Spring 2014 Running Shoe Buyer’s Guide

Photo: Scott Draper | Competitor

Hoka One One Conquest, $170

11.8 oz. (men’s); 9.6 oz. (women’s)

34mm (heel), 28mm (forefoot)

Fit: Aided by quick-pull laces and a gusseted tongue, the Conquest snugs up the foot into a soft rear-locking fit. The heel and arch are snug, but the high-volume forefoot area is decidedly roomy.

Feel: Yes, the unique, high-off-the-ground maximalist sensation that Hoka has built its brand around takes some getting used to, but a runner’s foot actually sits down in an interior chassis that nests inside the midsole/outsole structure. While the Conquest isn’t impressively light or nimble, most of our wear-testers thought it felt lighter and more stable than they had expected.

Ride: The oversized geometry and soft cushioning of this shoe offer a sublime pillowy sensation. (However, it’s not as marshmallowy as some of Hoka’s original models.) While the proprioceptive feel for the ground is a bit muted, the slightly rockered profile adds to the easy-rolling sensation from heel strike to toe-off. Wear-testers loved it for long runs and recovery runs, but a few found the Conquest to be responsive enough for faster running.

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