I have had my Hoka One One Stinson Trail shoes for about 5 weeks now, and I wrote an initial review after the first 20 miles. Since that review I have put close to 100 more miles on those shoes, including 50 miles in one shot.
I had done some double digit runs in these shoes, but the true test was during pacing duties at a trail ultra marathon. I ran 25.6 miles across single track trail (and 2 miles of pavement) as I paced Endorphin Dude during the American River 50 Mile Endurance Run. During this race my Hokas actually gave me a bit of trouble. About two miles in, I rolled my ankle. I slightly weird on a spot of trail and it gave out on me. And I rolled that ankle about seven more times in the next three miles. I did fine for the next 15 miles, and rolled it really bad with about 8 miles left in the race. Now, I have bad ankles, and I am sure the first roll just weakened that ankle for successive rolls. However, how much did the extra height on the Hokas accentuated it? You feel taller in the Hokas, but not really sure how much of the ankle rolling was the Hokas or my clumsiness and weak ankles.
During the whole ankle rolling incident, I also developed a sharp pain in my heal of the other foot that flared up depending on how my foot landed. This lasted for a couple miles and went away, and never came back, so again, I don’t think it was the shoes, but it was a new and different pain than I had before.
The aftermath of the race wasn’t so bad. I ran 25.6 miles over moderate to difficult trail in 6:40, so I really wasn’t pushing it. My legs were moderately sore, but definitely no worse than a hard pushed half marathon. Blister wise, I had some blisters on the base of my toes. Nothing bad, but little rain drop sized blisters on my toes on one foot. I also had a good sized one on the inside of my big toe of the other foot. That is it. I went for a 4.4 mile run three days later (wearing my Asics) despite sore legs.
Other than the ankle rolling, which I cannot place all the blame on the Hokas because I have rolled my ankle in other shoes as well, the shoes did fine. After 25 plus miles on trail, they were okay. I think my feet and legs felt better afterwards than if I had been in my regular running shoes. But I only have compare with my marathon runs which were completed in about four hours.
The true test of the Hoka One One Stinson Trail was during my 50 mile run during the Ruth Anderson Ultra Marathon. After running for 9 hours in these shoes, my feet felt better than they did after my 50k. Now, I also wore some compression socks, and calf sleeves, which might have helped. I usually don’t wear those when I run. But I didn’t have any of the calf spasms that I usually get around mile 20 of a hard run. Also, my overall recovery was a lot quicker than usual, despite the extra miles. I did have blisters. I had one at the tip of my little toe, and one at the bottom of my middle toe; both on my left foot. I did add some powder into my socks, which probably reduced the blisters. But my feet felt great despite 9 hours of hard running.
Overall, I am impressed with the Hokas, and I will keep wearing them for longer runs. I am pretty sure that my feet would have been hurting pretty bad if I had worn my Asics. But, I still love my Asics and will keep wearing those shoes for shorter runs, because I feel fast in my Asics. Basically, In my opinion, Hokas are like that comfy pair of jeans you wear to do a full day of yard work, where the Asics are that power suit you wear to a meeting with corporate.
What do I define as a short vs. long run? I think my plan will be to wear the Asics during any half marathon that I want to run fast, and the Hokas for half marathons that I am going to take it easy, or any longer distance.
During both races, I saw that about a third to a half of the competitors wore Hokas of some kind or another. If you are going to venture into running or walking for long distances, I would suggest giving the Hokas a try.
Also, after nearly 120 miles, my shoes have very little wear on them (except for one spot on the outside heel).