Hoka Gaviota 3
This shoe is one of the best stability shoes out there on the market and hosts quite a few features to keep your feet locked into an even gait cycle. It has a redesigned upper that really contours to the shape of your foot for excellent lockdown, and works to lift hot air up and away from your foot. The real star of the Gaviota 3 show is the incredibly thick dual density RMAT midsole that takes plush cushioning to a whole new level.
Below, I wanted to take a deep dive into the advanced features that make the Hoka Gaviota 3 one of the best stability shoes currently out there on the market.
Dual-density RMAT foam cushioning in the midsole
Rubberized foam outsole
The unique lacing system provides excellent lockdown
Rigid plastic heel counter for extra support
Heavy- weighs in at just shy of 12 ounces
A little clunky
There is a lot to cover in regards to the midsole of the Hoka Gaviota 3. This super-thick midsole is composed of dual-density RMAT foam that walks that fine line between plush and responsive. While the foam is incredibly thick, it won’t turn your gait cycle into mush like other stability shoes. It helps to absorb the impact when running on hard surfaces but still adds an extra spring to your step to keep your gait cycle light and snappy.
What I found unusual about this stability shoe is that it has a drop of only 5 mm. Most stability shoes offer a drop of 10-12 mm, which makes this design a little different. The lower drop offers a more natural stride that feels more natural when you compare the Gaviota 3 to other stability trainers out there on the market. The downside to the lower drop is that you will feel it in your ankles and calves, at least until you adjust to the lower drop of this shoe.
It also boasts a late-stage MetaRocker that is perfect for heavy strikers or for those that overpronate. This MetaRocker acts like a rocking chair for your feet and provides easy toe-offs and soft heel landings. The high cushioning and low drop are unusual for a stability shoe, but it really works to keep your gait natural and springy, yet protected.
Hoka’s are designed to last for hundreds of miles, and the Gaviota is no exception. If you have a heavier frame, you may find that you burn through running shoes rather quickly. The build of the outsole of this shoe is designed to really take a beating and will last for hundreds of miles. The outsole is composed of rubberized EVA foam that is light and bouncy, and it is reinforced with rubberized pods on high-impact areas.
It also boasts Hoka’s patented J-frame technology that works to guide the foot into a nice and even gait cycle. The carbon plate is stiff, yet you won’t feel it guiding your foot as you take each step. The traction on the outsole of this shoe is modest, and it is perfect for slippery sidewalks or even modest trails.
Overall, the outsole of this shoe is incredibly versatile and performs quite well in the gym, out on the trails, or simply when you need to stand on your feet all day.
One of the biggest changes made to this newest addition to the Gaviota family is the construction of the upper. Overall, the breathability between the newest and previous versions remains the same. This upper offers modest breathability that may run a little hot in warmer climates, but it’s great on those cooler mornings. It provides a good deal of stretch, which boosts overall lockdown.
The heel collar is also reinforced with a plastic cap that really locks the heel firmly into place to prevent slipping. It provides runners with a heel table to help you slip your feet into this slightly rigid heel counter. While the heel is a bit stiff, it provides plenty of plush padding for a comfortable ride that is ready to tackle long distances.
Overall, I would recommend this stability shoe for runners that need a little extra help. It’s a perfect shoe for those with a heavier frame, or who deal with overpronation. The J-frame in conjunction with the late-stage MetaRocker helps to naturally even out your gait cycle and limits strain or possibly injuries if your stride is uneven. If you have a heavy stride or just love a lot of extra cushioning, the Hoka Gaviota 3 is an excellent choice.
The ride of this shoe is incredibly responsive and doesn’t feel as clunky as it looks. The blend of the plush midsole, low drop, and rubberized outsole keeps your stride nice and bright. It’s a heavy shoe that weighs in at just over 11 ounces, so it is built more for long distances and less for speed. This shoe is so comfortable that many users wear it as a casual shoe when they need to stand on their feet all day.
Many runners found that this shoe runs true to size. If you are a size 9 in previous Hoka shoes, the same can be said for the Gaviota 3. If you have never tried on a pair of Hoka’s before, I recommend giving them a test drive at your local shoe store. If you can’t make it to a shoe store, be sure to take ample measurements of your feet and compare them to Hoka’s detailed sizing chart.
One of the things that I love most about the fit of this shoe is that Hoka implemented a unique lacing system that really helps to boost lockdown. The wide loop on these laces alternate between the upper and the midsole, which allows you to tinker with the tightness for a more customized fit. The lacing system is a little different, but it really works to help runners find that perfect fit for their feet.
Hoka completely redesigned the look of the upper, and I feel it is a step in the right direction. The style of this shoe looks more modern and sleek, and it comes in a wide variety of unique color options that will really pop out there on the trails.
It’s important to note, however, that these shoes are quite large and a little clunky. These shoes are packed with a high degree of plush cushioning, and that extra padding makes this shoe quite large. It’s a little cumbersome, but not quite as bad as previous versions of this shoe.
Stability shoes often come in at a slightly higher price point than neutral trainers, and the Hoka Gaviota 3 is no exception. However, when you take into consideration that Hoka has thrown all of their high-end features into one shoe, the value is certainly there.
This shoe is built to last for hundreds of miles, even if you are a heavier runner. The price tag may seem a little intimidating, but you will be able to squeeze every last drop of value out of these running shoes!
Comparisons to Previous Versions
One of the biggest changes made to this design is the construction of the upper. The newest model boasts a more stylish and slimmer upper, and it also includes a stiff heel counter and a unique lacing system to really help to boost lockdown.
The Gaviota 2 provided good stability and protection, but the updated version turned up the support dial to an 11, making it one of the better stability shoes out there on the market.
Plus, the materials used for the outsole are designed to take quite a beating and will show little signs of wear and tear even after 100 miles. It may cost a little bit more than your average pair of trainers, but the extra features are well worth the slightly higher price point.
Previous versions of the Gaviota were fine, but Hoka really struck gold with the redesigned Gaviota 3!