Ultra Trail Australia - Gear Review
HOKA Challenger ATR 6 Review
Rating: 4 out of 5 shoe
A review from Daniel 2021 UTA 100 finisher (12hr 02)
If you know me, you know I love shoes!
In the build up to UTA 2021 I was in many different minds about the shoes I wanted to wear for the biggest race of my life, so I tested a few different shoes (good excuse!). The line up included NEW BALANCE HIERRO, TOPO Athletic Mountain Racer and the HOKA Challenger ATR 6.
Shoes have to meet a few characteristics for me to be happy.
I am a bit heavy on my feet so running shoes take a fair beating. During the build up to this race I was running about 110km a week.
This consisted of a couple of hard sessions, a long run and general easy maintenance runs. I would have completed about 500km in my first pair wearing them for most long runs and some easy jogs. They wore fairly well. The foam in between the rubber lugs is the first to go but that doesn't affect the shoe. I bought a second pair once I had decided that was my shoe for the race.
I put about 50kms into the shoe before the race - they don't take much to break in. I can't comment on the state of that shoe, I wore it for the first 80km of UTA and changed into my older pair for the 20km home. Unfortunately someone wanted them more then me and pinched them from the aid station after the race! I hope they enjoyed them (and got a fungus) :)
Comfort is key when training/racing an Ultra Marathon. The HOKA offers a 33mm heal and 29mm forefoot and a midsole made of compression-molded EVA (CMEVA). This foam makes the shoe feel relatively soft but not too soft that you feel unstable on rocky uneven terrain. The softness allows you to run long on hard surfaces without banging up your legs. The outsole is made of Zonal rubber with 4mm lugs. The lugs aren't super aggressive, they worked well in the race and all training around Townsville, but I wouldn't recommend these shoes for a wet muddy race. The upper is breathable and suited the north Queensland environment.
I have a fat foot. I opted for the Wide version of this shoe, I feel this was the best option for my foot. The sizing is true, in my opinion.
The HOKA Challenger ATR 6 is a great shoe for trail running, racing or just a day to day shoe. I would recommend this shoe for anyone that loves getting out on the trails and exploring.