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Sunday, July 28, 2013

Sneak Peak: 2014 Hoka One One Conquest Road Runner Updated.

I was at the SpeedGoat 50K all up and around Snowbird UT last week. A fabulous race which I spectated actively running all over the mountain in my Hoka One One Rapa Nui, review here.

Hoka was the race sponsor and legendary ultra runner Karl Meltzer is the Race Director and a long time Hoka athlete. Here he is awarding Tony Krupicka his second place beer glass and medal in his Rapa Nui. The third place finisher Jason Schlarb ran in Rapa Nui. Hokas were very popular in the field at SpeedGoat and increasingly at Ultras and on the roads. 


Hoka Conquest
Hoka One One 2014 Conquest
Hoka had a single Conquest on display at Speedgoat although I saw a few other prototypes around. I also spent time with Hoka at Outdoor Retailer. The Conquest won one of the very prized Outside magazine Gear of Show awards and there are literally thousands of exhibitors.


Hoka One One Conquest


The Conquest is an approximately 11 oz road shoe (although as with the Bondi many will run it on trails as well). In addition to a seamless upper of very fine see through mesh with an inner lining, the real story with Conquest is that the midsole is made of 2 compounds. Previous Hokas were made of a single layer of EVA. The second layer (the R-Mat) will not be traditional EVA but a compound designed to provide energy return a firmer more responsive ride, in my opinion a key improvement. While both layers are the same firmness the materials have different characteristics. While one  can go forever in Hokas, the cushy softness does seem to take a bit away from speed and responsiveness on the road and has some forefoot instability on very rough trails. These last two comments have been my only hang ups with the Rapa Nui which is a more minimal and flexible Hoka similar to the Conquest.

The following diagram from Hoka illustrates the construction. While the photos above would seem to have the foot way off the ground you actually sit far down into the foot frame.  Stack height is approximately 29mm heel and 25mm forefoot without insole, a 4 mm drop shoe so equivalent in stack heights to the Hoka Bondi and a bit higher than the more flexible Rapa Nui which is at 26/21.

The suspension frame yellow blades when combined with the top midsole allows water drainage. While hard to see in my photo above, the notches go all the way through the shoe, daylight seen through. I don't think this suspension stability frame is a gimmick.  The idea is that blades provide lateral stability, to bring the foot forward to push off. As they are not rigid they are adaptive to different stride types. One thing I have learned in talking to Hoka folks is that they take the geometry of their unusual midsoles very, very seriously basing it on a deep understanding of lateral, horizontal, and vertical forces coming from ski design.

Hoka One One 2014 Conquest

Hoka One One 2014 Conquest
I can't wait to try the Conquest!

2014 Hoka One One Bondi with new seamless upper. 

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sam,

Enjoy the blog. It looks like the Hoka Conquest has a wider toe box. Did that appear to be the case?

Rod

sam winebaum said...

Conquest has a wider toe box from what I saw than the Rapa Nui for sure. Seems similar to the latest version of the Bondi, namely not a "burrito" with 2 sides wrapping over the tongue to the toe as on Tarmac, Stinson, Mafate, and Rapa Nui. Thanks for reading my blog!

Miki said...

Hi Sam

Which of the Hokas would you recommend for running 10 miles a day on pavement- jusr recreational running, no races?

sam winebaum said...

Miki, for pavement the Tarmac or Bondi. Bondi is the lightest but still tons of cushioning.

sam winebaum said...

Miki, I say those 2 because Conquest, and there will be a women's model too won't arrive till Spring 2014

Miki said...

Sam

Thanks for your quick reply. Is there any practical difference for my kind of running between the regular Bondi and the Bondi Speed?

sam winebaum said...

Miki basically the Bondi 2 and Speed are the same shoe. The Speed is a bit lighter.due to a different tongue, speed laces, and has pull on loops.

Jim Parry said...

Love my Bondi 2s! Sharing this post on Facebook if it is ok with you.

Anonymous said...

Did my first bondi run yesterday. Wow! Best running feeling. I run in the street no fancy trails where I live :( but I can truely say this is one good shoe. Soft and cushioned just what I wanted.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the sneak peak! The upper looks like a nice improvement, but the tread looks like a road shoe, or hybrid at best. I sure would like to see the upper improvements on a Mafate base.

sam winebaum said...

No question Conquest is positioned as road shoe. Hoka has said as much saying it it their first shoe designed from the bottom up as a road shoe. This said as with many Hokas such as Bondi many will run them on the trails. The wide platform makes even "road" Hokas such as Bondi or Tarmac the choice of many for trails as long as they are not super muddy.