In 1987 I had a dream, and I knew exactly what was going to make that dream come true... a brand new, shiny pair of Nike Air Jordan’s.
Unfortunately, a super poor kid from northern Wisconsin was never going to run down the basketball court in $90.00 shoes. But truth be told, no pair of shoes was going to make a skinny, 5ft. 4in. tall kid (I’m 5ft. 6 in. now) a world-class basketball player.
Fast-forward to now, and replace Michael Jordan with Jim Walmsley, and that poor Wisconsin kid with a slightly less poor Montana man and the Nike Air Jordan’s with a pair of Hoka One One Evo Mafate 2 trail running shoes and that dream is within reach.
Of course, Walmsley’s course records are still safe, but this season I am running in arguably the best trail running shoe I have ever worn.
Drop: 5mm Stack: 35mm (at heel) Wt: 9.6 oz Use: technical trail
The Evo Mafate line of shoes was an evolution of sorts out of the original Mafate Speed line. I ran in the Mafate Speed 2 shoes two seasons ago.
The Mafate Speed series presents a burly trail runner with a high traction sole devoted to aggressive trails. The Evo addition to this line of shoe produced a shoe that boasted all of the same features but was 3-4 ounces lighter.
Geared at producing a super durable shoe with dialed in cushioning that was also light enough to not weigh you down on the long course, the Hoka One One Evo Mafate hit its mark.
Hoka One One Evo Mafate Speed 2 is the second iteration of this line, and this hearty trail running shoe is ready for anything.
The Hoka One One Evo Mafate 2 slips on your foot nicely and immediately has the “ready to run” feel.
My first run in these was 9 miles, much longer than my first run in a fresh pair of shoes would ever be, but there was never a moment of feeling like I needed to break the shoe in.
My other primary trail runner is the Hoka One One Speedgoat 3, and Speedgoat 4 and both models need a break-in period, in my opinion. The Hoka One One Evo Mafate 2 does not need it.
The shoe fits like a glove, much like its predecessor. That said, it’s either going to work for your foot or not.
The toe box is not excessively ample but has a good amount of space for toe splay. The mid-foot region is where you feel it snug your foot, and my guess is that people with wide mid-feet will find this shoe restrictive.
Ordering blind from a web retailer is strongly discouraged. This is a spendy shoe, so get to your running specialty store and make sure that it’s fit is right for you.
The heel box is well crafted and kept my boney heel right where it should be, and the well-padded heel collar was very comfortable. The lace cage and mindfully padded microfiber tongue give the foot a secure battening to put the mind at ease during the storm of long days on rugged trails.
In a nutshell, the comfort of this shoe is bar none. The tight weave of the Matryx upper fabric is supple and pliable from the get-go.
For a trail runner, the sole of the shoe is of obvious importance. The Hoka One One Evo Mafate 2 employs a 5mm lugged Vibram Megagrip sole.
The Vibram rubber compound has been an industry standard for decades, and their work in the trail running shoe arena has been superlative. The Hoka One One Evo Mafate 2’s grip on loose trails and wet rock is amazing.
With lugs deep enough to tackle any terrain, the Hoka One One Evo Mafate 2 is a clear champion for traction, traction, and more traction. The steep, technical terrain that I like to run on was no match for the Hoka One One Evo Mafate 2.
You can’t talk about a Hoka shoe without talking about cushion. Hoka describes the Hoka One One Evo Mafate 2 as being balanced, and I couldn’t agree more.
The Hoka One One Evo Mafate 2 hits the sweet spot of having just enough cushion to make the long distances on the trail easy on your body, but not so much as to feel sloppy.
The Hoka One One Evo Mafate 2 is responsive and agile on the trail. It’s lightweight of 9.6 oz makes it feel like a racing flat built for running the gauntlet of rock and dirt.
The upper weave of the Matryx fabric is exceptionally comfortable, yet durable, and perfectly protects the foot while not overheating it. The ventilation was excellent, and the fabric does not hold onto water weight in the least.
The toe guard is a very unique micro-thin but super strong layer of infused rubber. It’s very flexible but positioned right where you need it to keep the fabric from failing at this high-stress area and your toes from wearing through the upper material from the inside out.
