What’s the best shoe for a 102km ultra marathon?
Marcel is a Foundation Run member training for his first ultramarathon. He’s sharing his thoughts and tackling it one run at a time.
My feet are on my mind. I’m looking for the perfect shoe to run the 102km Tarawera Ultramarathon.
Going into this adventure I knew I would need to buy at least two new pairs of shoes. So far I’ve bought three.
I started with a pair of Hoka ATR Challengers. Hokas typically have chunky fat soles. They look like they’ve been designed by a cartoonist. The guy in the store convinced me that all the cool kids are wearing Hokas these days, especially ultra runners. This was before I’d started training on proper trails.
Those big squishy soles make them super comfy. Running in Hokas is like running on marshmallows, which is exactly what you think you’ll need if you’re going to last a million, billion kilometres.
That’s the problem with buying shoes when you don’t know much about shoes. Or running. Your instincts are probably wrong.
A few months into my training, I’ve decided that Hokas are a good shoe to break my ankle in. Comfort rating: seductive. Wobble rating: dangerous.
Upon my very soles, I love my Hokas. But they’re not going to do me any favours on varied terrain. They’re too high off the ground. I took them rock hopping as an experiment. You know that moment where your foot is on an angle, say a rock or a root, and you roll sideways a bit? Wearing Hokas, I’m less likely to recover from that, especially as I get fatigued over those gazillion kilometres.
I’m now saving the Hokas for recovery runs and anything flat. And sometimes just for going to the supermarket because they’re that comfortable. Yes, I wear them as a sneaker/jeans combo in defiance of good fashion. Sneans be damned, I love my Hokas. Just not for, you know, actual running.
So if not the fat marshmallows, what am I running trails in? I’ll cover that another time.
Make sure you check out Foundation Run’s views on shoes too, they know more than me.