Well, I’m only one run in on them, but I wanted to give some quick feedback on my first impressions…
I primarily got the Hoka ATR 4 in hopes that I would find a trail running shoe that would give me some of the knee/back forgiveness that seems to be at the core of Hoka’s fame. After the first session on them I am really digging them. I had to resort to the treadmill for my run due to all the snow on the trails right now, but I think that might actually be a better cushion test than a trail run since I seem to have a heavier strike on treadies over natural surface. I noticeably felt like my body took on a bit less stress and I came away with a smile. As someone cautiously making my way back into running with normally aggravated responses post-runs, I was stoked to find what might be just what the doctor ordered to keep me rolling!
7 public marathons in seven days on seven continents + 50 public marathons in every US state in less than a year? Possible Guiness record setter? Ultra-distance runner? Ironman triathlete/coach? Successful kicker of a decades-long nicotine addiction? Motivational speaker? All in a day’s work for Dave Jones of Eternal Endurance with whom we had the pleasure of speaking for the site’s first podcast. The audio quality on our side of the recorded call was total crap unfortunately, and there were many lessons learned for podcasting, but we won’t let that stop the inspiration of Dave coming through loud and clear. Word of caution – if you’ve been making any excuses about why you “can’t” lately, and want to keep using those excuses, don’t listen to this.
This morning I took out the Black Diamond Trail Pro Shock Trekking Poles for a spin on the local trails. Here are some first thoughts. UPDATE – After a little over a year now with these poles and putting them through the paces on many climbing/hiking trips, I’m happy to report that these poles have held up extremely well and have been reliable and up to the task. Super happy with the performance!
Easily adjustable (both shaft length and wrist straps)
Cool red/black color combo
Solid feel on non-technical ground
Adjustable screw allows effective “dial-in” repair of poles if they start to collapse.
Felt a little “weak in the knees” when using them as support while descending technical terrain
The shock felt overly stiff, like a locked out MTB fork. (Although too much rebound can be detrimental on tech sections.)
All-in-all, a solid first go with these poles, they’re a good choice. Neither “whoa!” nor “blech!”, just kinda living in that world of “these will work.” If you’re someone who is regularly fully-loaded in long, steep, super technical terrain, where you’re placing tons of weight on the poles for support, you might want to choose something a little more burly (but that will likely come with a significant weight penalty). If you’re like the other 95% of backpackers, adventure racers, climbers, hikers, etc, these will likely be an excellent choice for your needs. More to come as the mileage increases!
Josh Hageman joined The Arthritic Athlete community a couple days ago with the milestone of his 40th birthday. One of his ways to celebrate was to go get a little dizzy by running 40 miles on a local high school track. That’s right – 160 laps. Awesomely insane!
A big Happy Birthday to Josh. Check him out at @j2pointo on Instagram!