This is not a HOKA. Nor is it a HOKA knock off. Founded in 1996, Masai Barefoot Technology or MBT was most likely the first brand to introduce cushioned rocker into running shoes — inspired by Kenya’s Masai tribe, a group that has lived for thousands of years with virtually no joint or back pain.
Focusing on developing “physiological footwear with a purpose,” MBT claims a 24-year track record of helping people stand, walk, run, work, and play more often and more efficiently, although the brand remains virtually unknown in the endemic running space. Blending what are essentially orthopedic shoes with decidedly modern running-shoe design and materials, global footwear brand MBT recently launched its most advanced performance running shoe to date: the Huracan 3000.
In order to make running easier and more efficient, the Swiss-engineered, 11mm-drop trainer lends uninterrupted gait as the Huracan’s unique rocker sole promotes a gentle rolling motion that spurs a natural, stress-free cadence.
“The Huracan’s arrival is the start of a revolution for us at MBT, our first step toward the most cutting-edge and premium lineup of performance running footwear in the marketplace,” said CEO Andy Chaw. “As the pioneers of the rocker bottom, we’re taking our proven curved-sole technology, which we’ve been perfecting since our founding in 1996, and combining that with new technologies and forward-thinking designs that confirm our commitment to being the most innovative, health-focused running brand in the world.”
The Huracan is MBT’s answer to a growing trend in the industry toward energy return and shock dissipation, usually accomplished with a composite plate running through the midsole. But to accomplish similar results, MBT instead designed an entirely new midsole/outsole combination they’re calling MIDS. Together with their Sensor Technology, which provides MBT’s signature ‘walking-on-sand’ feel, MIDS absorbs impact and dissipates shock outward in the heel/midfoot, reducing the amount of vibration that emanates up through the body, reducing stress on the body and encouraging enhanced balance and stability. Then their renowned Pivot Strike rocker completes the process, actively rolling the foot through toe-off with every step. The end result: a cushioned, responsive running experience from impact to toe-off that minimizes fatigue and promotes continuous forward movement.
MBT is a certified class-one medical device in Europe and remains the only major commercial footwear manufacturer with majority of its shoes accredited by the American Podiatric Medical Association. Designed to counteract impact forces as runners hit the road for long runs or recovery jaunts, the Huracan’s construction provides maximum protection and encourages a faster, smoother turnover to enhance running efficiency and reduce fatigue.
Other features include:
// Exo-heel counter cradles the foot for optimum support and security
// Memory foam liner provides a custom fit for each runner’s heel and Achilles tendon
// At the forefoot, M-Flex Technology – a durable, yet flexible mesh at the toe box – adapts to a runner’s foot during different stages of a run
// Jacquard Mesh upper is both lightweight and breathable with minimal seams
// High-abrasion outsole offers superior strength and enhanced traction for running on various surfaces or in slick conditions.
// Cut-outs reduce weight and contribute to the smooth ride
// Reflective elements integrated into the upper add subtle flashes of contrast and safety for nighttime running
// MSRP: $199 USD
“We’ve worked hard to get inside the minds of runners, to understand what they want and need, and have come to understand that they expect running footwear that not only performs at the highest level, but also looks good,” Chaw said. “That’s what the Huracan provides and it’s symbolic of the boundaries we’re going to push at MBT.”
With a foundation built on science and innovation, MBT recognizes the human benefits of health, wellness and staying on the move. In addition to the mechanical advantage conferred by the curved sole, MBT’s proprietary heel-strike sensor technology absorbs impacts, smoothly transitioning heel strikes into firm midfoot rolls which complete the “rockforward movement” and propel during toe-off. The brand says more than 70 independent studies worldwide have identified the benefits of MBT’s curved-sole footwear, which include improved posture and balance, increased muscle activation, reduced lower back pain, and enhanced recovery. “We have changed lives through movement and want to change even more,” said Chaw. “Our shoes are made for journeys and those looking to get the most out of every step they take.”