Hoka One One Valor

HOKA shoes are most known for their cushion-loaded platform like soles. Designed to provide the ultimate in comfort, the One One Valor is a neutral lightweight daily trainer for use on most road and non-trail surfaces. Boasting maximal cushioning and a sock-like fit with a rockered sole, it is like running on a cloud, according to some wearers. While there are those that believe maximalist cushioning does not, in fact actually help prevent injuries, and instead masks poor running form making them worse, the maximalist movement has some very fervent believers and diligent followers. This is where Hoka One One comes is. So while there are those that were turned off by the very generous stack height (35mm at the heel and 31mm at the forefoot) or the bland appearance, most were generally pleased with the comfort. Debuting in a high price point category, which to the wearers that love it doesn't seem to be a deterrent, was worth mentioning by those questioning its durability is a sticking point, claiming that it would wear out within a few months. Despite some of the negative feedback, the response for this shoe was on the whole, overwhelmingly positive, keeping in mind that the runners knew Hoka's trademark cushioning.

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Where to Buy
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Pros & Cons

An immense amount of cushioning

Impressively comfortable for most wearers

The rockered sole allows for a more natural foot movement 


improperly sized citing 

Concerns about the durability 

Maximally cushioned shoe

A bit expensive

Bulky appearance

Key Features
Capping off an impressively stacked midsole, the outsole of the Hoka One One Valor employs a Hi-Abrasion lightweight rubber at key wear and touch points of the shoe. And the whole of the sole unit is styled like a rocker and the outsole's tread is continuous to maintain contact with the ground perpetuating a natural feel for the foot. This technology aims to keep the feet free of injury and reducing fatigue allowing runners to move forward longer and harder.
With already soft EVA foam running the length of the sole, combining its rocker technology and lightweight maximalist cushioning, Hoka creates a shoe that went against the trends but, in the end, provides exactly what many runners, especially those going the distance, have been looking for. Even with a high profile cushion, Valor sporting 33 mm at the heel and 29 mm at the forefoot, garners positive feedback on its responsiveness. More ground contact means smoother heel-toe transition and the light weight extra cushioning provides great shock absorption that keeps runners moving swiftly while helping them stay injury free.
The upper of the Hoka One One Valor is comprised of an air mesh fabric and topped off with seamless midfoot overlays. The fabric is stretchable and breathable for comfort and the no-sew overlays and the sock-like fit and heel counter work together to provide a solid fit for a comfortable, secure ride. The lacing system is also unique with one hand tightening of the elastic for a runner's convenience.
With the bulky look and significant stack height of 35mm at the heel and 31 mm at the forefoot, one might be inclined to think the One One Valor is a hefty shoe but with its lighter than traditional yet still durable EVA foam and soft breathable fabric upper, it is surprisingly lightweight. While some maximalist shoes can be clunky and slow, Hoka created the One One Valor, weighing in at 9.6 oz for men and 8.2 oz for women, to swiftly kick some asphalt.
The air mesh fabric of the upper lends itself to impressive breathability. In warmer temperatures, this is particularly nice because that ventilation keeps the foot extra cool which, of course, creates a more comfortable environment for the foot, but also reduces the propensity for blisters.
Comfort is the name of the game with the Hoka One One Valor. Garnering mostly praise for the way it cradles the foot with a stretchable upper fabric and midfoot securing overlay, it also aids the foot with a naturally smooth running motion, allowing the One One Valor to go the distance. The rockered sole with near constant ground contact promotes the heel-toe movement effortlessly while the soft EVA foam reduces stress to the joints by absorbing residual shock from strike impact. Most reviewers with dissenting comments cite a too narrow feel for their comfort issues. They note that the forefoot and the midfoot can be slightly abrasive and cause rubbing or chafing. There were a small number of wearers that claimed the shoes were slightly large in the forefoot and this was mostly among the women's shoes. But, by and large, this shoe gets it right on the money.
While there are some that truly appreciate the funky style of the Hoka One One Valor, it seems more did not fall in love with its quirky design. While fans of the shoe are not deterred, they still commented that it is bland, unattractive, plain. The high sole profile, the rounded toe, the lack of exciting color choices, and the large monochromatic HOKA trademark logo splayed along the exterior side of the shoe are just some of the things that wearers noted as unappealing. However, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and is really only skin deep. So knowing Hoka chose substance over style goes a long way in winning over fans of the brand. Some reviewers claimed the traditional black or white shoes were a good choice for casual wear and runners preferred the brightest choices. The options available for men are black, white, black/cyan, grey/empire yellow, orange popsicle/lime; and for women: black, white, pink, dresden blue/blue atoll.
One of the more noted complaints about this shoe is that it rips at the seams. This is not an isolated case as there have been a handful of reviewers citing this very same flaw. With the high cost of this shoe, it is a reasonable expectation to get a good amount of wear from them yet some people were only getting anywhere from one to four months, and this is without extensive use. The durability of the sole unit, on the other hand, proved to be quite laudable as most wearers claimed it really was able to go the distance giving them bang for their buck.
With the sole's stack height showcasing impressive cushioning, it seems this shoe would be maximally protective of the underfoot, guarding it against the damage underneath. And its spandex overlay secures the midfoot protecting it from sliding reducing the chance of injury and the air mesh upper fabric keeps feet dry preventing blisters.
Noted for excellent arch support along with the security of fit provided by an exterior heel cup and the impressive amount of cushioning, most wearers felt very pleased with the amount of support the Valor provides. While this shoe is intended for runners with neutral running movement, a few reviewers pointed out that those with mild pronation issues may find it supportive and benefit from it as well.
Offering a standard grip, this shoe is best suited for roads and treadmill use. Not recommended for trails or slippery conditions, however, the proponents for this shoe love all it can do. In addition to athletic purposes, many feel it is ideal for those on their feet all day in professional capacities like in a hospital or daily wear around town.
Retailing at the high end of the spectrum, most do consider this shoe expensive. Especially considering the few issues with durability, some object to this price tag. However, by and large, most are so pleased with this shoe that this is not a deterrent. Recently, the cost has come down as the shoe is discontinued.
The reviews make no mention of traction other than to note how it is best suited for man-made surfaces. The outsole aims to provide a constant ground contact that is thought to help with the foot motion but it is uncertain how this would help with traction.
With a sole thickness like the Valor's, flexibility is not really a key element, however, the use of the softer EVA foam and the spandex upper provide freedom for the foot to bend naturally while being securely held in place. The agility provided from those components does encourage more fluid motion and when paired with the lightness of the shoe, is an overall winning combination.
The Valor is marketed as a neutral shoe though some have reported that, despite not showcasing any elements traditionally implemented for motion control; by its nature, it can be useful for those with slight underpronation. Some reviewers expressed concern that the high profile hindered stability for the run but most felt that the way the shoe fit made this a non-issue.
Hoka One One's signature high profile sole unit features maximalist cushioning that, in the Valor, measures 31mm in the forefoot with 35 mm in the heel. The difference between these two distances off the ground represents the drop of the shoe. In this instance, the drop is 4mm. A low drop like this has benefits in that it helps to alleviate the pain of the forefoot in the form of bunions. However, this lower drop shoe also means most runners wearing traditional drop shoes would require a transition period to avoid the pain of the Achilles strain.

