Hoka Speed Instinct 2 Review – Responsive Encouragement

Hoka One One was developed by two Frenchmen Nicholas Mermoud and Jean Luc Diard. They had seen how over sized ski’s had made it easier to ski in powder conditions and how over sized tyres on Mountain Bikes had revolutionised off road cycling. They thought that oversized running shoes might do the same. Originally the idea was an over shoe to carry in your pack on trail runs and slip over your trails shoes to use for the descents. However, this idea was ditched and shoes like the Mafate Speed where born.

The three main design differences were:

  • An oversized midsole (lots of cushioning).
  • A meta rocker (the shoe rolls you forward so you don’t sink into all that cushioning).
  • An active midsole (the midsole flexes so it doesn’t restrict your feet).

But.. Over-sized Cushioning Wasn’t for Everyone

Since Hoka was founded in 2010 it has become well known for being cushioned to a fault. They are like marmite you either love them or hate them. Some customers running on the corridor at Northern Runner have found their perfect shoe for others it’s like running in quick sand. Or at least that’s how it used to be.

Where Is The Speed Instinct For?

The Speed Instinct range was developed for quick running on tracks and trails.

Cushioning That’s More Responsive

Having recognised that not everyone likes highly cushioned shoes and for faster running the act of your foot sinking into the cushioning, if only for a split half a second, can sometimes slow you down, Hoka took action. Now don’t get me wrong, it is still a highly cushioned shoe, but there just isn’t that high degree of compression as you hit the floor in the Speed Instinct 2.

This makes the shoe feel more nimble. The rocker has been positioned in a slightly different position to promote speed and the forefoot of the shoe firmed up. The shoe feels very light on your feet. Partly because it is light but, also because the rocker increases your cadence slightly.

hoka_speed_instinct_2_review

Fit and Grip

The fit is a classic Hoka fit which is quite narrow. Normally I prefer a broader shoe but, the snug fit hasn’t caused me any problems. The grips are made for bridleways, track and trails. They would easily cope with a bit of mud and should feel fine for a mile or two to your local off-road route. However I would not be taking these on a quick road-only run.

Verdict

The Speed Instinct is a lovely shoe to wear. As you start to move it encourages you to run faster as the rocker pushes you into the next stride. I also think that the way the shoe rides keeps your posture straighter and so you are lighter on your feet. I haven’t had a bad run in these shoes yet. Every time I have worn them I have felt like I was floating a long.

I like them, grab a pair for off-road encouragement to keep going!

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