Best Hoka Running Shoes reviewed & Tested
Searching for Hoka One One Running shoes? Take a look at the best picks, Pros & Cons and what to be aware of before buying them online or in a store
When you first see Hokas, you’re going to notice they’re big and bulky, and even a bit peculiar, compared to traditional running shoes. They also tend to come in bright, wild colors. If you’re willing to try something new, you’re going to, most likely, be satisfied. The Hokas are big and bulky because they’ve got the highest-quality stability, support, and cushioning available in the running shoe industry.
- Hoka One One Clifton 4
- RMAT rebound material
- Hoka One One Bondi 4
- Lycra comfort frame upper
- Hoka One One Vanquish 2
- Deep foot frame
The best Hoka running shoes offer unparalleled support for runners that need extra protection and safety for neutral running. These shoes keep you going and free from injury.
10 Best Hoka Running Shoes
1. Hoka One One Clifton 4
Like all Hoka One One models, this one has that thick, comfortable "marshmallow" cushioning that devoted Hoka fans know and love. The midsole in this model has been updated with Hoka One One's RMAT material, which allows for more rebound than previous versions. The mesh upper has also been updated and excels in terms of breathability and comfort. Even with its weight gain compared to the previous model, the Clifton 4 is a pretty lightweight shoe and won't feel clunky or heavy on the foot. The Clifton 4s are especially comfortable for long runs. New for this model, the Clifton 4 is available in a "wide" sizing. In terms of stability, like previous versions, the Clifton 4 offers a stable platform underfoot; however, this shoe is designed for the neutral runner.
Quality / Durability
The Hoka One One Clifton 4 has definitely improved in terms of durability from its last iteration. Reviewers noted that the rubber outsole lasted much longer than the previous version. Hoka One One has always offered a quality product, and the Clifton 4 is no different. Between the updated RMAT compression molded EVA midsole, the new, comfortable mesh upper and the bold, sleek design, it is no wonder why the Clifton 4 is the top choice out of all Hoka One One models.
- Full-length compression-molded EVA for shock absorption and comfort
- RMAT rebound material in midsole
- Meta-Rocker midsole geometry for improved gait and smooth transitions
- Improved no sew mesh upper
- Slightly heavier than the previous version
2. Hoka One One Bondi 4
The Bondi, like most Hoka One One products, offers exceptional comfort, support and stability. The sole cushioning is so soft that it take most some time to get used to, loving it when they finally do. According to general customer reviews, The Bondi runs about a size smaller, so it’s probably a good idea to try them on at a store, if possible, before purchasing online.
Quality / Durability
There are a couple of areas under the sole that tend to wear out rather quickly, these are the areas which are not covered by rubber.
- Air Mesh upper is breathable
- Early Stage Meta-Rocker midsole for smooth transitions and improved gait
- Lycra ComfortFrame in upper for stretchable, non-irritating running experience – go sockless!
- Padded tongue and collar for snug fit and comfort
- TPU External Heel Counter for stability and non-slippage
- Very comfortable
- Slightly more expensive
3. Hoka One One Vanquish 2
The mesh, SpeedFrame upper, Hoka’s Race-Lace system and full-length RMAT midsole are features that supply this shoe with not only outstanding comfort, but great stability as well. Like other Hoka One One shoes, these are also quite bulky, especially if you are used to wearing shoes with a much lower profile. If that is the case, they will take some time to get used to. But, once familiar with them, you may not want to go back.
Quality / Durability
These are quite well made. As Hoka One One shoes, in general, are not low priced shoes, you tend to get your money’s worth with a durable, quality made running shoe.
- Early Meta-Rocker geometry for semi-rocker shape of sole unit for great transitions
- Impact protection with Rmat midsole
- Race Lace system for secure, custom fit
- Roomy toe box for toe splay and comfort
- No-sew upper for sockless, non-irritating running experience
- High-abrasion rubber soles for traction and durability
- A bit heavy
4. Hoka One One Stinson 3 ATR
The extremely soft and lightweight EVA strobal board lasting, combined with the shoe’s full length HIP CMEVA midsole and 6mm heel to toe offset, this shoe, built for the trail enthusiast, will definitely have more than enough comfort and stability to get you from start to finish.
