Hoka One One Napali Review Facts
The Hoka One One Napali is like a student that always gets only Bs and As. In each and every category, the minimum that the Napali racing shoe can get is a B or a B-, but there’s no way this shoe can ever get a C in any category, and it gets an A for a number of its characteristics. The Hoka Napali is lightweight, breathable, very comfortable, has protective cushioning, responsiveness, a reasonable price tag, provides a snug upper fit, and the 5mm drop will favor midfoot strikers that don’t mind feeling a little bit of a heel from time to time. As far as breathability goes, the drawback of this running shoe is that it becomes wet easily, and the traction isn’t ideal on loose dirt surfaces, due to the absence of sharp and prominent lugs on the outsole. Other than that, the Napali is a solid choice for any neutral runner, as well as one of the best reasonably-priced running shoes in the last year.
The outsole of the Hoka One One Napali is comprised out of the Hi-Abrasion lightweight rubber that provides just the right amount of traction, without overweighting the shoe unnecessarily. The use of this rubber also increases the durability of the outsole. The Full Ground Contact technology is featured in the outsole of this running shoe, providing a smooth heel-to-toe transition and encouraging a swift gait cycle. The indents and lugs on the outsole feature different patterns as well as different depths of flex grooves and the combination of those various elements contribute to a very flexible outsole.
The Early Stage Meta-Rocker Geometry design featured in the midsole of the Hoka Napali plays a significant role in ensuring a smooth ride and increasing stability in the forefoot as well. The flex grooves from the outsole continue onto the midsole as well, tying the two in a coherent, flexible whole. The compound that is primarily used in the construction of the Napali’s midsole is the full-length HIP CMEVA foam which provides maximum shock absorption and amazing cushioning.
Compared to the Clifton 3, the upper of the Napali is left unchanged in the most part. The only significant difference is the more padded tongue of the Napali, as well as a different design of overlays. Speaking of overlays, the Hoka Napali makes great use of no-sew structural overlays that offer support, especially around the midfoot, while keeping the blistering and irritation to a minimum. The rest of the upper is covered in Air Mesh, a lightweight, breathable material that ensures a healthy environment for the foot during the entire ride. Similarly to the tongue, the collar of this running shoe is generously padded, offering great comfort while running. The lacing system is traditional, and the tongue features a lace loop which prevents the tongue from slipping to the side of the shoe and stabilizes the foot further.
The Hoka One One Napali weighs 7.5oz for a half-pair of women’s US size 8, and 8.6oz for a men’s US size 9. While the added material in the upper makes the Napali a little heavier than the Clifton, the company has decided to cut the tongue a bit short and reduce the unnecessary weight that way. Regardless of the Clifton, the Napali is still a lightweight
running shoe that won’t tire your feet, no matter the length of the run. There are people that consider the Napali light enough to compete in races wearing it, which isn’t a small feat, given that each gram that slows you down counts during the race.
The Air Mesh covering the upper of the Hoka One One Napali makes the entire shoe very breathable. The airflow is more than satisfactory, meaning not only that sweating will be brought down to a minimum, but there will be no overheating as well. Additionally, a well-ventilated shoe instantly means a healthier environment for the foot. However, the one downside of the Napali’s AirMesh
is that it gets wet fast and easy. Customers have reported that even a mild rain results in a wet shoe, which means that there are no water-resistant properties in the AirMesh fabric.
The Hoka One One Napali follows the standard sizing measurements and comes in D-Medium width for the men’s version and B-medium for the women’s. This running shoe fits true to size, although you should go half a size up if you’re not a big fan of a very snug fit. Other than that, the vast majority of runners considers Napali to be a fantastically comfortable shoe that makes your feet feel stable, cushioned and snug inside the shoe box, while still having more than enough wiggle room.
The Hoka Napali looks like a comfortable, laid-back, but a stylish running shoe. The dominant feature of the entire shoe is the thick, massive sole unit and the dual-toned sole giving the whole shoe a modern and edgy vibe. However, the plain-looking upper balances out the sole ombre effect and creates a very elegant look overall. The side overlay features the name of the unit, and the tongue and the back of the heel feature the name of the company blended into the design.
As all EVA foams, the midsole unit of the Hoka Napali will start to break down after the first 100 or 150 miles, and the break down will probably become visually unpleasant, but the foam won’t flatten almost at all – the cushion will stay the same up until you hit the 300-mile mark. The optimal wear time for the Napali is 400 miles, after which you’ll need to get a new pair of running shoes. The overall build quality is good, but not great, meaning that the upper isn’t tear-resistant, for instance. A few people have noted that the upper started to tear a little bit from the pressure created by the pinky toe, which isn’t anything new in the running shoe world. After the 200-mile mark, the durable rubber on the outsole will start to deteriorate, but it won’t fall apart or become slippery. All in all, this is a running shoe with average-to-good durability that makes the most of the materials used in its build.
