Why MBT lovers are switching to the lighter cushion of Hoka One One

Rocker bottom soles have proven to substantially relieve pain associated with a variety of foot problems. But not all Rocker Bottoms are created equal and that is why we have talked to many people in the medical community and beyond who love MBT for many reasons, but realized over the last couple of years, that there is another, more versatile player in this game. Welcome to the top of the class, Hoka One One!

We have been watching this movement happen and wanted to share with you why our customers are moving from their beloved MBTs to the lighter, “rocker with stability experience” of Hoka One One. Here’s a quick history to help you better understand how this transition took place.

When Rocker Bottoms exploded in the marketplace nearly 15 years ago, they became known as “Maximalist” shoes- much heavier and clunkier than most people were used to but offered great benefits that other conventional shoes simply could not. MBT was one of the only “Maximalist” shoes around. Wearing MBT, your body could benefit greatly from increased shock absorption, reduced joint stress/pain and reduced lumbar pain, but you were stuck with a heavier, unstable, and orthopedic looking shoe. Over the years, of course, MBT has changed their designs to look more conventional and offers different levels of the rocker, but because of the inherent thicker midsole, they remain one of the more unbalanced in the Rocker Bottom category. And, while some people like that unbalanced feel so they can strengthen different muscles to train their bodies to balance itself, many enjoy the benefits of a Rocker Bottom, but need more a bit more balance to give them a feeling of security and safety. And, Hoka One One offers just that- different levels of cushioning while maintaining help with propulsion and decreased joint pain.

It's no surprise that as many other players would joined the game once  Rocker Bottom shoes became very popular and proved their benefits. But when Hoka One One joined, it quickly surpassed all of them with its innovative construction. Finally, you could reap the benefits of a Rocker Bottom, but with a sleeker profile and more stability.  Even though MBT was the originator, many podiatrists even agree that Hoka has leapfrogged them and taken a good thing and made it even greater!

The Hoka One One Rocker Bottom Sole is well known for redistributing plantar pressures during the gait cycle when walking or running.  There certainly is some science behind the Hoka Experience. The iconic cushioned midsole has marshmallow  softness and offers shock absorption, comfort and support in varying degrees of thickness. The metarocker drives you forward and reduces the height differential between heel and toe. Hoka offers a late-stage Meta-Rocker where the transition zone is placed in front of the metatarsal heads, which provides a more stable base for forefront support. And the Active foot frame in Hokas acts like a bucket seat in a racecar, cradling the heel and embedding the foot securely into the midsole.  

Hoka is popular with the Ultra-Marathoners and long-distance walkers because they reduce fatigue, impact, and muscle strain that are caused by these activities.  And, unlike MBTs SensorTechnology ™ that cushions the heel, but offers no stability, Hoka’s wider, full-ground-contact base and stable rearfoot provides you with support and confidence, while the forefoot rocker limits flexion, ultimately, allowing you to pass quickly through the added pressure on your metatarsals when you move forward.

In the same vein, rheumatoid arthritis sufferers can comfortably wear Hoka where they often experience significant forefoot pain in conventional flexible footwear. As you know, the Forefoot rocker is not a new invention.  It is used extensively in managing a variety of orthopedic foot issues from post-surgery to neuromas, to various forms of metatarsalgia. The problem is that a stiff rocker is usually only available in an uninspiring, unathletic, orthopedic shoe.  Hoka provides a lightweight, well cushioned mainstream option.

The word has gotten out about Hoka One One. Doctors are prescribing their patients to wear them; customers are coming back for their 2nd and 3rd pairs. They have helped so many people become active and stay active. Recently, they launched recovery shoes to help keep them comfortable after they exercise (See Hoka Recovery Shoes and Sandals). Hoka believes that everyone is an athlete. And however you find joy in movement, HOKA has your back. Have you tried a pair yet?


June 24, 2021 — rebecca monarch