Quality / Durability
Like most of the shoes in the Hoka One One pproduct line, these are not plagued by any major quality issues that could could affect the overall durability and reliability of them.
- Active Foot Frame for customized, comfortable fit
- Built to last on the trails
- Flex grooves for comfy, snug fit
- Great traction
- Improved cushioning
- No-sew upper for breathability and non-irritation
- A bit bulky, even for Hokas
5. Hoka One One Challenger 2 ATR
You may have noticed that some of the other picks on the list have a tendency to run a bit narrow. This, however, is not the case with the Conquest. They seem to fit just right, only adding to the already exceptional comfort that is provided by the shoe’s cushioned design. They are a bit heavier, so that may be something to get used to.
Quality / Stability
As far as quality goes, the only big issue is with the sole. It has some durability issues and may not last as long as you would expect it to.
- High Abrasion Lightweight Rubber for traction and durability
- Lycra ComfortFrame for breathable, stretchable uppers
- No-sew upper for sock-like, non-irritating fit
- Rmat High-rebound cushioning for spring
- Soft EVA full-length midsole and Early Stage Meta-Rocker design for great transitions and a smooth gait
- Higher price tag
6. Hoka One One Mafate Speed
With the incredible amount of cushioning that this shoe provides, it would only make sense that all of that cushioning would have to come in a bulkier package. That does take some getting used to, but once you become comfortable, these are incredibly comfortable and stable runners. They will definitely give you soft run over hard road surfaces.
Quality / Durability
The quality and overall durability of the Mafate Speed seems to be quite good. Generally, the customer reviews out there don’t suggest any issues with this shoe’s materials or construction.
- Decent arch support
- Thick Foot frame tech lets foot sink into midsole for custom fit and stability
- Race-Lace system for easy lace-up and security
- Rocker for better stride
- No-sew construction stays dry and non-irritating
- High-abrasion rubber outsole is durable and great for traction
- Really bulky appearance
- Slightly expensive
7. Hoka One One Infinite
The comfort and stability of the Infinite is due to features such as its full length HIP CMEVA Midsole, lightweight external TPU heel counter, deep foot frame as well as the lightweight no sew SpeedFrame construction. These get excellent customer reviews as far as comfort is concerned. It is important to note that these are probably not ideal for those with wide feet.
Quality / Durability
Overall, these are well built shoes, without any major quality issues which might take away from their reliability.
- HIP CMEVA midsole for underfoot protection
- No-sew upper is breathable and non-irritating
- Padded tongue for comfort and support
- Sticky rubber outsole for traction on wet surfaces and various terrains
- TPU Support Strapping for secure fit
- Not ideal for those with wide feet
8. Hoka One One Speedgoat
The sole of the Speedgoat isn’t as thick as some of the other shoes made by this brand, but that Hoka One One comfort seems to still be there. These have a fairly tight and narrow fit, so they probably aren’t the best choice for those who have wide feet. Like most of Hoka’s other models, these are also pretty stable runners. In addition, because of the well cushioned design, these work well for heavier users.
Quality / Durability
Other than the narrow fit, these really don’t have any major issues with regards to the quality and overall durability of the shoes.
- Abrasion-resistant toe overlay for protection
- Breathable mesh uppers
- Flex grooves for stability
- Great grip for various terrains
- Easy-on heel pull
- Welded synthetic overlays for support
- The fit seems a bit tight
9. Hoka One One Constant 2
These have that same great cushioning that Hoka One One shoes are known for. Although these are heavier shoes, it seems that, for many, the thick, cushioned sole is a fair trade for a little extra weight.
Quality / Durability
Although the upper seems to be well constructed, there are some reported issues with the shoe’s outsole holding up under constant use.
- Oversized Active Foot Frame for custom fit to underfoot
- Breathable Lycra Comfort Frame upper
- EVA and RMAT tech for durability
- Padded tongue for comfort
- TPU External Heel Counter for security and reduced slippage
- Wide toe box for nice toe splay
Some customer reviews suggested durability issues with the outsole
10. Hoka One One Valor
They seem to have a lot of happy users who suggest that they are now hooked on this brand and model. Although, if you have run in more traditional, or even minimalistic shoes, these may take a little time to feel comfortable with your stride, and get used to. Not only are good for the road, but they also provide longterm support and comfort if you have to spend all day on your feet. For some, the tend to fit a bit tight.
