(if you are lucky enough to live here...)
It is very interesting to compare the whole minimalist footwear movement and think about where trail running footwear has been and where it's going. For most of the 2000's (the "Bush years"..ugh), I found trail running footwear to be in the doldrums. It seemed that many a trail running footwear company's M.O. was 12-16 ounce behemoths that sold because they looked decent when tried on the retails floor with a pair of jeans. That was what sold, so it was what they made. True there were some inovative products but for me most trail shoes were too heavy for race performance. I actually prefered to race in light weight road shoes in many cases. Then the minimalist movement happened and folks could realize that you can have fun out there and not wear a pound on each foot.
I do think there is a place for 6 ounce shoes, but not for the vast majority of runners. Enter the Bondi B. Now you can run with the whole minimal shoe, but for a meager 2 ounces more you get the benefit of CUSHIONING! The Bondi B is an 8.5 ounce shoe which offers the benefit of light and fast (up OR down), but you don't trash your legs, reinjure that ole nagging knee, PF (plantar fasciitis), irritate the IT attachment, etc.
I was at the outdoor retailer shoe working the booth, and the president of Five Fingers stopped by to try on the Bondi B. Thoroughly impressed with Hoka One One, he applaudedthe ingenuity of the Bondi B. This was coming from a guy who had a hand in revolutionizing the sport of running. I also met the original designer of the Five Fingers shoe.. nice guy as well, with an obvious creative spirit about him which would inspire something like a barefoot shoe.
Alright I am sponsored by Hoka One One, but thus far the Bondi B and Mafate have changed my perspective on running, training, and racing. I think this year will be pivotal for the company, as even more top trail running results will come from Hoka in ultra and sub-ultra races. Also sports like triathlon and Xterra will see the benefit of such a shoe, as one comes off the 2 mile swim and 130 mile bike, the best thing they can have on their feet would be a light weight cushioned Bondi B.
We'll see what happens! The footwear scene is trendy and change is constant, but I expect there will be quite a few shoe companies copy-catting the Hokas very soon, and this is a trend here to stay.