Its “Time To Fly” with HOKAs latest offering. . .
The Hoka Evo Mafate is a Trail shoe that is designed for longer distance/ultra training and racing. You could call it the “racing” version of the Mafate Speed 2, with some great updates and improvements.
I have spent a couple of 100kms in this model now, including running around 60 kms in them at the Lavaredo Ultra trail 120km race. I’ve run in the Italian, French, Swiss, and Sardinian mountains it this shoe, and they’ve seen some pretty technical terrain. lets get into it and see what I thought…
The outsole contains a mix of strategically placed Vibram 5mm Supergrip rubber lugs, and Hokas own R-Bound blend of rubber. It has some well placed flex grooves to allow for a bit of movement on toe off. Its wide, grippy base helps maintain stability on most surfaces, it has good grip in wet/muddy conditions, dry dusty terrain, and even holds its own on a light dusting of snow. The only problem I’ve found is the outsole has worn down relatively quickly. Admittedly, I have run a bit on the asphalt in this model, usually for a couple of KMs to get to the trails. And while its really designed just for the trail, I still would have liked to see a bit more durability in this area.
Lots and Lots of cushioning with a massive 33mm heel-29mm forefoot pad between you and the trail. It still has a reasonable amount of ground feel, responsiveness, and flexibility despite the cushion. HOKAS new R-Bound and EVA midsole material is used to provide comfort. This helps when you’re running super long distances. The rubber seems to hold up well and there is little sign of “compression” or “breakdown” with the distance I’ve run so far.
This is one of the most “cushioned” Hoka models I have run in. And it’s still reasonably light and nimble across most trail surfaces. The stack height is a little lower than the Mafate Speed 2, and the EVA seems a little snappier and more responsive as well.
The upper is breathable and drains well, HOKA are once again trying something new with the MATRYX Kevlar reinforced upper. Padding around the heel is adequate for those extra long runs. And a reduced, ventilated tongue seems to work well. The forefoot is quite wide even with my big feet which i quite like. And the lockdown seems ok once the upper has worn in after a few runs.
I fit a US Mens 12 and this shoe runs true to size and fits me perfectly, a fair bit of toe room compared to other Hoka models. However this makes it good for long long trail runs where your feet will naturally swell a little anyway.
Being a trail shoe, you would expect that it’s going to get knocked around a fair bit. I’ve run in many different terrains with the Evo Mafete , from the mountains of Italy, France, Switzerland, and the rocky, technical trails of Andes in Chile. The shoe holds up well, except for the slightly premature wear on the outsole. the upper shows no sign of wear, splitting, fraying, or breaking down. Taking into account I put my shoes through some pretty tough workouts, I’ve been impressed so far.
For me this is a great long distance trail shoe, especially for those big mileage days on technical terrain.
The Evo Mafate is great if your knocking off a 100km plus ultra where it’s about time on feet, and getting across the finish line with your feet and legs in functional, working order.
I mainly use mine for long training runs and those big days in the mountains when comfort and support are required. and as I mentioned earlier, they also can be used for those races where your feet might take a bit of a beating.
For me the only problems are the slightly premature outsole wear, and the retail price ($170 USD).
Still a shoe I will definitely use as I continue to race longer distance ultras.
Weight (US Sz 9): 9.60 oz
Heel-Toe drop: 4.00mm (33mm heel-29mm forefoot)
Best suited for: Long steady trail runs.
Rating out of 10 9