Hoka One Vanquish 3 Review Facts
Hoka One One exploded into the running scene several years ago and has been a mainstay ever since. Their unique take on shoes is seen in the maximal cushioning designed to make every stride as protected and comfortable as possible. This style runs counter to the minimalist style that is also very popular among runners as well. The third model in the Vanquish series is very cushioned, even by Hoka’s standards. This review will explore the negatives and positives of the shoe.
The Hoka One Vanquish 3 features an outsole that is made of carbon rubber. This particular blend of carbon rubber is a bit lighter than most which is a nice plus for keeping the shoe from being too heavy. Apart from this, the rubber blend functions the same way most others do, and is very resistant to impacts and also provides good traction. This allows the outsole to do its job of gripping surfaces and taking impacts pretty well. Also featured on the outsole is Hoka’s special Full Ground Contact design. As the name suggests, this pretty much makes it such that the outsole makes better contact with the ground, in order to promote more traction and a better stride overall. The Vanquish 3’s outsole is pretty solid overall, though not particularly exceptional.
The midsole in the Hoka One Vanquish 3 is made primarily of a dual layer EVA foam. EVA foam is an extremely common choice for midsoles, as it is lightweight, springy, and maintains its original form well, making it durable. Dual layer midsoles are less common and typically are found in more heavily cushioned shoes, like the Vanquish 3. The dual layer allows the midsole to better sponge impacts and redistributes shocks for a more comfortable step. Also in the Vanquish 3’s midsole is Hoka’s Meta-Rocker. According to Hoka, this is a special type of midsole geometry that creates an effect like a rocking chair. The effect is a better-guided stride. The midsole in the Hoka One Vanquish 3 is pretty good, and it offers ample cushioning and protection.
The upper of the Vanquish 3 is composed of a seamless mesh. The seamlessness is great for durability, while also for remaining lightweight. The mesh material itself is also optimized to allow more airflow in and out of the shoe, adding nicely to the overall breathability. Atop the mesh sits synthetic overlays. This is another common design choice for running shoes, as the overlays provide needed support and stability, while the mesh allows the shoe to flex and breathe as is necessary. The upper also has an Ortholite sock liner. This makes the interior of the shoe more comfortable, and also more resistant to bacteria and odor buildup. The Hoka One Vanquish 3 has a very impressive upper that does its job well.
The Hoka One Vanquish 3 weighs about 10.4 oz for a men’s version size 9. This is pretty average when compared to other trainers, which tend to fall around this range. When considering what is offered in terms of cushion and protection in the Vanquish 3 however, the 10.4 oz weight is definitely a bit more impressive. Hoka managed to pack a tremendous amount of cushioning and protection in the shoe while keeping the weight to an average level, which is a pretty nice feat. Overall, the weight is pretty good.
Breathability is pretty solid in the Vanquish 3 because of the upper. The upper of the shoe is made of mesh, which is one of the better materials at allowing air to flow freely in and out of the shoe. Again, this is because of the holes that are intentionally woven into it, which naturally promote airflow with each step. Apart from the upper’s mesh design, the Ortholite liner within is also porous and helps prevent sweat and odor
build up. These are the two key features that affect breathability in the Vanquish 3, and they do a pretty good job at that.
Comfort is definitely a strong selling point of the Vanquish 3. The main pieces of the shoe that influence this are the upper and the midsole. The upper is very comfortable thanks to its mesh design with overlays and its liner within. The mesh design is comfortable because it allows for good airflow, and also is flexible, allowing the foot to move in a more natural way. The overlays add to this by securing the foot snugly, while not limiting the mobility or breathability of the mesh. The liner within the shoe adds comfort by also helping breathability, and by adding a bit of cushion underneath the foot. The midsole’s main addition to comfort is through the dual layered EVA foam it utilizes. This foam is very good at reducing any impacts and shocks, and also is lightweight and responsive. All of these features are very conducive to a comfortable and well-protected stride, which is one of the main selling points of the Vanquish 3 as a whole. Hoka puts comfort at the forefront of their designs, and in the case of these shoes, it definitely shows.
Style is one area where Hoka is probably a bit less advanced than other popular shoe brands. Hoka shoes are not bad looking by any stretch, but they definitely have a particular aesthetic that many runners either love or hate, mainly due in part to the extremely thick outsole and midsole. That said, the design of the Vanquish 3 is still fairly slick and visually appealing. The shoe also comes in a decent range of colors. Using the Vanquish 3 for everyday wear may be a little difficult.