Quality / Durability
There aren’t really any concerning quality issues that might affect the shoe’s overall durability.
- Great shock-absorbing properties
- Lycra ComfortFrame upper is flexible, comfortable, and durable
- Rubber Outsole is durable and protective
- Soft EVA Midsole for comfort and support
- TPU Heel Counter secures heel to prevent slippage
- A bit heavy
- Slightly higher price tag
If you’re willing to throw out the extra dollar, Hokas won’t let you down. Besides stability and comfort, they’re known for great durability with strong rubber outsoles. Hokas can easily move from walking and running to trail running thanks to the outsole protection, durability, and traction.
All of the best Hoka running shoes are radically comfortable, supportive, and protective. Whereas, other more minimalistic shoes are often lacking in protection, which can result in injury, these maximalists keep your feet safe and happy. They’re highly breathable, fit snugly, and rate highly on comfort. And what’s more important than comfort?
The Criteria Used When Choosing The Best Hoka Running Shoes:
Well, They Aren’t Minimalistic
Hoka’s pretty much speak for themselves when it comes to form and design. We know that these are very different from other running shoes that you may be used to, but let’s keep an open mind. Hoka was started by two former Salomon Head Designers with the thought in mind to give trail runners a sturdy shoe that provide second to none cushion and support. Although Hoka’s look a bit wild, they are actually for serious rugged mountain races. They sponsor two of the countries best professional trail runners and are designed to take on the Alps, Pyrenees, and Dolomites. So they should do well in your backyard.
We have seen a significant amount of customer reviews that praise the Hoka brand for allowing them to get out on the trails again. Any footwear that allows passionate runners to get back out and do what they love, when otherwise the foot pain wouldn’t allow for it, is a brand that we can get behind! Let’s take a look at the strengths of Hoka’s and what they can do for you.
Protection For The Soles Of Your Feet
As mentioned, if you have any type of foot pain or discomfort because of injury, you must give the Hoka brand a try. User feedback on their trail rated footwear reports that most stones and bumps are literally ignored when running in Hoka’s. Simply put, you don’t even feel that you’ve stepped on a stone or bump roads. This type of protection is also reflected in their road running shoes. In fact, you cannot find a thicker outsole on a running shoe. Another advantage is that when using Hoka’s for road running on smoother surfaces, they allow you to go longer distances with less endurance drain. User feedback is positive in cushioning and stability.
Less Of A Drop Between The Heel And Forefoot
When compared to the running shoes that sit towards the top, (ASICS, Mizuno, New Balance) the Hoka’s have much less of a drop between the heel and the forefoot. This is why, believe it or not, runner’s claim that running in Hoka’s feels more like running barefoot than their typical running shoes. When speaking on the comfort levels of the footwear, testers frequently gave the metaphor of running on clouds. We compared weight with other running shoes that we’ve reviewed and they actually compare in weight to minimalist shoes.
The Focus On Forward Lean
Hoka’s are purposely designed to encourage a healthy forward lean and smooth toe off. When you see the Meta-Rocker name on their models’ features list, know that it’s not just hype. It’s a strong taper under the toes that feels like you’re getting “pushed” forward as you run. This feature scores high marks to runners that were new to the shoe brand, and appreciated the effortless stride changes that the feature brings along with it.
Reduction Of Muscle Fatigue
Our feedback and tester reviews demonstrate that Hoka’s have been found to reduce muscle fatigue throughout their legs, and to be perfectly honest we understand why. Based on all data that we have compiled when it comes to minimalist running shoes (Hoka’s opposite), runners complain of increased muscle fatigue and soreness because the lack of cushioning and support force the foot and legs to do all of the work. So it’s no surprise that the Hoka’s will give runners the exact opposite outcome. We are happy to report that runner feedback reflects this help in natural biomechanics.
Other Important Things to Consider When Selecting Your Hoka Running Shoes.
If you believe that you are the type of road runner or trail runner that can benefit from the strengths of the Hoka brand, we hope that you can choose a model that can help you get out and run with more cushioning and support. However, before you go, take a look at the wide range of feedback and data we went through when compiling our selections. This will help you choose a Hoka running shoe that’s right for you. Keep in mind that it’s important that you make a selection that makes sense for your purposes and what you plan to do with them. Below you will find some personal factors to take into consideration when making your choice.
