To the team at Hoka One One New Zealand. I wish to rave about these shoes because that is exactly what needs to be done. They are quite simple brilliant!
Let me explain why I feel this way so that the many runners, be they road or trail, who read this review can relate and then indulge in what is the best shoe for the masses and not just for the elite runners. I had started running like so many do with light jogs and walk-run-walk ‘the power poles’ to ease my way into this thing called running. It wasn’t long before that turned into stringing together 10km runs and then up to half marathon distances. Road turned into gravel which turned into trail and I was hooked.
What I did then notice was the aches and pains associated with increased running. I took myself off to my physio who himself had gone from ‘non-runner to completing the Rotorua Marathon’. The take away advice was getting together a dynamic warmup routine, modifying the running style (similar to the POSE running method) and ‘HOKA’ running shoes. In fact, my physio’s comment was “if you want to be running into your later life…get the style sorted and make sure you are wearing HOKA’s”.
My first pair of HOKA’s were the Stinson ATR models after emailing HOKA One One New Zealand and getting great advice from their Brand Manager, Craig Brain. WOW, what a difference a pair of shoes make. All the rough tracks (which as a group running you tried to angle away from and towards the worn-in section) were a breeze! It was like running on marshmallow and the downhill sections were unreal as you could run faster and have no knee or hip jarring.
My three running partners all converted over and they are hooked. One of the lads is in his mid-50’s and after a particular challenging 18km run we were finishing off on a road section that is somewhat gentle in its downwards slope of about 2kms. It was killing his knees, similar to how your hip-flexor can ache after a while on a long run (everyone has experienced this!). Once out of his previous shoes and into the HOKA’s and he has never had this again, not even on steep declines on the trail. He is just about to order his second pair after 18 months of good use out of his first.
So my wife, my 13 year-old son and now all of my running mates wear HOKA’s.
If you are reading this, my take away message for you is this. The majority of runners run for the shear enjoyment of feeling fit and the euphoric feeling after a run that caps off being outside and using our body as nature intended. Like me I am sure you want to keep on doing this well into old age and in order to do so you need a correct running style and shoes that take the jarring off your joints. The minimalist crowd have their reasons for running around in next to no support and good for them. For me, I want my tyres fully pumped up and not running on the rims…I will last longer as a result! Whether you are a road warrior, a trail blazer or like to do both I can assure you that HOKA have a shoe for you. Give yourself every chance of running long into your retirement years and go with HOKA.
HOKA Stinson ATR – Review
Being a running newbie I consulted with the guys at HOKA One One New Zealand before buying my first pair of shoes. As I live in Titirangi, right on the doorstep of the Waitakere Ranges my running consisted of a nice mix of trail, forestry roads and tarmac. I was advised that the best shoe on balance would be the Stinson ATR and they were bang on! Now onto my second pair and many kilometres behind me I can’t recommend them enough. The marshmallow-like cushioning makes running over rough gravel a breeze and any decline is never an issue on my knees or hips. The tread is just right and I have not had any issue with the additional height of the sole. No rolled ankles, stone bruises or twisted arches. They last really well and even after 1,000kms the support and cushioning is still there. The speed laces are superb and make life so much easier. Will most likely team these up with a pair of the Mafate Speed for next winter so I can explore more of what is on my glorious doorstep.
-Shaun Nicholson, October 2016