With a 3mm drop and low stack, this minimal-minded trail-shoe box combines massive levels of grip with a surprisingly comfortable ride. This is a race-day shoe.
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The Hoka One One Evo Jawz could challenge your preconceptions. Hoka have presided over a pretty varied family of shoes for some time, but if you were still of the ‘Hoka make maximal shoes’ mind, the Evo Jawz represent one of their best surprises. In this shoe, a minimal stack midsole sits on Vibram MegaGrip lugs that live up to the Jawz name. They’re light and feel great on the foot too.
The midsole, although thin, manages to balance foot protection with ground feel perfectly, while adding a level of comfort and responsiveness that’s genuinely surprising. Vibram’s MegaGrip provides impressive grip on hard surfaces where compound is key.
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Above all it’s the minimal weight that ensures the features all come together so successfully. The upper is a thin, single-layer, hydrophobic rip-stop fabric. The tongue is un-padded. The heel cup, though comfortable, is just lightly padded.
• RRP: $130 (US) / £110 (UK)
• Gender availability: Men’s, Women’s
• Weight (per shoe, men’s UK11): 239g / 8.4oz
• Colors: Cyan & Citrus
• Drop: 3mm
• Compatibility: Trails – especially on race day
On the trails
American athlete Jim Warmsley had input in the design of the Jawz, and his usual distance is 100-mile ultras. Mere mortals may be more comfortable up to 50km in these shoes, but the minimal construction certainly doesn’t limit them to short races.
I’ve been testing shoes in the gnarly north of England, and the Jawz are a UK-friendly fell shoe – they’re taking a bite out of pretty niche running scene. The midsole, although thin, adds a cheeky slice of responsiveness that’s welcome on firmer sections.
Where the Jawz really shines is where mechanical grip is called for: 6mm multi-directional lugs bite into mud and bog delivering a confidence-inspiring ride that will encourage flat-out off-trail silliness.
Mid-pack fell-plodder Paul has been writing about his outdoor adventures for about ten years. Initiated by a move from Coventry to the Peak District in 2010, Paul quickly evolved from jogger, reluctant gym-goer and occasional camper to full-blown fell-obsessed trail runner and wild camping adventurer. Paul’s 2016 attempt at the Cape Wrath Ultra was only curtailed (on day six!) by an infected big toe; the story of its Vesuvius style release, with supporting photos, is something Paul is too keen to share.