Hoka One One – Mafate 2 Review

20120728-213631.jpgWhen I first caught sight of these Hoka One One (Maori for “Fly Over Earth”) running shoes I thought they were a ridiculous gimmick but I shouldn’t underestimate my attraction to gimmicky items – I’ve worked my way through more than my fair share of weird shoes in 2012.

It was the day after the excruciating Great Trail Challenge and I had struggled my way up the stairs to the cafe of the premier Keswick Outdoor Specialists, George Fisher. Given the state of my quads, I wasn’t in a rush to descend again and so I was a bit of a trapped audience. I flicked a few pages of their in-store brochure and the Hoka One One’s reappeared. I was intrigued to discover they were designed and endorsed by ultra-runners and when I read about their miraculous downhill enhancing properties I was sold. It was the descent that had shredded my quads so I was quite happy for downhill assistance even if it meant I had to wear a pair of teddy boy shoes.

Half an hour later I was walking out of the store with a pair of trail running Mafate’s on my feet.

I’ve barely taken them off since.

The first thing I noticed is that they were an amazing recovery shoe, I bounced on air and very quickly got over my shattered legs feeling. I picked up short recovery runs the very next day which is unknown for me post half marathon distance runs.

I know they look big and bulky and some may say ugly but by golly these are comfortable shoes. They are amazingly light and when they are on you don’t notice the bulk.

Ultra runners recommend them because the maximised cushioning absorbs an awful lot of the impact felt when descending. They should ideally free the non-pro runner to descend with wild abandon.

20120728-220006.jpgI took these shoes away with me for our California Road Trip adventure. I intended to run with them but in the end I lived in them. On arrival we were faced the hills of San Francisco and I’m happy to report the Hoka’s encouraged me to challenge the family in block to block sprints. I might not have won but the shoes definitely gave me wings.

I had plenty of trail running opportunities in California and the Mafate’s continued to inspire me to push harder and harder on the descents. I’d like to say they were no slouch on the uphills either but I’m afraid I never get above a slow plod when the slope turns against me. Needless to say it was me holding the shoes back and not the other way around.

Durability Issues

I have completely bought into the Hoka One One shoe design. I feel as though they’ve almost freed me from the inevitable aches and pains of an overweight runner. I don’t quite Fly on Air but I no longer feel like I’m pummelling my legs into solid concrete and that is quite a joy.

I have had some gripes with the Hoka One One Mafate 2. They are mightily expensive (£120 ish) and only 40 days after purchase I feel the need to replace them because the soles have worn down and I’ve started to rock over onto the sides of my feet.

In defence of the shoe, I have to admit that I’ve practically lived in them for all of those 40 days. While they’ve ferried me across 80k of trail runs, in that time they’ve also cushioned my way across maybe 150k of concrete sidewalks on our tour of California. They are sold as a trail shoe and I’ve used them as that and an all day, everyday, kind of a shoe.

They haven’t faired well with that level of abuse. You can hear the sole sticking as you wander across the pavement, especially hot pavements and while this probably aids grip on the trail, it leaves it’s mark on the road.

Hoka themselves have been great when I spoke to them about the problem and George Fisher have demonstrated excellent customer service. I’m hoping to get them replaced so that I can secrete them away for pure trail running and in the meantime I have ordered a pair of the Hoka Bondi B for road and treadmill runs. I’ll review those when I’ve clocked up a few miles.

Interestingly Marshall Ulrich has adopted Hoka One One’s too and he has reported increased shoe longevity despite also being an over-pronator. I’m not sure which style he runs in though but it’s probably not the trail model.

For the record, Hoka have confirmed that in terms of durability on Tarmac:

The Mafate tread is the softest, Stinson Evo Trail would be next, then the Bondi & Stinson Tarmac are the hardest.

Final Thoughts

I’ve seen a lot of comments from runners who get quite cross about these shoes which appear to go against the current trend for minimalism but I see these as a bit of a revelation. They can offer impact reduction for the larger runner but they’ve also been adopted by many high profile, long distance runners who presumably also appreciate the impact reduction over the long haul.

Here’s a video of Karl Meltzer completing a 2064 mile run after working his way through 7 pairs of Hoka One Ones, which is about 470k per shoe – not bad!

