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Completely Balanced, As All Sneakers Ought to Be » Imagine within the Run


What You Want To Know

  • Weighs 10.4 oz. (294 g.) for a US M9 / 8.5 oz. (240 g.) for a US W7
  • Stacks on stacks on Profly stacks
  • Vibram Litebase by no means lets us down
  • At this value, it higher not
  • Out there now for $185

TAYLOR: I’m sitting right here listening to the episode of The Drop podcast with Tony Submit, founding father of Topo Atheltic. As I do, I can’t assist however take into consideration the huge assortment of trainers wherein he’s had a hand, whether or not immediately or not directly. His contact finds a manner into the minimalist and the megalodon, and every stack has its place.

For those who dig into the operating shoe archives just a bit bit to seek out the max-cushion OGs, you’ll rapidly discover the Mafate. It’s the shoe that introduced excessive (on the time) stacks of froth to a market dominated by minimalism. The method made it a quick favourite for all of us who weren’t positive {that a} centimeter of cushion was sufficient. Much less famous was that Hoka discovered a approach to maintain its foam light-weight and blend in a rockered midsole for a clean stride. Truthfully, it was a shoe forward of its time. The unique Mafate taught us that sure, you actually might do extra with extra — not much less.

Since its inception, the Mafate Velocity has undergone some incremental tweaks, and right here we’re with model 4. Sadly, final 12 months’s Mafate Velocity 3 was a miss for us, however not for lack of attempting. It had the cushion and safety, however it wasn’t cleaned up sufficient for something greater than simple cruising.

This 12 months, nevertheless, modifications are afoot. The Mafate Velocity received a reboot as large because the Speedgoat, nearly to the purpose of being a brand-new shoe. I do know, a scary thought whenever you reminisce on the unique. We’re speaking a brand new higher, a Tecton-esque midsole, a revamped outsole, and extra. By some means extra.

The modifications replicate nicely on the spec sheet, however efficiency within the mountains is the true teller of tales. Max-cushioned path runners are not a distinct segment class, with the Brooks Caldera 6, Nike ZoomX Zegama, and Altra Mont Blanc coming into the fray.

Now the query is whether or not or not Hoka can get again on its excessive horse with the unique excessive horse.

MICHAEL: Onions, the Taco Bell five-layer burrito, Shrek, the Hoka Mafate Velocity 4 — what do these nice issues all have in frequent? Layers. Every one has a slab of goodness (or greenness) stacked on high of the following.

Over the past 12 months or so, Hoka has been slowly embracing layers of supercritical foam throughout its vary of footwear, even when it’s not in a rush. There appears to be a stage of reservation, although, as there’s just one Hoka mannequin with a totally supercritical midsole. Exterior of the Carbon X 3, the model can’t appear to give up its traditional EVA and nonetheless provides a rubberized backside layer when it desires some further stack. The Hoka Mafate Velocity 4 has a kind of layers, however this time, Hoka appears to have it proper.

Earlier than this 12 months, you’d be forgiven for mixing up the Speedgoat and the Mafate. They have been each max-stack, trail-ready beasts. Now, there’s a well-defined divide. The Speedgoat 5 will nonetheless shine because the path king, however the Mafate Velocity 4 is poised for a leap — not simply in value.

Let’s see how Hoka separates the sheep from the (Velocity)goats.

Hoka Mafate Speed 4 laces

The Good

TAYLOR: I’m no stranger to the Mafate Velocity household. My love for the Evo Mafate 2 grew as I crammed increasingly more miles into it, but I discovered to detest the Mafate Velocity 3 simply as rapidly. Between the 2, I wasn’t positive how I’d really feel about one other revamp. Now, after a combined bag of miles within the shoe, there’s little question that Hoka is again on monitor.

As Hoka began seeding samples for its newest path ripper, I couldn’t assist however drool over the colorways. From a tropical punch bowl to well-accented forest inexperienced, the colorists have been going wild. One appeared after one other till, lastly, a field arrived at my door. Lo and behold, it was the particular UTMB colorway. I didn’t care the way it carried out, the seems to be alone have been sufficient to make me smile. Relaxation assured, the efficiency saved me smiling.

Jacquard is a enjoyable phrase to say, and it’s simply as snug on foot. Higher but, the woven materials goes to face as much as mile after mile on the path. Hoka added a number of gentle overlays by the lacing chain, toe bumper, and heel for refined reinforcements, and I like its probabilities towards my upcoming coaching block.

