Super-Cush Trail Shoes


Despite all of the buzz surrounding barefoot running at the moment, French footwear company HOKA has decided to go in the opposite direction. Called Hubbles, HOKA’s new line of super-cushioned trail shoes will debut in May.

HOKA was started by avid trail runners Nicolas Mermoud and Jean Luc Diard. The pair were tired of rigid trail shoes and wanted a shoe design that would help them run more naturally with a feeling of “freedom, speed, comfort and performance.”

HOKA Super Cushioned Trail Shoes.jpg

HOKA Super Cushioned Trail Shoes

The Hubbles have a rounded sole shape for a continuous and natural heel to toe transition. The front of the shoe tips up for aid in push off. The underside of the sole is etched much like winter tires — each of the lugs morphs to the terrain, orienting itself for the best possible grip, the company touts.

The key innovation in the Hubbles trail shoe is the dynamic cushioning property of the sole. As you run, the cushioned sole morphs to absorb the uneven ground, leaving no impact on your foot, the company says. The claim is that you feel as though you are running on flat ground. As you run downhill, the heel compresses, putting your foot in a more natural position. As you run uphill, the forefoot compresses to do the same, HOKA says.

I tried on a pair of Hubbles at the Outdoor Retailer trade show in January. Those of you from Wisconsin will understand this reference — the shoes feel like running on a pair of foam Cheese Head hats.

I could see how one might feel more stable running over uneven terrain. But it could take a while getting used to being so high off and somewhat disconnected with the ground.

—Amy Jurries is founder and editor of, a blog dedicated to profiling emerging companies and technologies in the outdoor sports industry.

Posted by Tom - 02/28/2010 04:07 AM

Looks good for diabetics or those with foot problems.

Posted by t.c. worley - 02/28/2010 12:52 PM

For sure seems like backwards progress here. Was rolling ankels a concern with these – I imagine one roll and you’d be really damaged? Sorry, but they look hideous too.

Posted by Amy Jurries - 02/28/2010 10:25 PM

Hi T.C.- they are meant to keep your foot level when you go over uneven terrain so you will actually have less chance of rolling your ankle than with stiffer soled shoes that have no give. It takes awhile to get used to but then you realize the potential as trail shoes.

Posted by Paul Petch - 03/01/2010 01:19 AM

These look like energy sucking monsters! Surly you can’t expect them to take off? Ridiculous!

Good luck to them though!

Posted by gordon - 03/05/2010 03:08 PM

Far be it from me to critique other outdoor products. But I’d rather run in stiletto heels than these moonboots.

Posted by Joshua Sun - 03/05/2010 03:39 PM

hands down, one of the worst ideas i’ve ever seen. absolutely retarded.

Posted by Jim - 03/05/2010 03:50 PM

This actually has very high potential for those like me who have back problems…anything that cushion the impact, is god sent!!!!

Posted by Tim Reding - 03/05/2010 09:13 PM

Who told you or them that heel to toe running is natural? It is not.

Posted by Ian Munro - 03/08/2010 05:40 AM

I love the idea that sticking a large lump of foam under your foot will help you run how nature intended ;)

Posted by Matt Smith DC CSCS - 05/22/2010 07:12 PM

Heel strike to toe off is an ideal gait and these shoes are fantastic… many of the comments seem to stem from gait ignorance and a problem of judging a book by it’s cover…not smart…I’ve done multiple ultramarathons in these and I love them!

Posted by Johnny - 05/25/2010 11:56 PM

Is anyone here familiar with Nike Vomeros? Arguably one of the softest/cushion midsoles in the running shoe market. Can someone out there attest as to which one is a softer ride. I’m very intriqued by the concept of the Hubbles. Being in the military any shoe that reduces the shock during running is a major plus!

Posted by herbie helmeset - 05/26/2010 11:25 AM

just got back from a trail run here in the canadian rockies. ‘ was thinking I’d like a nice super cushioned shoe to protect from all the jagged rocks. where can I get a pair?

Posted by PatagoniaBoy - 03/10/2011 05:15 AM

For all the guys who used to believe women should never run marathons because it would damage them, maybe this is not for you. for the people who are wanting to get the best out of themselves give this one-one a go. After 3 years of doing 90% of my training on the trails, and trying these shoes out (courtesy of Climbers Shop, Ambleside) as opposed to my inov8 Talons and NB 101, I am amazed. I would rather not tell anyone how great my recovery runs have become, or how following the fall line on the descents is now the best option. Coming back from a slight shinsplint injury, I am now posting my fastest times on the trails I am running. Though obviously a grassy traverse isn’t going to be their forte, rocky/gravely trails are. There are good and bad points about any shoe, but the 60gram weight penalty running uphill is far outweighed by the speed and recovery that your legs can match on the downs. a 13 mile training run (I am not a big milage guy like most of you) seems like 6. They are that good. So actually disregard all I have said and please keep away from them. That way I may have a better chance of finishing in the prizes.

I have not given up on all my other shoes though. Its good to let your feet workout as well as your cardio. But now most of my runs are in the sponges.

I will also mention that I am running in the One-One version and not the Trail, No samples yet in the shop to try, but somehow I am going to have to think of a way of hiding these puppies once I have two new pairs under the bed! What – these old things?

Posted by picklediva - 03/13/2011 12:57 PM

As a female hiker with a serious heel problem, these sound like the long-lost cloud-shoes I’ve been looking for (I wear trail runners to hike). Anyone tried them with foot issues? Results?

Posted by Jim - 05/28/2011 01:19 AM

I tried on a pair that the rep dropped off. It was a size 10, and I wear 11ish, so they were tight. Gave me a decent idea about them though. Very light for how much material appears to be involved. Way high up off the ground, but very wide at the sole. I agree it would be very hard to roll you ankle. If you managed to it would probably break. They were very soft and cushion-y

Posted by Paul - 08/01/2011 11:47 PM

Well now, I always get a charge out of negative reviews from folks who have NEVER tried the product. I’ve run on a lot of shoes…ran in highschool, college cross-country and track, and currently train higher mileage…8-10 mile runs. These shoes are brilliant! Recovery the next day is like you never went on a run the day before. This is a very amazing new shoe. I would say groundbreaking product! Please only review if you’ve tried them. Negative reviews are so lame, actually, if you have not tried the product.

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