Hoka One One Hupana

Hoka One One is known for its midsoles that make you feel like you are running on clouds. However, this technology also came with a stylistic compromise- a very large and wide outsole. The look and feel of their running shoes were definitely one of a kind, and then, the Hupana arrived.

Although they're known as a maximalist footwear brand, they wanted to offer the comfort and support for which they are known to runners that prefer a more minimalist shoe. So, they engineered the Hupana to provide just that, a minimalist feel with supreme comfort. They even gave this shoe a name that represents this goal: Hupana was inspired by the Maori word for “spring back.”

I have had the privilege to test out a pair of Hupanas, and, I must tell you, they exceeded all of my expectations. What is so great about this shoe? Keep reading my wear-tested review to find out!

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Pros & Cons
  • Very comfortable
  • High support
  • Lightweight
  • Everyday use
  • Great traction
  • Cons
    • Outsole height may still be too high for some
    • The fit is a bit tight
    • Key Features
      The outsole of the Hupana is not made of EVA like other HOKA’s. Instead, it is made of a very unique material called RMAT, that was created by HOKA chemists. RMAT is an extremely springy material, and it allows the outsole to be very flexible, responsive, and lightweight. It is also very durable and provides stellar grip and traction on road surfaces. One difference about the outsole of this shoe is that it has not been built with the Meta Rocker Geometry that HOKA normally incorporates into its shoes.

      I wore this shoe in dry, rainy, and snowy conditions on roads, sidewalks, and gravel. I was truly impressed by the traction, even on slick, snowy sidewalks. My runs were very stable, and the flexibility and spring of the outsole didn’t even make me think twice about the lack of Meta Rocker Geometry. After 60 miles in these shoes, I have not noticed any wear or shredding, so the outsole is definitely durable.
      The midsole is what makes the Hupana, like all other HOKA shoes, so comfortable. The midsole of the Hupana is completely made of RMAT material. RMAT was engineered by the chemists that made HOKA’s incredibly cushiony EVA material. By blending foam into the already soft EVA, RMAT was born, and it brought along with it many perks, including superior cushioning, flexibility, durability, and responsiveness.

      When I slipped these shoes on for the first time, my feet practically melted into them. The softness was immediately noticeable, yet I felt supported underfoot, and even in my arch (which is extremely high). As I ran in the Hupana, I couldn’t believe how comfortable yet light the shoes felt. An added bonus: the knee and hip pain I was experiencing from a bout with ITBS disappeared. I kid you not- it was gone. I haven’t run pain-free in months, so Hupanas (and other HOKAS, I’m sure) are going to be my go-to running shoe from now on.
      The upper of the Hupana has a very sleek, straightforward design and is made of knitted mesh, which is a first for HOKA. The upper is lightweight and breathable and stretches to create a snug yet comfortable fit around your foot. The upper is seamless, so there is no chance of chafing, blisters or other discomfort caused by seams digging into your skin. The lacing system is traditional.

      The feature that impressed me most about this upper was its breathability. My feet felt cool on every run, and they didn’t feel constricted in any way by the upper. Even after running through rain, puddles, and snow, these shoes dried very quickly, preventing me from having irritation, blisters, hot spots, or any other foot ailments related to moisture. HOKA’s first attempt at a knitted mesh upper was definitely a successful one.
      Even though the outsole and midsole of the Hupana are small for a HOKA, it was still larger than the shoes I had been wearing to run. So, I was a little skeptical about the weight. I was pleasantly surprised when I took these out of the box and even more surprised when I slipped them on my feet. They are ridiculously light! They weigh a mere 8 ounces, and I could definitely tell the difference as I ran. These shoes felt really fast. I was also impressed by how light and soft they could feel at the same time.
      The Hupana contains HOKA’s first attempt at a knitted mesh upper, and you can tell a lot of planning and engineering went into its creation. They definitely got it right, as this shoe is very well ventilated and as a result, incredibly breathable. Not only did my foot feel cool on every run, the shoes and my feet also dried very quickly after running through puddles and snow. There is definitely no need to worry about blisters, hot spots, foot fungus, or other moisture-related issues when wearing this shoe.
      I have never worn a running shoe as comfortable as the Hupana, especially considering its light weight and thicker-than-average midsole. The RMAT material truly provides a cloud-like feeling without feeling too soft. It is comforting, yet supportive.

      The flexibility of the upper also contributed to the comfort of the shoe, because it conforms to your foot and allows room for natural movement.
      The Hupana offers a more streamlined look than other HOKA running shoes. Part of this is due to the “small” outsole and midsole (especially for a HOKA) as well as the sleek, seamless knit upper. I tested the black pair, which matches everything. Other colors offered include purple, a floral printed blue, and a printed pink for women. For men, the color choices include black, gray, and two shades of blue. The designs aren’t too flashy, which makes sense considering this is marketed as an everyday shoe. HOKA wants you to wear it on your run, and then when you run errands.
      After 60 miles in these shoes, I have not noticed any extreme wear or tear. In fact, I noticed how great they still look after the beating they have taken, which included runs through snow, mud, and rainy.