The general form of the Mafate Velocity 4 has been altered a bit, and it now slides proper between the Tecton X and Speedgoat. It takes a number of properties from each and a sprinkle or two from the Evo Mafate.

Truthfully, the change is greater than welcome, as I discovered the Mafate Velocity 3 far too roomy by the foot. Model 4 is way tighter all through and feels very snug on foot. It’s safe, too, maybe greater than the Speedgoat 5, due to the jacquard mesh higher. The Mafate Velocity 4 adopts a modestly padded semi-gusseted tongue, a properly padded ankle, and a toebox pulled from different Hoka classics. It’s a bit roomier than the one within the Speedgoat 5, and the vamp permits for some pure toe splay.

I had no bother with motion on steep, technical terrain, which was a pleasing shock. Even when nothing else had modified, the up to date higher can be price it. Extra has modified, although, so let’s carry on truckin’.

The Mafate Velocity 4 shares loads with its Tecton X sibling relating to the underfoot expertise. First, the midsole geometry (33mm heel, 29mm toe, 4mm drop) is nearly an identical, suggesting that the 2 can be stellar coaching companions. Additionally, the shared double layer of Profly+ on high of Profly provides you among the better of each worlds. The Mafate Velocity 4 skips the carbon plate, which makes it really feel extra cushioned and sustainable for lengthy hauls.

I loved the smooth, bouncy layer of Profly+ simply underfoot, and it sits on a firmer, extra sturdy slab of Profly. The 2 commerce off one another properly, and the rockered form brings it collectively. There’s simply sufficient safety, response, and luxury to sort out a variety of terrain. Don’t overlook the wider-than-average footprint that lends a little bit little bit of pure stability.

On the very backside, a layer of Vibram Litebase provides to an already stellar bundle. It’s lighter and extra centered on all-around efficiency than the tough and tumble Megagrip can be. Litebase checks the containers on varied terrain and climate situations, and it even feels constructed to final. Even the distinctive lug sample feels at residence on clean and dicey sections.

MICHAEL: After I first freed the Hoka Mafate Velocity 4 from its cardboard jail, I used to be surprised by the wildly completely different durometers of the foams. The uber-soft Profly+ and agency Profly made me anticipate a shoe that might really feel by some means disjointed. I used to be flawed. Positive, the 2 foams are noticeably completely different, however I by no means discovered that one took away from the opposite. Moderately, each offered a framework for the opposite to play off of. If Hoka had chosen one foam or the opposite, the Mafate Velocity 4 would have turned out both too exhausting or too smooth. Sorry, Goldilocks.

Normally, I’d be fearful about stability in a shoe this tall, too. As soon as once more, not the case. I felt safe and guarded regardless of how rapidly I whipped round turns or bombed down descents. The bounce and velocity of the Profly+ in all probability helped to counteract the burden of the shoe itself.

Hoka’s midsole isn’t the one factor that appears completely balanced, the higher is in on the enjoyable as nicely. It lends consolation and safety in equal measures, with sturdiness in tow. I’ll give the supportive heel collar and outstanding toe bumper some credit score, too, as each guarantee safety with out including to the burden.

Manufacturers typically go a little bit overboard on naming conventions, including buzzwords to shoe titles for seemingly no purpose (like whenever you have been in highschool and attempting to pad your phrase depend with adjectives in an essay). Initially, I forgot that the Mafate formally has velocity within the title till I hit the path. Then, the light-weight higher, aggressive traction, and oh-so-sweet bounce of the dual-layer midsole introduced it proper again to me.

Descents within the Mafate have been particularly enjoyable, as I had no points with match, and the Vibram Litebase gripped the whole lot. Simply because it’s carried out for years and years, Vibram continues to impress. This was my first time attempting out two comparatively new Vibram applied sciences (Litebase and Traction Lug), they usually’re no gimmicks. Within the phrases of Robbe… Megagrip? Extra like MegaRIP.

Fortunately, Taylor touched on among the different excessive factors. In any other case, I might in all probability be writing perpetually. Like the paths the shoe is made for, the value tag is steep, coming in at $185. Nonetheless, from step one, I discovered that the bundle exudes high quality. Every thing screams excellence, from high to backside.

Store Hoka Mafate Velocity – Males
Store Hoka Mafate Velocity – Girls

Hoka Mafate Speed 4 side

The Dangerous

TAYLOR: Hoka’s path division has been hitting it out of the park with this 12 months’s updates. Every entry appears to discover a laundry listing of positives and pairs it with only a few minor quirks right here and there. For the Mafate Velocity 4, the quirks are particularly minimal.

