Best Hoka Running Shoes reviewed & Tested
Hoka are great shoes for runners who struggle with high plantar fasciitis or repetitive impact pain. While many support shoes have high levels of cushioning, most struggle with keeping their shoes lightweight. The clear goal implemented in Hoka’s design is a high level of cushioning with adding no extra weight. The stability and support that Hoka provides are great for runners who are looking for relief without sacrificing aspects of their regimen.
Below we have the list of the very best running shoes from Hoka. It was a difficult selection process, especially with such a reliable brand, but we also elaborated on our thorough criteria. This is so you’ll know exactly how we came to our decision. With all the thought we put into our choices, we feel confident that anyone who uses this list will be able to find a pair of shoes that suits them perfectly.
- Hoka One One Clifton 4
- RMAT rebound material
- Hoka One One Bondi 5
- Improved mesh upper
- Hoka One One Vanquish 2
- Deep foot frame
11 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 5
The Bondi 5 is the peak of its line. The 5’s provide more comfort than any previous iteration of the Bondi line. While many may agree that the 5 is an improvement on most levels, it does seem as though the ventilation isn’t as thorough as the 4, with some heat build up on particularly hot days. But with a wider toe box and perfect comfort and flexibility right out of the box it is no surprise that the Bondi 5 quickly became a Hoka fan favorite. .
Quality / Durability
Like with most running shoes you should be careful with the surfaces that you use the Bondi 5 on. Certain non-traditional running surfaces, like gym use or on a carpet, may cause these shoes to wear faster than normal.
- Extremely light weight
- Early Stage Meta-Rocker midsole for smooth transitions and improved gait
- Wide toe box
- Stable and supportive design
- Short to non-existent break in period
- Very comfortable
Durability issues when used on certain surfaces
- May have ventilation issues in extreme heat.
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
The Hoka Vanquish 2 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 product 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 Arahi
Made with the extra thick padding that Hoka has become known for, The Hoka One One Arahi is one of the most comfortable shoes a runner can get. Everything about the shoe was intentionally designed with an extra level of padding from heel to tongue as to minimize discomfort,. The rocking stride that the of the Arahi may take some time to adjust to, but stability is not something these shoes lack. In fact, the specialized frame of the Ahari provides a lot of support where a runner needs at most.
Quality / Stability
The Arahi is one of the better shoes along the Hoka brand in terms of durability, very few runners reporting issues with long term use of the shoe.
- Great support and stability, including specialized frame
- Midsole meta-rocker for smooth stride
- Very comfortable thick padding
- Designed to mitigate pain and prevent injury
- May take time to adjust to unique stride
Hoka One One Gaviota
The Gaviota are shoes praised for their comfort. Not only will the runners who wear them speak highly of how comfortable they are but of how much they reduce pain and stress on their body. Joints that undergo a lot of strain while running will be greatly aided by all the additional cushioning. This type of support not seen in your average running shoe and you will be able to feel the difference.
Quality / Durability
These Hoka shoes do have a high quality of construction and comfort. Most wearers don’t need any break-in time; the wear of the shoe feels snug and secure right off the bat. That being said, there were some wearers who experienced some durability deterioration over the long term, within the first few months or so. This is something that is relatively rare but worth noting.
The Hoka One One Men's Gaviota promises not only the cushioned comfort and stability that runners have come to expect from the brand but also an energetic run that gives back every bit of yourself that you invest in it. The Gaviota is for runners who are looking for relief from their pain so they can back up and running again.
Preserves energy of strides
Easy on knees
- Pricier than other Hoka options
- May not be great for long term durability
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
Hoka One One Speedgoat 2
It’s not surprising that when you search for most comfortable trail running shoes, this model appears really often. It’s extremely comfortable thanks to the features. The midsole is very thick and wide, there’s also EVA foam very thick lugs so the shock absorption works as it should.
The previous version was less durable than this one. Although it’s not the longest lasting trail running shoe, it will handle many miles without any significant signs of wearing. You don’t need to worry about water or mud.
Cost or Value
140 dollar for trail running shoe is an average price. It’s not high and the shoes will be loved by trail runners so it’s worth to give them a chance.
Thick cushioning and lug system
Rocker design that will help to increase speed
Some users said that the lugs wear out too fast
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
Hoka One One Tracer 2
There’s much less cushioning than in average Hoka shoe so you feel more stable when you hit the ground. The Meta-Rocker geometry adds to the stability. The shoes are also much lighter and the fit is also improved. The shoes are well ventilated and The PROLite cushioning still absorbs the shock very well.
Even though the material is thinner, it doesn’t mean that shoes are less durable. However, they will best for racing definitely not for trail.
Cost or value
The price is okay, considering the comfort and design of the shoe, it’s worth testing.
It’s very lightweight but still well cushioned
It fits very well
There aren’t many color options.
Hoka One One Hupana
The shoe is quite lightweight, so it adds to the comfort. The cushioning is a little bit thicker than an average running shoe, it’s not too soft but it provides very comfortable ride. The shoe is well ventilated, runners said that their feet stayed dry during the run and they didn’t have any blisters. When it comes to stability, this is very stable shoe thanks to the Meta Rocker Geometry and great traction.
The shoes won’t wear out fast, they will last for many miles. The cushioning retains the original shape.
The price isn’t a killer, you will need to spend less than 120 dollars on this pair. This is an average price for this type of shoes.
It’s lightweight but still supportive
High quality RMAT material
Some runners said that the toe box was too narrow for them
The consensus is that, while Hoka may be a slightly more expensive brand, you are getting your money’s worth when it comes to stability and comfort. Hoka takes once difficult movement and turns it into an energetic and pain-free motion. These are the best shoes to get you back to the track or trail.
Additionally, while Hoka is great for not exasperating current injury, the support they provide also can prevent future injury. A brand that keeps your feet well protected, well ventilated, cushioned and snug in the shoe is a brand that we can easily recommend. We know that with a pair of Hoka from our list you will be running like a breeze right after you put them on.
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 there more to Hoka than their thick outsole?
A: It is easy to define something, especially a brand, based on what you can see. That is part of how they want to market themselves. They want you to see a shoe and know its a Hoka. But when it comes to Hoka, their thick outsole is just beginning of what they have to offer. A wide toe box. A rocker profile. Thick but light cushioning. These are the things that set the these apart from other running shoes, and it’s these things that become apparent from the first time you put on a pair of Hoka.
Q: These looks pretty heavy, will they slow me down?
A: You may be surprised to hear that Hoka running shoes are actually typically lighter than most running shoes. One of the strengths that Hoka has over other stability shoes is they are able to provide enough cushioning to provide proper support without adding additional weight. So while they may appear bulky, in this instance appearances are deceiving.
Q: Do I have to break in these running shoes?
A: One of the more interesting aspects of Hoka’s design is that, unlike many types of running shoes, the amount of break-in time required is minimal to non-existent. While you may not need to break them in, we do recommend wearing these shoes for a little while around the house or for a couple of very short runs before really trying them out. Hoka shoes are a stability shoe and they have a rocker profile. Both of these aspects of the Hoka’s design will affect your gate. With how these styles of shoe operate, you’ll have an easier time running after a bit of practice.
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: