Hoka trail shoe durability / delamination issues!
Sep 2, 2019 at 3:18 pm #3608610
I’ve been wanting to post about this for a while, but the discussion at the end of the Tahoe Rim trip report finally convinced me to do it. (More after this first post).Sep 2, 2019 at 3:33 pm #3608615
I really love the cushion provided by Hoka shoes, since I use them not only for hiking and backpacking but also longish (for me) trail runs. I also have one joint in my ankle fused which slightly limits my range of motion so the rockered soles are nice.
My current pair is my third set of Speed Goats (these are SG3’s) that I reluctantly bought after my first two pairs fell apart – the exposed foam in the heel literally punched all the way through the sole on my second pair (see pictures). I have also had the sole pieces delaminate very quickly on every pair and model I’ve owned (Challenger ATR’s included). It is now to the point where I can’t stomach buying another pair that will last me less than six months, even with a lot of patience and repair glue.
Firstly, does anyone have any recommendations for well-cushioned, DURABLE, reasonably light (but mostly durable), comfortable trail running / light hiker shoes? I cannot use Altras because I have narrower feet and my forefoot swims around in those so much I can’t walk on any sort of sidehill and the constant forefoot motion quickly gives me hot spots and blisters. So I’m looking for max cushion, narrow uppers, one-piece outsole with good traction.
Secondly, have any Hoka owners found ANY adhesive that successfully bonds the rubber sole bits back to the delicate foam midsole? I have used Shoe Goo for several pairs but it always pulls back apart after one or two uses. I just recently tried Liquid Nails industrial construction adhesive, but after one 23-mile run the rubber is already coming away from that too (this adhesive is the gray stuff in the pictures). Please, if you have found anything that bonds the rubber back in place long term, let me know. I am becoming very frustrated by this issue! And please Hoka, for the love of all that’s good, please use a one-piece outsole on all your shoes!!!
Lastly, I want to share that the only reason I resigned myself to buy another pair of Speed Goats, besides being the only brand and model I could find with enough cushion, that fit my foot shape, with good traction (I tried the Hoka Torrents but the toe box is too wide on those), is that the running store salesman told me the Hoka rep said they’ve fixed the sole delamination issue with the 3rd gen Speed Goats. I call bull$*t on that! The SG3’s pictured (black and green) I’ve only had for 2-1/2 months and look at them! Falling apart already.
– DisgustedSep 2, 2019 at 4:03 pm #3608623
Second pair of Speed Goats I owned (SG2’s):
3rd pair I owned (SG3’s) after only 2-1/2 months (Less than 100 miles!):
After trying Shoe Goo and failing, I tried Liquid Nails:
The Liquid Nails didn’t even last for one 23-mile run!Sep 2, 2019 at 4:51 pm #3608629Steve BBPL Member
@geokiteLocale: Southern California
How many miles do your shoes get? Time of usage doesn’t tell much, miles do.
I run and hike with the Speedgoat 2s, and have had none of the issues you show. 264 miles of trail running on one pair, they look fine. Wearing down of course, but nothing coming apart or through. I expect to get 4-500 miles on a pair.Sep 2, 2019 at 5:03 pm #3608630Paul SBPL Member
I run ultra’s in Hoka Mafate Evos and typically use Mafate Speed’s for hiking off-trail. They’re heavier but also more durable. I found I wore out the Speedgoat’s tread a bit quicker, and I prefer the fit of the Mafate’s. I’m getting about 300+ miles, off-trail in the Sierra, with the Mafate Speeds, more if I’m hiking mostly trails. I’ve ripped holes in the upper mesh prematurely (from rocks) before but that is about it. They are not wide, but not sure if they are truly a narrow shoe. You might try some on, and if they fit then see if you have better luck with them.Sep 2, 2019 at 5:07 pm #3608631
Have you tried La Sportiva shoes?
They tend to run narrow. The Akasha has been my go-to hiking shoe for the last several years. They’re not quite as spongy as Hokas, but they do offer a lot of underfoot protection, and they are narrow.
