An Update On My Wife and Her Hoka Bondi 2’s

Hoka Bondi 2About two months ago I wrote a post about my wife Erin’s long term problems with foot and hip pain. She had gotten her hip pain under control through a post-run strengthening routine (lunges), but earlier this year she was diagnosed with a neuroma in her right foot, and was unable to run without pain in any of the shoes that she had at the time. She was ready to give up running altogether.

After describing her situation to him, my buddy Nate recommended that she try out a pair of Hokas – they helped him through a bout of plantar fasciitis last year and he’d heard of others who’d had success using them to battle foot pain. I hopped on-line and bought her a pair of Hoka Bondi 2 shoes. She wasn’t crazy about the platform-shoe appearance, but she was game to give them a try.

I’m happy to report that my wife has experienced zero foot pain since she started running in the Hokas. That’s almost two months of pain-free running, and this past week she managed three pain-free 4-mile runs for the first time in as long as I can remember!

A couple of days ago Erin proposed that we run the Four on the Forth race together in Bridgton, ME on July 4. The Four on the Fourth is the first race I ever ran back in 2007, and she had agreed to run it with me as a way to motivate me to start exercising again (I was pushing 190 pounds at the time, and was horribly out of shape). Erin does not like to race (at all!), so this proposal nearly knocked me off my feet.

To say that I’m happy about Erin’s progress would be an understatement – a simple change in shoes has given her back an incredibly important part of her life.

Viva la Hoka!

About Peter Larson

This post was authored by Peter Larson. Pete is a recovering academic who currently works as an exercise physiologist, running coach, and writer. He's also a father of three and a fanatical runner with a bit of a shoe obsession. In addition to writing and editing this site, he is co-author of the book Tread Lightly, and writes a personal blog called The Blogologist. Follow Pete on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and via email.



Comments

  1. Great news re the Hokas. Am happy for your wife. It’s a real pleasure to find a solution to a problem. I’d have a pair of Hokas in my rotation if they were wider in the forefoot. I sold mine but wish I’d at least kept the right foot one (see post below). Like your wife, I too have problematic feet. My right foot has endured the pleasure of Achilles tendonitis, a neuroma, plantar fascitis & shin splints. So I’m still looking for my solution. My right foot is nothing like my left, it has a high arch while my left has a low arch & is 1/2 size smaller. So in my mind there’s a case to say that as my two feet have different needs (arch support on left foot leads to knee problems but works for the right foot), is there any reason (apart from the ‘look silly ‘factor) I shouldn’t wear one trainer on one foot and one on the other? I was thinking a Triumph 11 for the right or an NB 890 v 3 (with an orthotic for some stability) & a Brooks Pure Grit for the left (that’s tried & tested). In summary, wearing one 8mm drop trainer with moderate arch support & on the right (the 8mm drop causes less stress on the foot) & a 4mm drop(the 4mm drop causes less issues for the knee) trainer with no arch support on the left. Is there any evidence to suggest that wearing odd shoes might lead to hip problems or some other knock-on factor? I know all of this is individual but I’m just putting the idea of wearing different shoes on different feet out there. Personally, I think shops & websites should let you buy separate trainers. My contention is that feet are not uniform so why should we be foreced to buy trainers as if they are. It’s not like it’s easy to buy custom made trainers. Any thoughts, constructive feedback would be most welcome. i.e Luke, London.

  2. bob baks says:

    It’s really hard to resist saying something snarky about these crazy-ass shoes, but I promise I won’t. oops…

  3. Tim Watts says:

    How have people running in the Hoka’s found the durability? I read anothe blog that was quite negative about the length of time the cushioning lasted before starting to break down and collapse

    • I’ve tracked 3 pairs to 300 miles. That’s about where I can tell they are breaking down. My experience is they are about average durability compared to conventional trainers.

  4. George Harris says:

    Wow Pete that is awesome news. I too have tried the Hoka Bondi recently. My left knee began to bother me and I tried a brace but did not get complete relief. Enter the Bondi and I was able to run three miles without pain. Ran 11 miles today no pain. So I am sold. The Hoka Bondi will find a place in my rotation of shoes.

  5. Robert Osfield says:

    Has Erin tried running in other shoes yet? It might be once her neuroma is healed she’ll be able to run in normal shoes once more.

  6. I can only report what I’ve seen. I’ve seen 6 people who were dealing with a chronic issue (not including your wife) give Hokas a shot. These were ‘last resorters’ just about ready to bail after however long battling their issues. People who tried minimalism (gradually) – PT – you name it…

    4 now are running with no problems, all for more than six months. And all 4 people are at the greatest mileage in recent memory. It sounds like your wife will make 5.

    My experience with people who aren’t suffering a chronic issue is more of a mixed bag, although I can say confidently that greater than 50% of the people I know who’ve tried them now use them either for recovery runs, long runs or every day. Anecdotally, Hokas are the only shoe I see that seems to be spreading as a, “wow these really DO work” piece of running technology.

