Best Hoka Running Shoes Reviewed & Rated
Criteria Used for Evaluation
Hoka One One has made it a point to keep up with the science of footwear. From how feet work, the best materials and methods to support feet, how injuries affect feet, the mechanics of gait, weight, and technique in running, and build engineering, Hoka One One stays on top of it all. It is one of the values of the company that sets it apart from the hundreds of other running shoemakers in the market.
Each of the shoes included in our list features advanced shoe making techniques and materials that suit the purpose of that particular shoe – whether it is increased comfort, increased support, increased flexibility, helping you run faster, helping you run longer or helping you deal with an older injury – the shoes are designed with the newest technologies available.
Three of the current technologies built into their shoes are the Marshmallow, the Rocking Chair, and the Bucket Seat.
The Marshmallow– Hoka One One running shoes often have a midsole that is twice or more the thickness of other running shoes. These give them an appearance that people are not used to and some giggle at. However, the super thick and slightly wider midsole is very light and maximizes cushioning for your feet. Its minimal weight ensures that your feet are comfortable, stable, and not fatigued. It is also a shock absorber that has no match.
The Rocking Chair-a.k.a. Meta-rocker Geometry. The midsole in most Hoka One One models has a low heel to toe differential. The outsole is also shaped to propel you forward. The two together are known as the rocking chair which encourages a natural gait for running and helps your foot do some of the work of rolling from heel to toe with each step.
The Bucket Seat– a.k.a. Active Foot Frame. The midsole in the Hoka One One is shaped like a bucket seat so your foot sits inside the midsole instead of on it. This gives you more stability for whatever type of running you do, without extra weight or additional support material. It’s also adaptable to the shape of your foot.
It’s not enough to understand the science, it must be applied to be useful. Hoka One One has used its experience as a shoemaker and its commitment to the latest science to build several improvements and features into their running shoes:
Seamless construction– Seams are one spot in a shoe that can cause blistering, sores and irritation, even with the help of running socks. Seams are difficult to reduce or omit when building something that must be as strong as a shoe but Hoka One One has mastered seamless construction.
Durable outsoles – Engineering a good outsole is not as simple as cutting a piece of rubber and adhering it to the shoe. A good outsole must resist wear from surfaces like concrete and pavement and must provide traction on surfaces like wet pavement, wooden floors, and carpeting. It must provide support and be flexible at the same time. Hoka One One has engineered their outsoles with a thick and durable, but flexible and gripping rubber material. It’s engineered so well you won’t have to think about the outsole at all.
Breathable mesh– The upper of any sports shoe must be breathable to deal with sweaty feet and to prevent overheating that will reduce both comfort and performance and increase the risk of infection from microbes. Hoka One One has designed its mesh upper with a breathable function in mind over aesthetics. Your feet will stay dry and comfortable in their mesh uppers.
We evaluate all the shoes we list for comfort. This is because a shoe that fits properly and is comfortable is less likely to cause injury or damage to the foot but also because overwhelmingly, people want to be comfortable on their feet. No one enjoys foot pain and aches.
In the case of a list from a single manufacturer, we’ll review comfort & fit relative to that specific line of footwear and its purpose – in this case, running.
Since you will be using these shoes for running on some level, the last thing you want to have sore and aching feet part way through your run or after. Nothing is more demotivating than pain. Hoka One One shoes are designed to be comfortable on any terrain and in any weather.
They are well cushioned and padded with the latest in shock absorbing and cushioning technology and seamless construction. This means that your shoes will take the brunt of your run, rather than your heels, metatarsals, and forefoot. It also means that your top foot and heels should not experience blisters, abrasions, scratches, and other irritations that can make running (and walking afterward) extremely painful.
Hoka One One shoes are well designed for air ventilation, and a dry foot is a comfortable foot. They are also designed to hug your foot and move with it while guiding your foot into the correct gait. A stable foot is excessively happy because it will not likely be injured in any way. Finally, the shoes are designed to be as lightweight as possible. This means your feet will not be fatigued by having to lift the weight of the shoe. Instead, the lifts naturally with the foot, as it should.
No feature was overlooked with Hoka One One in terms of comfort. In terms of fit, part of the job is yours – have your feet correctly measured and read Hoka One One’s size charts to ensure the best fit for you. Many of the models are available in wider sizes for those who need them.
