Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Hoka One One Mafate 3 Initial Review

I have completed two runs so far with my new Hoka One One Mafate 3 shoes so I believe I am ready to give an initial first impression review. I guess I will have to start from the beginning though.

I first saw an advertisement for Hoka a couple of years ago and I immediately took no interest in them. They look crazy heavy and they are ugly. Also, Hoka was a really new company, so I am sure I wasn't the only one thinking that this company had no chance and would not last very long. I was wrong and not only have they survived, but they have converted several elite athletes to their super cushioned shoes.

If Hoka could gain the trust of elite athletes than I decided that they earned the interest of a simple amateur hobby runner such as myself. I did some research and read probably a hundred testimonials and reviews and the end result was a vast majority of Hoka users reviews were positive and recommended them.

I ordered and received my Hoka One One Mafate 3 shoes and took them out of the box. I wear a size 10 in Asics so I ordered size 10 and they fit great. The shoes are much lighter than they look which is a huge plus. Just walking around in them you can immediately feel the cushioning. They are also noticeably taller which I don't really like. I guess the cushioning had to go somewhere though.

New shoes! Woo-hoo!

My fluffy moon shoes

My first run was 3.5 miles on pavement. It took me a while to get used to the rolling rocker action of the shoes. Even after I thought I was comfortable I realized my toes were all clinched trying to hold on to something. Another thing I noticed was my running form was a little off. I found that the extra cushioning was actually kind of bouncy, so I kind of was just bounding down the road. I really had to concentrate on relaxing and letting the rolling action of the shoes take over while trying to keep proper running form.

My second run was 5.5 miles on dirt. This time I had more confidence and felt more comfortable. I still had to concentrate on form and I suspect that I will have to for several more runs before it becomes natural with these shoes. I did notice that towards the end of the run my calves were tightening up a little which is really out of the norm for me.

Lots of cushion but really tall

Speed laces

Lots of traction and surface area

A day later my calves were still sore but there really was no pain. My theory is that the rolling rocker action is identical to (if anyone remembers these) the Skecher Shape Up shoes. So hopefully I will start getting a toned butt.

Advice: Just like any other time you are making a change with your shoe choice, be patient and take it easy at first and ease into the longer runs. My bouncing issue could be because the Mafate 3 shoes are the trail model and have extra cushioning. If you run only on paved roads than perhaps the tarmac model shoes with less cushioning would work better.

Surprisingly light
Lots of cushion
Lots of traction
No surprise with shoe size

Takes a while to get used to

This quick initial review ended up being much longer than I had planned. I will post another review after a couple of months of use.

About Hoka One One
HOKA ONE ONE has engineered a unique performance midsole geometry that features a higher volume, softer density, and greater rebounding foam than standard running shoes. Along with maximal cushioning, this provides runners of all types with an energizing, stable ride. HOKA ONE ONE understood from the beginning that natural foot motion was extremely important for uniformity of stride. HOKA ONE ONE incorporated minimum drop geometry along with a rolling rocker design to promote consistent rhythm in the runner's foot strike.

As word of mouth spread through thousands of testimonials, it inspired countless runners to keep running. HOKA ONE ONE footwear is designed for recovery runs with its oversized, increased forgiveness. The faithful swear they have been saved.

HOKA ONE ONE is a shoe for all runners, from joggers to elite athletes looking to improve their performance. We continue our pace, leading the running revolution. Please join us on our journey and keep running. 

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. All opinions and thoughts are my own.


  1. I am curious to see what you think of them after you get use to them. I'm looking into minimal drop shoes and there is really a wide range of styles!

    1. Usually I don't make such a big change in my shoe choice but being a heavy runner I wanted to give these a try because of the cushion.

  2. I started using Hokas this year, too. I tried the Mafates first and didn't like them. I ended up sending them back. Then I got the Stinson Evos, and they were great!! I'm currently using the Kahluas, just because they are cheaper so I figured I'd give them a try. They have noticeably less cushion than the other two I've tried, but they are still way more cushy than any regular running shoe. So far I like them, but I think I will go back to the Stinsons next time.

    1. I agree that the Hokas are expensive so when these need to be replaced I might try one of their other cheaper models. So far I am liking them though.