Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Hoka Stinson Evo trail running shoe review

I got a new pair of Hoka One One Stinson Evo - my favorite oversized trail running shoe. This seems to be the same model as my 2012 SE's, only with a new black/white/red color scheme. I've logged 1,320 miles on my old pair, including a marathon, a triathlon and several Alpine ultra trail races.

New Hoka One One Stinson Evos in the shoe box.
As before, you get an extra pair of OrthoLite 'Time To Fly' insoles (about a half thinner than the 2mm ones installed in the shoes) and normal laces in case you need/want to replace the 'QuickFit' speed laces. The thinner insoles don't seem to work for me, I get blisters right away with them. In races the normal laces might perform better than the speed laces, which may have to be retightened every now and then. Anyway thoughtful details like this help separate Hoka from other brands.

Extra insoles and laces.
The outsole provides decent traction as long as it lasts. After 500 miles or so, they might get quite slippery on special wet surfaces like mud or ice. Poles and/or crampons might be very helpful on slippery slopes, especially this year with record snow situation in the Alps. I've taken a couple of scary falls in my old Hokas and wouldn't wish the trend to continue.

The outsole looks the same as the old one, except new colors.

Despite the 2.2x oversized EVA midsole, these shoes are surprisingly light: about 360 grams for size US10.5. For some mysterious reason the right shoe weighs about 15g more.  Although I would never have noticed this 4 per cent additional weight without scales, I'd like my shoes to be the same weight. I'm not an expert on quality control problems in China, but a factory audit might be in order for Hoka.

The cushioning is 26mm thick under forefoot and 32mm under heel (6mm drop). When running this high off the ground you may really feel like flying. Luckily Hokas are relatively stable and I've never twisted an ankle with them (knock on wood).

2.2X oversized EVA midsoles are massive but lightweight.
The wide Stinson Evo toebox is very comfy for me, no matter what sort of socks I decide to wear. I've never noticed any major issues with my toes. Every foot is different of course and your mileage might vary.

As always make sure to choose a big enough size. Ultra running shoes should be one full size larger than your street (walking) shoes. For example my normal shoe size is US9.5, and my running shoe size is US10.5. After hours of running, it's not uncommon to discover that your poor feet have swollen to fill all that extra space.

Hoka Stinson Evo is still my favorite trail running shoe.
In my opinion Stinson Evo remains the best shoe for ultra trail running. Hoka has some competitors, but they fail to produce the special 'flying' experience. The new Rapa Nui model is a little lighter (315g size US10.5), but it's not quite as comfortable with its narrow toebox and 'only' 1.5x oversized EVA.

In summary, the main benefits of Stinson Evo are smoother ride over rocky terrain and especially in downhills as well as quicker recovery for your legs. They also possibly help prevent/cure foot issues like plantar fasciitis, but that's mostly based on my personal experience only. Around 170€ they aren't cheap, but I think they're worth it because they will last long, and make your feet last long too.


sam winebaum said...

Great review of a fine shoe. I have posted a review of the Rapa Nui, the more minimal Hoka! More flexible, lower, lighter, just as cushioned.Maybe a touch less stable on very rough trails but superb on the road and smooth trails http://samwinebaum.blogspot.com/2013/06/first-runs-hoka-one-one-rapa-nui-trail.html

Trail Plodder said...

Thanks Sam! I've read your Rapa Nui review already, and of course wrote my own review of it back in April: http://paleo-runner.blogspot.com/2013/04/hoka-rapa-nui-review.html

Will said...

Love the Evo's but still think they are a little less stabel than the original Stetsons which they don't make anymore. Thankfully I bought two pair last year for UTMB and am still holding them for races (used them and BHS 100k). How do you like the new Rapa Nui model you posted about? Still good?

Trail Plodder said...

Oh yeah all new Hokas are so good these days, I guess it comes down to what model fits your feet and race course best. I just climbed the highest hill (still tiny) in town 20X with my new Stinson Evo, and boy were my feet happy all the way! But I don't know, they have more snow than ever in Chamonix this summer, and Rapa Nui might have better traction in those conditions...we'll see in 2 weeks!

Anyway for you Rapa Nui might have a too narrow toebox, because I remember your blog about those superwide Mafates that cured your neuroma - I didn't like that bulky model that much.

How do you like your new Bondi B's, didn't you just get two pairs of those? In 2011 you didn't recommend the original Bondi for trails because you rolled your ankle in them, right?

There never was a Hoka model called 'Stetson', what you probably mean is the 2011 US model 'Stinson B' which seemed very similar to Mafate and replaced by Stinson B Evo (the new design with speed laces) in 2012.

My current Hoka ranking is: 1. Stinson Evo, 2. Rapa Nui, 3. Bondi, 4. Mafate.

ropadedeporte said...
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paul arts said...

just bought some today to try to address my heel pain issues. First run out and I like them. It's a good job because they were expensive...