For fans of the maximalist footwear, the Hoka Conquest was one of the more anticipated shoes of 2014. We’ve had a chance to put a few miles into the shoe, and we gotta say, the shoe definitely lives up to its hype.
Mention Hoka and one of the first descriptors that should pop up in your head is “soft”. The Conquest undeniably fits this label, though you shouldn’t be worried that the soft ride will suck the energy out of your stride – the RMAT midsole provides a nice resilience and a fairly responsive feel that even allows you to pick up the pace.
The Conquest is built with a low offset to promote an efficient run. Combined with the thick midsole, we actually found heelstriking to be a challenge, with the shoe almost forcing your foot to comedown between heel and midfoot. The Conquest features Hoka’s early stage Meta Rocker, giving the shoe a quick toe-off for a fast feel.
Amongst the more unique features of the Conquest are the cutouts in the rear of the lower layer of the midsole. Hoka claims that these perforations actually provide a bit of support by collapsing inwards together. Though the effect is minimal, it is a nice feature for neutral runners who tend to overpronate towards the end of longer runs.
Fit wise, the Conquest is fairly roomy and offers plenty of wiggle room for those who like a bit more volume in their footwear. If you prefer a snug, performance fit, it might be best to try a half size smaller than your standard running shoe size.
Aesthetically, the Conquest serves as a huge step up for Hoka. The materials and construction look and feel on par with that of a premium running shoe, while the design makes it look like there’s more going on than just running on a fat chunk of foam.
The Conquest looks to be the first step of a great new direction for Hoka One One. If their shoes continue to impress like the Conquest, they will be sure to leave a hefty mark in the running shoe world.
[Video via Hoka One One]