Hoka One One Vanquish

The Hoka One One Vanquish is a highly-cushioned neutral road running shoe. The vibrantly-colored shoe has a cradle design that encases the foot and interior structure inside a two-layer foam shell, with the inner layer for comfort and the outer layer for durability and responsiveness. The Vanquish was designed for maximum performance with applied midsole geometry, an early-stage meta-rocker, and the RMAT high-rebound stability cushioning. The external TPU heel counter gives additional support. The suspension EVA foam and Lycra ComfortFrame synthetic and air mesh upper add to the comfort level. The rubber in the outsole is strategically placed for durability. If you're a neutral runner looking for a well-cushioned shoe for your daily road runs, the Vanquish could be the shoe for you!

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Where to Buy
Moosejaw Link
See Deal
rei.com Link
See Deal
Where to Buy
Moosejaw Link
See Deal
rei.com Link
See Deal
Pros & Cons
  • Great cushioning and support
  • Provides smooth transitions
  • Responsive midsole
  • Very comfortable
  • Good for runners with back, knee, or hip pain
  • Works for arch types ranging from flat feet to high arches
  • Cons
    • Expensive for a road running shoe
    • Narrow fit in the forefoot and toe box
    • No wide sizes
    • Some reviewers experienced poor durability in the outsole and upper
    • Key Features
      The thick rubber outsole uses strategic placement for durability. It is mostly white, but has an accent color to highlight rubber placement: durability on the outside near the heel and flexibility in the forefoot. The treads have angular shapes to grip the ground from multiple angles and diamond-shaped grooves connected by straight lines for mild flexibility while maintaining stability. Although listed as a road-running shoe, the treads are fairly thick and could also be used on light trails. The rubber is thicker than most shoes, which helps stabilize and support the foot from beneath. However, the durability could use improvement, as some users experienced bits and pieces of rubber wearing down or falling off as early as the first few runs.
      The applied geometry in the midsole makes the Vanquish extremely responsive. The suspension design and EVA top-layer foam cushions landings. Underneath, the meta-rocker propels the foot forward and the RMAT high-rebound cushioning bounces the foot forward while keeping it stable. The foam is flexible enough to allow runners to pick up speed. The drop is only 4mm, which distributes cushioning pretty evenly across the midsole and promotes a more natural running form. Many reviewers complimented the cushioning, stability, and responsiveness of the shoe.
      The upper is made of Lycra ComfortFrame synthetic material and air mesh. The synthetic material covers the heel, toe, sides, and overlays, and the mesh is between those areas. The upper uses a no-sew design to eliminate hot spots and reduce the risk of getting blisters. The external TPU heel counter helps keep the heel in place and the laces give the shoe a snug fit. The cradle design encases the foot in a two-layer foam shell: the inside layer for comfort and the outside layer for durability and responsiveness. Many reviewers found the fit around the forefoot and toe box to be tight, especially those with wider-than-average feet. Some reviewers also found the upper's durability to be poor, especially in the collar and tongue.
      At 11 oz for men and 9.6 oz for women, the Vanquish is slightly heavier than other road running shoes currently on the market. Many reviewers stated that the shoe felt lightweight when running, but those who compared this shoe to the 2-oz-per-shoe-lighter next edition definitely noticed a difference. The materials themselves were designed to be as light as possible, but the thickness of the midsole and cushioning ended up making the shoe heavier, meaning the Vanquish designers chose comfort and stability over weight.
      The Vanquish received a medium rating on breathability, in the middle between warm and airy but slightly towards airy. The air mesh in the upper allows air to flow in and out of the shoe to prevent sweating or overheating. The no-sew overlays allow air to flow around them without giving runners blisters or hot spots. Taking away from the breathability are the number of overlays (while thin, they don't allow as much air to flow through as the open areas) and the layers of cushioning around the foot.
      The Vanquish is a very comfortable shoe. It received a level 5 rating on cushioning, meaning maximum cushioning and top-of-the-line cushioning technology. The outsole is curved so that the padding in the midsole hugs the foot from underneath. The midsole has a full layer of EVA foam as well as RMAT high-rebound cushioning. The upper has a two-layer foam shell that covers the entire area. The no-sew design eliminates hot spots. The entire shoe is flexible and responsive, adding to the level of comfort by making strides fast and easy. Taking away from the comfort is the tight fit of the shoe, as many runners found the fit around the forefoot too narrow and the toe box too small. Most reviewers stated how comfortable the shoe is, and reviewers with back pain, knee pain, or hip pain loved the shoe.
      The Hoka One One Vanquish has a bright, colorful look with a thick, curved outsole. The cradled design layers of padding completely covering the inside of the shoe. For a shoe that isn't the latest edition, the Vanquish has many colors available, although not every color is available in every size. Men can choose between Black/True Red, Grey/Cyan, Directoire Blue/Citrus, and Grey/Green Flash. Women have the choice of Acid/Aqua/Neon Coral, Dresden Blue/Neon Pink, Pink/Citrus, Black/Acid/Aqua, and Plum/Fuschia. Most reviewers liked the available styles, but runners who prefer more neutral colors, rather than bright or pastel colors, wanted other options.
      Durability comes from all three layers of the shoe. The rubber outsole strategically places the rubber to prevent abrasion. The EVA foam and RMAT cushioning are also durable, designed to last for many takeoffs and landings without wearing down. The two-layer foam shell in the upper's outside layer makes the foam that wraps around the foot durable. However, some runners experienced bits of rubber falling off the outsole within the first few runs, especially heavier runners, and the inside mesh material covering the upper deteriorated faster than usual, especially in the tongue and collar areas.