Throughout my first few runs, I seen some lateral rubbing on my pinky toes, which is odd as a result of the toe field feels the identical form because the Speedgoat however a little bit roomier. It’s my solely actual challenge with the higher, and it would simply be as a result of so few sneakers have actual break-in durations anymore. Fortunately, the rubbing dissipated after these runs. It’s not a novel drawback to the Mafate Velocity 4, and it’s seemingly simply because the mesh is extra abrasive than we’ve seen in others just like the Speedgoat 5.

MICHAEL: I’m truthfully having a troublesome time discovering something to place on this part. The one gripe I’ve with the shoe is that I believe Hoka pared down the outsole a little bit an excessive amount of. I might have appreciated a tad bit extra protection on the center of the shoe, as I believe it might assist loads with rock hopping by stream crossings and different path paraphernalia. Whereas it might imply an ever so slight improve in weight, the Mafate is an all-mountain shoe, in any case. It could be good to see Hoka give the shoe full outsole protection and save the uncovered EVA for characteristically lighter sneakers just like the Tecton X.

One other minor gripe is that I wish to see lace keepers on extra sneakers. Altra is an apparent candidate with its mile-long laces, however it might even be good to see Hoka get in on the sport. It may very well be that I’m a little bit spoiled from the lace keeper on the Brooks Caldera 6, Saucony Peregrine 12, or the tremendous slick BOA dials on the Speedland SL:HSV, however I identical to the sensation of getting laces neatly tucked away for technical trails.

Store Hoka Mafate Velocity – Males
Store Hoka Mafate Velocity – Girls

Hoka Mafate Velocity 4 Conclusion

TAYLOR: On the finish of the day, I prefer to weigh what the corporate says concerning the shoe towards what the shoe can do nicely. Hoka nailed this one. Take Mafate Velocity 4 anyplace, and also you’ll be superb with it. That is the individuals’s Hoka. Efficiency, consolation, and magnificence all meet collectively and shake fingers emphatically right here.

This one can be for individuals who desire a comparable match to the Speedgoat 5 or Evo Mafate 2 however want extra construction up high and cushion under. Although I’d decide the Speedgoat for extra technical terrain, the Mafate can be a great all-arounder. Once more, this might even be an important coaching accomplice for many who love the Tecton X.

I wish to depart little question that this may very well be an important choice for absolutely anything. For what it’s price, this might in all probability be my primary selection for giant ultras. I like what the Brooks Caldera 6 offered when it comes to safety and stability. Nonetheless, the Mafate now affords a hefty portion of all that goodness in a a lot lighter bundle (11.2 oz. for a US M10.5).

MICHAEL: Probably the most vital competitors for Mafate Velocity 4 nearly actually comes inside Hoka. Earlier than the launch of the Velocity 4, runners who sought a extra aggressive Speedgoat had to decide on between a heavier, dearer Mafate Velocity 3 (with a midsole that hadn’t been up to date in generations) and the Speedgoat 4. You would see the place most individuals landed after taking a look at just about any begin line.

Issues have modified, although, with the Mafate Velocity 4. Whereas I don’t suppose many runners can be seeking to shell out an additional $30 over the Speedgoat 5 for what is actually a extra aggressive outsole and a few tremendous foam, I nonetheless wouldn’t hesitate to advocate leaping to the Mafate. The twin density midsole provides the shoe some truthfully distinctive traits that you must really feel to consider.

Possibly it’s a private desire, however I can’t consider a a lot better shoe for technical extremely racing. From the right mix of cushioning and stability, the splendidly aggressive Vibram outsole, and the light-weight, but protecting higher, Hoka has knocked it out of the park with this one.

Whereas the shoe is marketed as an all-mountain shoe and is probably going aimed toward UTMB or Hardrock greater than the Southeastern US, I might advocate this to any fellow east coast extremely path racer in search of a shoe that’s secure but cushioned and excellent for that steep, rooty, muddy, and slick east coast terrain. This can be my shoe of selection for this 12 months’s Mountain Mist 50K, along with some FKT makes an attempt this fall.

You may decide up the Hoka Mafate Velocity 4 for $185 at Operating Warehouse (that includes free 2-day delivery and 90-day returns) by utilizing the store hyperlink under.

Store Hoka Mafate Velocity – Males
Store Hoka Mafate Velocity – Girls

Michael is an avid path runner, bicycle owner, and (former?) triathlete. He at present lives in Huntsville, Alabama, the place he research mechanical engineering.



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