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HOKA ONE ONE Speed Evo R - Review 
Written by David Salas

This review is 4 years late... but we're doing it. HOKA ONE ONE is consistently showing that they are competitive at the professional level with their footwear and athletes at all levels on all surfaces. They traditionally have done well in the trail, ultra, and marathon communities with some difficulty on the track. That has changed in recent times and part of that is the hard work going into performance footwear and investing into some track PB's. The HOKA ONE ONE Speed Evo R was seen on the feet of Leo Manzano and has aims of making the turns more efficient and smooth. Especially indoors, but outdoors on some tracks as well, the majority of time spent on the track is actually turning. The Speed Evo R wanted to maximize that efficiently and therefore has a different spike plate compared left to right on the shoe geared to steering you left slightly. The result is a highly cushioned distance spike with good responsiveness and turning ability. 

Specifications (per Running Warehouse)
Weight: 4.9 ounces (men's size 9) 4.2 ounces  (women's size 8)
Stack Height: N/A 
Drop: N/A 
Classification: Distance Track Spike 1500 - 10k


The HOKA Speed Evo R is a distance focused track spike aimed at nailing turns and getting runners PR's. The shoe is still really lightweight for the cushioning provided and it still responds just as good as any other spike on the market. The should could definitely be used for 800m, but probably is going to be more seen in 1500m to 10,000m events. 


The HOKA ONE ONE Speed Evo R fits true to size in my normal 9.5. The upper is a little thick for some spikes but provides really good security throughout. The upper is still breathable enough for a competition shoe, but not quite as airy as most spikes seen such as the Nike Victory/Mamba or Adidas Avanti. The feel of the upper is a little more synthetic like throughout with a suede tongue and heel. The overall fit is similar to most performance shoes. It is snug and holds really well throughout. 


The HOKA ONE ONE Speed Evo R provides a unique ride for a track spike, especially for the time of the release. The shoe has a higher stack in the heel compared to most track spikes and utilizes a crash pad like design similar to a lot of racing flats. The heel is exposed EVA and is really soft for a spike. The spike plate itself is asymmetrical by design and wraps from the medial (left foot) and lateral (right foot) and extends itself along the midline of the shoe until it fully covers the forefoot. There is plenty of PEBAX and sharp traction along the way to help with grip. There are 4 screw locations for the spikes. Performance wise I am really happy with the spike. The plate has a little bit of flexibility to it and does feel like you are getting guided to some capacity. The heel is really soft for a spike and feels a lot more forgiving upon landing. This is probably the most natural feeling spike that I have worn. I would say it is not overly aggressive, but still responsive (great for someone like me who is pretty far removed from collegiate days where you are spiking up very frequently).  I've taken this from everything from 56 400m pace up to 4:55 mile pace and the shoe has run smooth at all paces. The left turn bias is noticeable but it is still pretty slight. After a lap or 2 you get used to it, for it does not impact the straight away that much. This is essentially a traditional track spike with a little more cushion and forgiveness that turns pretty well. There isn't anything overly special, but the spike still performs just as good as the competitors. 


Stability is always a little tricky with spikes. The shoes are low to the ground and very firm, so therefore they should be pretty stable (in theory). However they are so minimalistic in design they normally aren't that stable. For a track spike this shoe is pretty good in the stability category. The soft heel might take away from stability a little bit but does make the shoe a little more comfortable and eases the midfoot transition. The midfoot and forefoot are very stable and also provide great traction. On the turns it is really easy to turn up the pace and stay light on your feet. Overall the stability meets most competitors, a little less in the heel, and more in the forefoot to average out out to pretty good stability. The upper also is going to provide plenty of lockdown and should not have any concerns of slippage or translation. 


Anytime you get an asymmetrical load it can be a little worrisome. HOKA ONE ONE did a pretty good job with tackling this though. Even though the plate is designed to guide you left, it isn't so dramatic that it effects the straights. It is most noticeable when you are kicking hard from about the 150 mark and you are diving into the inside lane of the track. Outside of that it is very slight. So when you are racing and making moves the guidance is much more noticeable. Is it enough to give you an edge on an opponent?... Probably not. But I do like that the spike plate also wraps its way down to the rearfoot by crossing diagonally from the forefoot. The shoe feels guided in a way and eases the transition to the forefoot without the spike plate feeling "too aggressive". I think this is a pretty safe spike for most people. Those looking for something really aggressive and snappy might have to look elsewhere but this gives you just enough of that to be a solid track spike. In short bursts and race efforts the small asymmetrical bias should not be a problem. Just don't train every day in them. 


