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Hoka One One Elevon 2 Multiple Tester 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) - M: 6.5, N: 5
Cushioning (0 - Firm   10 - Soft) -  M: 3, N: 4.5
Transition  (0 - Stiff  10 Flexible) -  M: 2.5, N: 2
Responsiveness (0 - Dead  10 - Explosive) -  M: 7, N: 7
Stability (0 - Unstable 10 - Stable) - M: 9, N: 9
Durability (0 - Low  10 - High) - M: 6, N: 9

 


HOW DOES IT FIT?

Forefoot - Snug to Medium Fit

Midfoot - Medium Fit

Heel - Medium to Wide Fit

Matt: 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).

Nathan: The fit for the Elevon 2 is consistent with most of the HOKA line, where there is a wider/adaptable heel that transitions into a slightly more snug forefoot/toe box. It was true to size for me (men's size 9). With the wider heel, I had to use the extra eyelet to get a solid lock down of the heel. The molding of the foam underfoot creates a bed for your foot to sit down into, but there was no irritability from the foam wrapping up the sides of the foot and only created a secure feeling. There is a unique lacing system that provides variability of lacing, which has several detached eyelets that allow certain areas of the foot to be locked down better than others, which really helped given the wider heel. The only issue I ran into is that the detached eyelet straps would fold over occasionally when sliding my foot in. Thankfully it never occurred within a run. The tongue is thin and a bit stiff with a groove created for a tendon in the front of the ankle called the tibialis anterior tendon. A nice little anatomical nod, but other tongues have avoided irritation to the front of the ankle by being a bit softer, and I found that the laces would cross over the groove right onto the front of my ankle when using the extra eyelet. The upper is a relatively rigid mesh that feels secure around the mid and forefoot. Despite its rigidity, it is very comfortable and disappears on the foot during a run.


HOW CUSHIONED IS IT?

Forefoot - Firmer

Heel - Firmer

Matt: 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.

Nathan: For a HOKA shoe, there is a more firm cushioning system. However, when compared to other models such as the 361 Spire or Mizuno Wave Rider, it is a softer cushion, likely due to how much of the PROFLY and EVA blend exists underfoot. The firm and high stack height combination results in no ground feel, but a nice floating and protective feel.


HOW DOES IT RIDE (TRANSITION)?

Forefoot - Stiffer (Smoother Toe Off)

Midfoot - Stiff

Heel - Stiffer (Smoother Due to Heel Bevel)

Matt: 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.

Nathan: The overall ride of this shoe is stiff, but the geometry of the shoe and PROFLY midsole make transitions quite smooth. At heel strike, you may notice that the crystallized rubber is a bit more noisy than some other outsoles you have experienced, but the heel bevel smooths out the landing significantly. The rocker sole and more stiff ride provide a quick and smooth transition to toe off. If the rocker sole wasn't there, this would be a lot more of a clunky ride, as the flex grooves (which unfortunately caught a lot of rocks for me) aren't even enough to allow the forefoot to flex during toe off. But again, thanks to the rocker sole, this isn't a problem, and the stiffer shoe assists in creating the responsiveness you feel with the Elevon 2.


HOW RESPONSIVE IS IT?

Forefoot - Moderate

Heel - Moderate

Matt: 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.

Nathan: The responsiveness of this shoe surprised me. As I've mentioned above, I expected the ride to be slightly flat/rough given the lack of flexibility. However, the PROFLY midsole combined with the rocker sole and firmer ride allowed for easy slightly uptempo paces despite the 10.1oz weight for my size 9. Great shoe for some longer and slight tempo days.


HOW STABLE IS IT?

Forefoot - Stable

Midfoot - Stable

Heel - Very Stable

Matt: 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.

Nathan: This is about as stable as it gets for a neutral shoe. You have some medial/lateral forefoot flaring, your foot sits into the midsole as I mentioned above, and an overall firmer shoe. At times, maximal shoes can create some instability, especially for those who do have some balance dysfunction, but that really isn't the case here due to all the extensions of the midsole, the full contact outsole, and the deep active foot frame.


HOW DURABLE IS IT?

Forefoot - Moderate to High Durability

Midsole - High Durability

Heel - Moderate to High Durability

Matt: 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.

Nathan: Matt and I had different experiences with the outsole, particularly the crystallized rubber. Compared to most other outsoles, I've found even less wear on those portions of the outsole. The exposed EVA is showing expected wear, but this does not affect the ride at all. The PROFLY midsole feels just as good now as it did on day one thanks to the maximal cushioning. Great durability.


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)

Matt: The Hoka One One Elevon 2 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!

Nathan: The HOKA ONE ONE Elevon 2 is a shoe with a unique blend of stability, substance, and responsiveness. This would be a great option for a daily trainer, high milage, and to also function for some slight tempo days. Definitely a marathon shoe option for those looking to complete (not necessarily race) a marathon. Given its stable nature, it is also a great recovery shoe option to protect your feet after some long or hard days. The PROFLY midsole is a great foam, and the little nuances to this shoe like the lacing system, deeper foot platform, rocker sole, and layered foam midsole make this a high quality, smooth, and versatile shoe.

GRADE: 
Matt: 86%
Nathan: 88%

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.

Dr. Brown is a 155 lb male with notable PRs of 19:18 5K, 39:25 10K, 1:33 half marathon, and 3:54 marathon. He typically runs between 20-40 miles per week at a variety of paces from 8-8:30 min/mile for recovery runs to 6-6:45 min/mile for tempo runs. He typically prefers shoes that provide some cushioning underfoot but still maintain a more firm and responsive feel. Current goals for 2020 are to break the 1.5 hour half marathon and 3:30 marathon.


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

Nathan Brown PT DPT MS
Doctor of Physical Therapy 
Masters in Anatomy and Clinical Health Science

Movement Performance Institute Certified in Advanced Functional Biomechanics 

***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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