      Read also about best shoes for beginner overweight runners.
      Many users liked the protection offered by the Vanquish. Reviewers with joint or muscle pain said that they either did not experience these problems at all or they were very mild while using these shoes. The thick rubber outsole makes it so the runner cannot feel the ground at all, protecting the joints in the feet from swelling or blisters. The midsole has EVA foam and RMAT high-rebound stability cushioning to absorb shock and soften landings. The upper has a two-layer foam shell that cushions takeoffs and protects against blisters. The materials and padding protect against the wind and cold. The heel counter protects the heel from sliding and the foam and synthetic material protect the heel and toe from accidental stubbing.
      The Hoka One One Vanquish has responsive features at every level. The rubber in the outsole bends with the foot, allowing runners to pick up speed. The midsole's geometry and suspension, early-stage meta-rocker, and RMAT high-rebound cushioning work together to create explosive takeoffs. The low drop allows the foot to move naturally. The outer layer of the foam shell makes the upper responsive. Most runners found the transitions to be very smooth, but the few that thought transitions were slower than other shoes did not notice a change in their speed. Taking away from responsiveness is the weight; although the shoe feels lightweight, lighter shoes offer even faster speed.
      The Vanquish is a neutral running shoe, but it does offer some support. The outsole lifts the foot off the ground. The midsole offers an above-average but not great level of arch support, and the upper offers an average amount of arch support. The external TPU counter supports the heel and prevents it from sliding. The high level of cushioning in the two-layer foam shell, especially the fit around the collar, helps keep the foot from sliding around or rolling. Users having flat feet, low arches, medium arches, and high arches all liked the level of support of the shoe, and the shoe offers some support for light over-pronation.
      Looking at the bottom of the shoe, the thick treads and flexible diamond-shaped and straight-line grooves indicate that the Vanquish is a road running shoe. The thick rubber allows runners to go over light trails, but the shoe does not have lugs for gripping technical terrain. It also does not have spikes for snowy, icy, or slippery terrain. The shoe can be used for daily road runs, races around dirt tracks (although newer, lighter shoe options might be better for speed), or hikes on paths or light trails.
      The Hoka One One Vanquish is expensive for a neutral road running shoe, up to three times the cost of some less expensive brands. A newer model is available, so some sizes and colors are discounted. The more common shoe sizes tend to be closer to full price, while the less common shoe sizes go for up to half off. The shoe has a very high level of cushioning, which makes it worth the extra money for those who need it (e.g. joint pain, muscle pain, plantar fasciitis), but as a neutral road running shoe with questionable durability and a tight fit around the forefoot and toes, the full price is too expensive for a lot of people.
      The Vanquish outsole's rubber treads and grooves give runners a decent amount of traction on roads. They allow the shoe to grip without sliding during landings and pick up speed during takeoffs. The treads' angular shape allows users to push off and land in any direction. The treads can easily grip dirt roads, paved roads, gravel, paths, and light trails. It does not have spikes for gripping snow, ice, or slippery surfaces, or lugs for heavy, technical trails.
      The Vanquish offers at least some flexibility at all three levels. The outsole has grooves that allow it to bend with the foot, but the flexibility rating is low so that support and stability aren't compromised. The midsole has flexible EVA foam and RMAT cushioning. Overall, the shoe is flexible enough to allow the foot to move and pick up speed, but stable enough to keep the foot from sliding or rolling.esh that give a snug fit and allow the top of the foot to bend.
      The Hoka One One Vanquish received a high stability rating for the heel and an even higher rating for the front of the shoe. The outsole is slightly flexible to allow the foot to move, but mostly stable to help keep it from rolling or sliding. The midsole has RMAT high-rebound cushioning to help stabilize the foot. The upper has a TPU heel counter to keep the heel in place, and the tight fit around the forefoot and toe box, although uncomfortable for some runners, especially those with wide feet or whose feet swell during long distances, stabilizes the forefoot very well. The shoe works for neutral runners, as well as mild to moderate over-pronators.
      This shoe has a very small drop of just 4 mm, which is one-third of the standard drop. The low drop improves comfort by evenly distributing cushioning, speed by having the responsive elements of the cushioning all over the foot instead of just the heel, and promotes a more natural form by keeping the foot more level.
      Key Features
      • Strategic rubber placement for durability

      • Suspension midsole built with EVA foam gives signature cushioning

      • Applied midsole geometry for responsiveness

      • Early-stage meta-rocker propels the foot forward

      • RMAT high-rebound cushioning maximizes stability and responsiveness

      • External TPU heel counter gives heel support

      • Lycra ComfortFrame synthetic and air mesh upper
      Bottom Line
      Overall, the Hoka One One Vanquish is a great shoe for neutral road runners who need extra padding, support, and stability. The shoe has the highest possible rating for cushioning, surrounding the foot with padding and protecting joints against shock. Although heavier than some shoes, it is very responsive and allows good transitions. It stabilizes the foot against rolling or sliding. Areas for improvement include a lower price, wide sizes for runners with wide or swelling feet, a roomier toe box area, a lighter weight, and improved durability in the outsole and upper. In short, the super-cushioned Vanquish is worth the investment for runners with joint or muscle pain or who need the extra stability and support, but most runners may want to consider a less expensive shoe.
      Where to Buy
      Moosejaw Link
      See Deal
      rei.com Link
      See Deal
      By Stephanie Potter
      Last updated:
      Where to buy
      Best offer on: Jul. 26. 2021

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