Go The Distance: The Top 5 Running Shoes

Go The Distance: The Top 5 Running Shoes

If there is one thing HOKA knows, it’s how to make a running shoe. While they offer multiple silhouettes and styles, the ONE Rocket X is consistently a favorite among all types of runners. Built using an EVA midsole, the shoe helps you make the most of every step by being extra responsive and propelling you forward. The upper is made up of breathable mesh to deliver optimal airflow so that your feet don’t overheat on longer runs. Within the shoe, there is a 1mm carbon fiber plate that adds more stability.

Tackle every run in comfort and style with the ASICS GEL-Nimbus 23. It is engineered to fit your foot like a glove. TRUSSTIC technology is what gives the shoe that structured stability. The shoe features a combination of ultra-soft GEL technology and a FlyteFoam midsole. Together they give you the cushioning and energy return that will keep you running longer than you thought possible. The outsole is made up of AHARLITE, which gives the shoe optimal grip and traction while also increasing its durability.

The Saucony Guide 14 has everything you look for in a running shoe. The synthetic mesh upper will keep your foot dry, so you don’t feel like you’re running in a puddle of your own sweat after a couple miles. The upper also has a 3D-engineered fascia which is crucial for providing stability. The PWRRUN foam midsole provides all the cushioning you could ever want and more so that you feel like you’re running on air.

There is a reason many professional runners place their trust in Brooks: they make an amazing running shoe. The Levitate 4 is 20% lighter than the previous iteration, making sure there is as little weighing you down as possible. The Fit Knit upper has a close-to-foot fit that is light, soft, and allows maximum breathability. Brooks DNA AMP midsole technology puts a spring in each step you take so you get speedy, efficient energy return.

There may be no better feeling during a run than when that runner’s high kicks in. You begin to feel invincible, like you could go forever. The Nike ZoomX Invincible Run Flyknit is built to help you power through those miles with ZoomX foam in the midsole that gives back as much energy as you put in. The Flyknit upper allows your foot to breathe freely while staying comfortable. There is also padding around the collar that provides extra ankle support.

Why I Run with Pro HOKA Runner Dani Shanahan

Why I Run with Pro HOKA Runner Dani Shanahan

There was never much of a question of whether Dani Shanahan would get into running. Both of her parents were runners in high school, so when Dani began her freshman year it was assumed she would become a cross-country runner too. “It was just always something I knew I was going to do, without putting a ton of thought into it.” She’s come a long way from that first practice freshman year. Now after a successful college career at Loyola Marymount University Dani is a professional runner with HOKA who is looking to head to Tokyo this summer.

Once Dani began running cross-country back in high school she quickly fell in love with the sport. “It was a really great way to connect with the people around me and develop some great relationships with my teammates at the time.” It didn’t hurt that Dani was also really good, something she found slightly addicting. Today, Dani is still running, but now it’s because she wants to see how far she can take this – how good can she be? As a professional runner on the HOKA team, she has what’s possibly the most important summer of her running career ahead of her.

It’s already been a big couple of months for Dani. Recently she ran a personal best in the 10,000 meters despite suffering a fall early in the race. Dani entered the race in a great place mentally. She was confident that if she executed the way she knew how to that she would come out of it with a personal best time. That she was able to overcome the fall (which certainly wasn’t in her plans) and still finish with a PR only boosted her confidence that much more. “I now have the confidence to trust myself and my ability to run the race the way I want to run it.” It shouldn’t be a surprise that that race is Dani’s favorite memory of competitive running so far.

One of the things that sets Dani apart not just from other runners, but other athletes, is her understanding of the role mental health plays in her performance. Dani was a psychology major in college which she credits for helping her be more comfortable discussing certain aspects of mental health. She knows that if she is going to be the best version of herself when she steps on the line, she needs to take just as much care of her mental health as her physical health. Currently, Dani and the other runners on her team work with a sports psychologist at minimum once a week to make sure they are in a good place mentally.