Other Reviews:

My Beef with Pink and a Nike Free Run Review

20120527-193714.jpgPink is for pansies and other blousy flowers and if that’s where it ended I’d be happy enough. The wholesale adoption of this colour by marketeers and product designers to represent all things womanly is a little repugnant in my view. I can turn a blind eye to pre-pubescent clothes and toys in pastel tones but that’s because I don’t have to buy them. When you start indiscriminately pink-washing all sports paraphernalia that has any link to womanliness, then I start to feel pretty knarked off.

20120527-193800.jpgMy latest rant started when I opened a parcel containing a pair of the latest Nike Free Run 3.0 to review. I think you’d agree, these are hideous enough to make anyone chunter.

A few days earlier I’d received a watch with the obligatory flash of pink and when I start to look critically, I find the house has been invaded by cutesy pinkness by way of bikes, socks, shoes, running bags and other sports gadgetry. I need to mount a defense.

This is really supposed to be a review of the Nike Frees but I’ve struggled to even put them on. They stayed in the bag for 3 days until I gradually exposed each member of the house to the horror and allowed them to guffaw while I wasn’t actually wearing them. I have fairly thin skin and can’t cope with that level of Micky taking.

I have quite a long history with Nike Free, ever since I embarked on my barefoot running spree. I started viewing them as an excellent transition shoe, taking me from mainstream cushioning and support through to the more primitive Vibram fivefinger style of minimalism.

So, it’s no surprise that I did eventually overcome the horror and try them out. I did wait til nightfall though and so far have only trialled them under cover of darkness and inside, on the treadmill. I don’t think they’ll ever make it out into daylight, certainly not on my feet anyway.

I can’t explain how disappointed that makes me. For all my resistance, the moment I put these on I remembered just how comfortable these shoes are. You want to wear them forever, like a plush pair of made to measure slippers. Regardless of how far you run in a pair of Nike Frees you never lose that delicious walking on clouds feeling. I need that feeling and while I’m still looking for a suitable trail shoe for next months Great North Trail Run, I’m wondering if these might be just the job, providing I can muck them up sufficiently to overcome the humiliation.

The Nike Free Run 3.0 is aimed at the minimal end of the market with support and cushioning stepping up as you move from 4.0 to 5.0.

They’ve changed slightly from the previous version and moved away from the sock style bootie to a shoe with a separate tongue. Not sure why they’ve done that but it hasn’t affected the comfort and they are still one of the few shoes you can wear without socks. Not that I feel the need to do that as it will only escalate the onset of unbearable stinkiness but it is a great test of a shoes comfort. These shoes seem to have no internal seams or stitching so there is nothing to rub or irritate. I tend to suffer with toe problems on long runs and this is why I often reach for the Nike Frees – the super stretchy toe box area is perfect for me and prevents the toenail pulling and bashing that I find with the more mainstream shoe.

I wonder if I could brave an outdoor run?

NB. If these prove to be a special breast cancer awareness edition of Nike Free then I will hang my head low and retract my words. Breast cancer awareness is another acceptable use for the dastardly colour.

Newton Terra Momentus Review

I’m in search of the ideal trail shoe for next months Great North Trail Run, to be held around Keswick in the Lake District. I’m not really at half marathon fitness so I feel the need to be kind to my feet which are going to be painfully slow plodders.

20120527-222042.jpgSearching around the net I was drawn yet again to the Newtons. It’s hard to avoid them in their full green livery but its less the style and more the concept that intrigues me.

Newtons encourage the efficient forefoot running stance by the existence of the unique cushioned actuator lugs under the metatarsal region. These are designed to encourage the idealised barefoot running style. See this external review if you want to know more about the construction of the Terra Momentus.

Unlike the more minimal barefoot shoes such as Vibram fivefingers and Vivo Barefoot which can lead calf injuries if adopted in too gung-ho a fashion, the Newtons come with an acclimatisation guide and the store where I bought then sent me an email with similar information and a link to a video guide.

That’s corporate responsibility.

My first run was on the treadmill, not really the designed terrain but as I was acclimatising slowly, I thought it would be ok. After 2k I felt the lugs burning into my feet, rather as though I had a pencil taped under my shoes.

Quite irritating really.

By the time I took these out on to the trail I had replaced the insoles with my custom pair from profeet. That combined with the appropriate terrain removed my awareness of the lug. I knew it was there though and did have a fear of scuffing it on twigs and sending myself sprawling.

It didn’t happen thankfully.

