Finally a scaled down, trimmer model of the Hokas has appeared. I don’t know about you ~but~ on a rocky and rooty course I balk at raising my foot an extra 1/8″ higher to gain the clearance with the thick soled Stinson model. A sigh of relief. Roll out the Kailua model. [Rapa Nui mens counterpart]
Sizing: I normally wear a womens 11 but when I got the womens 11 in the Kailua it was too big. (Not “Oh good in case my feet swell there’s room”) Reorder. Take two: Now wearing a 10.5 they feel nice. Just enough spacing that my toes won’t have an intimate relationship with the toe box.
Pros: Love the loop at the heel for ease of pulling on/off or carrying. And I love the light weight of the shoes. The lime/white/silver/black colors are another plus. Soooo tired of womens shoes styled in pink or purple. Gag.
Tread: Kudos to Hoka for stepping up on the depth of tread. Kailua Trail’s knobby rubber tread will hold you steady and grip the ground. I can’t say the Tarmac version would do the same. The road shoes have a smoother tread suitable only for asphalt/concrete and not for winter precip.
Cushioning: Say good-bye to the super, soft marshmallow pillows of the Mafate, Stinson, and Bondi versions. These are made as racers. I can’t feel that uniquely engineered midsole geometry that allows the foot to sink deeply into the shoe’s midsole. Even with less cushion these are great shoes. I would stick with the Mafate, Stinson, Bondi, or the new Conquest for high mileage training.
Cons: One thing I’ve noticed, however slight, is my heel slipping. Not enough to cause a hotspot or blister. I’ve considering looping my laces closer to the ankle but I don’t have enough spare lace for that.
Outer material: This model has durable outer materials. Starting with a soft suede on the tongue and layers of fine mesh added to the stitching material. You can see daylight through the sides but not overly so making it unwearable in winter months. (I’ve had shoes boosting their drain-ability to find out they froze my feet in the colder months.) I haven’t tested the drain-ability yet.
Overall: This company produces a high quality shoe that is undeniable. The Hoka design and feel won’t work for everyone but is geared for the high mileage runner.