Shoe of the Week: MBT Huracan-3000
The rebirth of the original rocker is an attractive, smooth-rolling — but heavy — easy-day shoe.
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MBT Huracan-3000 Review
Weight: M13oz, W11oz
Offset: 11mm: 37mm heel, 26mm fore
MBT rolls back to the running market with rockers to cushion your footfall and speed you from heel to toes.
In 1996, prior to the minimalist movement that would sweep the sport, a Swiss engineer named Karl Muller introduced a new brand of shoes he called “Masai Barefoot Technology” or “MBT.” Despite the “barefoot” name, these shoes were not minimalist footwear but maximal: thick-soled, highly-cushioned behemoths with rockered bottoms that created an unstable platform you had to balance on. The original MBTs were intended as fitness and walking shoes, and research showed that they did increase activation of the small muscles crossing the ankle, leading to improved stability in stride. The brand came out with a line of three running shoes in 2016 and has refined those models since.
The Huracan-3000 is a completely new shoe for MBT, representing a renewed effort to apply its pioneering rocker-bottom curved sole approach to a running shoe. The Huracan-3000 uses a new midsole/outsole combination designed to enhance forward momentum to propel runners toward toe-off. MBT characterizes its new concave shank construction as having a “high” rocker level and touts the “extra cushioning for your fitness walking, training and recovery runs where maximum cushioning or that ultimate soft feel is key.”
MBT’s CEO, Andy Chaw says, “The Huracan’s arrival is the start of a revolution for us at MBT, our first step toward the most cutting-edge and premium lineup of performance running footwear in the marketplace.”
This is the shoe for you if…
You want or need rockers both fore and aft to create soft landings and an efficient roll, and you want to strengthen the balance muscles in your lower legs.
The Huracan’s initially felt clinically posturepedic in both their lack of flex and in the pronounced rocking sensation they provide, which kept our testers over their feet. “The full-bottom rocker works to keep you balanced, landing on the midfoot and rolling quickly forward,” one tester reported. This has the effect of removing vertical impact from the gait cycle for what was a smooth-rolling, albeit somewhat lethargic stride. One tester found the shoe had “little-to-no ‘pop’ underfoot” compared to today’s super shoes — but that is to be expected given the Huracan’s geometry is designed for cushioning and maximum rocking, tuned to be “perfect for recovery and long training runs.”
Another test team member found the Huracan-3000 to “feel really strange,” calling them stiff and high off the ground. All testers observed the Huracan felt hefty and, indeed, at 13 ounces, it is a third heavier than the majority of today’s trainers. That weight and the “rocking chair” sensation make the Huracan-3000 well suited for easy runs and fun to wear on walks. Yet for testers who land toward the forefoot, there wasn’t much in the way of added benefit for running. And the firm midsole was rated moderate, with dull impact absorption but nothing plush.
The shoe features the Swiss brand’s new midsole/outsole combination and concave shank construction while incorporating their “SensorTechnology” to create soft landings, and “Pivot Axis” rocker in the midsole to propel the foot out of every stride, increasing lower leg activity and stimulating a natural balance and better posture. However, the 37mm heel stack height felt high off the ground and disconnected. Suffice to say, you would not want to lace up the Huracan-3000 for a race or take them off a smooth surface.
The woven jacquard mesh upper was given unanimous approval for its fit, appearance, craftspersonship, breathability, comfort and spacious toe box. It was necessary to lace the upper securely to improve the foot hold, given the instability of the stack height. The lacing system was up to task, so much so that one tester raved, “This shoe fit like an absolute custom made glove — the out-of-the-box fit essentially perfect. The upper synched perfectly on the top of my foot due to one of the best lacing systems I’ve felt in a while…and the heel cup felt excellent.”
HOKA Clifton Edge, Deckers X Lab K-ST 21, Skechers Max Cushioning Elite, NB Fresh Foam 1365.