Extending the life of shoes – Hoka resoled!

e148723b-9cf7-4dcf-adb1-0815175f75fbAs you might have noticed on here I’m a big fan of the Hoka Rincon. A really lightweight and comfy road shoe that I was recommended after a full 3D gait analysis at Up & Running Milton Keynes.

At circa £105 they’re reasonable compared to some of the fancy  stuff out there but certainly not what you’d call cheap (recently the old stock has been dropped to circa £85-90 for any remaining sizes as the new Rincon 2 is now out).

I got my first pair in January (bottom) and as of early August was just starting on my third pair (middle, red). This may sound a lot but given I’m on 1700 miles for the year and most have been done on these two trainers (with exception of some trail runs) it’s a good mileage for a lightweight shoe being used by a heavy heel striker (I fluctuate between 82-86kg so I’m no Mo Farah).

Some very worn Adidas Supernova of mine

I’m conscious that as runners the trainers we buy are one of the most problematic environmentally. They are very hard to recycle and can take up to 1000 years to break down (for more information on this check out Rerun Clothing )  I try to run in mine as long as possible before they start the demotion to dog walking then gardening shoes but there are only so many pairs I need for these so was considering getting some resoled.

Resoling shoes is relatively common in Europe, but less so in the UK.  Below is a stall I saw during a Spanish race. The general concept seems to be that shoes can go several times through this before meeting their final end.img_2771

By chance the super fast runner Richard McDowell (CFTB) had some of his super fast Nike 4% thingummy-bobs resoled by Chesire Shoe Repairs with some off road Vibram soles as below.

Photo borrowed from Richard McDowell

The Nike are a similar ‘fat’ sole with a lot of rubber so far removed from the minimal sole trail shoes I’d often seen have the entire foot plate replaced and effectively just the ‘sock’ restitched to a new base. The company had shaved off the bottom layer, including the various black grip sections, and either filled or cut below the cavity sections to produce a smooth surface for the new sole.

Original Nike sole – Photo from Running Shoes Guru

This got me thinking about the options for my Hoka with the similar sole construction. I emailed them photos and we discussed either trail soles as above, or road soles.

My first pair of Rincon were less worn than the second which I probably let go too far to be useful for road shoes as above (I’d literally worn the soles off).


Instead I posted off my first pair for some white road soles “Vibram Carbon Road Soles” for £34. Return postage is included, my postage to them was £2.90 via Hermes.

The wear on the set I posted was mostly just the black grip sections as below. The uppers were all sound and had lots of life yet. If this all worked I’d have a rejuvenated pair of £105 shoes for £36.90.

As these are lightweight I thought it worth checking the weight before and after. They left me at 432g. For comparison my third pair, with only approx 150 miles on them were 459g so looks like I wore at least 27g off them during use. The listed weight on website (for an unspecified size) is 218g each or 436g for the pair.

So once posted it was a case of waiting. They promise 5 day turnaround (once received) and Hermes took a few days as expected. I posted Wednesday and it was received at their place on Friday.

Saturday morning I get a call from them that the chosen sole in white only comes in a single width (the black version comes in three widths) that is too narrow for my fat Hoka so we agree on an alternative – namely a SVIG road sole in white for same price.

True to their word, the shoes arrived back on Thursday (so 8 days from posting, two of which were used by Hermes on the delivery to them and a day or two on the return delivery) and I was impressed.

The sole has a bit more raised section than the one I picked which for me is ideal as I’ve got something decent for road but that will cope with some trail sections as well.

The workmanship looks good, with a decent attachment of the sole. There are some minor voids near the front at the sides where I presume they balanced cutting more of the original sole away for a truly flat surface versus the loss of the cushioning.

So what’s the weight? Given the original Rincon are super light with only a partial wear surface I was expecting some weight gain from going with a full length and width sole. They came in at 772g against 432g as they left me, or 459g for an almost new pair. That’s a gain of 313g from almost new. It’s a substantial gain compared to original but they don’t feel heavy, more like a normal road shoe.

I plan on using these over the next few days and will update with how I got on. I’ve got Shires and Spires booked for Sunday which is a mixed road/trail ultra which depending on the level of rain may well be a perfect test of these.

Update –

Update on my resoled Hoka. Did 35 mile mixed terrain ultra. Coped great on the road and the muddy paths.
For just over £35 I’ve take a knackered pair of road shoes & got a perfect trail hybrid, extending their life and keeping them out the bin.

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