As Dani heads into the summer brimming with confidence, there’s one event that is at the forefront of her mind, the trials for Japan. A year ago, there was no guarantee Dani would make the team bound for Tokyo. “If you had asked me a year ago about making the team my answer probably would have been ‘Oh maybe, but probably not.’” Now her mindset has flipped. She has already run a qualifying time and there is a real shot she can make the team. Her training now focuses on running a Championship style race. “If it’s fast from the gun, we want to be ready. If it’s a sit and kick type of race, we want to be ready. We just want to have as many tools in the arsenal as we can.”

Part of the reason Dani has been able to achieve so much over the past few years has been her decision to sign with HOKA. She knew that she wanted to be on a team, in a team environment, that helped her get better every day and to her HOKA backed that up. The inclusivity of HOKA was also a major plus for Dani who is Mexican-American. “Seeing people who look like me being included in the marketing, that is empowering.”

You can find all the HOKA shoes Dani trusts when you visit Eastbay today. We have a wide selection of sizes and colorways so you can find the perfect pair for your next run. You can check out the HOKA Northern Arizona Elite team based out of Flagstaff, Arizona which Dani is a part of by checking out their website: https://www.nazelite.com/ and make sure to follow Dani on Instagram @danishani

Women ConqHERing Sports History

Women ConqHERing Sports History

March is Women’s History Month. It is a time to look back and celebrate all the contributions women have made to American history, culture, and society. At Eastbay, our ConqHER campaign continuously highlights women who are breaking barriers in sports. This March we will be sharing some of the stories of women who made history on and off the field in 2020.

Kim Ng

Women have steadily entered the basketball and football coaching and front office ranks for the past couple of years, but baseball has lagged a little behind. That began to change when the Miami Marlins hired Kim Ng as their general manager, making her the first female general manager in the Big 4 sports leagues. Kim is a graduate of the University of Chicago where she played softball for four years and earned a B.A. in public policy. She was hired by the Chicago White Sox after graduation and has worked for numerous other teams like the Yankees and Dodgers. She also served as the Senior Vice President of Operations for the league office before accepting her new role with the Marlins.

Sam Mewis

Sam Mewis’s footballing resume continues to get more impressive. The USWNT midfielder has been a staple in midfield for the Americans and was a part of the team that won the 2018 World Cup. Currently, she is holding down the midfield for 2nd place Manchester City in the Women’s Super League. Recently, it was announced she was the 2020 U.S. Soccer Female Player of the Year, the first time she has won the award.

Breanna Stewart

Breanna Stewart is arguably the most talented and decorated player to come out of the UConn women’s program. She is now one of the most dominant players in the WNBA, winning an MVP and multiple titles with the Seattle Storm. In 2019, Stewart suffered one of the worst injuries in sports when she ruptured her Achilles. After sitting out that entire season, she returned to help lead Seattle to another title and was named one of Sports Illustrated ‘Sportspeople of the Year’ for her activism off the court.

A’ja Wilson

At every level of the sport, A’ja Wilson has dominated. She was a champion and McDonald’s All-American in high school. In college, she led the South Carolina Gamecocks to their first championship in school history and was a three-time consensus All-American. She was recently named the 2020 WNBA MVP after helping lead the Las Vegas Aces to the WNBA Finals.

Aliphine Tuliamuk

Aliphine Tuliamuk will be representing the United States as a long-distance runner at the 2021 Olympic Games in Tokyo. Tuliamuk placed first in the Olympic Marathon trials in Atlanta, Georgia with a time of 2:27:23. A former cross-country runner at Wichita State, Tuliamuk was the first person from her village in her native home of Kenya to graduate from college.

Jennifer King

Jennifer King recently became the first black woman to be hired as a full-time coach in the NFL. The former two-sport athlete at Guilford College was an intern with the Carolina Panthers, where she served as the wide receivers coach in 2018 and running backs coach in 2019 under Ron Rivera. She then followed him to Washington, where she is now the assistant running backs coach.

