OK, I know, the title of this writing makes no sense. So, I will explain. “Kyotee” refers to the Nike Kyotee trail shoe. Nike, in their wisdom, has chosen to discontinue the shoe. Nike does that a lot.

            I own two pair of the Kyotees. The oldest pair is used for physical education teaching outside in the mornings when the grass is wet. They keep my feet relatively dry. Ah, but the other pair…they have been rediscovered by my feet.

            The Kyotee’s are a fat pair of shoes. They are trail shoes and have a thick sole, much thicker than any of my other running shoes. I run on the roads 95% of the time, so I started using the Kyotee’s in my rotation of shoes for my runs. I wasn’t using them much on the trails since I wasn’t getting to trails very often. The Kyotee’s give plenty of cushioning with their fat soles. They make the asphalt feel soft.

            As I was wearing them in my rotation every once in a while, I found them to be very, very comfortable. My feet enjoyed the softness of the fatness. After a few rotations, I started working them in the rotation more often. Then, I started looking forward to the “Kyotee” day.

            They felt so good on my feet and legs that I started using them on longer runs. This was an addition to the usual long run stable of shoes, Brooks Glycerin 9’s; Brooks Glycerin 11’s; and Brooks Flow’s with the Flow’s bringing up the rear. The Kyotee’s were coming up fast.

            Finally, I took the Kyotee’s for a 30-mile run to see if they would hold up and feel as good as they did on shorter runs. They hung in there. The fat-soled Kyotee’s felt great all the way through the thirty miles. Now, I’m thinking about using them in ultra races. Hmm…

            My go-to shoes right now for ultra races are the Brooks Flow 2’s. I wore them in the Last Annual Vol-State Road Race last summer and in a 50K on trails this last October. They performed with no problems. I wore the Brooks Glycerin 11’s last May in a 24-hour run with no problems in that one. But, the Kyotee’s make me rethink the “go-to” selection.    

            You know, one can become thoroughly confused by reading the shoe analysis reports in running publications such as Runner’s World and other running magazines. And, if you read the advertisements from the shoe companies about their latest models, that will only add to the confusion for the runner in search of new and better shoes. There is just too much conflicting information out there about which is best for the runner. Over there, they tell me that the zero heel drop is the best ever. Over here, they tell me that barefoot is the way to go; after all, it is all natural and what could be better than that? Then there are the guys telling me that their latest and improved model makes it best for comfort, protection, and durability. Oh! Don’t forget the shoe improvisers who want to get me into the wide toe box for natural function of the foot.

            If I didn’t know better, I would just flip a coin to pick a shoe. But, I do know better, so I tend to go with the simplicity approach. If it feels good, it is probably a good shoe for me. Not that I eschew the information about the new shoes, but I will put more stock in the information from other runners who have used the shoes in question…those runners in an on-line forum and who have no vested interest in anything connected to the shoe except, maybe, the money they paid for the shoes. These forums have positive and negative feedback about particular shoes. After reading the remarks, it is just a matter of deciding to try or fore-go the shoes.

            So, now I am in deep thought about the feeling I’m getting from the Kyotee’s. Should I stay with the traditional big company shoes such as the Brooks Glycerins or the little less traditional Brooks Flows and Flow 2’s? The Nike Free shoes have definitely been surpassed to leave that level of minimalism behind. Should I try the fatter soled shoes that promise more cushioning with some stability? Hmm…

            Hoka in the title refers to the Hoka One shoes. Some runners in the Last Annual Vol-State Road Race have worn the Hoka shoes. Just about all the feedback from those runners is positive. Durability seems to be the only question. At first, I looked upon the Hoka shoes as another gimmick, but after the Vol-State feedback, I began to give them more serious thought. I haven’t tried them; haven’t even thought about trying them. But, after rediscovering the feeling of fat shoes through the Kyotees, the Hoka shoes have entered my brain scan. If the Kyotees feel that good, would the Hokas feel even better?

            I don’t know. But, maybe, I will have to find the answer. Or, maybe not. The Washingtons, much less the Jacksons, might not agree.

            I will have to ponder on taking the step of trying the Hoka shoes. I’m still searching out feedback on these fat boys. So far, it is all positive except for the aforementioned durability aspect. I have a “Shoe Hall of Fame” on my website, www.westbrookrunning.com, in which a pair of shoes will make the hall of fame if they reach 500 miles. There are several pair of shoes residing in that Hall of Fame. The durability question of the Hoka shoes might prevent their entry into the Hall of Fame. That would be a big negative against the Hoka shoes. Decisions, decisions…

            That leads to the term, “Poka.” That term in the title doesn’t mean anything. “Hoka” just reminded me of the term, “Hocus pocus” which I would use before my lame magic tricks as a kid. “Hoka-Pocus” just doesn’t sound right, so there you go. “Hoka-Poka.”

            Come to think of it…That sounds a little strange also.

 

                                                                                                                                     Richard Westbrook

                                                                                                                                      November 5, 2014

Comments
  1. smrtnsasy says:

    Great article, but rather than “Hocus-Pocus,” I was thinking the Hokey-Pokey. I guess it is whether you prefer magic or dancing.

  2. Kurt says:

    Original Kyotee best shoe ever in my 45 years of running. Let’s help Nike re- introduce.

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