I second Steve’s question about miles. If I’m reading your image comments correctly, your third pair has lasted <100 miles, with separation at the heel on the first 23 mile run. Maybe there’s something in your running/hiking form that specifically stresses SGs in a way they were poorly designed to cope with?
I’ve been using the Hoka Mafete Evo 1 for running and on-trail hiking lately, with a little bit of off-trail. It fits great and runs great. You might try that one, too. I’m at about 300 miles in my first pair, and they are still looking good. I haven’t had any of the issues that you’ve had with your SGs.Sep 2, 2019 at 5:50 pm #3608635
I don’t track how many miles I run on certain shoes. But I don’t run or hike very much compared to high-mileage users. I’d have to go add up all the hikes and runs I’ve done since mid-June to figure it out.
Yes I’ve tried La Sportiva shoes. Used to love them, but no cushion at all. And the toe boxes are not just narrow but very pointed, which on my feet causes severe blisters on my outer toes.
I might try the Mafate shoes next, but I won’t be expecting much.
As for my running form, I’ve been to an ultra runner physical therapist and he coached me on proper running technique. I dare say I have very good running form. I do not land on my heel or have high-impact foot strikes. I do go up and down steep hills, and going down could stress the heel tread. But they’re called trail shoes aren’t they? If I wanted groomed path shoes I’d buy all-terrain shoes.Sep 2, 2019 at 5:53 pm #3608637
Seems like there’s a big hole in the trail running shoe market for cushioned, durable, reasonably light shoes. I really hope someone comes in and fills it soon. I don’t see any of the big players heading that way.Sep 2, 2019 at 5:55 pm #3608638
As for my running form, I’ve been to an ultra runner physical therapist and he coached me on proper running technique. I dare say I have very good running form.
I didn’t mean to imply you had bad running form, just that perhaps there’s some aspect of your form that is particularly stressing on SGs. If not that–and if you didn’t get a bad pair–then why do you think yours are failing in 23 miles, while others last hundreds?Sep 2, 2019 at 7:50 pm #3608648
I need to clarify the miles on these shoes I’ve posted pictures of. I added up all the runs and hikes I’ve logged on these from my Gaia and running apps. Prior to using Liquid Nails to try repairing the soles (heel rubber bits and toe caps) I had only 49 miles running plus 62 miles hiking on them. During that time the toe cap and heels had already delaminated at some point, and I glued them back together with Shoe Goo. So the rubber had started peeling off well before <span style=”text-decoration: underline;”>100 total miles</span>, which I repaired with Shoe Goo and it lasted a little while, then I repaired them again with Liquid Nails. After using Liquid Nails, I only did one more run of 23 miles and they peeled apart again (one picture shows the heel delamination WITH the gray adhesive on them).
So total mileage on this pair, running + hiking, is <span style=”text-decoration: underline;”>135 miles</span>. During that time I’ve had to repair the sole rubber and toe caps twice. I would call that very very poor durability!
Asking: does anyone have good success with an adhesive that will durably repair these shoes?Sep 2, 2019 at 8:15 pm #3608654
Have you tried Gorilla Glue?
I haven’t ever tried it on shoes, but in general, it does pretty well with dissimilar materials. Not sure how well it will hold up between the dynamic interfaces of a shoe, but it may be worth a shot.
Something that cures a little softer, with a little elasticity, seems like it would be better for that those splits that form in the outsole.Sep 2, 2019 at 10:22 pm #3608673moggieBPL Member
Have you looked at Topo shoes? I know they run narrower than Altras, having worn both. I don’t know if they have anything that suits your preference for cushioning, though.Sep 3, 2019 at 12:40 am #3608690
I was going to try Topo shoes next. I’m wary of the wide toe box they claim to have, since even the Hoka Torrents felt to sloppy laterally on my feet. They look pretty well cushioned.
