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Testing Hoka Stinson Evo

March 11, 2013
My advise: stay on groomed trails if you're planning to run with the Hoka One One Stinson.

My advise: stay on groomed trails if you’re planning to run with the Hoka One One Stinson.

“900 dead pigs floating in a Shanghai river”, “Girl swallowed by pavement” or “Badass Chavez sleps with the fishes”. In the light of recent events I understand if my story about a recent sprained ankle won’t raise any eyebrows – especially since I wore the Hoka Stinson while charging a pretty technical trail. I totally agree. Of course it’s plain stupid to bring the Hoka One One Evo Stinson (anyone else noticed that running shoes tend to have longer names these days?) out of groomed trails, but I needed to know for an upcoming shoe review, and I love that my fun-seeking self sometimes is stronger that my squared-minded self. I love to exceed my preconceptions, often finding myself pushing through thick bush or relaxing while airborne over a log, hole or stream.

I guess I hadn’t run more than a good kilometre on my favourite trail before the right ankle snapped, followed by a faint yelling. Poor me! It’s funny, because just moments earlier I had thought ‘this works really well, you just need to be very attentive and never ever lose focus’. After having tested approx 30 trail running models annually the past 10-12 years I obviously have had my doubts about trail running with 4-5 cm thick soles. But I needed to know. Call me stupid, but now I know: the imminent risks, like if you’re going to an ultra or multiday stage race and you can expect some technical trail, you’d be advised to run very carefully (slow) during these sections. From a safety perspective shoes with very thick sole pose a risk you can’t afford, since strong feet is a decisive factor in long races and playing it safe means avoiding unnecessary risks. I definitely wouldn’t use the thick Hoka shoes in Verdon Trail Adventure or any Canarian race on vulcanic rock, but I would consider them in ultra races if I knew that 100% of the trails would be groomed. Thus, the pivotal properties of mega-cushioned running shoes shouldn’t be neglected. On flat ground you can experience a floating or bouncing feel. Of course I can suggest the somewhat “lower” and more stabile  ultra running shoe Demon Max from Tecnica, or the lighter, less stabile but still cushy New Balance Leadville 1210 if you’re looking for the extra “push”. More about the Stinson: the quick-lock lacing didn’t feel completely secure.

This time of year there is still some ice scattered on the ground here in Sweden – which comes handy in cases like this. I stuffed the sock with tiny pieces of ice and carried on, now in “survival mode”. Cutting the run short, chosing a groomed trail back home, I could run with careful baby steps, stopping to stuff more ice into the sock. After 15 years of trail running I have had my fair share of sprained ankles. Luckily these days they are scarse. But I have one advise: don’t run more than necessary with a sprained ankle. Chances are you worsen the injury, prolonging recovery. Ask fellow trail runner Erik Jurander of who completed an 80 K trail race in Norway last fall, after having sprained his ankle early on into the race. At last it seems to have healed, somewhat…

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