Consider Your Needs For Distance
Hoka models can be a little tricky when you’re looking for a distance runner. Since they are all pretty strong in this department, it’s easy to get confused. Remember that they make ultra long distance shoes, we’re talking about footwear for ultra-marathons and a hundred mile plus runners. This is a small percentage of the population, so why they may still fit your needs, they may be overkill. If you’re considering a marathon runner for standard surfaces, stick to our top three selections.
Focus On Your Ankles
If you are running in Hoka’s for the first time, remember that a thicker sole of this magnitude can place a little more stress on your ankles. This is especially true if you are coming from a running shoe with very little cushion. Runners reported that it’s a good idea to go for shorter distances at first in order to get used to running in Hoka’s. So take precautions and keep this in mind of you have had ankle injuries in the past.
Toe Box Concerns
Consider if you’ve ever had issues with running shoes being a little tight in the toe box region. You should be able to wiggle your toes a little. Because of the Hoka’s forward leaning design, if you don’t have a ton of room in the toe box, your toes may get compressed as your feet slide forward. To decide if Hoka’s are a good choice for you, take a look at your feet. Is your big toe larger than average? If so, you may feel some discomfort running in the Hoka’s that are labeled as narrow. If your feet are have more of a “triangle” shape (middle toe is the longest), then you should be fine.
Transition From Barefoot To Hoka Carefully
Safety always comes first to us at Runnerclick. This is because we know all too well the terrible feeling of being kept off of your feet because of an injury or foot issues. This is why if you’re choosing to move to a Hoka maximalist running shoe from a more “barefoot” running shoe, make sure that you transition slowly. Especially if you are coming over from a high heel-to-toe drop. We suggest shorter distances until your leg muscles adapt to the change. We provided some excellent Hoka middle of the road styles, but we encourage all of our runners to exercise caution with the transition.
We’re confident that by taking some of these factors into consideration when making your choice, you’ll find a Mizuno runner that is perfect for you. Before you get out there and run, we’ve also compiled some frequently asked questions that commonly arise when searching for a new running shoe.
Q: What’s it like to run in a pair of Hoka’s?
A: It’s best described as a super-soft yet resilient sensation under the foot. There’s a great amount of bounce to the stride; yet you’re feet remain flatter than a typical running shoe. Some testers likened it to running on a trampoline. The truth is, if you’re looking for cushioning, you should really feel it for yourself. There’s really nothing else like it on the market.
Q: Are Hoka’s defined by just a thick outsole?
A: It’s easy to make that assumption because our eyes are automatically drawn to the most obvious difference in the footwear. In reality, Hoka’s are defnied by their higher than average cushioning, widebody design, rocker profile. That’s what really sets the Hoka brand apart from anything else that’s out on the market today.
Q: These looks pretty heavy, will my run slow down?
A: They may look heavy, but they aren’t. In fact Hoka running and trail running shoes are the same exact weight as their counterparts. Additionally, out top three are actually lighter than a typical running shoe. It’s hard to get over the outlandish looks of the shoes, but once you get over that hill, you see their true competitive nature.
Q: Do I have to break in these running shoes?
A: Not really, but it’s a good idea to wear them on a short walk or around the house if you are planning to go out on a long excursion. This will make sure that you have the right fit; it’s not really to break in the shoe itself. Take this time to make sure that your feet feel secure and that you have plenty of room in the toe box to wiggle your toes. This will ensure that you have a great fit, and that your feet get used to your new Hoka’s
This was our approach when selecting the right pair of Mizuno running shoes. Remember that selecting the right pair of running shoes is an investment and making a selection that is based on personal use and needs is crucial. We hope this guide provided you with all the information you need when making you choice between form and function. Thanks for following along with us. Now make the perfect selection for you and keep running!
Here are some sources used while conducting our research
It’s important to use a wide variety of sources to ensure quality information. We like to utilize trusted running enthusiasts and manufactures when providing our readers with the most up-to-date statistics found in all our buying guides. We are also very interested in taking what everyday users have to say about specific products, and we perform our due diligence to make sure that quality research goes into every guide. Here are some sources which helped us with this guide: