This site is created to inspire, motivate and to promote a healthy lifestyle by sharing my passion in cycling and running. Advice, training and product reviews to help you achieve your goal in crossing that finish line.
Hoka One One(pronounced O-nay
O-nay) is a running shoe company founded by Nicolas Mermoud and Jean-Luc
Diard back in 2009. Though still an infant, they braved the challenges to stay
and compete against some of the well-known giants in the shoe industry.
Amazingly, not only did they survive, they are thriving! They were able to establish
a solid benchmark by winning many prestigious races from Trails to Tracks to
Roads to Ultra Marathons and Olympics.
A brief history of their success: Hoka One One
took a gamble by taking the opposite approach, producing “maximalist” shoes when the
majority of the shoe industries were going “minimalist”.
In 2010, Nicolas Mermoud asked Karl Meltzer(a.k.a "Speedgoat Karl") a decorated ultra-runner,
to give it a try. Karl was very skeptical in the beginning and thought that the
shoe looks nothing but a “Clown shoes”
with a massive sole that probably weighs a tank just by looking at it. Karl still
entertained the idea and during the run, he felt the joy of running and how
forgiving the shoes were…he was sold that moment! Fast forward, Karl has won
many races aboard the Hoka and thus the rise of HOKA ONE ONE. Their gamble paid
off and here I am reviewing one of the best shoes in the market today. So with
that, let’s get into details.
If you are familiar with the Hoka’s, the Infiniteis the “beefed up” Clifton 2 (a neutral shoe). Both
shared almost identical DNA when it comes to structural components and lightweight
cushioning. The two things that
set them apart are:
1.) Infinite is considered a stability
shoe (so this is not as flexible as the Clifton 2).
2.) It weighs 2 ounces more. The added
weight came from beefing up its structural components. But this is still crazy
light in comparison with other stability shoe that could weigh up to 12+
The Infinite is designed for runners seeking a
medium level of stability. The shoe weighs in at 9.70 ounces for men size 9 and 8.10
ounces for women size 9. The heel to toe drop is 5mm for men (Heel height: 29mm, Forefoot height: 24mm) and 4mm for women (Heel height: 28mm, Forefoot
height: 24mm). I tested a size 10 and it really feels true to the size.
The upper material is made of a seamless
breathable air mesh with some added layer of fabric and a printed Hoka name on
one side. I was curious about the added layer, so I tested it out by putting my
hand inside the shoe and blew some air against the mesh, trying to simulate the
air when running. I felt some decent air passed thru…that’s a good thing. However,
I’m just not sure how the shoe will handle on summer when the temperature
starts to rise, I’m guessing that it might heat up a bit, we’ll see. But for
now, I’m still enjoying some cool breeze and occasional rain here in northern
California so I know that it will protect my feet from getting cold.
Similar with the Clifton 2, the Infinite has a high
level of padding in the heel and tongue area for added comfort and hug
throughout my top feet. I would say that the toe box room is average and not
too constricting. This is great since we all know that our feet tend to swell
up during the run. But don’t expect that you can splay your toes in it.
It’s MASSIVE! That’s the Hoka One One signature
on all of their shoes…massive yet so light. The Infinite’s sole is not as
marshmallowy (is that a word?) in comparison with the Clifton 2. It is a reinforced
with a bit firmer sole and it doesn’t flex much on the forefoot…well, it’s a
stability shoe, if they make it cushy then it will defeat its purpose. However,
to retain that “like stepping on a cloud”
feeling that we’re used to with Hoka shoes, they incorporated an oversized EVA
midsole for that cushion feel and also utilized the X-40 “high rebound” Ortholite insole that is a bit different from other insoles.
It is few millimeters thick on the bottom of the heel to help absorb the impact
when running and gives some energy return on the take-off. It has a wider
platform for greater stability and a Meta-Rocker geometry for enhanced forefoot
support to encourage midfoot landing. The very rear of the shoe is cut away
slightly to reduce the heel striking and help promote natural gait movement. The
outsole is reinforced with high abrasion light weight rubber that were placed
strategically for traction and durability over the long haul.
This is the part that really excites me most. No
hype, no sugarcoat…I’ll call it the way I see it.
That’s the purpose of this review, to promote
and help the readers make a smart choice if it’s for them and if it’s worth the
buy. I want to be fair and honest. I know it’s impossible to level my review
with others, since we have our own different needs, feel and opinion on things.
Though I’ve done a lot of running and have used different types of shoes
throughout, I’m no shoe expert by any means, but I’ll try my best to capture
what’s best and “not so” best about
this shoe. My normal protocol is to run it on three different occasions: 1.) easy 2.) tempo /
interval and 3.) long run. I’m hoping that by doing
these, it will give me enough perspective what this shoe is best for in my humble
My first test run was the easy run, I immediately
noticed that it has that stability feel in it, it’s not sloppy. Initially, I
thought that the lack of forefoot flexibility would be an issue and it might
inhibit my natural foot movement, but that was never the case, it didn’t bother
me at all and it really feels natural when running. I didn’t feel the side to
side flex in the midsole when I was cornering which is apparent for a stability
On my second test run, I opted to do the interval around the
track (that is not rubberized) close to my work to get more feel...and will it be
comfortable and responsive when I amp my pace? The traction is exceptional and
I’m happy to say that it feels fast and responsive on every stride I made. Thanks
to the firmer sole with enough cushion, it gave me the feeling that I am still connected
to the ground and I can easily exert energy without the feeling of being rob.
The last run I did was the long run, I believe there is
no better way to test the shoe than going for a long distance. I have to say
that the feeling was much better than I expected. I’ve done a lot of running
with my Clifton 1 (from training to racing) and I was really spoiled with its
lightness and cushiness. I thought that the added weight of 2 ounces will be an
issue but I didn’t notice it at all. The shoe was responsive and forgiving
enough on those miles that I pounded on the road and its traction was
uncompromising. The only downside that I noticed was that the shoe needs to be
broken in more, probably one more long run before I can actually race on this
shoe then it’ll be good. That’s just my opinion but some people might be able
to race it straight from the box.
I ran closed to 17 miles with the Infinite
and enjoyed it all. The shoe is somewhat like a two edge sword that it lets me
feel that I’m connected to the ground but still gave that plush ride which I
really enjoyed. I read some articles about the cons of going maximalist, that
it robs them the energy and felt that their muscles and joints are working even
harder in comparison with using a minimalist shoe. Well, depending on the
person you’re talking to, it can be argue on both ways. So it’s more of a
preference thing in my opinion. Running is not a one size fits all sport…same goes with the
need to find the right balance of what work and what doesn’t work for you. One
thing that I want to emphasize is that make sure that you break it in very
well. Some runners might have to adjust due to lack of forefoot flexibility in
the beginning but log some good miles in it then it will be ok.
The price of $120 is very reasonable and within
the price range of most shoes in the market today, so I cannot argue with
that. You can purchase the Infinite directly on their website or you can go to your nearest retail store so you can try it on
first and get the right feel.
Overall, I am really impressed with this shoe. If
you want a little bit of both worlds, the amount of cushion and still feel
connected to ground, then this shoe is for you. The shoe does what it intends
to do, not sloppy but not too aggressive, it will not give you that feeling of
throwing them after your run. Hoka change the flavor a bit by mixing
stability and cushion altogether that doesn’t weigh a ton…I think you’ll be
pleased with these changes.
I love to hear your feedback and let me know
what you think.