I have to admit, I was initially a little reluctant to try on the Hoka One One Conquest because of the unique oversized midsole. However, I am glad I did. After I laced them up and took a couple of actual strides, I fell in love with the Conquest. The initial step-in feel is great and after you take a few strides and really engage the midsole and meta-rocker, you truly experience the plush cushioning and gentle propulsion through the gait cycle. For having such a large midsole, I was surprised that the shoe was so responsive. Don't get me wrong, it isn't a racing flat, but it doesn't feel as much like marshmallow as I was expecting. The shoe is also shockingly lightweight. From the looks of it, I thought it would feel like a brick and weigh a ton, but that couldn't be further from the truth.
So far I have run 80+ miles in my Conquests and I have no complaints. I swapped out the speed laces for the traditional laces that were included, but that was it. I was concerned about the minimal amount of outsole rubber on the shoe, but so far I still have plenty of tread and I run predominantly on paved surfaces. My normal running shoe of choice is a stability shoe with a medial post (okay, it's the Saucony Guide series) so I have been pleasantly surprised by the inherent stability in these shoes. I haven't had any problems and I feel plenty of support through my gait without a medial post.
These shoes definitely get some looks and start conversations, but I enjoy that. I've had a lot of people ask me about these shoes and the question I get the most is, "Aren't you worried about rolling your ankle?" The answer is "No," but I understand this concern because it looks like you are sitting up so high in the shoe. Actually, your foot is sitting down inside the midsole, ‘like in a bucket seat' to quote the Hoka One One rep. With the combination of a wide base providing optimal ground contact and the bucket seat fit, these shoes are inherently stable. If anything, I feel less likely to roll an ankle in the Conquest than other running shoes.
My overall experience with these shoes has been a very enjoyable one. I wear these on all my long runs now and I can really feel a positive difference in the amount of fatigue I experience. Bottom line, I feel less fatigue and feel like I can run farther when I'm wearing the Hoka One One Conquest.
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