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Friday, July 19, 2019

HOKA ONE ONE Rincon Review

HOKA ONE ONE Rincon Review

Lightweight cushion often sounds like a contradiction.  Runners will often comment that forms of the Hoka Clifton came close for them, but seemed to be missing the mark.  Enter the Hoka Rincon.  A lightweight, highly cushioned trainer with your traditional Hoka feel minus the weight.  This is a shoe that can run long easy miles in equally as well as you can race a half to full marathon in.


Specifications (per Hoka)
Weight: 7.7 oz (men's size 9)
Stack Height: 31 mm / 26 mm
Drop: 5mm
Classification: Lightweight Trainer/Racer



HIGHLIGHTS

The lightweight ride combined with the high level of cushion is the clear highlight of this shoe.  The Rincon is everything the Clifton tried to be, but never made it and eventually drifted away from.  The Clifton is a great shoe, but it is not the lightweight trainer racer the Rincon is.  The Rincon combines a lightweight ride with cushion that makes it easy to turn the legs over during longer workouts and races.  The cushion is also sufficient for recovery days and easy days.  The Hoka Rincon is the rare shoe that can be used for a fast workout in addition to the warm up and cool down. 



FIT

I normally wear a size 10 in most shoes and the Rincon fits perfect.  There is a tiny bit of extra room length wise, but that has performed well dealing with foot swelling during long runs.  The fit is very typical for Hoka.  If you have wide feet, this shoe may not work for you.  The fit is a little snug, particularly in the mid and forefoot.  However with only a couple miles, the mesh starts to stretch quickly.  Like the sole, the upper is light and very breathable.  There is a small heel counter in the rear part of the section, but it is not noticeable due to the extra cushioning around the heel collar.  The heel fits on the medium side.  I did not need to lace lock the shoe, but did anyway.  I have had zero heel slippage and my foot feels very locked in.  Massive points to Hoka on the heel tab.  Not much more to say other than it works really well to help pull the shoe on.


RIDE

The Hoka Rincon features full length soft and responsive EVA.  The ride is consistent no matter where you land.  Both the heel and forefoot feel similar in regards to cushioning levels.  The forefoot has a decent amount of flexibility for a maximalist shoe thanks to the flex grooves.  Combined with an early stage meta rocker, the Rincon has a fast toe off and helps you roll forward quickly.  This is by far the smoothest riding traditional Hoka that I have ever tried.   The flexibility, responsive sole and cushioning make for a very smooth ride from heel toe.  There is quite a bit of heel bevel in the rearfoot which contributes to the smooth landing.  Initially for me, the centered heel bevel feels awkward as most runners will land on the posterior lateral section of the heel and not the center.  However after a few runs this smoothed out.  The Hoka Rincon is listed as having a 5mm drop, but with compression of the midsole it can be variable.  The rockered sole does a great job of taking pressure off the achilles, so a wide variety of runners should be able to use this shoe


STABILITY

As with many Hoka shoes, the Rincon is fairly stable.  There are no additional stability measures outside of the raised side walls and seated heel.  The foot is held in the rear portion very well as it sits down into the sole.  This stabilizes the rearfoot very well.   The wide base provides a very stable place to land throughout the shoe.  The cushioning is softer (not firm), so that does detract from stability a little.  For those with foot stability issues, Hoka is great.  For those with stability issues higher up the chain, the softer ride may not be for you.


SPEED

The cushion, lightweight and early stage meta-rocker make the Hoka Rincon a very versatile shoe.  While there is too much shoe there to be an all out speed shoe (10k and below), the Rincon is a fantastic lightweight trainer that many will choose for half marathon into ultra marathon races.  There is enough pop in the midsole for tempo runs and the longer races mentioned above for most people.  Others will find the additional cushioning makes for a shoe that can handle easy, recovery and long runs.  For faster workouts or races under 10k, I would look at the Carbon X, Rehi or Carbon Rocket.  I personally have used the Rincon for tempo runs and cool downs after workouts and races as they are light enough to pick up the pace but cushioned enough to be easy on the legs.


DURABILITY

This is one of the areas that becomes worrisome with lightweight cushioned shoes.  There are several places on the outsole that feature high abrasion rubber zones.  The upper is very durable and I have not had any issues despite needing it to stretch a little.  The cushioning is firming up a little after 50 miles but does not feel dead.  My only concern is that I am starting to chew through the posterior lateral section where I land very quickly.  I would not expect to see that much wear at 50 miles, but this is a lightweight trainer/racer.  People who land softly should be able to get an extremely high number of miles out of the Hoka Rincon.  For me, I would not expect more than the typical 300-400 give how quickly I am chewing through the sole.


