Hoka One One Challenger ATR 4

8.0
8.0 score
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Editor rating: 8.0 / 10
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Hoka One One Challenger ATR 4 Review Facts
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The Hoka One One Challenger ATR 4 provides runners with the security and minimal cushioning of a traditional Hoka One One, but this shoe ups the ante by adding aggressive traction, a redesigned upper, and more overall grip to make it a great trail-running option. Hoka made some key changes to the ATR 3 after listening to athlete suggestions, and the outcome is a more comfortable, versatile shoe that Hoka fans are calling the Clifton of the all-terrain running world. This shoe has been updated with better ground contact, a plush midsole, and a more protective, breathable upper. This shoe provides a fast and lightweight design that is unique to trail running shoe designed. Generally, a trail running shoe means more weight, especially for one that provides as much cushioning as the Challenger ATR 4. However, Hoka is able to keep the weight low, the cushioning high. This shoe is on the higher end of the price spectrum, but runners found it to be a smart investment since the durability provided is so high.

Editor's Pros & Cons
Pros

-4 mm drop

-Cool color options

-Added cushioning

-Aggressive lug system

Cons

-Bulky look and unique aesthetic that is not appealing to all runners

Outsole
Outsole

Outsole

The outsole of this shoe is designed specifically to provide runners with maximum ground contact. This helps to keep runners safe and secure regardless of the terrain and weather conditions. The updates to the Challengers ATR 4 from the 3rd iteration of the shoe include more traction and a design that provides a smoother transition through the gait cycle. The outsole is designed using a unique rubberized pod layout. These pods provide more grip and mimic an athletic cleat in how they grip the ground below and help the runner move forward. Additionally, runners will find flex grooves through the outsole to keep the flexibility of the shoe high. The 4 mm lug design that is used across the entire outsole adds traction to the shoe.
Midsole
Midsole

Midsole

Some of the biggest changes to the newer version of the Challenger is the midsole. This shoe uses a midsole foam unit that is 30% lighter than its predecessor. The EVA full-length midsole unit is the softest, lightest midsole unit in the Hoka line. This foam provides exceptional energy return and shock absorption. These combined qualities help the runner run further and stay protected from pain and injury. The patented meta rocker technology that is a signature of the Hoka line provides a smooth gait cycle. This is a curved outsole, that acts to mimic the natural movement of the foot, and provides forward propulsion without a high heel drop.
Upper
Upper

Upper

The upper of this shoe has been redesigned to lighten it while simultaneously adding more protection. The entire shoe is covered in a dual-layered mesh material. This allows air to flow freely into and out of the foot chamber. The continuous air circulation keeps the foot cool and comfortable. Although this mesh is lightweight, it is also very protective. It acts as a shield, deflecting trail debris. It is also virtually tear-proof so runners don’t have to worry about ripping the shoe. The fused toe cap keeps the foot protected from rocks, limbs, and other dangerous debris that can be found on the trail. The upper of the ATR 4 has fewer fused overlays, making it more flexible and lightweight. Instead, the runner will notice side strings along the sides of the shoe. These connect to the lacing system to provide a high level of support.
Weight
Weight

Weight

Runners were surprised at how lightweight this shoe is for a durable, aggressive trail running shoe. In general, tough trail racing and running shoes, especially those with the amount of cushioning provided by the Challenger ATR 4 are much heavier. This shoe weighs in at a mere 9 ounces for a men’s size nine (and even less for the women’s size nine). This can be attributed to the redesigned upper and midsole. The upper has been stripped of most of its heavier overlays while the midsole has a new, lighter midsole foam unit. This unit is nearly 50% lighter than other midsole foams. This allows the shoe to receive a high level of cushioning without all the extra weight. The lightweight nature of the shoe makes this a great choice for not only hiking but fast paced racing on the trails as well.
Breathability
Breathability

Breathability

One of the key changes that Hoka made to this Challenger ATR 4 from its last iteration is the increased breathability of the upper. The shoe now has a dual-layered mesh upper. These two layers are both lightweight and this design allows air to flow freely into and out of the shoe without adding extra weight. The high level of breathability also makes for quick drying action, so runners do not need to worry about traversing through puddles or streams during their workouts. Overall, the fact that this shoe keeps the runner’s foot dry and cool reduces the risk of hot spots and blisters, regardless of the weather conditions on the trail.
Comfort
Comfort

Comfort

Hoka’s are known for providing a lightweight cushioning to runners. This shoe provides runners with a high level of comfort by absorbing the shock of each footfall and reducing the risk of pain and long-term energy. The Meta Rocker design of the shoe cradles the foot and provides the runner with a smooth transition. Additionally, the breathable upper keeps hot spots and blisters at bay. This shoe does have a lowered heel to toe drop, so runners who find comfort in a traditional drop may not feel comfortable in this shoe.
Style
Style

Style

Hoka’s are known for their unique look. They have a bulkier look to them and are not suggested for runners who are looking for a sleek, slimming shoe that will transition easily from the gym to a day out with friends. Their shoes are much more focused on function than they are style and fashion. With that being said, the ATR 4 is offered in a wide selection of bright color options. A few different color choices include silver pine with chinus green, storm blue with black iris and midnight with niagra.
Responsiveness
Responsiveness

