You’ve probably seen at least a few people at your last couple races sporting what look like mini moon boots. HOKA certainly has a lot of buzz going just from their looks, and we’re seeing a lot of women who are giving them a try and liking what they find.
HOKA cut its teeth so to speak on the trails, providing an uber-protective experience for ultras over rough terrain. But the core technology is steadily advancing to offer a wider range of runners an accessible entry point for running both on trails and roads.
For Fall 2013, HOKA also has a new model built just for the ladies. The Kailua is designed as a lower (relatively speaking, of course), lighter performance shoe in the HOKA lineup of supremely cushioned shoes. The HOKA Kailua Tarmac and HOKA Kailua Trail still provide ample cushioning, with reduced weights compared to a typical HOKA shoe.
Here’s your current HOKA lineup, from most streamlined to most protective:
- Kailua – This light, lower option is the most firm HOKA and delivers a nimble ride. Available in both Tarmac (road) and Trail versions.
- Bondi 2 – This is a road-specific model with a wider fit compared to the Kailua and a more plush feel.
- Stinson - Available in Trail and Tarmac versions like the Kailua, the Stinson offers a secure fit and is loaded with impact protection.
- Mafate 3 – This one might as well be called the Big Papa of Pillow. This beefy little guy will get you over pretty much anything in your path.
More about the New Kailua
The HOKA Kailua Trail is a cushioned trail shoe that’s still nimble enough to tackle diverse terrain. The shoe has a significant amount of EVA foam in the midsole to absorb shock, and the rockered midsole design delivers a quick and responsive transition. The outsole lugs (shaped like the Hoka bird logo) provide grip in loose terrain on the way uphill and provide braking traction downhill. But the platform isn’t the whole story. A breathable upper allows great ventilation to help keep your feet cool on warmer days.
The HOKA Kailua Tarmac is a versatile road shoe that can handle long mileage or shorter outings. The midsole cushioning offers excellent shock absorption, but the shoe still feels nimble and quick. HOKA put lightweight, high-abrasion rubber in key wear areas on the outsole to help increase durability on paved surfaces. The Kailua Tarmac uses the same midsole as the Trail version, with a unique, smoother lugged outsole and very slight changes to the upper.