Its hard to tell without video evidence, whether the Newtons affected my running style. I did find that I completed the Mitcham common circuit in double quick time but that could still be the Zombie effect.

My sense with these shoes and indeed with efficient mid to forefoot running styles, is that they are more suited to the faster runner than the plodder. I think they benefit and indeed encourage greater lift, which is easier with pace. I will keep at it though and keep you informed if I experience an epiphany.

Asics GT-2170 Running Shoe Review

My very first running shoe was from the Asics GT range and ignoring the occasional dalliance with ultra minimal barefoot shoes, and condition specific trail shoes, I’ve stuck with Asics all the way. I’m afraid to say that as the years have passed my wallet has expanded and I have been persuaded to part with much more of my cash as I’ve climbed up the range in search of magic, go-faster running shoes. I do the same with cleaning products, you cant beat bicarb of soda and a bit of vinegar but you still can’t stop me wasting money on flash products and gizmos that promise to clean the house for me.

I was recently sent a pair of Asics GT-2170 running shoes to review and I’m really pleased to have the opportunity to place the GT-2000 series against the Gel-Kayano range and see if I can find an excuse to continue paying the extra £30-£40.

Both the GT-2170 and Gel Kayano are classed as stability shoes and are recommended for the moderate over-pronator. They are also both well cushioned running shoes which make them a good option for the overweight or heavy runner.

If you were in any doubt, I should inform you that the lovely clean pair of running shoes are the Asics GT-2170 and the rather muddy pair in the photos are my well worn Asics Kayano-17’s. The GT-2170’s have been restricted to fair weather and treadmill running duties for the duration of the testing.

I feel like I’m playing spot the difference with these images but they are remarkably similar shoes on a number of levels.

Both models incorporate the new guidance line feature in the sole. This is the longitudinal groove carved into the midsole that guides the foot through the most efficient stride and apparently helps reduce the weight of the shoe. On examination of the upper I was expecting to find that the Kayano was plusher and more comfortable but my suspicion is that they are actually identical – both are equally padded around the tongue and foot inlet (I’m sure it has a proper name but hopefully you’ll know the area I mean).

I’ve worked quite hard to find the differences in feel and performance between the GT-2170 and the Asics Kayano but I’m afraid I haven’t come up with anything concrete. The midsole is noticeably different between the models and I would suggest that this gives rise to a slightly more luxurious and cushioned feel to the Kayano but it is not a huge difference.

Admittedly I’ve been comparing a brand new pair of GT-2170’s to a pair of Kayano’s with 180 km on the clock. My impression is that the “new shoe feel” is more pronounced for the Kayano’s, you come out of the store feeling as though you are bouncing on air. That doesn’t seem to last very long though and after a couple of weeks I’d say the two shoes were pretty much on a par.

I think my next purchase could well be for a pair of Asics GT-2170 running shoes. So what to spend my extra £30 on?



New Balance and the Tart

I’ve been prepared for snow since August.

Since last years transport freeze I’ve been determined not to find myself stranded at Victoria next time the flakes cho0se to descend. I decided to purchase, and keep ever-ready, a pair of YakTrax Pro, snow running gizmos. A crampon affair that should keep me running and impervious to the wrong kind of snow announcement.

Of course, when the snow came, I was in the middle of the Peak District surrounded by virgin snow, while my YakTrax were cosy at home, in the cupboard, where I left them. I’ll never get that boy scout badge.

Fortunately I had just taken delivery of a new pair of trail running shoes that Sports Direct had kindly sent me to review. They were in the boot of the car – just where I needed them.

I opened the box to reveal a surprisingly handsome pair of shoes the New Balance 813 GTX, ladies version. I think I was worried they were going to be pink or a bit wishy washy but they have that solid trail feel about them and they have GoreTex which is an absolute blessing in the snow.

I think at £42 they are probably the cheapest running shoe I’ve run in so far but nothing about them feels cheap. I often think we are being conned by shoe manufacturers, what on earth do Asics put in their shoes that makes my usual model cost £130?! More fool me obviously.

So £42 + Gore Tex + super grippy sole + handsome = mighty good value trail shoe

We opted to start our run out by the start of the Monsal Trail – an 8 mile gravel track along the route of the disused Bakewell to Buxton Railway. The choice of location was based solely on my determination to sample the long awaited tart of Bakewell fame. It’s been a fairly longstanding gripe of mine that I’ve managed to reach the age of 40 without trying a real tart.

