Hoka One Conquest
Hokas are known for their ability to swallow rocks and other bumps in a road or trail while softly bracing the runner from the ground. The Conquest is true to Hoka’s heritage with its thick cushioning, but puts a new twist on the stilt-like shoes. “This version is much firmer and more responsive than any of the others I have tried,” said a tester. “You can feel the difference in firmness immediately.” Some of the shock absorption is sacrificed in favor of additional responsiveness. The Conquest pops off the ground with a little more spring than other models from Hoka, and it retains a deceivingly low weight. Some testers enjoyed the rigid foundation, but others longed for the ultra-plush ride of earlier Hoka shoes.
Think of the FluidFlex as the merger of a Hoka One One with a Nike Free. It can flex and bend in any direction with almost no resistance, just like a Free, yet is so thickly padded that the soles replicate some of the Hoka-style feel of running on marshmallows. Despite the softer sole, testers requiring a little extra support still felt comfortable in the FluidFlex, as it didn’t collapse to the sides. Testers also loved them for occasional trail runs for their “seriously amazing” traction and ability to absorb bumps in a trail, even though protection from sharp objects is limited. Fit runs large, so consider sizing down a half-size.