Thursday, 5 January 2012

Hoka one one Bondi B

I set my target on doing a road marathon in 2012. I noticed all my newer shoes were trail of one kind or another. So Santa got a wee letter requesting a pair of the above (stupid long name for a pair of shoes).

I had never actually seen or touched a real live pair, pictures only. Was slightly wary to say the least. I noticed the colours were naff also, but I was only really interested in the cushioning. I had read a few reviews and noticed everyone was raving about the shoe. I had also noticed they claim to be very neutral with a barefoot feel and only a 4mm drop.

I have a pretty neutral gait but don't like the thought of running in shoes with no cushioning. Something to do with what I'm used to and in my case old joints that hurt. I see folk running in what appears no more than a pair of rubber socks and think no wonder they are bloody limping.

So my thinking was, plenty cushioning but in flow with the latest ideas.
Xmas morning I get my much awaited new shoes (£131 not cheap) grey and yellow (not pretty) and they appear to have a sizing issue so had to get an 8.5

My initial thoughts were they were light but felt like polystyrene. I quickly put them on, squeezing down on the outside of the heel, the sole gives way, same squeezing down on the inside of the heel, this seems to give a feeling of squidgy and soft when walking. The fit was good though, I had been a bit worried about ordering such a large shoe.

My first run was along the cycle track, flat tarmac. It did feel a bit strange, like I was bouncing but it also felt very soft and comfortable. I actually felt like I was running fast but my watch was not saying the same. I seemed to be putting more effort than normal into my run. I finished my run feeling ok but slightly wondering about the effort level and back pain.

I seemed to have developed lower back pain and noticed I was not running in my usual way but for whatever reason I was pushing my pelvis forward. After the first few runs in my lovely new shoes the back pain stayed and was joined by some annoying knee pains.

I then wore them on a run up the windfarm. Mostly soft trail with the occasional stony/ rubble area. Again I was bouncing over the trail feeling nice and comfy. My only problem was when running over the stony area, I was very aware I was running in a higher platform shoe, worried I was going to go over my ankle and when I did it bleeding well hurt, to the bouncy ouch ouch jump walk for 30 meters kind of hurt.
I was wondering about these shoes for the WHW (well the trail shoe) but now really not that sure as the heel platform is just as high and we all know about ankle turning on The Way and I don't think an ickle bit of stickier moulded rubber on the trail version will stop the twists although the upside would definitely be that you would not feel every stone under your foot and with 30, 50 or 70 odd miles in your legs that would be good.

I am going to stick with my Bondi B's for the time being and try for some longer miles. I think they will take a bit of getting used to but I'm enjoying the comfort of the cushioning. I'll be keeping a watchful eye on the back pain etc but as I had been running every day for over a month by Xmas it is possible the back pains had nothing to do with the shoes. (Here's hoping)



  1. Hi Karen, I converted to Hokas for trail running middle of last year and have done 5 ultras in them now including Lakes 100. Had to play around to get the insole and lacing method that suits me, and get used to the fact that there's very little heel height, but I'm now converted. The comfort at the end of a long day is pretty amazing.

  2. Interesting post. Thanks for sharing. When I learned that Sharon Gayter was wearing them for her treadmill record. I almost got a pair when I found the Combo XT on sale but when I decided to give it a try and order them my size was sold out...
    Andy, I did not know you were running with Hokas. I need to do some more research...