Parent Category: Technical Area
The review of this shoe is curated by George Harris, who runs 58 years in Manteca, California (USA). George runs for 36 years, most of whom have spent as a soldier in the US Army. His first pair of true running shoes was in 1978 Nike Waffle Trainer. George currently runs about 70-75 miles (almost 125km) a week, many of whom have Hoka One One shoes. Here George shares his thoughts on the new Hoka shoe, the Rapa Nui comp.
"First of all let me down .... I'm a fan of Hoka One One, and so are my wife. They helped me overcome my persistent knee pain, which is no longer a nuisance to me when I run. In the same way these shoes really helped my legs, in the sense that they are not to be thrown at the end of 70 and more miles per week. I ran with all Hoka models (Bondi B, Bondi Speed, Evo Tarmac, Stinson Evo, and Mafate ) Bondi B and Bondi Speed seem to be the best for me.
Hoka is known for her great shoes, super padded while many other companies seem to go in the direction of minimalism. What might be called "Hokas racing" - are the shoes Rapa Nui Comp (version tested here) and Kailua Comp (road version).
The first thing you notice about this shoe is that it is not as big or bulky as other Hoka shoes. The upper is meshed with overlapping welds. The tongue is made of a thin, suede material, which is similar to the Tarmac but thinner and softer. I do not know how breathable this shoe is.
The midsole is blown EVA, as in other Hoka shoes, but with a volume of just 1.5 x, compared to 2x of other Hoka shoes. For example, my Bondi Speed has 35mm midsole in the back of the foot and 30mm in the front of the foot. The Rapa Nui has 26 mm in the back of the foot and 21 mm in the front of the foot. With this reduced volume it is also obvious that the Rapa Nui weights even less. Some reviewers have noticed just over one ounce of weight difference between Hoka full size shoes, like Tarmac, and Rapa Nui. My non-scientific test showed about 0.75 ounces less weight for the Rapa Nui against my Bondi Speed (US 11.5 size). The sole has flaps clinging very well to off-road trails, although I did not try it in mud. The shoe is equipped with a 2 mm thick inner sole (not my favorite - I'm looking for another insole to replace it) and fast lacing laces.
I used a size US11.5 the size that fits me perfectly against any other Hoka measure. I'm wearing thin DRYMAX socks, and the shoe fits you well. If I had thick stockings I would probably have opted for a size 12. The shoe is a bit tighter than the other Hoka shoes, both in the forearm and backseat areas. This is a "Hoka racing" after all. The shoe has ample space in the fingers area, however, not as much as my Bondi. The midsole extends on and around the upper to create what Hoka calls their "wrap-around seat" for the foot. There was no slipping problem in the heel area with this shoe.
The fast laces that are supplied with the Rapa Nui are up to the task of securing my foot. Unlike other Hoka shoes with speed laces there are no regular laces provided with this shoe. The depth of the shoe allows the insertion of a footbed, leaving sufficient space in the shoe.
I did six races with this shoe on a mix of paths and road (35 miles total). Although the shoe is still well cushioned (Hoka is after all), she does not have that plush feel of my Bondi Speed. The midsole feels firmer than the Bondi, but in my opinion it has a better dampening than the Adidas Boost Energy shoe. It should be remembered that this shoe is announced as a performance shoe and has 9 mm less cushion than the Bondi.
The forearm is flexible, more like a normal shoe. In fact, the shoe is overall much more flexible than other Hoka shoes, but the rocker effect, though less pronounced, is still there. Running at higher speeds, the shoe is really OK. The shoe works well on the road unlike some trail shoes that can be a bit tough on the asphalt. So this is a great trail access shoe.
Running uphill was a joke compared to my Bondi Speed. By running downhill, the damping was adequate to handle the race and protect the knees. On the paths he managed rocks and branches, just like Bondi - no problem. I was worried about how stable this shoe would be, which does not have the wider profile of other Hoka shoes. I can say it was very stable and I did not have any problems.
I really like this shoe as it combines things I like with Hoka shoes in a unique package : cushioning, stability , knee protection . So, this shoe has a little less of the feeling " Hoka cloud " , But with more flexibility , less weight , and greater propensity to performance . I think it's a winning model.
I just recommend adding a few regular laces in the box.