With a blog title like that you’re either a runner or Imelda Marcos/Jimmy Choo.
In the last year I’ve migrated from regular running shoes (designed for loooong distances but look ok with a pair of denims once they’re retired from front line service) to racing flats (the emperor’s new clothes of shoes) which has brought about a marked decline in injury but fairly sore limbs beyond 2 hours of running.
So, in order to keep up the injury free runs and to start going into longer runs I took delivery of a pair of Hoka Clifton shoes a few weeks ago. These have the design ethos of the racing flats but somebody let a 10 year old design the soles. Imagine a racing flat but with about 3 sets of soles glued to the base.
After 2 runs this week in them my overall impression of them is more or less a cautious positive.
Why a cautious positive? Well, last year during my training I developed a calf pain that ruined my final race performance. This pain seemed to be linked to the highly cushioned shoes I was running in at the time.
The first run was a 14 miler around Brussels on Monday night. The shoes fit my foot fine (I bought a size larger than I normally take – but I’ve been doing this for years for running shoes so it wasn’t an exception for the Hokas) but you do feel a bit sea sick on them at the start.
Running in (or should it be on?) them was a revelation. Trampolines on your feet. I was a bit worried that all that cushioning would deliver another set of problems – namely that the cushioning would cause muscle fatigue at the price of saving your joints. It didn’t seem to do that from my first experience.
I had my usual sugar free run hypoglycaemic bonk at mile 4 and then once I was switched over to burning body fat I got going in earnest. I think I could have gone much further but a combination of freezing ears and fingers and trying to maintain some sort of training plan made me stop at mile 14 (and the fact that it coincided with the front door of my hotel.)
The big difference was the next morning when the legs felt completely fresh again. This gives me some early confidence that they do what it says on the tin.
I took them out again for a short pre-work run this morning but it was only a maintenance run slotted into a busy schedule so it doesn’t tell me much.
So, a qualified positive for the Hokas. If the calf problem does rear it’s head again I can’t blame the Hokas but it will mean that ultras in racing flats may be in my future.
I would say that they take running fashion (or lack there of) to a new limit and if you feel that the current trend towards coordinated shoes, shorts and vest just isn’t you then you could do worse than invest in a pair of these babies.