“Madness in a shoe box” has already been said, but I am very glad indeed that the swing towards barefoot running means nothing to some people who are still steering their own course in footwear design. So, it’s with a big grin that I took Hoka’s Mafate WP’s on test.
The looks are somewhat striking, and the reasons for that huge sole unit are explained here. But it’s a shoe, not a curio, so what have we got? The fit is good in my usual UK9, the toe is slightly tapered fell-shoe style, and they do seem to have a little asymmetric curve like you see on some scrambling/alpine footwear. The heel cup is nice and deep with a high back which is notched to take the strain off your achilles tendon, the sides are pretty low cut, so although they look big, the uppers certainly don’t feel it. The uppers are mesh with some some strengthening stitching, overlays and synthetic leather patches at the high ear areas at the heel, foot opening and tow, where there’s some extra abrasion patches. There’s an own-brand waterproof liner, which in a low-cut shoe is as always a topic of discussion on its own.
The outsole has plenty of multi-angled lugs and quite a bit of exposed midsole foam too, this will help flexibility through the thick sole, but it will probably take a beating on rough ground, although only time will tell. In sole is a basic thin foam affair.
On my foot they were a little odd at first, I’m a good couple of inches taller for a start, but the upper doesn’t pivot on the foam, it does feel like a single unit which was a relief and means when I take them out I won’t be gingerly padding along like I was wearing stilettos on cobbles.
Interesting for sure, no idea how this is going to go, but I’ll be back with more.