    I don’t work in the shoe biz. I am just fascinated because for all the talk I hear about drop, technology, etc… In my world these shoes have had the greatest impact (no pun intended) BY FAR.

    I don’t know what they will do to feet in the long run, etc, but I think somebody needs to look at these things seriously, because they sure as heck are making a difference in the world I see.

    • Pete Larson says:

      I don’t view them as much different than barefoot in that way – they’re so different than most of what is out there that they really throw something different at you and someone with chronic trouble in more traditional shoes might benefit from the change. Dealing with injury is largely about managing tissue stress via altering force application, and Hokas and barefoot probably change force application big time (obviously in different ways).

      —-
      Pete Larson’s Web Links:
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    • I’m one of those “chronics”, too. Sprained my ankle quite badly while trail running many years ago. Never became pain free afterwards.

      I had to resort to shoes in the 12-16mm cushioining range. Less is detrimental for my ankle, more makes me twist my ankle all the time. Hokas would probably kill me. Figure how many pairs of shoes I had to buy in order to find this all out!!

  7. I’m curious how the Hokas differ from a conventional max-cushion shoe
    (eg. Nimbus, Vomero). Seems to me that it’s the cushion which is
    enabling some to overcome their injuries – if so, wouldn’t the
    conventional shoes above do likewise?

  8. I ran my first marathon in Hokas on the weekend. I first got them after a really debilitating case of plantar fac about 7 months ago. The physio recommended them with orthotics and the effect was extraordinary. I was back doing good distances almost straight away. I figure I have about 1200km on this pair and the inside uppers are pretty trashed. I noticed at about 30kms on the weekend I was actually running off the sole a bit which may be bc the bottoms collapsed. I also have sore ankles for the first time which may be a stability thing. Shall go and buy a new pair today tho bc there is no doubt in my mind they are the only reason I am running pain free (relatively). I will buy half a size bigger this time tho bc all my toes have been black pretty much since I got these, I think they are small in the toe area but the sock-like fit means you could go a bit bigger. Word is spreading – I counted 8 pairs in yesterday’s race!

    • Pete Larson says:

      My wife is getting along better with them now that she has gone a half size up, worth a try!
      Sent from my iPad

  9. Julie Moffitt says:

    Thanks for the update, Pete. Your original post is what promted me to give the Hokas a try for my PF. I just put in a relatively pain free 20 miler yesterday in the Bondi 2′s. I’ve got 90 miles on them now and they are helping immensely.

  10. Kevin Hay says:

    That’s great. Amazing the effect shoes have on our ability to run / run at all. Well done!

  11. Stephen Boulet says:

    I love my Bondi Bs for trail running. I hear an 8 oz Hoka is in the making …

  12. Any updates on your wife’s progress in these, Pete?

    Also, do you think Hokas would work for a moderate over-pronator with some ankle joint laxity?

    • Pete Larson says:

      They’re still working for her, no foot pain in them. I would be a bit wary if you have ankle joint laxity given the high platform and soft sole.
      Sent from my iPad

  13. Thomas Neuberger says:

    You make me want to try Hoka out.

  14. Flaming June says:

    I am so happy to hear this good news! I have been wondering how your wife was fairing with the Hokas. I did go to the store and try a pair out. Liked them very much and will definitely get a pair if my hip or foot issues flare up again. Right now I am just enjoying my GoRuns and thankful for every pain-free mile!

  15. i also had a neuroma suffered for years finally found a good podiatrist and he gave me a shot of alcohol and been pain free for 2 years

  16. Hokas have allowed me to run farther and up/down much more vertical than my Kinavaras or Montrail Fluidflexes (like them both for shorter stuff). My knees/ITs get tight after 7-8 miles in everything but the Hokas, where I can do 3k+ vertical over 13-15 miles with no issues…thank you Hoka.

  17. Pete,

    We are both not religious about minimal shoes, but what is your perception of these, vs the Minimal approach.

    I mean, I personally, see this as a “recovery tool” that enables people in pain, to recover while still being active & relatively pain free, yet not a long term platform for strength & stability.

    Moving to minimal shoes when injured, in my perception, is not a wise thing, and I don’t consider minimal shoes as the heel “go to” platform, but as the base state to aspire to, where the other tools surve that purpose.

    I am curious to try the Hoka’s but the price tag scares me, and luckly for me, I am PF free for 6 month now :-)

  18. Ashwyn Gray says:

    That’s fantastic, Pete! I love seeing my wife progress with her running. So, I can imagine how you must feel about helping your wife combat a problem that was preventing her from running.
    I am curious, though, to know how a shoe like the Hoka influences foot strength. Have you heard or read anything about that?

  19. Big sticky plasters which at best will maintain the present problem and maybe cause more issues down the line.

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