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Hoka One One Conquest Preview

logo-hokaOne of the things that I noticed while waiting to pace at the Vermont 100 last weekend was the increased number of runners (and spectators) who were wearing Hoka trail shoes compared to last year at the same event. I don’t have any numbers, but there were significantly more Hokas about, and I’d estimate that as many as 1/4 to 1/3 of the runners were wearing them. It’s a great example of a shoe that has met the needs of a targeted niche. I was admittedly a huge skeptic of the shoes for a long time, but having seen what they have done for my wife and her foot issues, I’ve become a bit fascinated by the brand.

My buddy Josh just forwarded me a link to a Gearjunkie article that featured a photo of a new shoe from Hoka set to be released in SP 2014. It’s called the Hoka Conquest, and it sports an awesome looking upper and a new kind of midsole. Details are scant at this point, but there are some additional photos at the Chuck Fryberger Films site. It looks like CFF made a promo video for the Conquest, but you need a password to view it.

Hoka Conquest

Hoka Conquest – photo via Gearjunkie

Hoka Conquest 2

Hoka Conquest – photo via Chuck Fryberger Films

In other Hoka news, stay tuned as next week I will be posting a guest review of the Hoka Kailua Comp (hopefully on Monday if I can get it set to go). The Kailua Comp is Hoka’s take on a road racing shoe, and Hoka aficionado George Harris will be sharing his thoughts based on a few weeks of running in them.

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About Peter Larson

This post was authored by Peter Larson. Pete is a biology teacher, track/soccer coach, and dad (x3) with a passion for running, soccer, and science. If you'd like to learn a little bit more about who I am and what I do, click here, or visit


  1. Nathan Kline says:

    WOW! That’s a very high platform. Wouldn’t you risk twisting your ankles running on such stilts?

    • Cataract Surgery New Jersey says:

      That’s what I’m concerned about, too! Anyone with an answer?

      • Pete Larson says:

        I’ve personally only run in them once, but the foot actually sits down inside that midsole, and it’s very soft, so you don’t get the sense that turning an ankle is going to be a huge problem. The sole height is a bit deceptive since it curls up on the margins above the level where the foot sits.

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      • If you’ve got the shoe properly locked down with the laces, it is no worse than any other shoe. On the trails, the height of the front-end of the shoe can catch on things like little stumps and rocks a bit worse than an average height shoe. It’s a very minimal trade-off.

      • Sam Winebaum says:

        I saw the Conquest at the Speedgoat 50k this weekend. Not as high as traditional Hokas. Light like 10oz with this new upper. You may start to turn an ankle in Hokas but due to the outsole width pretty hard to really twist. This said i am not a fan for rooty rocky New England trails. Roads and western smooth trails fantastic. With Hokas your foot sits down in the midsole, more or less into the black extending below the yellow side blades. I will be posting some initial info and pics Monday. Hokas may look goofy but if fresh legs everyday and miles are your game they are fantastic. The Conquest is designed to help with the Hoka “speed issue”. As at VT 1/3 or so at Speedgoat on Hokas including 3d place Jason Schlarb who took down Max King in the downhills. My Speedgoat article here.

  2. The most significant feature of this new design is an upper more in line with the rest of the industry. The upper on the current models is a bit behind the times. Functional, but could be better. I’m guessing the slots in the midsole is an attempt to obtain more flexibility. That’s not an issue in my opinion. The modernized upper will be a good improvement.

  3. Robert Osfield says:

    Are HOKA trying to play so game of lets see how ridiculous our shoes can look and still sell? To me these shoes look just plain awful.

    I can’t help but feel that there has to be something wrong with somebodies running form and/or foot conditioning for one to require so much cushioning underfoot.

    Have we come so detached from our humanity that even the earth beneath our feet has to be muted out existence by two inches of foam?

  4. Sam Winebaum says:

    Got my sneak peak of the Conquest done. A more responsive midsole through the use of 2 compounds. Despite the pictures a more minimal Hoka in terms of stack heights. About 10 oz. Saw them at SpeedGoat 50K. Here is my post:

    • Gary Whorwood says:

      Ah, you were at Speedgoat? Did you see the awesome Ruby Muir come 3rd, wearing her Vibrams, after a long haul flight from New Zealand, with no experience at altitude and no time to acclimatise?

      • Sam Winebaum says:

        I was indeed. I saw Ruby on the first climb and she was suffering a lot at, more than 3000 meters and on the other climbs but… on the downhills and they were rocky and nasty she was according to some runners who saw her the most amazing downhill runner they had ever seen, and in Five Fingers no less. An amazing talent! I just hope she stays injury free to continue to develop those talents. I saw her at the finish and she was one of the very few to walk away with no limping whatsoever or visible fatigue.

        • Gary Whorwood says:

          Actually she was out for most of last year with ITBS but has come back this year and pretty much won everything she has entered.

  5. Frank Fish says:

    After nearly 45 years of running, including many of them at 80-100 mi/wk, I had just about given up on ever running well again. No joint issues, just sore/stiff legs. Bought a pair of Hoka One-ones on a lark. They’ve brought life back to these stuff old legs and my foot plant and form are more like my younger days. By the way, we all did that “minimalist thing” in the 70’s. Result: injuries. Anyone who makes fun of these shoes never ran in them.# lookingforarace

    • We’ve had a lot of success getting people with foot issues into Hokas in our clinic. I tend more to minimal personally, but these definitely are a great choice for some people. My wife is a Hoka fan!

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