Being one among thousands of people in their 60s (yesterday’s 40s) on Ireland’s paths and parks striving to keep our less-than-youthful bodies lean, mean and in decent working order through regular jogging, I know full well how supportive running shoes can be a long-lasting friend.
Let’s be honest, in our sixth decade, no matter how fleet-footed we are, our old bones just can’t tolerate the pounding they used to, so every little bit of help is more than welcome. And with widespread research on aging and exercise showing that jogging leads not only to longer life, but a better life, putting some miles underfoot every week is crucial.
That’s why I’m fond of Hoka One One Challenger ATR 4.
Donning a new pair on Saturday morning for the weekly 5km parkrun near the sleepy village of Falcarragh in Donegal, on Ireland’s scenic ‘Wild Atlantic Way,’ I immediately felt the reassurance of the shoes’ hefty cushion underneath, leaving me confident I’d not end up at the finish line with tired, throbbing feet.
And so it turned out to be.
Not only, but I was delighted to come first in my age category (60-64) with a respectable time of around 27 minutes.
Weighing in at only 9 ounces and with a five-millimeter heel to toe drop, the shoes’ offered me plenty of width in the front, with a protective extended rubberized cap allowing my toes to wriggle around a bit and helped prevent stubbing.
Special dual layer mesh on the uppers meant my feet breathed easier while multiple lug patterns along the bottom, all facing different directions, provided reliable traction on both the hard and soft terrain of loose pebbles. With Irish weather being as contrary as it is – especially in wintry, wet January – I felt no fear of slipping and sliding in the mud.
Then there’s what the makers call the shoe’s meta-rocker midsole, which helped propel me forward (hey, at a tender 62, I need all the propelling I can get). Lacing was also fine, no unnecessary tightening required, no shifting around, a firm easy fit.
As for durability, well, it’s a bit premature to comment on that, having just enjoyed two runs so far in them – one in the gym and the other through meandering forest paths – but first indications are hopeful. I sense these fellows are going to last (I only hope I do, too).
Overall, a solid, quality shoe offering plenty of comfort and support.