Sophie Luoto

Sophie Luoto has exceeded expectations in every role she’s stepped into in her professional career. She began her journey into football while still in college at UCLA when she started working for the athletic department as a student recruiting assistant. Afterward, she took a job at UC Berkley where she was quickly named the Director of Operations. During her time at Cal, several members of the LA Rams organization reached out to gauge her interest in working for an NFL team. She accepted and spent a few years working on the business side before being asked to return to the football side.  After a year and a half, she earned the Director of Operations title which made her the highest-ranking female executive in the NFL.

Chelsea Romero

Chelsea Romero has always loved the competitiveness of strength & conditioning. She enjoys inspiring and motivating people day in and day out to reach their goals. Chelsea knows that hard work can lead to incredible opportunities. While working at UC Irvine, she had a chance encounter with the LA Rams head of strength and conditioning. After offering to work for free, she became the training camp intern serving mostly as an extra set of hands at first. It wasn’t long before she was offered, and accepted, a position that made her the Rams first-ever female strength and conditioning coach.

Caster Semenya

Caster Semenya continues to fight for the human rights of female athletes everywhere. The South African runner was born with a rare genetic condition that causes elevated testosterone levels. This has led many people to demand she take testosterone blockers or simply block her from running. Caster will continue to lead the fight for her right to run the way she was born.

Becky Hammon

Becky Hammon may be the most well-known female coach in the Big 4 leagues. She is an assistant coach for the San Antonio Spurs under Gregg Popovich, a role she’s held since 2014. She has made a name for herself as one of the most well-regarded assistants in the league and received buzz as a potential head coaching candidate this past offseason. This season, after Popovich was ejected during a game against the LA Lakers, Hammon assumed head coaching duties making her the first woman to coach in an NBA game.

Sarah Fuller

This past college football season was unlike anything we’ve ever seen before as COVID-19 wreaked havoc across campuses. Games were canceled, players were forced into quarantine, the whole thing was a mess. From this mess came an opportunity for Sarah Fuller, Vanderbilt’s starting goalie on the women’s soccer team. Vanderbilt had an upcoming game against Missouri, but due to opt-outs and contact tracing protocols, the team had no available placekickers. Head coach Derek Mason reached out to Fuller to see if she would be interested in trying out for the team. Soon after, she became the first woman to play in a Power 5 conference game. Later in the season, Fuller became the first woman to score in a Power 5 game when she went 2-2 on extra points against Tennessee.

Sabrina Ionescu

Sabrina Ionescu was born to get buckets. After a spectacular career at Miramonte High School where she graduated as the all-time leader in points, assists, steals, and triple-doubles, Sabrina chose to attend the University of Oregon and play for the Ducks. During her senior season in a game against #4 ranked Stanford Ionescu became the first NCAA player with 2,000 points, 1,000 assists, and 1,000 rebounds in their career. Following her career at Oregon, Sabrina was the #1 overall pick in the WNBA draft by the New York Liberty, where she plays today.

Alyssa Nakken

Alyssa Nakken made history this year by becoming the first full-time female coach in MLB history after being hired by the San Francisco Giants. Alyssa played college softball for Sacramento State, where she was a three-time all-conference selection at first base. She initially interned with the Giants working on their health and wellness programs before going back to school to get her Master’s degree. The Giants then promoted her in January 2020 to a full-time coach.

Katie Sowers

Katie Sowers has made history twice in the past 5 years. In 2017 she became the first openly LGBT coach in the NFL when she came out as a lesbian. In 2020, Katie became the first female coach to coach in the Super Bowl when the San Francisco 49ers went up against the Kansas City Chiefs. Her career began when she was an intern scout with the Atlanta Falcons before moving over to San Francisco as an offensive assistant on Kyle Shannan’s staff.

