When I met my first pair of Mizuno Wave 16's, it was love at first sight. I slapped those bad boys on my feet and never looked back. (and this was after 2 pairs of Precisions, 3 pairs of Enigma's (one of which I hated) a pair of Wave 15's, and a fleeting moment with some Sayonara's... So, Mizuno was my middle name.)
I loved you, Wave Rider 16's, I loved you very much. I literally put thousands of miles on you (well. a few of you. I get around.) I overlooked some model inconsistency that would periodically give me black toenails.... Because in the end, I loved you! You loved me! I got a solid 450-550 miler per pair not to mention that I never, ever paid full price for you!!
But then you changed.... You suddenly wanted to be called 17 and it was like you were an entirely different shoe. We no longer saw eye to eye on anything! I was able to keep my torrid affair with the 16's going thanks to my acceptance of retiring colors which were possibly no longer hip on fitfluential. Awwwwwww.
But in my heart I knew the end was near....
I laced up my final pair of Mizuno 16's for the last time in late October, weeping tears of sadness and loss.
|A woman scorned....|
But what to do then?
I cruised over to Maine Running to check out some other brands. While I did pick up a temporary pair of kicks to get me by, absolutely nothing was feeling that great to my picky feet and rapidly aging hips. CRISIS MODE!
WHAT TO DO??
I had been aware of Hoka's for a while, not necessarily in a positive way.
I thought they looked absurd, like Skechers Shape Up's, or maybe like something your Nana would wear to work out in at Curves. Not exactly the kind of shoe that had me frothing at the mouth to obtain it.
Over the summer I did notice that they were streamlining the shoes a bit- instead of looking like Ronald McDonald shoes they looked like gigantic mattresses that I would surely trip over repeatedly. Quite trim, obviously....
I made the assumption that they, like Newtons, must be a specialty shoe because they certainly had a specialty price tag. I had taken note that "on the internet" it was mostly trail runners in them. I did see them here and there at road races but I still categorized them with the Newtons- shoes for people with a very specific gait, a gait that I do not have. (I am a Forrest Gump style runner. Specialized shoes for "front foot gait" basically get a big failing grade from me!)
Then, suddenly my friend Danielle was running in Hoka's. I literally, was like "WHAT??"
And she was swearing by them.
Being that she is a real person, who clearly has the same exact gait as myself, and does the same kind of running that I do, I began to perk up and take notice.
|SAME gait. We are awesome.|
I kid, I kid.
To be honest, when I whipped them out of the box the first thing I said was "Well, these almost look normal!!"
I walked around in them a bit and they felt funny but not in the way I had expected.
They were firm but cushiony at the same time, I found that there was plenty of room for my toes to cohabitate, they did not feel ungainly at all. Still, I did not particularly enjoy walking about in them. (they are NOT walking shoes.)
Furthermore, I was very concerned about the "quick lace" system- I did not think I would find them adjustable enough and I was SURE that the little tabs would click and clack around and drive me bat shit crazy.
Neither of those things happened.
Once I started running, as much as it irked me to admit it I could see what the hype was all about.
I was like an amazing stealth-ninja, literally prancing at top fucking speed along a cloud of pavement.
Except that the right shoe pissed off my ankle bone to no end.What started as an occasional little ow rapidly transitioned into full blown "Oh HOLY HELL OUCH!!!"
If I had paid full price for them I simply would have sent them back! And forver have regretted that decision....
After putting a few miles on them (25 or so) I concluded that the ankle issue was simply unacceptable but that I would take matter into my own, capable hands.
Armed with a utility knife and a terrifying pair of ultra sharp scissors I basically hacked the crap out of my poor shoe until it was deemed comfortable.
|Mess with me? I WILL CUT YOU!!!!!|
They are now PERFECT.
I love them. I have completely forsaken my previous involvement with Mizuno in favor of a stable, comfortable relationship with my new favorite Hoka's! (fickle woman that I am....)
Happy feet, happy hips, fast recovery, you guys- it almost feels like cheating, running in these things.
The current model that I have is pretty awesome for winter running, it is the warmest thing I have ever slapped on my foot and it chugs thru snow with magical 4WD skills.
Obviously, it would not be my favorite summer shoe so I'll have to make some changes prior to hot weather.
So. The moral of the story.
....you can find love again.....!!!!!
But really, don't judge a book by its cover. While they might look a little funny they run like a normal shoe, they are not too soft AT ALL even for picky me, you do NOT feel like you are running on high heels, and you don't even notice them after a few runs.
I believe that there is a good shoe out there for everyone, and while *my* favorite might not be yours I feel that I can recommend the Hoka's with no reservations.
I'm actually getting all giddy looking at the 2015 models, so clearly I have defected!