Durability is very strong in the Hoka One Vanquish 3, thanks mostly to the outsole and midsole, with the upper playing a small role. The outsole is durable because of its carbon rubber outsole. As mentioned above, carbon rubber is quite durable and can take repeated impacts over time without wearing out. This, of course, means that the shoe can be used for many miles without wearing out the bottom, which certainly would ruin the performance of the shoe. The midsole’s dual layered EVA foam is actually quite durable. EVA foam itself is generally very durable, and the dual layer only adds to this. The ample amount present allows shocks to be redistributed better, creating less wear on the foam. This allows the shoe to maintain its springiness and protection over time. Finally, the upper adds a bit of durability with its mesh and overlay design. Mesh and overlay combinations are a bit more durable than pure synthetic uppers, as they are more likely to tear. Durability is very solid in the Vanquish 3 overall.
Protection is definitely one of the strong suits of this shoe. This is to be expected, as Hoka’s main focus is on highly protective and cushioned shoes. The primary feature that drives this in the Vanquish 3 is once again the dual layered EVA midsole. EVA alone is a pretty good material for protection from impacts, but the dual layer in these shoes adds greatly to that. The dual layer, with different firmness levels, is optimized to reduce shocks significantly more than a single layer EVA sole, and it definitely does this well. The special geometric design of the Vanquish 3 is also beneficial to the shoe’s protection. The Meta-Rocker, encourages better contact with the ground, which makes for more efficient and safer strides overall.
Responsiveness is pretty decent, but definitely is not one of the strongest points of these shoes. The midsole is mainly what determines this, and once again the dual layer EVA midsole comes into play. EVA is a responsive material, and it returns energy pretty efficiently and is springy. Despite that, the shoe doesn’t do too much else to promote responsiveness, which is a bit disappointing. When considering that shoes with this much cushioning are generally less minimalist, and less responsive, however, the level of response in the Vanquish 3 doesn’t seem too bad overall.
The dual layered EVA foam in the midsole provides helps to support the foot by reducing impacts, and providing cushion underneath the foot. The upper supports the foot via the Ortholite liner and the synthetic overlays that sit atop the mesh. The overlays lock the foot down for a secure fit. Support is pretty strong overall in the Vanquish 3 thanks to these features.
The Hoka One Vanquish 3 is made for the pavement, roads and track. However, terrains like grass, dirt, road
, or sidewalk should not pose any issues for these shoes. When it comes to more intense or treacherous conditions, the Vanquish will not provide enough traction.
price is definitely not a strong suit of the Vanquish 3. Hoka’s shoes tend to run on the higher end, and this is definitely the case for this shoe. It runs much higher than the average running shoe. For what is received in return, and the quality of the shoes, it may be worth it to many runners, but the high price point is definitely something that all runners should take into consideration.
Traction in these shoes is pretty solid, though not really exceptional. The carbon rubber outsole provides decent grip on smooth surfaces, even in wet conditions. The carbon rubber should be effective in most conditions, except perhaps in more extreme conditions like ice. The outsole also features Hoka’s Full Ground Contact design, which helps to promote better traction as well. It does this by influencing strides to fully connect the bottom of the shoe with the ground, making for a more efficient and safer stride. Read also about best running shoes for snow.
The most flexible feature of the shoe would be the upper thanks to the mesh design. The mesh design does a great job of allowing mobility for the top of the foot and ankle, because of the way it is woven. This is very useful for a safer and more natural stride. The midsole does contribute a bit with EVA foam, which is generally a flexible material, but this is minor compared to the upper’s design. Overall, flexibility is decent, if not great, in the Vanquish 3.
is quite good in the Vanquish 3, thanks to the upper as well as the midsole. The upper helps with stability through the pairing of its mesh design and its synthetic overlays. The mesh provides the ability for the feet to maneuver in different and more natural ways, while the uppers help to secure the foot in a way that is comfortable. This combination makes for a very stable stride, with a good range of movement and security. The midsole contributes with EVA foam, which helps to absorb impacts and harsh shocks. Mitigating these makes for a more stable, and less bumpy stride overall.
The drop of the Hoka One Vanquish 3 is only 5 mm. This is pretty low for a shoe, but for Hoka One One shoes, this drop is not uncommon. This drop isn’t a major positive or negative of the shoe, but if potentially wearers should take the time to get used to the lower drop if they are more used to wearing a standard drop (10-12mm).
- Dual Layered EVA Foam Midsole
- Ortholite Liner
- Synthetic Overlays
- Unique Hoka geometry
- Mesh upper
The Hoka One Vanquish 3 is a very solid shoe, and great for those who like highly cushioned, comfortable running shoes. The features it offers are quite good with the only real downside of it being the relatively high price tag. For those that can stomach the price, the Vanquish 3 is definitely worth checking out.