|Trekkers entering Cirque de Mafate (Photo courtesy of Louise Southerden)|
Cirque de Mafate is a volcanic caldera region on Reunion Island, a French territory in the Indian Ocean.
The cirque is entirely enclosed by mountains, especially thousand-metre cliffs, know as remparts which encircle an alpine paradise of meadows, waterfalls, peaks and deep gorges. The name "Mafate" (pronounced "MAH-fatty") comes from the Malagasy word "Mahafaty", which means lethal, an allusion to the difficulty for accessing the Cirque. There are no roads. Today, Mafate can still only be reached by helicopter or on foot, making it a playground for trekkers and trail runners.
|Remparts of Cirque de Mafate|
|Rugged paradise that is Cirque de Mafate|
No doubt, being French, the Hoka One One founders Jean-Luc Diard and Nicolas Mermoud are very familiar with this challenging trail paradise and had it on their minds when they crafted in 2010 the very first Hoka model. An all terrain beast, the Mafate was first made famous by Karl Meltzer when he ran the Pony Express Trail in 2010 – 3400km in 40 days (http://larrybrownsports.com/everything-else/karl-meltzer-ran-the-pony-express-2064-miles-in-40-days/37350). A trail running classic was born.
|Mafate 3 (Color: Anthracite/White/Cyan)|
|Out of the box|
|More midsole volume of EVA.3 coins on a sofa|
|Speed lacing system|
|Penguins like the Hoka.|
More importantly, the rockered midsole geometry and low heel-toe differential of the Hoka encouraged a more natural running motion for me. No heel striking with the Mafate 3. There is truth to what the Hoka website (http://hokaoneone-na.com/about_technology.html) asserts on their innovation: "Runners can fly in Hokas because they feel as if they are floating over the ground instead of repeatedly pounding into it."
Sounds like this Hoka is living up to its Cirque de Mafate origins: a rugged paradise.