I thought I’d take the opportunity to write about something very interesting I stumbled upon completely by surprise, quite a pleasant surprise I might add.
This past November while shopping at REI in Salt Lake City for some hockey skate insoles, I saw a unique looking running shoe on the display wall, it had a rather large looking cushion system compared to all the other shoes. Basically, it just stood out and caught my attention! My inquiring Physical Therapist mind wanted a closer look, so I picked it up and gave it a few pinches, squeezes and bends. I could not believe how soft the cushioning felt, they are made by a company called called Hoka One One, and are affectionately known as Hoka’s. At the very moment I was fondling the shoe an employee breezed by and asked what size my foot was. He said he was going in the back and wanted to grab one for me to try on. He caught me a little by surprise and without really thinking about it I blurted out my shoe size. A minute later, he returned and left me with a new pair of shoes to try on, I wasn’t even in the market for a new pair of shoes! Anyway, I slipped them on, stood up and rocked back and forth a couple of times. Then, I took three steps, turned around and told him, “Sold!”
How do I describe it… not quite love at first sight, but definitely love at first feel! It felt like I had 2 marshmallow cushions under each foot, one under my forefoot and the other under my heel. I have never felt anything quite like it with regards to cushioning in a shoe. It’s so soft that it actually takes a little getting used to…but in a good way! So now, seven months have gone by and I have to say that not a single day passes that I haven’t worn them. In fact, I stopped wearing a tie to work because I didn’t think the tie went well with running shoes… and I have worn ties to work consistently for nearly twenty years!
Even more interesting is the fact that I am not a runner! I’m just a busy Physical Therapist standing on my feet and moving around the clinic all day long. Factor into the equation my bilateral total knee replacement (TKR), and it usually means that by the end of the work day my knees and back often feel pretty beat up. Since I started wearing my Hoka’s, I pretty much feel like a champ after a normal work day on my feet!
The only negative I can throw out, they are a little on the warm side (at least the trail runner model I wear) and they are a little pricey. However, neither of these has deterred me from wearing them daily and I actually just purchased a second pair I’m using for work exclusively, trying to keep them a little cleaner and nicer looking.
Anyone with knee, ankle or back pain they are dealing with on a regular basis, and have to be working on their feet all day, check out the Hoka One One’s. These shoes are game changers, go try a pair on, but only if you are ready to purchase (because once on your foot, you will buy them).
Mark Moeller PT
Alpine Sports Medicine