trail running. They don't last long. The Clifton has a wider toe box for me than some of their others, which helps after running for hours. Never had a problem with them.
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JPH
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PostTue Jul 31, 2018 12:13 pm 
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slabbyd wrote:
The soles literally fell off my speedgoat mids after 5 miles.  Serious quality control issues.   Will skip Hokas in the future.

I had a pair of Challenger 2's that blew up after less than 100 miles. I sent them back to Hoka and they gave me a full refund.  Speedgoats seem to be better made or they just figured out how to improve some of the weak spots.
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PostTue Jul 31, 2018 4:30 pm 
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IME, Hoka quality trended better with time through the end of 2016 (when I bought my last pair cuz my running days are behind me). I dunno about after that. My last few pairs of Hokas were free of defects, but the uppers in every pair nonetheless failed per wear and tear <300 miles. FWIW, early Hokas had the lowest volume foot boxes I've ever seen.
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Eric Hansen
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PostWed Aug 01, 2018 12:37 pm 
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Thanks everyone. Steve, hope your rehab is going well
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braincloud
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PostThu Aug 02, 2018 10:04 am 
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The new Hoka Torrents are pretty great. I was never a fan of Hokas (I've always been a more minimalist shoe runner), but have been trying to dial in some shoes for trail running/ultras and I found my match in the Torrents. They don't look like moon shoes, they fit my feet perfectly, the toe box is a bit roomier than other Hoka models so my toes are allowed to splay while still not having toe bang on the fast descents. They've got awesome traction (I just thru-ran the 'Chants and they were spectacular on the granite slabs and snow). Can't speak for durability yet since I've only got about 60 miles on them so far.

Before giving up on Hokas, you may want to try out a pair of Torrents. Also, I usually size up a half or full size in my running shoes and I did not size up at all for the Hokas. No blisters, no hot spots, no rubbing. They have converted me.

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