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Hoka One One Elevon 2 Review

The Hoka One One Elevon 2 is the most cushioned shoe of the Hoka Fly collection, now in its second iteration.  A firm riding but highly cushioned and responsive ride for such a maximalist shoe.  The upper is surprisingly volumous for a Hoka shoe and an interesting tongue provides an anatomic fit.  Best used as a daily or uptempo trainer, the Hoka One One Elevon provides a unique and very stable ride that may work for a variety of people.


Specifications (per Hoka One One)
Weight: 10.1 oz (men's size 9), 8.5 oz (women's size 7)
Stack Height: 32mm/27mm (Heel/Forefoot)
Drop: 5mm
Classification: Maximally Cushioned Daily Trainer



RATINGS

Fit   (0 - Tight  10 - Loose) - 6.5
Cushioning (0 - Firm   10 - Soft) -  3
Transition  (0 - Stiff  10 Flexible) -  2.5
Responsiveness (0 - Dead  10 - Explosive) -  7
Stability (0 - Unstable 10 - Stable) - 9
Durability (0 - Low  10 - High) - 6

 


HOW DOES IT FIT?

Forefoot - Snug to Medium Fit

Midfoot - Medium Fit

Heel - Medium to Wide Fit

The fit starts as the slightly snugger fit in the forefoot that opens up into a wide heel.  The lightweight mesh stretches somewhat with time, but the midfoot and heel remain on the more voluminous side.  Thanks to the deep active foot frame and anatomical wings at the midfoot (from the laces), the foot is still held well during slower to moderate efforts.  There is enough room however that if you decide to pick up the pace, you should perform a runners loop to further to lock your heel in.  The asymmetric tongue design provides some room for your anterior tibialis tendon and other anterior ankle muscles, although be careful as the tongue is a little more stiff (socks required).


HOW CUSHIONED IS IT?

Forefoot - Firmer

Heel - Firmer

The PROFLY topsole is pretty firm for a Hoka shoe.  The Elevon 2 is not a soft and cushy shoe, but a firmer shoe with a ton of midsole height.  The sole definitely protects you from the road and there is zero ground feel.  Thanks to the consistent cushioning, the ride is firmer throughout.  It is not racing flat firm thanks to so much midsole, but firm enough that it actually adds to the stable ride and responsive ride of the shoe.


HOW DOES IT RIDE (TRANSITION)?

Forefoot - Stiffer (Smoother Toe Off)

Midfoot - Stiff

Heel - Stiffer (Smoother Due to Heel Bevel)

As with most maximalist shoes, the ride is fairly stiff and there is little flexibility.  The transition is on the smoother end of stiff thanks to the characteristic rockered sole.  However transitions are on the stiffer side thanks to the firm and thick PROFLY midsole.  There are deep flex grooves in the forefoot that assist with toe off, but overall do not expect high flexibility from the Hoka Elevon 2's sole.  Be aware that those deep flex grooves will pick up rocks and debris.


HOW RESPONSIVE IS IT?

Forefoot - Moderate

Heel - Moderate

The full length PROFLY midsole is moderately responsive.  The firmer ride has some rebound and responds well to both easy and uptempo paces.   The forefoot and heel are similar in responsive feel, so no matter where you land, you will get a little push forward.  The 10.1 oz weight and bulk of the shoe does slow it down, but for those looking to use a trainer on uptempo runs or long runs, the Elevon 2 is a great option.


HOW STABLE IS IT?

Forefoot - Stable

Midfoot - Stable

Heel - Very Stable

Thanks to the firmer cushion, sole flare, wider base and deep active foot frame, the Hoka One One Elevon 2 is extremely stable for a supposedly neutral shoe.  There are no forms of posting, but the deeper active foot frame sits the foot, particularly the heel, deep into the shoe.  This keeps the foot stable thanks to resistance to motion from the midsole side walls.  The sole flare extends medially, laterally and posteriorly, providing resistance to extra motion in those planes.  The firmer cushion and wider base also add to an incredibly stable ride devoid of traditional methods of posting.


HOW DURABLE IS IT?

Forefoot - Moderate to High Durability

Midfoot - Medium to Low Durability

Heel - Moderate to High Durability

The Hoka One One Elevon 2 utilizes both exposed EVA and crystal rubber on the outsole.  The crystal rubber in the forefoot and heel are very durable and have changed little over the course of 75 miles.  The exposed outsole in the midfoot however is not very durable and I am already seeing significant wear at the posterior lateral aspect of the shoe where I typically land.  The ride has not changed since the early miles, which is common with maximalist shoes.  However those that land hard at the posterior midfoot and heel like myself should know that the outsole will wear fairly quickly.


THOUGHTS AS A DPT 

I have discussed previously how sole flare can affect stability and landing mechanics HERE.  The Hoka One One Elevon 2 makes great use of these at the medial and lateral sole by utilizing both a wide base and sole flare to improve stability without using posting.  What I am not as big a fan of is the posterior sole flare that is becoming more common among footwear again.  Fortunately though most of the time, this posterior heel flare is being offset by significant heel bevels/curves.  My beef with posterior heel flare is that it can cause the runner to achieve initial contact (landing) prior to your shock absorbing muscles being ready.   Prior to landing, many of the muscles of the lower extremity and hip pre-activate to prepare for landing.  This is tuned to a precise time, which a posterior heel flare may disrupt due to early contact. Additionally, posterior heel flare increases the length of the shoe and increases the arc of motion the foot most go through during heel strike.  There is not a ton of research on this except for a few studies, most notably by Queen (2004) that suggested a trend toward increased activation of the Tibialis Anterior, which controls that motion and is a common culprit in so called "Shin Splits."  This suggests (but is not proven) that there may be some influenced on increased anterior tibial load with shoes with significant posterior heel flare.  HOWEVER, Hoka has done a great job in creating a significant heel bevel, which does seem to offset this a great deal.  So instead of creating a problem, it seems like the rocker has been extended.


RECOMMENDATIONS/WHO THIS SHOE IS FOR (Conclusion)

The Hoka One One Elevon is a firm riding, stable maximalist shoe for those looking for a responsive training shoe for high miles and uptempo training.  There are so many non-traditional features that make this shoe stable and accessible for a wide variety of people.  I was impressed at how well the shoe could move during uptempo efforts, but it is definitely not a workout shoe.  For those looking for a responsive and cushioned shoe for long miles or a marathon, the Hoka Elevon 2 is a great choice. Most will find this this shoe fits into their arsenal as a daily trainer or uptempo long run shoe.  Those with mild to moderate stability needs should find a plenty stable shoe in the Elevon 2, or you can look for our upcoming review of the Arahi 4!  I am very impressed with the firm, responsive and stable ride of the Elevon 2 and look forward to trying more of the PROFLY collection!

GRADE: 86%

Thanks for reading!

TESTER PROFILE

Matt is a 140 lb male with notable PRs of 14:45 for 5k and 2:32:44 for the full marathon.  He typically runs 70-100 miles per week and trains at a variety of paces from 8min per mile recovery runs to 4:40 per mile 1k repeats.  He prefers firmer and responsive shoes with snug heels and medium to wide toe boxes.  He is partial to less cushioned shoes and close to the ground shoes, but can handle a little cushion when he gets beat up.

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.

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 One One 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 75 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

Queen, R. (2004). The effect of positive posterior heel flare on muscle activation, kinetics and kinematics during running gait. (Doctoral Dissertation, The University of North Carolinaa at Chapel Hill).

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