Hoka One One Challenger ATR 4
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.
- 4 mm drop
- Cool color options
- Added cushioning
- Aggressive lug system
- Bulky look not appealing to everyone
- Transition time necessary to get used to lower drop
"When my go-to trail running shoe was discontinued, I had to find a new one. Tested out quite a few until I landed on the Hoka Challenger ATR. It's kind of like the Hoka Clifton road shoe designed for moderate trail work. Perfect for the type of running I do, which tends to be a mix of road & trail.
-Moderate-sized lugs with plenty of traction.
-More flexible than a lot of trail running shoes (doesn't have a rock plate).
-Lighter than many trail shoes.
-Drains well and dries fairly fast.
Just finished my 13th 100-mile race wearing this shoe during the Mountain Lakes 100-Mile Ultra."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 the Hoka One One Challenger ATR 4 keeps the runner’s foot dry and cool reduces the risk of hot spots and blisters, regardless of the weather conditions on the trail.
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.
With that being said, the Hoka One One Challenger 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.
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.
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.
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 a 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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
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.