Key Features
- The Hoka One One Valor was designed as a neutral daily trainer

- It is a maximalist shoe meaning it features a significant amount of cushioning in the sole unit thought to be better for comfort and injury prevention

- Its use of light and soft EVA foam and lycra in the upper lends themselves to a surprisingly lightweight shoe

- The sole is styled in rocker fashion so that the transition from heel to toe is smoother promoting a more natural foot motion

- The Valor features a hands-free lacing system which pleased a few wearers as it was convenient

- Its fashion sense is not for everyone though some runners do appreciate its funky style

- Retailing as a high-end shoe, it has recently come down in price
Bottom Line
The Hoka One One Valor received a mostly positive response from wearers. Aside from issues of durability stating that the shoe wore out well before its due, the majority of the minimal negative feedback stemmed from characteristics of Hoka shoes that their faithful fans were prepared for. For example, a narrow fitting shoe and an aggressive sole profile seem to be inherent traits to which many Hoka wearers have become accustomed. Still, while these comments were not as prevalent it is quite valid not to want to pay the hefty price tag for this shoe if it is going to tear without putting any excessive wear on it. But, overall, customers are pleased to take this shoe out for the long haul on the roads. If the fit works for you, definitely give these kicks a run for the money.
Where to Buy
By Kristin R.
Last updated:
Where to buy
Best offer on: Jul. 29. 2021

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