You will be able to use your Hoka One One shoes for activities other than running; however, you are investing in a great shoe that is designed to get you to your target speed (or endurance). Even the best running shoes only have so many miles on them, so it’s a good idea to have your running shoes for exercise and training alone and purchase a separate pair of shoes for other activities like working out in the gym or running errands.
Wearing your runners for running will keep them in the best shape for that purpose. You’re making an investment in your Hoka One One running shoes, so it makes sense to get the very best life out of them.
Here’s the deal, no one wants to spend a ton of money on shoes, even if they're special training sneakers. So, when we were evaluating items, we really took into consideration a few different things when it comes to value. Primarily, we really wanted to focus on sharing styles that offered a blend of a good price and great value.
We actually started off the buying guide by scanning through a couple of dozen different options. We looked at the price range and came up with an average or an estimated market value for both running shoes and Hoka One One products. We then decided on the best products to recommend. We would look at a product and ask ourselves:
10 Best Hoka One One Shoes Reviews
1. Clifton 5
An award-winning neutral road runner, the Clifton 5 is a great choice for those who believe in maximalist, low drop footwear that stacks you high above the ground without being too bulky. This is an incredibly lightweight model, at just 266g, which is considerably less than most shock-absorbing running footwear. It’s another pair of shoes that comes in numerous color options, and looks different than most models listed, thanks to the unique shape of the midsole.
The upper of the Clifton uses open mesh with 3D Puff Print overlays that are used sparingly, so you get a shoe that’s supportive and highly breathable, without packing too much. The tongue and collar are generously padded to maximize comfortability, and the back of the heel features a pull tab for easy on and off.
Like with most other shoes from the brand Hoka One One, you get an EVA foam midsole, this time with a 5mm heel to toe drop. The compound used in the 5th version is actually softer than previous Cliftons, making it a great choice for those who want a cushy shoe to wear on their daily runs. As for the outsole, it uses the brand’s High-Abrasion Lightweight rubber, but it also includes flex grooves to promote a more natural gait. As for price, it’s around average, so considering the comfort and durability it offers, you’re looking at a good investment.
2. Clayton 2
The Clayton 2 is a lightweight runner with a microfibre reinforced support in the midfoot. Ultra-bright and ultra-light these road-ready running shoes also feature early stage Meta-Rocker, a PRO2Lite midsole and forefoot matrix tech that provides both cushioning and flexibility. The outsole is designed to rebound and hold on to the road, rain or shine. This is a great racing shoe and the best Hoka shoes for walking and running.
The PRO2Lite midsole is a balance of propulsive forward-movement and protective shock absorption for race day and training. The Clayton 2 is a lightweight, well-cushioned runner that features an RMAT outsole for high-rebound cushion along with Forefoot Matrix technology that provides even more cushioning.
This is in the low-range of prices for our list which is practically a steal for a lightweight race runner. You get great stability and rebound in a cushioned shoe with a unique, ultra-bright, show-stopper.
3. Bondi 6
A maximalist road runner, the Bondi 6 is the newest edition of Hoka’s most successful models. Its main focus is providing users with shock absorption, allowing them to run long distances, as well as to wear it on recovery days. The updates in the latest version make this a great choice for a number of users, regardless of foot shape or fit preference, and the varied color options allow you to choose from simple whites or blacks as well as to go with louder designs.
The biggest update to the Bondi 6 comes in the form of the upper, which now includes a combination of open and closed woven mesh for maximized breathability, and incredibly lightweight construction, and the ability to mold to the foot. Lycra linings stretch to accommodate to the foot while wicking moisture away from the skin.
In terms of the sole, you get an EVA foam unit with a 30mm stacking height that does a great job at absorbing shock. While it’s not the absolute best option for speed training, it doesn’t feel too clunky and is quite lightweight at 309g. The outsole uses Hi-Abrasion Lightweight Rubber which is only used in high-wear areas in order to provide abrasion resistance without sacrificing weight. As for price, this model of best Hoka shoes can be bought at a cost that’s slightly above average, making it a good choice for those looking for high levels of shock absorption.
For those looking to get the best of Hoka One One’s technologies, the Elevon is a great option. This is a shoe that combines two types of material in the midsole, giving riders a cushioned ride that is completely different from anything else you’ve experienced from the brand. The upper is minimalistic, with several color options to choose from, and the 5mm heel to toe drop is ideal for most users.
