Review: Hoka One One Stinson, Bondi B 2, Rapa Nui 2

31 Jan Review: Hoka One One Stinson, Bondi B 2, Rapa Nui 2

I finally did it. After years of anticipation, emails from viewers, and reaching out to the manufacturers, I am finally able to test and review some of the most unique and anticipated shoes yet: The Hoka One One Stinson Evo, The Bondi B 2 and the Rapa Nui 2. Each of these shoes has it’s own character, benefits and flaws, so I’ll let the videos do the talking. I will say that I was hugely skeptical that Hokas would be comfortable or usable for training and racing. I am happy to report that they are in fact worth it. They are worth the time, the embarrassment and the money. You will see. Enjoy!

HOKA ONE ONE STINSON EVO

Click to watch the Hoka One One Stinson Evo Trail Review!

Click to watch the Hoka One One Stinson Evo Trail Review!

Let me first start by saying that I was a HUGE skeptic going into these reviews. I had always looked at Hokas as a joke and never took them seriously. I could never get over the way they looked or the idea that MORE cushioning was better. But when I reached out to Hoka, I wanted to be proved wrong. I wanted to see what all of the fuss was about. They were eager to show me the light.

This particular Hoka – while not the prettiest to look at – was my first experience in a Hoka and one of my most memorable. I had been training to run the Cuyamaca 100k and hadn’t chosen a shoe to run in. I had so much luck with the Salomon Sense Mantras, that I opted to start in those and use these as my drop-bag back-ups despite only putting 10-15 easy miles in them over the previous weeks. Thank goodness I did.

By mile 31, my feet were destroyed and utterly useless in the Mantras. No idea why. I quickly swapped into the Hokas, and I shit you not, within 2 miles, my feet were cured. I was able to comfortably run another 31 miles without thinking about my feet until the last 10 miles when EVERYTHING hurt. I contribute a large part of me finishing that race to these shoes.

The idea of maximal cushioning is simple: provide the most amount of comfort for the longest amount of time. While I have seen many MANY people run extreme distances in this shoe, I will say that my foot does begin to feel fatigue during the long hauls. Now that I have also tried the Bondi 2 and used it successfully on trails, I would opt to put that shoe in my drop bags from here on out.

I don’t mention it much in the review, but I do have a hard time on extreme technical terrain and steep ascents in this shoe. I did the Cactus To Clouds hike (see my video!) in this shoe and realized quickly it may not have been the best choice for this type of endeavor. This is when a more minimal, or “normal”, shoe seems more appropriate for tactility. But the way you are able to bomb down hills of any type in this shoe are unparalleled and one of the most fantastic feelings a runner can have. Can’t wait for the next version of the Stinson Trail!

LIKED:

  • Cushion
  • Traction
  • Meta-Rocker
  • 6mm drop
  • Long haul comfort
  • Durability

DISLIKED:

  • Heavy (12.2oz)
  • No flexibility
  • Foot fatigue
  • Just too narrow (bottom of tongue)
  • Laces
  • Upper thickness
  • Looks

QUALITY: 4/5
COMFORT: 5/5
PRICE: 3/5
LOOKS: 2/5

TOTAL: 14/20

 

HOKA ONE ONE BONDI B 2

Click here to watch the Hoka One One Bondi B 2 review!

Click here to watch the Hoka One One Bondi B 2 review!

The Bondi B 2 (or just Bondi 2)  – the ugliest in the bunch in my opinion – actually performed better than I anticipated and has become my favorite Hoka yet. The extremely cushioned, supple midsole material, combined with the minimal outsole and tread design make for a wonderful road / trail hybrid shoe. The lighter upper, the rockered soal, the intriguing sale price all combine to make this shoe a top pick for any runner’s arsenal of shoes.

The idea of maximal cushioning is simple: provide the most amount of comfort for the longest amount of time. While I have seen many MANY people run extreme distances in this shoe, I will say that my foot does begin to feel fatigue during the long hauls. Regardless, if I want to forget about what my feet are doing, I will continue to use this shoe as my go-to drop-bag shoe for all future races when I need to swap into something more comfortable.

I don’t mention it much in the review, but I do have a hard time on extreme technical terrain and steep ascents in this shoe. This is when a more minimal, or “normal”, shoe seems more appropriate. Regardless, I’ve heard rumors and seen pictures so I can’t wait for the Bondi 3!

LIKED:

  • Cushion
  • Lighter upper
  • Trail & road able
  • Laces (not quick system)
  • Meta-rocker
  • Great for long hauls
  • Durability
  • Wider toe box

DISLIKED:

  • Heavy (11.7)
  • Flexibility
  • Muscle fatigue
  • Looks

QUALITY: 4/5
COMFORT: 4/5
PRICE: 4/5
LOOKS: 3/5

TOTAL: 15/20

 

HOKA ONE ONE RAPA NUI 2

Click here to watch the Hoka One One Rapa Nui 2 Review!

Click here to watch the Hoka One One Rapa Nui 2 Review!

This particular Hoka – the best looking of the bunch in my opinion – was my most anticipated pair. I really wanted to see if in fact Hoka could design a shoe with maximal cushioning in a more mainstream, minimal design and still look good. While I was fairly pleased with the shoe, I did not find it nearly as comfortable as the other Hokas featured here. While I did finish The North Face 50 Mile Championships in this shoe, I wondered if I would have been better served in the Bondi 2 or another brand of shoes with a late-race drop-bag swap.

The idea of maximal cushioning is simple: provide the most amount of comfort for the longest amount of time. This shoe seems to take the same amount of cushioning as the other Hokas, but compress it into a lower midsole. It feels stiffer – some would say more responsive – but not nearly as comfortable in the long haul.

This shoe has an awesome upper and an outsole that’s extremely grippy in all sorts of conditions and terrains. The talon-like lugs are fantastic for all sorts of obstacles. The lugs do limit the shoe to primarily trail surfaces, for fear of wearing them down prematurely, but you won’t notice the discomfort of the lugs running on roads.

LIKED:

  • Minimal HOKA (21/26mm 5mm offset)
  • Light HOKA (10.8)
  • Responsive
  • Best looking HOKA
  • Most flexible HOKA
  • Traction (hybrid)
  • Upper (seamless)
  • Price (cheapest HOKA msrp $130)

DISLIKED:

  • Stiff (cushion is denser)
  • Narrow
  • Tongue not long enough
  • Laces (stick w/ standard)
  • Heavy (10.8)
  • Flexibility (not enough)

QUALITY: 4/5
COMFORT: 3/5
PRICE: 4/5
LOOKS: 3/5

TOTAL: 14/20

Watch the video above for my full review. Be sure to subscribe to my YouTube.com channel HERE! The Hokas were provided by Hoka One One for review. All opinions are my own.

The Ginger
thegingerrunner@gmail.com
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