“Left turns only—right turns need not apply.”
The sentiment is so often seen on pro-runner bios that it’s become cliché. Yet it’s true: distance athletes hammering 400-meter loops spend half their time hanging a Louie. It took an outside-the-box newcomer to integrate this basic truth into the design of a track shoe. The result is Hoka One One’s Speed Evo R ($130).
With swooping, asymmetrical sprint plates extending to the outside of the right heel and the inside of the left, runners have something to brace against while riding the bend. Even the pair’s eight spikes are specially positioned for pushing or rail-hugging power. Credit Hoka’s athletes for spending the past two years providing feedback while training for a trip to Rio. If at first glance the Speed seems like a departure from the company’s hallmark marshmallow trainers, it has this in common: a nontraditional solution to an overlooked problem.