Runs are so much better with purpose, I’m usually driven by the post run Stella but in freezing conditions that promise of a warm cuppa and a pastry works pretty well too.

I was mighty pleased with the shoes, they fit perfectly which suggests they are a wide fit, they are super comfortable and came with that new shoe affect that makes you admire the reflection in puddles and shop windows.

Here’s an assemblage of my trail shoes, New Balance on the left, Inov8 MudRoc in the middle and Salomon GTX on the right, showing the tread differential between them. The Inov8 is the most aggressive sole with deep tractor treads ideally suited for wet muddy conditions. The Salomon is ageing a bit now so the tread looks flatter than it should but its the least aggressive of the three, with the New Balance 813 treading the middle ground.

The Muddy Demise of a Wondrous Shoe

My new shoes arrived just in time for the weekend and as luck would have it the forecast was horrendous – perfect for a trail running showdown.

I’ve been looking around for some minimal trail shoes and as the New Balance Minimus doesn’t seem to be available in the UK yet, the clear choice was going to be inov8.

I’ve tried inov8 before and found the mudclaw to be a little on the narrow side, fortunately the Roclite 295 has a softer upper and a wider fit.

I thought they were marvelous and pranced around the house joyfully in my new shoes.

Our weekend plans saw us hiding away in a beautiful romantic Yurt, toasting our feet in front of the open wood stove, nibbling chocolates and sipping champagne.

My plan for a mudfest interlude didn’t go down too well, especially when I pulled out pre-ordered trail shoes for me and the old Mizuna Wave road shoes for Lynn.

I was in my element, mud, trails and forest – just perfect. It’s a long time since I’ve felt this happy on a run and cantered in out of the puddles and gloopy hollows and probably came within inches of getting a countryside ASBO.

Lynn wasn’t quite so overjoyed and maintained remarkably clean shoes despite sticking with me all the way.

Vibram Five Finger Speed Review and the Campsite Run

A beautiful pair of Vibram Five Fingers arrived just before the camping expedition.

Unfortunately all the photos were taken post camping trip where of course it rained relentlessly and so the Five Fingers have lost a little of their new shoe gleam.

I wanted to get a slightly larger pair of VFF’s as my earlier pair of Vibram Five Finger Sprint were pulling a little bit on my longer toes. I opted for the Vibram Five Finger Speed because they are cool and yet also the most normal style in the range. I’m not necessarily attracted to normal but I was hoping to get them past the family’s acceptability rules so I can actually wear them in public and outside the confines of nightfall.

It seemed to work as no one complained when I packed them for the camp and I even managed to sneak in a shopping trip to the local Lidl while wearing them.

The Vibram Five Finger Speed were remarkably easy to put on, a push and a wiggle was all that was required to engage the toes in the right place. Perhaps that’s the result of finding a pair that actually fits.

I did a lot of scrabbling around the camp while wearing these and my little toe did occasionally pop out of its little recess while I was squatting down trying to light the Kelly Kettle. They were perfect for running though, extremely comfortable and no pressure points at all.

The soles are a bit more built up than the more minimal models. The VFF Speed has additional toe and heel pads just like the Bikila Five Finger and by the looks of it the new Vibram range seems to have maintained the trend for extra pads.

Not all barefoot or minimalist runners will like this. It increases the weight of the shoe slightly and of course all the additional padding will reduce the feedback between the floor and the foot. In these particular conditions – rubble and thorn strewn trails, I was grateful for the slight reduction in floor feedback.

I’ve read somewhere that the Speed model uses the same sole unit as the Bikila but they don’t have the additional 3mm insole and so have slightly more ground feel.

And so for the run.

Having spent 2 soggy wet days entertaining kids on a camp site, I was well and truly in need of a run. Lynn and I set off after clambering over the rickety style that marked the escape route from camp.

Generally my breathing is up the spout for the first 3 minutes of any run and then gradually eases off until I can manage a converstaion by the 20 minute point.

This run was tougher than usual, I felt as though I had a bit of kick in me and kept pushing along keeping pace with Lynn. I was closer to my 5k race pace which is sufficiently fast (in my books) to ensure that I never catch my breath.

The Vibram shoes were so comfortable. I’d spent the most of the trip wearing my Soft Star RunAmocs which are an incredibly practical shoe for this sort of trip but I felt pain when wandering over the rubble paths. In contrast the Vibram Speeds left me feeling positively sprightly.

