I’ve read numerous reviews and talked to a few more people that have run in the Hoka One One shoes. Most people’s impressions are positive. They describe the Hoka One Ones as offering terrific traction and superior cushion for going down steep rocky trails. The cushy thick sole compresses around rocks giving a lot of grip.
Runners describe the shoes as feeling very light. In reality, they weigh in on the heavy side when compared to more minimal shoes. I surmise they give runners the impression of lightness because they are light when you consider how darn big they are.
The biggest negative I have come across are their performance on side hills. The thick sole causes your foot to be cantilevered out away from the ground when traversing across a steep side hill. This puts a lot of torque on your feet and ankles. Some reviewers said that side hills were the Achilles heel of the Hoka One Ones. Side hill running in Hoka One Ones is not only awkward, but side hill also tend to damage the shoes. The cushy thick sole tends to compress quickly and side hill cause the sole to compress in an asymmetric fashion. There are some extended traverses and side hills on the Ridge Run course. So this is something to consider.
Another negative some reviewers mention are some rough interior seams that cause rubbing (blisters) forcing you to use thick socks. The high price and lack of durability is another negative. The thick soft cushy sole compresses and deforms faster than most other running shoes.
The high price has discouraged me from buying and trying a pair. They cost upwards of $200.00 and I have never paid more than $100.00 for a running shoe and usually buy sales shoes for under $50.00. I have not found any discounted sources for them.
Darryl Baker scored a free pair somehow but was cagey on how he accomplished that – other than saying he was in the right place at the right time. If you ask him maybe he will tell you more. Bob Wade former president of the Big Sky Wind Drinkers purchased a pair on sale somewhere and just started trying them out.