      The comfort level of the shoe has remained just as high quality as the moment I first slipped them on. The outsole and midsole are still very supportive. Both of these indicate that the RMAT material is highly durable and will last for many, many more miles.
      The number one thing that was protected by the Hupana was my joints. The superior RMAT outsole and midsole provide so much support and cushioning that the knee and hip pain I was experiencing as a result of ITBS was eliminated.

      In addition to this, the upper fully encases your foot and fits snugly, so there is no need to worry about debris entering your shoe and irritating your foot. My toes were protected from stubbing by the toe cap, and the wide outsole gave me a great ground contact, keeping me stable and moving forward.
      When I first found out I was going to test out a pair of HOKA’s, I was a bit worried about the level of responsiveness the shoes would provide. I am a runner that simply runs (and occasionally jumps) over any obstacles in my path, rather than running around them. So, I need a shoe that can adjust to changes in terrain just as quickly as I do. A shoe that is often described as cloud-like and pillow-like, in my mind, could not possibly have the responsiveness I need.

      Well, the Hupana proved me wrong. Even though the shoe provided incredible comfort, it was also very responsive. I am really amazed out how the RMAT material can provide such softness yet still allow intense ground feeling. I never felt disconnected from the road as I ran, or as if I was going to lose traction or misstep. The Hupana kept me in control of my run, even in slippery and snowy conditions.
      Every part of my foot and leg was supported by the Hupana. The RMAT midsole and outsole was soft yet cushioned my foot in such a way that it felt sturdy. I didn't feel like I was sinking into the shoe or like I was stepping on a pillow. The incredible shock absorption of the RMAT also supported my ankle, knee, and hip joints, keeping them pain-free.

      The knit mesh upper, a first for HOKA, was snug yet flexible. It kept my foot in place and hugged my arch, yet moved with every stride I took. The support offered by this shoe made me feel confident and strong as I ran.
      The Hupana is intended to be a road running shoe, and although the RMAT outsole is durable, I wouldn't recommend taking them on a rugged trail. Additionally, HOKA markets this shoe as an "everyday" shoe, not just for running, but for everything else you do in your daily life like running errands, walking the dog, or playing with your kids in the backyard. I wore these shoes around for a couple of days everywhere I went, and they definitely provided me with comfort and support during every activity.
      The MSRP of the Hupana is $115. This is an average price for a minimalist road shoe. It is also a reasonable price for this shoe considering the incredible RMAT material it is constructed with, as well as the durability and quality of all of the other components of the shoe.
      Living in Pennsylvania, we can have all four seasons in one week... and this is exactly what happened when the Hupanas arrived on my doorstep. The day I got them it was 70 degrees, and the next day we had a blizzard!

      Needless to say, the point is that I have run in the Hupanas in dry, rainy, and snowy conditions, and I was really impressed by the traction they offered. Even when running on snow and slush, I didn't slip or slide at all during my stride. The RMAT material of the outsole offers some pretty extreme grip, no matter how wet or slippery your running surface is.
      The Hupana, although a light shoe, is not the most flexible I have worn. However, this has to do with the Meta Rocker Geometry that is used to engineer HOKA shoes. It is hard to create a shoe with immense cushioning that also offers extreme flexibility. The Meta Rocker Geometry compensates for this because it helps launch you forward, encouraging your natural gait and promoting better toe offs.
      The Hupana is an extremely stable shoe. The slightly wider-than-average outsole, along with the Meta Rocker Geometry and sticky traction of the RMAT material provide runners with an amazing amount of stability. Sometimes, a runner has to sacrifice stability for comfort, but this is not the case with the Hupana. You can finally have both!

      In addition to running, I also do quite a bit of lifting. I wore the Hupanas for one of my workouts, and I felt very stable and secure while I lifted. The wide outsole and Meta Rocker Geometry of the shoe kept my heels grounded while I did squats, which improved my workout overall. So, I would recommend this shoes for other types of workouts as well, especially lifting.
      The Hupana has a 5 mm drop. Such a small drop helps promote your natural stride and gait, especially combined with the Meta Rocker Geometry built into this shoe.
      Key Features
      • Comfort
      • HOKA's first knit mesh upper
      • Lightweight
      • Support
      • RMAT outsole and midsole
      • Great Traction
      Bottom Line
      If you are looking for an extremely comfortable and supportive shoe, especially if you experience any type of joint pain from running, the Hupana is what you need. You will get the benefits of a lightweight road shoe with the comfort for which HOKA is famous, but with a smaller, sleeker profile. This shoe is great for daily runs and daily errands alike. The Hupana will become your new favorite running shoe!
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      By Taren Weidaw
      Last updated:
      Where to buy
      Best offer on: Jul. 24. 2021

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