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Time to Fly with Hoka One One

Posted by on 25. April 2017

Blazing the trail with Hoka One One – Photo by Eric Tipon for Active Pinas

Hoka One One has brought in the added support for the long run yet retains the lightweight feel on the shoes.  I’ve been using Speed Instinct and Speed Goat on the trails and I’m enjoying the added comfort, support yet still retain the lightweight feel with Hoka One One.

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Hoka One One Speed Instinct

I’ve joined the Hoka One One craze a month before it landed in Manila.  I was able to get Speed Instinct at a discount in Singapore.  Toe area is a bit shallow so I got a half size bigger than my usual shoe size and it was now a perfect fit.  I immediately noticed the cushioned feel of Speed Instinct and surprisingly, it;s lightweight at 8.40 oz.  That’s almost an equivalent of a lightweight road shoes.  The lugs are not too aggressive and it almost feels like a road shoes.  In fact the first time I used the Speed Instinct was on the road.

8K on the Road

8K+ on the Road

I almost forgot that it was a trail shoes as I was posting road pace covering more than 8 kilometers in an hour.  It’s responsive on the road, which makes it an excellent weapon for road to trail races.

I got to test out the Speed Instinct on several trail races.  First taste of the trail was a 16 Kilometer race at Mount Sinai in Pintong Bukawe, San Mateo Rizal.  The trails along Mount Sinai were mostly muddy dirt roads and the traction was good.  Despite not being too aggressive on the lugs, the shoe had multi-directional lugs to keep you firmly planted on the trail. It also felt so fun blitzing the downhill trails of Casile with a mix or dirt roads and stone paths.  The cushion reduced the impact of the stride giving me more courage and less stress on the descent.  I barely noticed the technical part heading to the river since I felt that the traction was fine.  We ended up on the road and it’s the Speed Instinct’s time to fly.

Up next was a 10K rolling trails at North Luzon Renewables in Ilocos where we were invited to test out their route.  In terms of trails it was a mix of rough roads and it wasn’t technical at all.  The unique part of the course aside from the wonderful windmills surrounding you, was that it had long stretches of climbs and descents.  One thing I noticed on climbs is that you tend to have more time on ground as you slow down with gravity.  That’s were a comfortable shoes like Speed Instinct comes into play.  Despite walking or slowing down some stretches, it still soft on the bottom of the foot.  I did have fun bombing the descents as I felt that it had enough support to protect my knees as I took advantage of gravity.

I was also able to use it for my race in Mount Batolusong.  It was a slow trail for me as half the race was spent on the uphill and on technical trails heading to Mount Batolusong.  The traction was ok but it’s not much of an advantage on the slippery part.  I can do well with the Speed Instinct but when I got to the more technical part, I had to slow down a bit because it has less aggressive lugs.  The steep descent, which was wet at that time, felt like a chore but as I went to more solid ground, it felt like time to fly again.

Mount Batolusong - Photo by Nik Jamisola

Mount Batolusong – Photo by Nik Jamisola

In a nutshell, I’d go with the Speed Instinct on road to trail runs and it’s a big advantage.  For mountain runs with extremely technical trails, I’d go with a shoe with more aggressive lugs for stronger traction.  Trail Running is like a game of strategies, you have to familiarize yourself with the terrain and surfaces and pick the one the would give you the best advantage.

Hoka One One Speed Goat

Hoka One One Speed Goat

Hoka One One Speed Goat

I got the Hoka One One Speed Goat from Runer and what can I say, it has big lugs.  It has more stability and balanced cushioning.  It’s also heavier at 9.7 ounces though it’s still feels light on the feet.  Let’s just say, it’s the bigger brother of Speed Instinct.  When the trails get tough, the Speed Goat may be one for you.  There are really some trade off, you get more weight, you get more cushioning and support.  It’s just a matter of choosing, which shoes would be perfect for which trail.  Definitely, the Speed Instinct is the faster shoes but when the going gets tough, you’ll love to hang on to the added cushion support and traction of the Speed Goat.

Speed Goat at Yellow Trails

Speed Goat at Yellow Trails

I got to try the Speed Goat at Camp John Hay Yellow Trails.  The Yellow Trail are mainly dirt tracks but the inclines can be a challenge.  It really feels soft on the feet whether you are walking or running in the trail.  Even when you’re standing on slanted trails it feels that you are firmly planted because of the aggressive lugs and traction.  I got to feel that traction and support even on slippery roads.  When the trails go down, you can go fearless because of the sufficient support and the traction.

Mount Yangbew

Mount Yangbew

I also did a run at Mount Yangbew and that’s where I noticed the superior traction of the Speed Goat.  The climb was short but it was on more technical mountain trails.  It felt at ease moving around the mountain with the Speed Goat.  I even climb one of the small rock formation for a photo-op and the shoe traction really helped.  On the descent, it was excellent in blitzing the trail as you just worry about your run and not slipping on the technical trails.

The biggest test for my Speed Goat was our 15 Kilometer recon at Tanay. While most of the trails were single track dirt roads which was easy to navigate, we had a stretch of 4 kilometers worth of river trek, crossings and even some bouldering.  The drains of the Speed Goat is quite efficient and I barely noticed the inflow and outflow of water over numerous river crossing.  Passing over some boulders and rock formation was a challenge as you had to be creative on your steps but the superior traction of the Speed Goat helped a lot on this stretch.  The difficult part felt endless but I felt secure with my shoes.  I even had to do the 4 kilometer ascent on muddy trails made slippery by the rain and slipping was the least of my worry.

I felt secure with the cushion, support and the aggressive lugs of the Speed Goat on technical surfaces.  For faster trails, I’d go with the Speed Instinct but for longer mountain trails, I’d go for the Speed Goat.  Either shoes would be excellent on the trails but each would have its advantages and disadvantages.  It really helps to understand the course. Hoka One One provides enough cushion, support and lightweight feel to make trail run a lot more fun.

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