I don’t think Gorilla Glue would work well because it cures pretty stiff. That’s why I’ve been trying flexible adhesives so far. I’m thinking of trying silicone caulk next. But now the other adhesives are contaminating the surfaces I need to bond.Sep 3, 2019 at 1:57 am #3608701JohnBPL Member
@johnnyh88Locale: The SouthWest
My Topo Terraventure 2s have been the most comfortable trail runners I’ve ever worn. But they do have a wide toe box and they are not very durable. One of my pairs of shoes had the sole delaminating in just over 100 miles. See my picture here:
Topo seems to have the same tread design on all of their trail runners and I don’t want to risk a failure like that happening again. While Topo got me a replacement pair of shoes in just 4 days for free, that wouldn’t help much if I was in the wilderness a long way from the trailhead.
So my search for new shoes has begun. Durability is a priority. Based on what you’ve specified, I think the La Sportiva Akasha would be worth trying on. They’re not as narrow as the Speedgoats though.Sep 3, 2019 at 3:07 am #3608707
Thanks for the info on the Topo shoes. At least they stand behind them and replace them. Except for my pair of Hokas that had a hole blow through the midsole under the heel, they just shrug their shoulders at delaminated soles like its to be expected.
As I said above, I used to love La Sportivas but they don’t have enough cushion for me and the pointed toes give me blisters on my outer (small) toes.
Maybe I can pack foam into the toe box of Altras to take up all that extra room meant for wide American type feet? (Just kidding)Dec 7, 2019 at 12:32 am #3621850
I need to thank @moggie and @johnnyh88 for suggesting Topo Athletic shoes. I got a pair of Ultraventures (their most cushioned) and love them! I’ve only used them for a couple of trail runs and hikes, but they are the most comfortable shoes I’ve worn. I can’t speak to the durability yet, but the Vibram soles are close to being continuous so hopefully the pieces don’t peel off like all my Hoka shoes have done. The traction is amazing, too – even on wet or frozen slush.Dec 7, 2019 at 12:45 am #3621854Brian WBPL Member
Seems like there’s a big hole in the trail running shoe market for cushioned, durable, reasonably light shoes. I really hope someone comes in and fills it soon. I don’t see any of the big players heading that way.
I’ve been using Altra Loan Peak 4.0 for the last year. I was in 3.5s the year before. When I was hiking around GA, they were fine as long as I was in thin wool socks (DeFeet worked). If I was in thick, wool socks such as Darn Tough Wool, I ended up with blisters. When I got back to AZ, I found that for any really rocky trails, they didn’t hold up at all. Not enough cushion or durability. I didn’t get blisters in thicker socks, and the thicker socks helped a little with the lack of cushion. They do make shoes with more cushion that I’m wiling to try out, but I’m still not sold on their durability. I’m considering trying Solomon again mainly for more durability.
What sucks about buying trail runners is that once you find a shoe and model that you like, the manufacture stops making it or changes it. Super frustrating. And it gets expensive trying to find a replacement.
But what’s good is now is that a lot of last year models are on sale, so if you don’t need the latest version, now is a great time to take advantage of some sales.Dec 7, 2019 at 12:47 am #3621855Rex SandersBPL Member
Seems like there’s a big hole in the trail running shoe market for cushioned, durable, reasonably light shoes.
Probably one of those “pick any two” things. I’m on my second pair of Hoka Challengers in less than a year. No delamination, but the lugs wear down very quickly.
Since 2003, I’ve usually gotten at least a year out of trail running shoes used daily and for hiking & backpacking, not running. Except the bad models of Brooks Cascadias a few years ago.
Love my Hoka’s. I have new pair waiting in the closet when these wear out. Just wish they lasted longer.
— RexDec 9, 2019 at 2:17 am #3622107Sam FarringtonBPL Member
@scfhomeLocale: Chocorua NH, USA
Sounds like another adhesive question. Am lucky, because live near Limmer Boots, and take all shoe repairs to them. Peter Limmer, the younger, is kind enough to fix store bought brands. But any good cobbler should know what adhesive to use, and be able to do it well.
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