Published on April 18, 2016
Hoka One One Vanquish 2
The Vanquish 2 is one of the latest road shoes in the ever-expanding range from ‘over-sized’ specialists Hoka One One. Whilst the Clifton 2 becomes increasingly stripped back, the Vanquish 2 actually builds in terms of construction with a dual-layer midsole designed to bring additional stability to the trademark rocker style of running.
Let’s start underneath, as this is where much of Hoka’s traditional innovation sits. The midsole, as noted, is of dual-layer construction with a combination of ‘rebound’ EVA and cushioned (very cushioned) EVA that Hoka say brings additional ‘zing’ to the stride. To the touch you wouldn’t expect much ‘zing’ at all, there’s a solidness to the press that surprised us by becoming far more responsive (yes, almost ‘zingy’) when we hit the streets.
The Vanquish 2 certainly increases the almost vertiginous feeling of riding high off the ground. Whilst the offset drop is a well-judged 5mm (the same as the Clifton 2) the forefoot is increased by 3mm to 27mm and the heel ups its game by the same amount to bring it all the way to 32mm. They’ll take some getting used to for anyone new to the Hoka brand, but then everything about Hokas takes a little getting used to – there’s a certain learning curve to appreciating the benefits; personally we think it’s well worth it.
The outsole of the Vanquish 2 adds zoned high-abrasion rubber sections, given that a frequent criticism of Hokas is that the soles simply rub flat far too quickly, this will hopefully extend the life expectancy to a more respectable mileage.
Comfort on the run
The additional engineering to the Vanquish 2 obviously make these considerably heavier than their stable mates. Weighing 275g (450g, pair UK8) compared to the svelte 230g of the Clifton 2, it’s a weight gain you’ll notice if you’re stepping up from one to the other, but equivalent to, for example, the NB Vazee Rush and substantially lighter than the likes of the 560g On Cloudflyer (if you’re looking to compare another less traditional shoe.)
The upper construction is both comfortable and largely familiar to anyone that’s run in Hokas before; there’s additional padding to the tongue but otherwise the feel is as we would expect. The seamless mesh works well, whilst the printed overlay is slightly more substantial than with the Clifton, which adds somewhat to the overall integrity of the upper.
Fast, responsive and comfortable on the streets. The grip is good and the weight of the Vanquish 2 still impresses.
When a relatively niche brand rapidly expands its range it can set alarm bells ringing. Plugging gaps in price-points and attempting to overly differentiate between models can alienate core fans and confuse those looking to take the plunge. Whilst RunningMonkey would probably stick to the Holy Trinity of Hokas for all occasions with the Clifton 2 (road), Speedgoat (trail) and Challenger ATR 2 (mixed terrain), we can certainly see the place for the Vanquish 2. Those who have tried the Cliftons, but are looking for that additional stability and a slightly more ‘constructed’ feel will appreciate what they offer and anyone looking to dip their toes in Hokas for the first time will find them an excellent place to start.
The Hoka One One Vanquish 2 retail at £120 – available for men in Black / Acid, Cyan / Citrus and Grey / Orange Flash, and for women in Acid / Fushia, Corsican Blue / Poppy Red and Grey / Poppy Red. Further details at hokaoneone.eu