If you’ve been running for more than about 3 days, you know that your running shoes are basically sacred. Once you find a pair that works for you, you stick with it til that inevitable horrible moment when the company makes some weird change that ruins the shoe or, even worse, discontinues it forever. I’ve been a pretty diehard Mizuno Wave Nirvana fan since I discovered them after my second marathon, but guess what? That shoe no longer exists. When I got news that it had been discontinued, I started hoarding pairs that I found on the internet in an effort to delay the inevitable. After my back surgery, I decided I needed to branch out a bit – after all, all the running magazines say that running in two different types of shoes can reduce your risk of injury by up to 40%, right? I think we call agree that if I need anything, it’s to reduce my risk of injury.
One kind of shoes that I had never tried, but had always thought about, was the HOKA ONE ONE brand. They’re a pretty big deal in the Marathon Maniacs and 50 States Marathon Club communities, which makes sense – if you’re going to run marathons on back to back weekends or days, the more cushion you have, the better! The shoe started out as being very popular among ultramarathon runners and trail runners who loved the huge amount of cushioning that the shoe provides, which helps when you’re running 100 miles or over a ton of uneven surfaces. When I first heard about them a couple of years ago, they were just breaking into the road running culture but had a reputation for looking kind of like…well…clown shoes! The huge amount of cushioning and unorthodox design of the shoe definitely did not make for a traditional profile, although they look much different (and a lot less clown-esque) now.
As much as the brand intrigued me, I was also nervous – I hadn’t had much luck with shoes with a low heel-toe differential, which means that the difference in elevation between the heel and toe of the shoe is very small. I had tried some slightly more minimalist shoes in the past – think Saucony Kinvaras and the like – with not such great results, but I wondered if it had something to do with the lack of cushioning in those types of shoes as compared to the heel-toe differential.
About a month ago, HOKA ONE ONE reached out to me and a very small group of other bloggers in hopes of starting a brand ambassador program. I was given the opportunity to try out and model of shoe that I wanted to see if it worked for me, and then decide if I wanted to join the program. To be honest? I was intrigued, but extremely, extremely skeptical. I lose toenails very easily if the toebox of my shoes is too small, and the Wave Nirvanas (R.I.P) were the only kind of shoe I had ever found that did not cause that to happen at distances greater than a half marathon. Plus, the shoes have so much more cushioning than I was used to, and I’m used to a lot. It’s almost like running on platforms! Finally, I was worried about what the low heel-toe differential would feel like, since Wave Nirvanas have a very high differential.
I tested out a pair of the Stinson Lite model on a few short runs at first. Based on the recommendations on the website, it seemed like the right pair for a road runner like me who is a moderate overpronater. Although I liked the cushioning, I felt like I needed some more arch support. Fortunately, I had a pair of insoles from Insoles and Beyond that I could put in, and they immediately felt better. I gradually built up my runs until I felt confident about doing a long run in them, and I completed 15 miler in them! My longest run since December and I felt no pain or soreness the next day plus didn’t have any sore toenails! It was then that I knew that Hokas might be great solution for me.
So, I have officially signed on as a HOKA ONE ONE brand ambassador! I’m excited about this partnership because of what the company represents. This is a company devoted to helping its runners stay injury free and on the road as much as possible – who doesn’t want that? After announcing my partnership on Facebook and Instagram (as well as briefly here on the blog), I’ve been so excited to hear from so many of you who love your Hokas as well! Here’s what my partnership means for you: you’ll be hearing from me occasionally about different races that I may attend or participate in as a HOKA ONE ONE ambassador – they sponsor some pretty awesome events, including the L.A. Marathon! I may host some giveaways or mention new products as they become available, but I will not be doing a bunch of sponsored posts or product reviews. I’ll link up with HOKA ONE ONE from time to time on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and I’ll be writing some original content for their website as well. Basically, you’ll be the first to know about all the great new stuff happening at this company! And if the ambassador program expands in the future, I’ll be sure to tell you all about that, too.
LEAVE A COMMENT: What kind of running shoes do you wear? Have you ever needed to switch brands? What questions do you have for me about HOKA?
Disclosure: I receive occasional pairs of free shoes in my role as a HOKA ONE ONE ambassador. You can come to my house and borrow them sometime if you want to try them out.