THOUGHTS AS A DPT 

I have discussed previously how I appreciate that with a wider base and raise sidewalls, Hoka does a great job of creating a stable ride without traditional methods of stability.  A wider foundation is inherently more stable and the raised sidewalls create pseudo guide rails.  The elevated side walls are particularly present in the rearfoot, where the heel sits down into the sole.  As I discussed in my post on the Brooks Ravenna 10, literature suggests that calcaneal (heel) movement most influences motion of the knee as opposed to the midfoot (Dierks et al 2008; Fischer et al 2017).  Thus it makes more sense to stabilize the rearfoot and allow the midfoot to move, given that pronation (which often has a significant contribution from the midfoot) has been shown to be protective against injury in certain people (Barnes et al 2007).   One most obviously respect that each person moves differently and may need guidance in different ways or different areas.   Dr. Benno Nigg has discussed this extensively with his concept of the preferred movement paradigm concept (Nigg, 2001; Nigg et al 2017).  What Hoka has done is create a shoe that provides stability via locking the heel deep in the shoe, theoretically limiting excessive calcaneal motion (research is needed to confirm this.  I am not aware of any so send some my way if you know) without utilizing traditional methods of posting.  This is something that is present also in the Hoka Rehi, that felt surprisingly stable to me despite being such a flexible and minimal racing flat.  So combine a cushioned sole with an attempt to stabilize the knee joint and you combine cushion and stability.  Normally the knee joint would move more on an unstable, soft, cushioned surface.  It is an interested concept.  Further combine this with a rockered sole that biases you to roll forward instead of side to side and you have an interesting take on stability without posting, guide rails, etc.  I was very skeptical of the maximalist shoe movement at first, but I have to say that I am impressed with the Hoka approach and appreciate their approach.  These shoes will not work for everyone, but I have to admit that the Rincon's lightweight finally won me over to traditional Hoka shoes.


RECOMMENDATIONS 

My only major issue is the durability in the posterior lateral corner of the outsole.  While there are specific high abrasion rubber place close to that section, I personally am chewing through the section just ahead of it.   Thus my first recommendation is to extend that rubber just a little more in the posterior lateral section section. 

My second recommendation is to reconsider the placement of the heel bevel.  Although I understand centering it to provide a more balance angle of approach during initial contact, normal walking and running gait involves landing on the posterior lateral heel (not center).  Most Hoka shoes are designed this way and modifying this may alter the rockered sole. 

I would suggest firming up the midsole a bit if the Rincon is meant to be a pure speed shoe.  However, since it borders the line of a lightweight trainer and racer, I think the midsole durometer is fine.  For those that want firmer rides, the Carbon Rocket or Carbon X should be considered.


WHO THIS SHOE IS FOR (Conclusion)

The Hoka One One Rincon is for those looking for a lightweight cushioned ride for longer races, workouts and easy runs.  This shoe will shine for those who need a little more cushion for half marathon to ultramarathon distance racing.  A versatile shoe that provides enough protection for miles but is light enough to pick up the pace.  Those with a medium to narrow foot will enjoy the fit while those with patience will see the upper relax to provide a comfortable fit.  Kudos to Hoka for creating a fantastic balance of lightweight and cushioning.  As I mentioned earlier, this is by far my favorite more traditional Hoka (love the Carbon X and Rehi, but those are pure racing shoes) and has my curious in trying more of their trainers

GRADING

Fit                     9/10 (-1 for slightly snug forefoot)
Ride                  9.5/10 (-0.5 for lack of properly placed heel bevel)
Stability            9/10 (-1 for softer ride)
Speed                9/10 (-1 for softer cushion keeping shoe from performing high speed)
Durability          7.5/10 (-2.5 for quick outsole wear)

Total Score: 8.8/10

Thanks for reading!

Editor's Note: As always, the views presented on this website belong to myself or the selected few who contribute to these posts. This website should not and does not serve as a replacement for seeking medical care. If you are currently injured or concerned about an injury, please see your local running physical therapist. If you are in the Los Angeles area, I am currently taking clients for running evaluations.

Dr. Matthew Klein, PT DPT OCS FAAOMPT
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Board Certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist
Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapists

***Disclaimer: These shoes were provided free of charge in exchange for a review.  We thank the  people at Hoka (thank you Gordon!) for sending us a pair.  This in no way affected the honesty of this review. We put at least 50-75 miles on trainers and 10-25 miles on racing flats prior to reviewing them. Currently I have 58 miles on my pair. My views are based on my extensive history in the footwear industry and years testing and developing footwear. If you are a footwear rep looking for footwear reviews or consultations on development, we are currently looking to partner with companies to assist, discuss and promote footwear models. Partnership will not affect the honesty of our reviews.


References

1. Barnes, A., Wheat, J., Milner, C. (2007). Association between foot type and tibial stress injuries: a systematic review. British Journal of Sports Medicine: 42: 93-98.
2. Dierks, T., Manal, K., Hamill, J., Davis, I. (2008).  Proximal and Distal Influences on Hip and Knee Kinematics in Runners With Patellofemoral Pain During a Prolonged Run.  Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy, 38(8): 448-456
3. Fischer, K., Willwacher, S., Hamill, J., Bruggermann, G. (2017). Tibial rotation in running: Does rearfoot adduction matter? Gait & Posture, 51: 188-193.
4. Nigg, B.  (2001).  The Role Of Impact Forces and Pronation: A new Paradigm.  Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine: 11(1): 2-9.
5.  Nigg, B., Vienneau, J., Smith, A., Trudeau, M., Mohr, M., Nigg S.  (2017).  The Preferred Movement Path Paradigm: Influence of Running Shoes on Joint Movement.  Medicine and Science in Sports & Exercise; 49(8): 1641-1648

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