The tongue and the upper of the shoe features an integrated gusset that helps keep the tongue in place. This is always a welcomed feature, especially on a shoe that is intended to see long days on the trail.
The top portion of the upper tongue has a water-resistant sheen on it and is pretty effective at keeping some of that morning dew and puddle splash from soaking into the cushion of the tongue.
The stack height might be a cautionary point for some would-be consumers. Hoka shoes always run on the tall side in order to achieve their famous cushion.
That said, an extra 10mm isn’t exactly like walking on stilts, although some report feeling a sense of tippi-ness, I personally don’t notice this.
However, running technical trails does add an element of potential risk of turned ankles in general. My total mileage in this shoe so far has been all on moderate to very technical trails, and I have not experienced any difficulty with ankle turning.
I would urge the consumer to be sure that you are comfortable with the tall feel of Hoka. This shoe is built for advanced level trail runs, and the resilience of your ankles should be too.
- Vibram Megagrip sole 5mm lugs
- Dialed in cushioning
- Exceptionally lightweight
- Might be too stacked for some
The Hoka One One Evo Mafate 2, bearing the name of a rugged volcano on Reunion Island, is equally as rugged. Not only that, but it is extremely light for such a hearty shoe.
The Evo Mafate is built for the long haul on serious terrain. Boasting the classic cushion of Hoka, matched with a light and responsive feel, and traction for days from Vibram, this shoe sits above the rest.
If my focus Ultra races are not canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this is what I will be running in.
While the Mafate Speed 2 is not going to magically transform me into a podium dominating trail runner, it will make all of my technical, long-distance efforts much better. Its price is hefty, but if you’re looking for next-level trail running, this is your shoe.
At $170.00 it is expensive, but in my opinion, well worth it.
Good to know
- The Hoka One One Evo Mafate 2 is an update to the up-and-coming series of running shoes that are meant for off-road paths. This product utilizes almost all of the features that are in the original Evo Mafate model, save for a redesigned upper for breathability and a midsole that aims to be more steady than the last one.
- A microfiber tongue unit runs from the top of the instep to the vamp. This thin yet seamless cloth offers extra breathability by effortlessly permitting environmental air into the foot-chamber. The generous underfoot platform is bolstered by an arch pod in the midfoot section to encourage steadiness over the unpredictable terrains.
Hoka One One Evo Mafate 2 size and fit
The Hoka One One Evo Mafate 2 was constructed using the standard sizing schemes. Runners are welcome to get a pair using their usual size expectations. It is worth noting that achieving the most accommodating in-shoe experience may benefit from personally testing the shoe or studying user reviews from online forums/comments sections.
A semi-curved structure allows this product to accommodate the natural shape of the human foot. Also, the fabric upper and the in-shoe environment contribute to the quality of the wrap.
The external pad of the Hoka One One Evo Mafate 2 is made of Vibram® Megagrip. This layer protects the midsole from the abrasive nature of the trails. It even has a 5-millimeter thickness to ensure long-lasting performance.
Gripping lugs pockmark the outsole. These nodes are responsible for delivering traction across a bevy of surface conditions. They’re meant to handle rough and slick terrains. Vibram® specializes in versatile performance on the off-road paths.
Compressed ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) is used for the midsole unit of the Hoka One One Evo Mafate 2. This foam is an industry-standard feature that is designed to maintain consistent and supportive cushioning. It has a lightweight and flexible build that doesn’t mar the performance of the foot. EVA is used by many shoe series, including the brand’s own Bondi line.
Rubber reinforcements line the perimeter of the foam midsole. These protective sheets are tasked with bolstering the structural integrity of the platform, preventing sagging and early material breakdown.
The medial side of the platform features an arch pod which assists with the attainment of an anatomically balanced position of the foot relative to the ground.
MATRYX® is a technology that involves a fabric that is reinforced with Kevlar fibers. The resulting accouterment is tasked with maintaining a durable, secure, and breathable coverage.
A lightly padded microfiber tongue unit runs from the tip of the instep to the vamp. This textile covers the bridge of the foot while also preserving the breathable purpose of the silhouette.
Printed overlays bolster the durability of the facade and help with the in-shoe security.