The HIP CMEVA full-length midsole cushioning offers great shock absorption as well as impact protection. The midsole is cushioned and thick enough that you won’t experience joint or knee pain
even after a long run, and your feet won’t feel worn down and tired when running in the Hoka Napali.
Given the fact that it’s abundantly cushioned, the Hoka Napali doesn’t have amazing responsiveness. However, a lot of runners have actually said they thought the ride in the Napali was responsive
, regardless of the cushioning. This is probably due to the Full Ground Contact technology in the outsole which enables a smooth heel-to-toe transition and the overall flexibility of the outsole that makes swift transitions a breeze.
This is a neutral running shoe that’s suitable for people who look for cushioning while having high, medium-high or normal arches. There isn’t any additional arch support in the construction of the Hoka Napali itself, but there’s no reason why you couldn’t put a customized removable insole with arch support in the footbed. The upper of the Hoka Napali provides a snug fit that offers lots of lateral support
, which has become a standard for an average and/or good running shoe in the last few years.
Hoka One One Napali is a running shoe that’s best for road, track and light gravel. Given its lightweight and cushion
, some runners have chosen to compete in the Napali and have reported that their feet felt great afterward. Aside from the usual run around the block, the Napali can prove quite useful for races, interval training, sprints, and fartlek. All in all, we’re looking at a great daily trainer that has already amassed a devoted fan base, and for a good reason.
At the price point positioned at around a C-note, compared to the 30-40% more expensive and popular Clifton unit, buying the Hoka Napali would be a great and frugal decision that you’re not likely to regret. Under the assumption that you’re logging less than 20-30 miles a week, this is a shoe that will serve you for an entire running season without a single issue, which is more than a lot of runners could ask for.
The Hi-Abrasion lightweight rubber that’s featured on the Hoka Napali’s outsole is made with various flat surfaces in mind. The traction that the outsole offers is good even after a couple of hundreds of miles logged and that much more to go. The only surface that is mildly problematic for the Napali is the loose dirt. This shoe is made for smooth and firm surfaces and isn’t equipped with some more aggressive lugs that would make the ride over loose, pebbly dirt as smooth as possible.
Flexibility is one of the strongest sides of the Hoka
One One Napali running shoe. The deep flex grooves in the outsole and the midsole provide amazing flexibility, and the snug-fit upper isn’t restrictive for the foot and allows it to move with the sole unit or the other way around. The flexibility of the sole is the reason why most people would describe the Napali as a ‘responsive’ shoe, even though it’s not as responsive, but rather it enables you to be fast through its flexibility and the possibility of a quick toe-off.
There aren’t many stability
features in the Hoka One One Napali running shoe, other than the fact that the oversized midsole unit is stabilizing by itself. The toe box, while providing enough space, has no flexibility, which wouldn’t be bad if the box itself was lower. This way, with the tall toe box on the firmer side, the runners are under impression that their toes and feet have started to feel somewhat insecure and like they have more space than they can use. Another issue that a handful of people have experienced is the lack of a dedicated heel lock-in stabilizer that would ensure the heel stays in place no matter what. However, while that may be the case, the sheer volume of the sole, combined with the snug lacing system of the upper, is more than enough for the vast majority of runners.
The heel stack height of the Hoka Napali is 29mm, while the forefoot measures 24mm, which is in itself thicker than some midsoles at their thickest point! The 5mm drop
will cater best to the needs of prominent midfoot strikers, although this is a sweet spot of a drop, to which any runner can get accustomed to without any major pain.
● Hi-Abrasion lightweight rubber outsole
● Full Ground Contact technology
● Full-length HIP CMEVA foam midsole
● Early Stage Meta-Rocker Geometry design
● No-sew structural overlays and mesh upper
● Breathable, but becomes wet easily
● Extremely comfortable
● Affordable price
● Good durability – around 400 miles
● Great cushioning and shock-absorption
● Road, track and treadmill shoe
● Very flexible
A fresh addition to the Hoka line-up, the One One Napali is a great running shoe that covers all the basics and covers them well. If you’re looking for comfort, breathability, reasonable quality, good durability, flexibility and cushioning, you won’t make a mistake by buying the Napali. The price of the shoe is affordable and much lower than the more hyped Clifton
. Although some people consider that the brand should have made the outsole and upper alike more resilient, most agree that for the price, this running and racing shoe is more than enough for anyone looking for an all-purpose shoe. All in all, we can’t think of a reason why not to try the Napali out, given all that it’s got going for it.