My main recommendations for the HOKA ONE ONE Speed Evo R is to thin the upper and move away from the suede heel. The heel does feel like it heats up a little bit from friction after running in them for a while (not so much it over heats and blisters but still). There is also enough engineered mesh technologies out there that can make a solid reinforced upper with more breathability. Overall the shoe is a really solid distance spike though. 


The HOKA ONE ONE Speed Evo R is a distance track spike for those looking to crush PR's with a little bit more cushion and less "aggressiveness". The spike can certainly run all of the distance events just fine but probably does lean more in the 1500-10k categories with 3k-5k being the sweet spot. The plate is designed to help assist with making left turns while not jeopardizing straight aways. Subjectively it does feel that it accomplishes this. Overall the plate is a little more flexible and the heel is a lot more softer than other track spikes. This is a pleasant track spike to have in the LD world, for most track spikes still are incredibly minimal and feel aggressive on foot. 


Fit: B+ (Great lockdown, but a little thick in the upper for a spike, suede in the heel can get a little hot)                    
A- (Not as snappy and aggressive as a lot of other spikes, but will do just fine for the distances for a very large majority of competitors) 
A- (Soft heel can be a tad unstable but the transitions are smooth and the plate stabilizes the forefoot well on the turns) 
DPT/Footwear Science:  
(I applaud HOKA ONE ONE for taking a risk with the spike plate design. I think it works to some degree but I'm not sure it is enough to have a significant effect on the turn itself) 
A- (The Speed Evo R is really enjoyable throughout. It isn't the most responsive on a finishing kick compared to some of the competitors but does a good job of keeping things smooth and protective all the way up until that point, especially in the heel) 
Overall:  B+ (This is a distance track spike that will agree with those looking for a more "forgiving spike". There is a little more cushioning and flexibility, but also some solid snappiness from the plate. The upper can be warm and thick for a spike but should still serve its purpose well for racing.)      

Interested in the Hoka Evo R? Check out Running Warehouse here for a pair. This is an affiliate link. Using it helps support Doctors of Running. Thanks so much!   


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Thanks for reading!

Dr. Matthew Klein 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 particular to less cushioned shoes and close to the ground shoes, but can handle a little cushion when he gets beat up. IG handle @kleinrunsdpt

Dr. David Salas is a 135 lb male with notable PRs ranging from 3:54 in the 1500m to 1:08:36 for half marathon. He typically runs 60 to 70 miles per week and trains from about 7:30 recovery runs to fast shorter efforts at 4:30 pace. He normally prefers neutral shoes with a firmer ride, but is completely open to other types of shoes.  He is a footwear enthusiast at heart and will always appreciate a high quality shoe when it comes around. For updates on training or testing, IG handle: @docsofrundavid

Dr. Brown is a 155 lb male with notable PRs of 18:18 5K, 39:25 10K, 1:29:01 half marathon, and 3:54 marathon. He typically runs between 20-40 miles per week at a variety of paces from 7:30-8:30 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. IG handle: @nate.docsofrunning

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.

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 

David Salas PT DPT CSCS
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist

Bach Pham MS
Marketing and Social Media Manager
Master of Arts in Cultural Anthropology

***Disclaimer: These shoes were purchased at from JackRabbit Sports.  This in no way affected the honesty of this review. We systematically put each type of shoe through certain runs prior to review. For trainers and performance trainers, we take them on daily runs, workouts, recovery runs and a long run prior to review (often accumulating anywhere from 20-50 miles in the process). For racing flats we ensure that we have completed intervals, a tempo or steady state run run as well as a warm up and cool down in each pair prior to review. This systematic process is to ensure that we have experience with each shoe in a large variety of conditions to provide expansive and thorough reviews for the public and for companies. Our views are based on our 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.

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