It was a joy to feel so light footed and yet protected, these have easily moved into my favourite shoe territory and even the kids thought they were cool.

Merrell Siren Battles The Peaks

I was offered a pair of Merrell Siren shoes to try out recently. They are a far cry from my recent spate of minimal running shoes but as I had a planned expedition to the Peak District I thought they’d be ideal for a few rough walks.

I’ve worked my way through many pairs of Merrell women’s shoes in the past, they look great and feel extremely comfortable but I’ve always felt let down by the soles which have proved to be very slippy on wet rock and pavement. These Siren shoes have very sturdy Vibram soles so I was hopeful that things might have improved in the intervening decade or so and with a lining of Merrell Gore-Tex they are clearly designed to be worn in all weathers.

We were in the Peaks for my birthday so my folks joined us for our first walk. We’d picked accommodation by the highest pub in Derbyshire which was fine when it came to drinking real ale with a view but became a bit hairy when we tried to descend the valley through a jungle of Gorse.

After 429 metres of moaning we abandoned the descent, got back in the car and headed off to Grindleford for the obligatory chip butty and a walk up and around the Longshaw Estate.

This is one of my favourite walks around the Peak District and it isn’t all about the chip butty.

It’s a steep climb up through the woods with a stream cutting through the valley to the right. When you reach the Estate the fields there are always teeming with an amazing variety of fungi.

The most exciting point of the weekend came when we spotted a clump of Stinkhorns. At least I thought so, the others appeared somewhat less impressed.

The Merrel Siren shoes held up extremely well but then they are so sturdy it is only to be expected. They were fairly clumpy for day to day pavement walking but on the trails they offered a degree of confidence that you only usually experience with a good walking boot.

When I think of ways to describe them I come up with words like, solid, dependable, secure. I really felt as though I could bound along the trail oblivious to the conditions underfoot and the shoes would get me through. The protective toe area was much appreciated in the rocky conditions.

The Merrell Siren shoes are an excellent alternative to the full walking boot. They are solid yet light enough to walk in for hours and provided you don’t get them submerged above the ankle line they’ll remain dry.

It started raining with a vengeance when we’d cleared the cover of the woods, so I got to try out the performance of the Vibram soles on the wet rock.

I didn’t end up on my arse once!

Through dry rock, wet rock and mud the Merrel Siren shoes didn’t let me down.

RunAmoc Shoes and The Uneven Floor

The RunAmoc shoes from Soft Star arrived just as we were setting off for our weekend adventure in the Peak District. I whipped off my Nike Frees and socks, slung them into the back of the car and slipped on the moccasins instead.

Apart from a brief interlude where I had to review some hiking shoes, the RunAmocs became a bit of a permanent feature – much to Lynn’s disappointment – I’m not sure she approves of my new obsession and it’s associated crusty geography teacher fashion accessories.

My initial thought on the sizing was that perhaps they were too big. There was a very big gap, lets say an inch, between my big toe and the end of the shoe but I’d measured my foot according to the guidelines on the website so decided to try them out. Despite having loads of room in the toe area they didn’t slosh around my foot and felt generally very comfortable.

It’s normally my toes that suffer the most in standard shoes so it was quite a blessing to leave them feeling so free. The roomy toe box creates an obvious point of difference between the feeling of running in the RunAmoc vs the Vibram Five Fingers. Although there is a huge degree of movement available with the Five Fingers, I still feel constrained by the toe compartments while the RunAmocs left me feeling as though I had only a very light drape across the top of my foot.

I ordered the RunAmoc with the slightly thicker sole. At 5mm it is not huge but it is designed to give maximal protection for trail running while still enabling you to feel in-touch with the ground surface.

On Sunday we were running along the Manifold River in Ilam and the tracks varied between limestone paths and root laden trail runs. I was grateful for the protection and managed to run amongst the pebbles without too many exclamations of pain. These soles are thicker than on my Vibram Sprint Five Fingers and were noticeably more comfortable on the rougher surface but I didn’t lose any of the barefoot feel.

As I was running up the limestone steps built into the side of the valley I was aware of my feet bending and hugging the surface. It was a huge contrast to the previous days hike in the solid Merrel Walking Shoes.

Barefoot or minimal running can become almost a spiritual experience where you begin to feel part of the landscape and the track you are running along. It’s a much more involved and gentle way to interact with the trail.