Responsiveness

This shoe features added cushioning in the midsole that creates a plush ride for runners. Additionally, the outsole of this shoe is thicker to provide a more durable, protective ride. These features keep the responsiveness relatively low on these shoes. The heel to toe drop is a mere 4 mm, but the added materials create a feeling of being further away from the ground.
Support
Support

Support

Runners were pleased with the overall support provided by this shoe. For starters, since the shoe has a lower heel to toe drop, runners had a more stable base, making it less likely that they would roll an ankle on uneven terrain. The flatter platform kept runners safe and supported during their workouts. Additionally, the midsole material is plush and adaptive. It rises to fit the shape of each foot, providing arch support. Finally, the bungee lacing system works to keep the foot in place.
Durability
Durability

Durability

The upper and the outsole of the shoe are where runners can expect to find the most durability. The upper utilizes a dual-layered mesh material. This material is lightweight, but is virtually tear-proof and keeps the shoe safe from any sharp objects that it might encounter on the trail. The 4 mm lugged outsole of this shoe is designed to stand up to the wear and tear of the trails. Although this shoe has a high price tag, runners commented that the high level of durability makes this shoe a smart investment.
Protection
Protection

Protection

Trail runners know that a good trail running shoe needs to ensure that runners will stay safe and protected on the trails. This shoe provides multiple protective elements for runners. For starters, the pod design of the outsole and the 4 mm lugs add extra grip and traction. This keeps runners protected from uneven terrain and helps keep them securely on their feet. The upper of the shoe features a redesigned toe guard. This keeps runners safe from unexpected elements found on the trail. The lightweight midsole of the shoe is designed to absorb shock, reducing joint pain and keeping runners protected from long-term injury. Finally, the bungee style lacing system does not need to be tied, eliminating the risk of runners tripping over untied laces and hurting themselves on the trail.
Terrain
Terrain

Terrain

This shoe is made for trail running. Uneven terrains are no match for this shoe. The outsole is made using a unique pod design. This grips onto terrain and is perfect for steep uphill or downhill hiking. The upper is lightweight and breathable and the dual layered mesh is fast drying, making it possible for runners to travel through streams or puddles without fear. The toe guard protects runners from roots or rocks that can unexpectedly pop up on the trail.
Price
Price

Price

This shoe is not suggested for the runner on a very tight budget. Since it is the newest iteration of the Challenger ATR, the price is going to be higher than some of the older models. Although the price is higher than some other trail running options, runners commented that the price is worth it because it lasts so long. There are three other earlier iterations that will be less expensive if runners want to get the benefits of the Challenger ATR without the higher price tag.
Traction
Traction

Traction

One of the key reasons why runners purchase this shoe is because of the high level of traction that it provides to runners. The entire outsole is lined with a 4 mm pod design. This provides added traction, making it a great choice for uneven terrain as well as steep up and downhill training. Hoka made sure to add in full ground contact construction to the outsole. This means that there is not a single section of the shoe that does not make direct contact with the ground, providing tons of added traction to protect the runner and keep them secure on tough terrain.
Flexibility
Flexibility

Flexibility

The Hoka geometric Meta Rocker design provides a smooth transition through the gait cycle, but overall, Hokas are not known for their flexibility. The shoe is thicker and provides plush cushioning for the runner.
Stability
Stability

Stability

This is a neutral trail running shoe and lacks the added technology to support runners who are suffering from severe over or under pronation issues. The design of the shoe promotes the natural movement of the gait cycle and helps to provide a smooth transition from toe-off to heel strike. This shoe has a flat platform, so runners have a more stable landing pad which makes it less likely that they will twist an ankle during their runs.
Drop
Drop

Drop

Hokas are known to combine a low heel to toe drop and plush cushioning, two things that are generally separate in the world of athletic shoes. The drop on this shoe is 4 mm, which is much lower than a traditional shoe. This means that runners will not get the same forward propulsion of a traditional drop shoe, and instead, can expect to have a more natural gait cycle. For runners who are used to working out in traditional drop shoes, some transition time will be necessary.
Key Features
Key Features

Key Features

- 4 mm drop
- 30% lighter midsole foam unit
- 4 mm lugs
- Pod design along the outsole
- Flex grooves throughout.
- Meta Rocker design for a smooth gait cycle
- Plush cushioning
- Fused tow cap for added protection
- Dual-layered mesh upper
Bottom Line
Bottom Line

Bottom Line

The fourth iteration of the Hoka One One Challenger ATR combines the plush low drop cushioning of a Hoka with the best trail running technology around. This shoe is designed to tackle the toughest terrains due to its 4 mm lugged, pod-shaped underfoot. This material is durable and provides the runner with the grip and traction they need for steep uphill climbs and downhill descents. Hoka’s have a unique look and this Hoka is no exception to this rule. It is offered in multiple bright colors and runners should expect this shoe to cost them slightly more than the average trail running shoe on today’s market.