Mickey Grace

Mickey Grace knows that she can accomplish whatever she sets her mind too. The former Math and leadership teacher in Philadelphia was recently chosen to be a part of the Scouting Apprenticeship Program with the Los Angeles Rams. Mickey is a former high school football player and in addition to teaching also serves as the defensive line coach for her school.

Chiney Ogwumike

Chiney Ogwumike is not only a dominant force on the court but off it as well. A decorated high school and college career led her to be the #1 overall pick in the 2014 WNBA draft by the Connecticut Sun. After multiple All-Star appearances while on the Sun she was traded to the LA Sparks and reunited with her sister Nneka. It was recently announced she and the Sparks had agreed to a multi-year deal keeping her in LA for the foreseeable future. In 2018, she signed a multi-year deal with ESPN, making her one of the youngest people to become a full-time basketball analyst. This year she made history as the first Black woman to host a national radio show for ESPN.

Maya Moore

There is almost no parallel in the sports world for what Maya Moore has done. She is one of the best players in her sport: a four-time WNBA champion, MVP, and six-time All-Star. Yet she has willingly sacrificed two years of her prime, two years of not playing the sport she loves, to try and secure one man’s freedom from prison. This past July, Jeremy Irons, who was serving a 50-year sentence for burglary and assault, walked free after 20 years. Irons, whose conviction was suspicious given the complete lack of evidence, said of Moore, “She is light, pure light.” Moore has said she will give an update on her basketball career in the future, but whether or not she returns to the court, we should all be inspired by her courage and dedication to justice.

Sarah Thomas

Sarah Thomas has made history multiple times. She was the first female referee to work a major college football game. Then Sarah became the first woman to ref a college football bowl game. Finally, this past February, Sarah became the first woman to officiate a Super Bowl. She continues to be an inspiration for all the other women out there looking to go into officiating.

Amy Trask

Amy Trask has been in and around football longer than many people have been alive. The “Princess of Darkness” as she is affectionately called by Raiders fans started out in the legal department of the Los Angeles Raiders back in 1987. She was named their CEO in 1997 making her the first female CEO in the NFL. After resigning from the team in 2013, Trask went on to serve as an analyst for CBS Sports and CBS Sports Network. She recently won the 2020 Top Women in Media award given by Cynopsis Media.

Sam Gordon

Most people remember Samantha Gordon from when she was absolutely cooking boys on the football field when she was nine. The videos her father uploaded of her blowing past or juking boys twice her size immediately went viral. Now 17, she has continued to fight for all-girls football rights in her home state of Utah.

Finish Your Run Right with Cool Down Workouts from HOKA Runner Jared Hazen

Finish Your Run Right with Cool Down Workouts from HOKA Runner Jared Hazen

Jared Hazen is not your typical runner. Born and raised in a small town in Pennsylvania, he ran track and cross-country in high school specializing in the 3200m. Following his graduation Jared decided to forego college and instead moved to Teton National Park to begin training. Rather than competing in 5k, 10k, or even marathons, Jared runs in ultrarunning competitions regularly going 50+ miles in events.

Now partnered with HOKA, Jared trains every day in the mountains and is looking to become one of the top runners in the world. His training regimen is intense, and after each session Jared does several cool down exercises to ease his body back to reality and help recover before his next workout. You can check out his favorites below and make sure to add them to your training.

Cooldown 1:

  • Find a step. Stand on one leg on that step with your knee slightly bent.
  • Slowly lower your other leg until your toes hit the ground.
  • Should take about 10 seconds.
  • Switch legs.

Cooldown 2:

  • Stand next to a wall with your hip almost touching.
  • Raise your inside leg in a running-type motion. Place a towel between your leg and the wall.
  • Swing your leg back and forth in a running motion keeping the towel in place.
  • Turn around and do the same thing for the other leg.

Cooldown 3:

  • Lay on your back.
  • Bring your knee to your chest.
  • Grab the back of your thigh and continue to bring it closer to your chest.
  • Do the same thing for the other leg.

