Pro 2 lite Arrives
Even as HOKA ONE ONE grows globally at a rate unequaled by any other running shoe brand in the 21st Century, some runners are still skeptical.
Why? Two main reasons.
1. They look different.
Yes, they do. Despite the flattering uptake of the oversized cushion concept by other major running companies, HOKA still looks different. Nearly every running shoe over the last 40 years has been a slightly different version of what went before. But with superlight foams and evolutionary blended rubbers, a unique way of bringing your foot and our midsoles together, and efficient rockers tailored to suit stable platforms, HOKA is different.
2. Perception — aren’t HOKA the shoes for slow and injured runners?
Whether they’re on their feet a while because they’re running long, or because they’re running slow, many runners love both the impact reduction and incredible comfort they get from HOKA.
But the HOKA Clifton was also Luke McKenzie’s shoe of choice when he won in Cairns, and again late last year when he recorded the fastest Ironman finish ever seen on Australian soil. HOKA performs.
That’s right — YOU CAN RUN FAST IN HOKA!!!
Some runners still haven’t got that message, but the inventors at HOKA ONE ONE have listened to what faster runners want, and they’ve taken it to the NEXT LEVEL.
The highly anticipated Pro2Lite Series plants the HOKA flag clearly in the high performance endzone. The Clayton already has a 50km World Record to its name (Mike Wardian, first sub-3-hour treadmill), while the Tracer was used to devastating effect by Northern Arizona Elite Matt Llano, running a 2:12 marathon for a significant PB in Berlin late last year.
A firmer mid-foot and fore-foot with slight reductions in foam volume mean greater PROPULSION and even faster toe-off for efficient runners. A softer heel means PROTECTION where ambitious athletes need it most.
But what do the individual models offer the runner who wants more arrows in their quiver?
CLAYTON, $250 RRP
Technologically advanced processes have created a single-piece midsole with 2 different durometers (degrees of firmness)
High end RMAT outsole plate provides the rebound and grippy properties of rubber but with the weight and comfort values of a light and soft foam.
The semi-firm upper saves weight by featuring no heel counter. The lockdown holds the foot secure in a broad top deck.
The midsole wraps high on both sides of the heel to ensure a responsive feel in motion, while mild arch contact is reassuring without being invasive.
The midsole-outsole array handles the contact phase beautifully right through from supinated contact to mild pronation, and the sweet spot under the ball of the foot fires up as pace increases.
An ideal trainer or racer for efficient or aggressive runners targeting half-marathon distance and up.
TRACER, $220 RRP
This gorgeously crafted racer is best understood as a HOKA racing flat.
The light mesh upper features an incredibly soft internal gusset that hugs the foot with a feel like heavily rubbed soft suede. The combined sensation is of a soft but reactive sock, holding the foot into one of the lightest midsoles that HOKA has ever made.
A semi-narrow straight deck underfoot pops and fizzes at pace without any of the usual hard contact and sharp deceleration/acceleration of a similarly responsive but thinner, harder midsole.
At speed, the feel of the Tracer is unbelievable.
An ideal race day partner for 5km through to marathon, especially suited to lighter, efficient runners.
TIME TO FLY