Sunday, November 27, 2016

First Impression of the Hoka One One Tracer

Got to put the Tracer through its paces on this fine Saturday morning's long run. The supposed LSD (Long, Slow Distance) run turned out to be a tempo run for most of the distance from our usual starting point at Bulatan Park to the junction to the crocodile farm in Kuala Baram with a full loop distance of approximately 33KMs. One hell of a long run with an average tempo pace of 5'30" per kilometre for the first 26KM. Fast and furious, at least by my standard, for that long of a distance.

The Tracer looks quite stunning on feet, and looks fast even when at standstill. It held quite well through its maiden run, and truly feels like a fast road shoe as it's been made out to be. Very lightweight and responsive, it has that familiar feel with my previous go-to shoes for marathon, namely the Saucony Kinvara 6 and Skechers GoRun4, with similar 4mm heel-to-toe offset. Here's my take on the shoe after a 3-hour plus break-in run:

- Lightweight (pretty unbelievably lightweight for this amount of shoe)
- Smooth transition (Meta-rocker geometry works perfectly, and no noticeable step change feel although the midsole uses 2 distinct materials with different density)
- Decent amount of cushioning (Pro2Lite uses 2 distinct midsole materials - softer for the heel, and firmer for the forefoot) 
- Very good ventilation (a lot of breath-ability with the upper mesh design, aids with cooling and feels like a quick to dry shoe  when getting into wet situations)
- Decent traction and stability (looks like a tall-ish shoe but it's got a cradling bucket seat foot frame inside)
- Comfy padded shoe tongue
- No visible sole wear after a 30+ KM run (really expecting to get more mileage out of this fast road shoe)

- Forefoot cushioning feels a bit too firm (for runs longer than half-marathon distances)
- Narrow toe-box fit (had a bit of rubbing issues on my left pinky toe, and toe splay feels restricted; looking to sort out the hot spot with proper lacing)
- Minor creases starting to appear on the toe-box area at the bending (to be expected, I guess)

This is my 5th pair of running shoe in rotation at the moment. The GoRun4 and K6 looks like they're going to be retired in the near future, given their current condition and wear rate.

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