You can follow Jared’s journey by checking out his Instagram @jared_hazen. If you’re looking for some high-performance running gear be sure to head to Eastbay and shop all the best HOKA gear.

How To Choose The Right Pair of Running Shoes

How To Choose The Right Pair of Running Shoes

To get the most out of your run, you need a pair of shoes to help your body operate as efficiently as possible (while remaining comfortable). The first step to choosing the right pair of running shoes is understanding how your feet work.

Female runner running on asphalt in Nike gear with lush green of trees and grass in the background.


The Science Of Your Stride

With every step, you generate force that must be absorbed and distributed across your foot and through your entire body. To safely do this, your foot becomes flexible upon impact, expanding and rolling slightly inward (this action is also referred to as pronation). As you move through your stride towards toe-off, your foot then becomes more rigid as the muscles and ligaments in your legs prepare to launch you forward into your next step. This entire process (known as your gait cycle) happens in less than a second.

With so many moving parts, it’s no surprise that achieving a smooth, natural stride is easier said than done. The mechanics of running are unique to every person, but it’s important to remember that everybody pronates. It’s the foot’s natural motion. So when deciding on the best type of shoe for your feet, it’s best not to ask, “Do my feet pronate?” but rather, “How much do my feet pronate?” Some feet roll in too far (overpronation) while others don’t become flexible enough (supination). And without the right shoes, both can cause discomfort or leave you vulnerable to injury.

So, what’s the best way to find out how your foot operates? That’s easy. All you need is a piece of paper and a little water.


The Footprint Test

  1. Wet the bottom of your foot.
  2. Step onto the piece of paper.

Just like that, you have all the information you need to choose the right pair of running shoes. Let’s look at your footprint:

Choose The Right Running Shoe 3


Arch Types

Flat
Can you see the full outline of your foot? Then that means you have low arches (commonly known as flat feet). Flat feet tend to flex more than other arch types and are more likely to overpronate. Since your feet don’t have as much natural arch support, you’ll need to find shoes to provide that support for you during the gait cycle. Look for stability shoes with tech features to help stabilize your feet and prevent injury.

Medium
If your footprint shows the ball and heel of your foot connected by a wide band, you have medium arches and plenty of options for shoes that will work with your foot type. Try neutral shoes or, for a little extra support, stability shoes.

High
If your footprint shows a very narrow band (or perhaps no band) between the heel and ball of your foot, you have high arches. Feet with high arches pronate less than other arch types and can tend towards supination (the outward rolling of the heel upon impact). This makes it difficult for your body to safely absorb the force you create with each step. The best shoe type for you is a neutral running shoe with plenty of cushioning.

Closeup of female athlete's running shoes -- Nike React Infinity Run Flyknit (the sunrise collection).


The Shoe Types

Stability
Stability running shoes are key if you have flat or medium arches.

Flat feet have the tendency to overpronate (roll too far inward). Without the right pair of shoes to help stabilize your feet, overpronation can put extra stress on your joints and muscles. Some stability shoes are made specifically for flat feet and are described as “motion control.” These usually feature posts or wedges in the midsole to support flat arches and reduce excessive rolling.

But even if you’re in the pronation “sweet spot” with medium arches, a little extra support never hurts, especially since feet are more likely to overpronate as your body tires. So, if you’re a long-distance runner with medium arches, a stability shoe is a great choice for fighting fatigue.

Stability shoes pair light, responsive foams with firmer midsole materials, combining cushioning and support to keep you running strong and injury free.

Neutral
If you’re a high-arched runner with a tendency to supinate, it’s best to find a shoe to enhance your natural running mechanics.

Neutral running shoes are lightweight and comfortably cushioned. They’re all about a smooth ride and allowing your foot to move naturally, so they feature soft, responsive midsoles that return energy with every step.



For specific shoe recommendations, check out Eastbay’s best running shoes of the year.

And if you’re looking for specialty running shoes like racing flats or trail shoes, head on over to eastbay.com.