Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Shoes

My battle with Plantar Fasciitis has been well-documented on this blog as I have been struggling with it for about four months. Over the past four weeks I have been able to successfully return to running and am now up to about 50 miles per week. While I don't feel as though the injury is completely gone and I am confident that it is, for the most part, behind me.

Several things have been at play in my recovery; intense physical therapy, Graston treatment, ice and rest, self-massage, etc...But the one thing that has allowed me to return to running most successfully has been a change of shoes. I am not too proud to admit it, Hoka One One Bondi B's have given me my running back!

About a month ago Karl Meltzer contacted me and suggested I give them a shot to give my feet more cushioning. This was followed up by a phone call from my friend, pacer, and unofficial PF consultant who said the very same thing. I picked up a couple pair and have been running pain free ever since.

In this age of minimalist footwear it is clear to me that Hoka are going the other direction. And, indeed, these shoes are not for everyone. But for a guy with a lot of miles on his body, struggling with an injury and the onset of middle age, these puppies have been a lifesaver.

19 comments:

Pete said...

Andy,

Did you consider the mafate's at all? Or do you think the stability and traction of the bondi is enough for trails?

Jackalope said...

Regardless of one's inclination towards one style or another (I'm a minimal guy), at the end of the day ya gotta go with what works.

I'm completely curious about these shoes to be honest. One thing that going minimal has taught me: keep an open mind. After the beating my feet took during TNF 50, I'd give them a shot.

Wyatt Hornsby said...

Hoka One One Bond B's are hands-down the best shoes I've ever worn. They're soft, comfy and responsive. Oh, and they're pretty light. They're perfect for everything from the marathon to trail 100s. The only place they didn't work for me was descending Hope Pass at the Leadville 100. Glad you like them! They're the best!

Brian Krogmann said...

how does the sizing go? I am a 8.5 in salomons and a 9 in Brooks not sure if this helps but since I have to order online would like to get the right size the first time

Quandary said...

I agree with Wyatt. Despite all the cushioning they're actually pretty flat and encourage a mid foot strike. And... I've got over 500 miles so far on them, whereas I typically toss my regular ones after about 350-400 miles. I think they've got another 200-300 miles in them yet.

AJW said...

Pete, I hope to try the Mafates when I get a chance. But, given where I am with recovery I'm running on all dirt roads now to keep the lateral stuff to a minimum.

Wyatt, in which direction of the Hope Pass descent did the Hokas fail you? Outbound or inbound? Maybe it's a matter of steepness?

Brian, it seems to me you need to size up a 1/2 size. I wear 11.5 Sportivas and the 12's seem to work better for the Hokas.

Wyatt Hornsby said...

Brian: The Hoka One One Bondi B's seem to run small. They are the first shoes I've ever owned that I had to go a half-size up on. I always wear size 11 but I've had to go with size 11.5 in the Bondis. I'm on my third pair of Bondis and I love them more with each pair. I think I might be a lifer so long as Hoka keeps doing their thing. They'll give you 600-800 comfortable miles, making them a good investment.

Andy: I had major problems with my Bondis descending the back side of Hope (going down to Winfield). They provided zero lateral support for me and my toes got hammered especially on that last steep section of narrow, semi-technical trail. Granted, I'm not a very good descender. When I got into Winfield my crew went to work on my feet, which were just beaten to a pulp. Other than that one experience on Hope, my Bondis have been perfect. I think the Mafates would work great on Hope Pass especially if you're going aggressively. Unfortunately, I'm still in orthotics from my bout with plantar and the Mafates literally won't fit my orthotics (but my Bondis do).

The Running Gator said...

Moderation in both things is good. Doing what works for your body at the time though is a need. Glad to hear your doing well. I am a minimalist wearer, but find myself wearing "non" minimalist shoes on certain runs and I do run better. The minimalist thing for me just gives me a more all around training or variety. Truth is I started minimalist because I was bored.

solarweasel said...

Hokas: methadone for the feet

peter said...

Pete, I ran Wasatch in the Bondis, Knocked 18 minutes off my best time and had the fastest split of anyone in the race from Rock Springs to Pole Line (the nastiest section of the whole race). The Bondis are great for the trail, particularly for bombing downhill. They do loosen in the forefoot, so tightening them during the run helps with downhill running.
So as much as I like the Bondis, I like to rotate shoes, and wear a variety. It helps to belong to the brotherhood of traveling shoes
(http://mrc-ultra.blogspot.com/2011/04/brotherhood-of-traveling-shoes.html).
I agree that 1/2 size up is the way to go. I usually wear an 8 to 8.5 depending on the shoe, and wear 9's in the Hokas.

-J said...

Great report, AJW! Great to have you back, just in time for "Opening WS Season!" -OOJ

Sarah said...

I found the exact same thing. For a full year I was dealing with post tibial tendonitis and the only shoes that I could run in comfortably for more than 8 miles were Hoka's. I ran Superior 100 in mafates and I don't think I would have been able to finish if it weren't for them. I did get horrible blisters because I have really narrow feet and the hoka's fit wide so I get a bit too much friction, especially on super technical trails. Despite that I would recommend them to anyone with an injury that's trying to get back to a "normal" running volume.

Brian Krogmann said...

thanks guys placed an order last night 1/2 size up. can't wait to try them out

Scott Dunlap said...

I'm a fan too, and that's coming from somebody who runs minimalist shoes 70+ miles/week. Used them at Wasatch, and it cut my recovery in half easily. Surprisingly light too.

SKA Runner said...

About 6+ months ago I bought a pair of Mafates (size 9) and was very excited to give them a try. I got home put them on and wore them around the house. After a while I felt pressure on the back part of my arch. I tried adjusting them, but due to the non-typical fit, meaning 8.5 were crunching my toes and the 9's had a bit of heel slip. (I normally wear a 8.5) I am assuming the arch pressure was due to the way I had to tie them to eliminate the slip. Now I was also suggested to remove the insert, but expereinced the same result. I returned them without road time, since I am not rich enough to gamble. Has anyone else had this experience with the arch?

On black Friday, I went to give the Bondis a try, but of course they did not have my size. If you owned the Bondis and the Mafates, do you find that have similar structure / fit?

Justus said...

The Bondis are the best shoes (for me) I have ever worn. Prior to these shoes I had some major issues in one of my feet. There was not enough room where some of the bones come together. I had to wear support shoes for everything and even wore orthodics at one point. Any runs over 30 miles would crush my foot. After one 70 mile race I was on crutches for 4 days. The combination of the cushion and the 4mm drop have fixed these issues. I can now train and run races without having to worry about this physical limitation knocking me out of races. This is not to even comment on how much you can fly downhills with these guys on!

GZ said...

Yeah ... but 170 bucks!

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