Hoka One One Challenger ATR 2 Review Facts
What is the first thing that comes to mind when a runner thinks about Hoka One One running shoes? The outsoles. However, this maximalist design is what has made this shoe famous among the running crowd, and for good reason. It was different. A large, super cushioned outsole would help keep your foot protected and comfy while running on rocky and jagged trails, right? This review of the Hoka One One Challenger ATR 2 will help you decide if this is a shoe that will help you tackle your favorite trail.
The outsole of the Hoka One One Challenger ATR 2 is composed of EVA and is designed with Meta-Rocker Geometry. The Meta-Rocker, which is unique to Hoka One One, is designed to minimize the heel-to-toe differential and create a rocking-chair-like effect when you run. This will improve your gait and make you run more efficiently. The outsole of the Challenger ATR 2 is constructed with 4mm, rubber-tipped lugs.
These offer good traction on softer surfaces you may encounter on your runs, such as grass, dirt, and light mud.
However, even though it brings some benefits to your running game, the outsole was an area of great concern for users. The average lifespan of this shoe is about 150 miles. At this point, the outsole began to wear out for many runners. When considered from a long-term perspective, this means wasted money, because runners will frequently have to purchase new running shoes.
The midsole of the Hoka One One Challenger ATR 2 is like a soft, dreamy pillow
for your foot. The Ortholite midsole is 30% softer than the average midsole but still manages to provide runners with the ability to feel secure when they impact the ground. This can be attributed to the extremely thick cushioning, which measures in at 29mm. Having such a thick midsole offers a few benefits. First, it provides your feet with cushioned protection from any blow. Second, it can absorb a significantly greater amount of impact that naturally occurs during your run, as well as the impact caused from an intense jump
or from landing on an extra hard or uneven surface. The stack height also helps protect the side of your foot from debris while you run.
The HOKA ONE ONE Challenger ATR2 does not include a rock plate as part of its construction. This makes sense since the midsole is so thick. The midsole of this model also provides the runner with a more secure, snugger fit than the previous version, which helps prevent your foot from slipping around in the shoe. It also helps prevent the rolling or spraining of your ankles, which is something that is normally associated with thick midsoles.
The upper of the Hoka One One Challenger ATR 2 is constructed of closed mesh. The previous version of this shoe presented issues regarding the durability of the upper, including the overlays becoming unwelded and holes forming in the mesh fabric. However, the upper is much more sturdily constructed and has greater reinforcement in this second version of the shoe, but this has also contributed to an increase in weight. When considering this to be your next running shoe, you will have to decide which is a more important feature for your running style: greater foot protection or a lighter weight shoe.
The lightness of this shoe
is shocking when compared to the thickness of the outsole and midsole. The Hoka One One Challenger ATR 2 is able to be both a maximalist and light weight shoe because the thick outsole and midsole are constructed of EVA and extremely light weight cushioning material. The men’s version weighs in at a mere 9.6 ounces. However, because this version of the shoe includes some reinforcement features that were not part of the original version, the Challenger ATR 2 is about an ounce heavier than the ATR. Sometimes you have to sacrifice the weight of the shoe to increase its durability.
The upper of the Challenger ATR 2 is constructed of open mesh. This allows air to flow through the shoe to keep your feet cool and dry.
This is an important feature for trail runners because it helps prevent and minimize foot odor, as well as moisture-related foot conditions like fungus, calluses, and athlete's foot.
If you are in search of a comfortable trail running shoe
, look no further. Comfort is where the Hoka One One Challenger ATR 2 truly shines. With 29 mm of EVA cushioning underfoot, as well as added cushioning on the sole of the shoe, the Challenger ATR 2 will leave you feeling like you are running on air. It’s no joke- runners reported that wearing this shoe eliminated their leg, foot, and ankle pain
. They also reported that their legs were less tired after an average length run than in other shoes.
The snug seamless upper decreased the chance of hot spots or blisters. The padded tongue provides extra cushioning between your foot and the laces, so there is no undesired pressure on the top of your foot. The toe box is one area of concern in terms of comfort. While most users have no issue with it, some runners found the toe box to be a bit narrow.
The style of the Hoka One One Challenger ATR 2, like many other shoes in the Hoka One One line, can take some getting used to. The thickness of the midsole gives this maximalist shoe platform-like height. Although there are a variety of benefits to having such a thick sole, it may not be the style for everyone. One thing to keep in mind about the thick outsole is that this feature is unique to this shoe (and brand) and is what made it famous. It will be recognized among runners, and will definitely grab the attention of non-runners.
In terms of colors, this shoe is available in both neutral and bright colors, so there is a shoe to match any runner’s wardrobe
. The reflective details and logo are tastefully distributed, giving the upper of this shoe a sleek and athletic look.
