Longtime followers know I’ve had problems with my knees in the mountains, especially as I’ve gone light and fast through the 14,000′ peaks of Colorado. One of the professionals who has helped me solve my runner’s knee (a weird affliction since I don’t run much) is Dr. Randy James.
Randy is an athlete himself and practices functional medicine which does much more than treat the disease. He actually gets to the underlying cause of the problem and works to solve it. You won’t find many doctors who care as deeply as Randy does.
There’s a good reason this is the longest review I’ve ever done and that’s because the Hoka One One Mafate 2 will likely solve many problems for readers. Is it a funny looking shoe? Yes. Would you be self conscious wearing it to the grocery store? Or course you would. Personally, if something cures a big issue for me, I don’t care what I look like.
Here are Randy’s thoughts as he begins running in the Hoka’s.
I just received my new pair of Hokas!
Day one: Wow. My first impression is definitely very positive. I especially love the new shoes when running downhill. Right out-of-the-box, they are too stiff in my opinion. The cushion is definitely there, but it does not feel like I’m walking on marshmallows. I love walking in a fast/exercise pace in these. (Justin’s thought: I’m picturing Randy power walking in the mall.) When I just relax and start running I do feel like I can quit worrying about my footstrike and just enjoy the run. I think maybe I am a natural midfoot to heel striker.
Day two: I got a chance to run on some of our local Colorado trails. I did notice that I have to pay more attention when encountering larger, fist size, rocks. I normally do not sprain my ankles, but, due to the height of the shoe, I feel like I rolled my ankle twice. These were minor. Kept running. Again, I felt like I could relax while running. Especially on the downhill. Running uphill, I still feel like the shoe is too stiff.
Finally, a chance for a longer run: 6 miles. It is important to note that I have been battling with plantar fasciitis. After the long run, my usual morning pain was no worse. To me, this is an incredible improvement from what it would’ve been in my other shoes. So, after three or four significant runs, my overall impression of the shoe is very positive. First of all, I am able to run. For somebody battling back from plantar fasciitis, this is very important to me. Secondly, it seems to me that doing a combination of minimalist running for short distances, and my new Hokas for longer distances makes good sense.
Cold-weather run: my feet stay warm! They seem to be holding up relatively well in the harsh conditions of Colorado trails. I have run on some snow. The soles are so high, that I’m not very worried about getting wet unless I am in snow that is higher than five or 6 inches. Only complaint is my increased tendency to roll my ankle. There has been no serious injury.
Overall, I love this shoe, but I don’t love the price: $150 retail.
It remains to be seen how long they will last. Two-and-a-half times longer than a normal running shoe? Time will tell.
Initially, I did not appreciate the looks, but they have grown on me, and more importantly am growing on my wife. I am looking forward to my next run!
Hoka One One Mafate 2
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