All this barefoot running is reminding me of a trip to Vienna.

At Kunsthauswein I tuned in to the amazing architecture of Hundertwasser and tried to scribble down his writings on the uneven floor.

It seems that Hundertwasser may have been an early adopter of the barfoot movement, this photo shows him wearing a pair of his handmade shoes (summer & winter) – very minimal.

The Uneven Floor

The flat floor is an invention of the architects. It fits engines – not human beings.

People not only have eyes to enjoy the beauty they see and ears to hear melodies and noses to smell nice scents. People also have a sense of touch in their hands and feet.

If modern man is forced to walk on flat asphalt and concrete floors as they were planned thoughtlessly in designers’ offices, estranged from man’s age-old relationship and contact to earth, a crucial part of man withers and dies. This has catastrophic consequences for the soul, the equilibrium, the well being and the health of man. Man forgets how to experience things and becomes emotionally ill.

An uneven and animated floor is the recovery of man’s mental equilibrium, of the dignity of man which has been violated in our levelling, unnatural and hostile urban grid system.

The uneven floor becomes a symphony, a melody for the feet and brings back natural vibrations to man. Architecture should elevate and not subdue man. It is good to walk on uneven floors and regain our human balance.

Hundertwasser, April, 1991

Views on Nike Free 3.0 as a Transition Shoe

Somewhere along the line I seem to have developed a shoe fetish. I started off in life with a classic shoe phobia and made it into adulthood with a pair of red wellies and a work shoe.

An interest in sport increased my repertoire but even then I managed to live in a pair of Specialized Sonoma cycling shoes throughout my student days.

I blame running.

It must have ticked disturbing boxes in my psyche. I have now commandeered the shoe rack that spans the length of our hall and still have an overspill. I still only have one pair of work shoes but there is a tremendous glut of running shoes and my stockpile is set to increase.

Hiking shoes arrived last week, Nike Free 3.0 trainers yesterday, I’m awaiting stock of a pair of Vibram Five Finger Bikilas and my Soft Star Run Amoc moccasins are slowly winging their way across the Atlantic as we speak. We have a romantic weekend booked away and my only packing demand after spare pants was a selection of running shoes. I may have to hunt out an appropriate 12 step program when we get back.

In the mean time, here are my thoughts on the Nike Free 3.0

I’ve pinned a lot of hopes on minimal running shoes and expect them to revolutionise my mornings and long runs by removing the crippling pains of plantar fasciitis. With this in mind I’ve been diligently introducing Vibram Five Finger runs in to my schedule but reverting to my standard shoe for long runs.

My standard shoe is a heavy duty, cushioned, supported, mega structure so I started looking around for a suitable transition shoe. RunBlogger provided me with some much appreciated advice and Donald from Running and Rambling has written an excellent overview of the options.

Hence the arrival of the Nike Free 3.0

It’s not a truly barefoot experience or even an almost-barefoot-best-described-as-minimal experience but its half way there and a half-way house was just what I needed.

The shoe is incredibly flexible, in fact you want to pick it up and mould it like playdoh. It has a peculiarly innovative sole, made up of little cubes of rubber that enable it to flex freely, this way and that.

We were at Waterloo Station last night picking up one of the kids of Railway Children fame. We were waiting patiently on the platform when I leapt up onto my toes and declared: “Tadaaaa….bet you can’t do that!”

Well it seems they all could but I maintain that it means something that I was the only one who felt suitably empowered by my footwear to display such idiocy in public.

These are flexible shoes.

The uppers are fairly minimal, a little padding around the ankle but in the main these are made of a lightweight waffle fabric. I’m used to shoes with rigid plates in the heel and all this floppiness comes as a bit of a shock. It makes for an incredibly comfortable shoe though. Regardless of your views of Nike and the position of the Free 3.0 on the barefoot-standard shoe scale, you can’t deny that the word on the block is “comfort”.

We went for quick midnight run when we got back from the station and it was such a joy. It was only a short one so I need to test this further with a weekend long run but the first impressions were great. No pain from my feet at all. When I wear standard shoes I get the impression that my second toe nail is being ripped from its bed but there was no discomfort at all with the Nike Free 3.0

The run was silent and fast – at least by my standards. The sole felt as though it had a strange stickiness to it but it didn’t seem to hold me back as we knocked a minute off our usual mile pace.

I think I might have found my half marathon shoe.