Hoka One One Kawana

The Hoka One One Kawana blends their CMEVA foam cushioning, early-stage Metarocker, and a unique Swallowtail heel that makes this shoe a great fit for intermediate road running and cross-training. 

Unlike other trainers in the Hoka lineup, the Kawana is much more versatile and built for more activities outside of your daily runs. Scroll down to learn more about this shoe's overall performance, support, comfort and more. 

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Our Conclusion
The Hoka Kawana is a solid everyday performer for individuals looking for extra cushion. It may take a mile or two to get used to how thick the cushioning is, but it was worth being slightly unbalanced for a little while before enjoying the comfort.

I feel like the high level of cushioning and grippy outsole make this shoe a perfect fit for beginners or intermediate runners who want a shoe that provides a smooth and cushioned ride. I found this shoe to be incredibly versatile and adapted to my movements.
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Key Features
Comfort & Fit
The Hoka Kawana is true to size. But like always, consider sizing up slightly. I loved that the toe box was nice and wide and allowed plenty of room for toe splay. After 3-4 solid running miles and two cross-training workouts, the shoe fit remarkably well.

I loved how snug they are without cutting off circulation. They provide excellent lockdown without feeling restrictive and hold their shape even after 50 miles together.

Click here for our running shoe fit guide and size conversion chart.
Performance
I had the opportunity to take these shoes for a test spin on the road, treadmill, grass, gravel, rubber gym floor, and a hardwood gym floor. Overall, these are better suited for dry road/sidewalk running or trips to the gym.

Due to the large cushioned insole, I don't imagine the Kawana ideal for advanced road runners. But it certainly is an excellent shoe for a beginner or intermediate runner that needs a little extra bounce and support. This model is for road running and cross-training specifically. You may want to reach for something with deeper and grippier lugs for the trails. 

They gripped well on ice and snow, but I wouldn't consider the Kawana a great model for winter conditions. For peak performance, it's best to steer clear of the trails and stick to paved surfaces.
Support
The arch support is pretty basic, even with the thicker than average insole Hoka's tend to have. If you have flat feet, you may still need additional arch support, but if you don't, you'll find the cushion is enough to support your foot correctly.
Break-In Period
These shoes took a moment to break in, but luckily it wasn't too long. After 3-4 running miles, I felt comfortable enough to forget about their performance and fell into a solid stride. After 2 or 3 cross-training workouts and a few games of pickleball, I felt like they had been broken in and fit great.
Upper
The upper is composed of recycled jacquard mesh, and it contoured to the shape of my foot while maintaining maximum breathability. The toe box was nice and wide, and the lightweight materials helped increase airflow.

I also loved the fit of the heel counter. I'm always nervous to find out if my new shoe purchase will dig into my heel, but this model performed precisely as a running shoe should. You won't want to wear no-shoe socks, of course. But the shoe's heel has a nice arch to it to prevent it from digging into or rubbing up against your ankle.

I'm normally most concerned about the shoe's heel rubbing against my ankle, but they showed no sign of discomfort on the heel. Time will tell if hot spots on any other part of my feet occur, so we will update the article if needed.
Midsole
The midsole of the Kawana is made from CMEVA (Compression Molded EVA) foam that is pretty thick. It's not quite as thick as the Bondi (which reduces the overall weight of this shoe), but it's still pretty dense.

While it provided a supremely cushioned and smooth ride, I wasn't very tuned in to the ground under my feet. Feeling the road can be an essential factor on long runs, and the current thickness makes it near impossible to get a sense of the terrain you're on.

Thick midsole

The midsole of this design also boasts an early-stage Meta-Rocker that kept my stride nice and bright. It provides quick and easy toe-offs that make it an ideal trainer not only for running but agility work as well.
Outsole
While the midsole boasts an early-stage meta-rocker for snappy toe-offs, the extended Swallowtail heel design is perfect for heel-strikers. Whether I was going for an easy run or playing a game of pickleball, the blend of these components made my movements feel agile yet supported.

They also boast a 30 mm stack height (and a modest 5 mm drop) for plenty of cushioning that isn't as cumbersome as the Bondi series. This trainer is an excellent choice if you want a Hoka trainer with a slightly slimmer stack height. It's thick, but not as thick as other Hoka trainers (looking at you, Bondi!)

Outsole
Durability
Hoka is known for its exceptional durability, and the Kawana is no exception. I put these shoes to the test, and after nearly 50 miles of running and walking, the outsole shows minimal signs of overall wear and tear. With supportive features and a durable rubber outsole, this is a shoe that will hold up for hundreds of miles when used as your go-to daily trainer.
Our Verdict
I would recommend the Hoka One One Kawana for beginner or intermediate runners that need something with a good deal of cushioning that can keep up with you on those cross-training days.

While most Hoka running shoes are built exclusively for running, the Kawana is more versatile than other Hoka shoes. If you like to switch up your daily runs with a few workouts at the gym, this is a shoe that is able to adapt to whatever you can throw at it!
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Last updated:
Paul Lemley
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Best offer on: Oct. 01. 2022