This is the only major area of concern for the Hoka One One Challenger ATR 2. Users of this shoe reported getting only 150-200 miles out of the outsole of this shoe. In most runners’ worlds, this really isn’t a lot of mileage. For some runners, it could mean replacing your running shoes every few weeks, which is not only time consuming but can also put a dent in your bank account.
Your feet are very well protected
while wearing the Hoka One One Challenger ATR 2. The extra thickness of the EVA outsole and midsole guards your foot against any obstacle the trail presents underfoot and even from the side, while also providing superior shock absorption from an impact. The rubber mesh has a breathable plastic coating that adds another level of protection. The toe bumper is strong and durable and can stand up to the rocks and tree limbs you are likely to face on the trail.
This shoe, despite its thick outsole, is highly responsive, especially during trail runs. It can handle the impact of your regular running stride as well as any jumps or more intense movements you might make. Your foot will remain cushioned and pain-free
in this shoe.
However, the thickness of the sole does not give runners ground feel. However, in selecting this shoe, you were probably avoiding feeling every stick and pebble you run over on the trail. If you are a runner that likes feeling trail underfoot, this isn’t the shoe for you.
The Meta-Rocker Geometry of the Hoka One One Challenger ATR 2 creates a curved bottom. This supports you as you run in a variety of ways. First, it creates a minimal heel-to-toe drop to allow you to run at your most natural gait. It also helps you run more efficiently and smoothly due to the rocking-chair-like movement of your foot. The Meta-Rocker also provides greater forefoot support because it is placed near the metatarsal bones in your feet.
The cushioning also helps support not only your feet but other joints that absorb the intense impact of your runs. Users of the Hoka One One Challenger ATR 2 report decreased pain in their ankles and knees after regular use of this shoe.
The Challenger ATR 2 is a trail running shoe. This is evident in the fact that the shoe has rubberized lugs on the outsole. However, the lug design is minimal, meaning you can transition between the trail and paved surfaces. However, since the lugs are not deep, this shoe is not intended for very muddy, snowy, or icy conditions.
This shoe is a slightly more expensive running shoe. However, considering the specialized, lightweight materials used to construct such a maximalist shoe, this is not surprising. It is important to consider the questionable durability of this shoe since it has a higher price tag. The short lifespan of the outsole may not make the investment worth it.
The 4mm, rubber-coated lugs on the outsole of this shoe provide an acceptable amount of traction on the soft, dirt covered terrain you would expect on most trail runs. However, since the lugs are not especially deep or pronounced, this shoe will not provide sufficient traction in snow, on ice or in deep mud.
This is not a flexible shoe. It is constructed in a way that it doesn’t feel too stiff, mostly because of the flexibility of the mesh and the design of the cushioning on the outsole. It is intended to be a tough trail shoe, and its firm and durable construction definitely help it fulfill this purpose.
In terms of stability
, previous versions of Hoka One One shoes were not a favorite among runners. The stack height was notorious for causing rolled ankles, as well as slowing down runs because of the need to be more careful to avoid injury. However, with a lower stack height (29 mm) than other Hoka One One shoes and the forced curvature of the Meta-Rocker Geometry, the Challenger ATR 2 does not present the same stability issues as other maximalist shoes. The Meta-Rocker forces the foot forward into a natural gait, and the lower stack height increases confidence in your stride.
Even with such a high stack height, the Challenger ATR 2 has only a 5-mm drop. This low heel to toe differential increases the stability the shoe offers and allows you to be a more confident runner while on the trail.
Users report that the Hoka One One Challenger ATR 2 runs true to size. However, there is concern about the tightness of the toe box for some runners. Ordering up a half size may help solve this issue.
Key Features of the Challenger ATR 2
Key Features of the Challenger ATR 2
• Extreme comfort
• A decrease in joint pain
• Extra soft cushioning
• Meta-Rocker Geometry
• Traditional lace-up closure
• Heel pull loop
The Hoka One One Challenger ATR 2 has increased stability and a lower stack height compared to other Hoka One One shoes. This shoe is as light as air, especially considering the thickness of the outsole, and the level of comfort it provides has decreased foot, knee, and ankle pain in many runners.
However, consider the durability of the shoe and how long you plan to keep the shoes. Some replace shoes every few months regardless of wear & tear, and some replace their shoes when they fall apart. If you are the person to keep shoes for hundreds of miles, you may want to look into a shoe with a more durable, rough midsole that can take an extreme beat, such as seen on the Salomon Speedcross
line, or La Sportiva's Wildcat 2.0
. If you prefer a softer, cushioned midsole, the ATR 3's are ideal.