The upper of the Elevon is made with an open-knit engineered mesh that is placed without any unnecessary seams, making it a highly comfortable shoe. It’s breathable and lightweight, and foot lock-in is ensured by a TPU clip that prevents in-shoe movement. As for the midsole, the bottom frame is one made with EVA, which has been successfully used in Hoka footwear for years. Closer to the foot, it’s topped with a Profly layer that protects the heel, while allowing for a powerful toe-off due to being firmer in the front.
Other features of the Elevon include a Meta-Rocker shape that allow the seamless heel to toe transitions that require considerably less power than similar maximalist shoes. The outsole uses an abrasion-resistant rubber compound in high-wear areas, while the rest of the materials is softer, with deep and shallow flex grooves for ultimate running comfort. The cost of the Elevon is considerably higher than most other Hoka footwear, so it may not be affordable for everyone. Nonetheless, if you’re after a performance-oriented shoe, then definitely check out this model.
A low drop trail runner, the Torrent is a popular choice among those Hoka One One fans that like to take their runs off the beaten path. It’s one of the brand’s highest-rated shoes, and considering the thought that went into the design, it really comes as no surprise. With a stacking height of around 20mm, it’s what you’d get with a regular pair of running gear, and a 5mm heel to toe drop ensures the right balance between heel protection and speed work.
Like most other Hoka running shoes listed, the Torrent also uses an open mesh upper in order to allow plenty of airflow into the foot chamber, ensuring temperature regulation on hot days, and quick-drying to eliminate moisture retention. The tongue and heel are moderately padded, while the lacing system has an extra eyelet that allows you to customize the fit you get.
The midsole of the Torrent uses both EVA foam, which we’ve come to expect from the brand, as well as a PROFLY compound that is highly cushioned in the heel, dispersing force and bouncy in the front, ensuring a more powerful toe-off. As for the outsole, it uses abrasion-resistant rubber and deep, multi-directional lugs that will do a good job on the softer, more challenging ground. As for cost association, this model ranks below average, making it a great investment for most users.
6. Constant 2
The Constant 2 is Hoka One One’s widest fitting running shoe. It focuses on stable, ground contact that remains comfortable. The midsole is constructed of alternating density foams, all in a breathable, extremely reasonably priced running shoe.
Meta-Rockers stabilize the midfoot and guide your foot through a full, proper gait cycle. A late stage Meta-Rocker puts more emphasis on forefoot stability, making the Constant 2 perfect for those who need more stability in front.
The midsole in this Hoka One One shoe is very unique. It uses a mix of soft foam and springy foam that are strategically placed asymmetrically to match the biodynamics of your foot, for extreme performance. This shoe is the least expensive in our line-up. Quite a value considering the engineering that allows a cushioned, supportive and stable running shoes for any surface. It is also wider fitting than other models in Hoka One One’s line.
7. Arahi 2
Hoka One One pays attention to detail and the Arahi 2 is proof of that concept. This shoe features meta-rocker (or rocking chair) technology so that the shoe guides your footfalls as you run, ensuring the correct gait in a smooth manner which distributes impact more evenly. The shoe remains sturdy but still lightweight, this is a great shoe for people who need stabilization of the metatarsals (from conditions like arthritis).
The meta-rocker design of the midsole and outsole of this shoe guides your foot carefully through the proper motion from footfall through to the toes lifting off again. This is a very durable shoe that is lightweight. It is noticeably firmer than other running shoes and won’t give in to compression as easily. This is a stability shoe that is great for those with flatter feet or other foot issues.
The Arahi 2 is in the mid-range of shoes on our Hoka One One list. These shoes are an investment but they are an investment in your foot health and the technology needed to provide your foot a safe, stable environment for running. Though designed for running, these Hoka shoes can provide a great deal of comfort and stability for those who need stabilizing, or rocker bottom, shoes.
8. Speedgoat 2
Hoka One One was inspired by Karl Metzter in creating the Speedgoat. As its name suggests, it is designed to move you quickly through the most technical mountain trails, where moving like a goat means light, agile, and fast. It features a reinforced speedframe construction for durability and a midfoot cage for stability and foot capture. The wider platform also increases stability on uneven terrain.
Stay agile on the trail with a host of features mean for dealing with rough terrain including a wider platform, midfoot cage, a reinforced speedframe and Vibram lugs for aggressive traction.
The oversized midsole in the Speedgoat 2 creates a very stable platform for the feet, especially on uneven terrain. This shoe is designed to be stable in over a variety of trail difficulties and conditions. This shoe, as with most of the heavier duty trail runners on this list, is in the higher range of prices. For the investment though you will receive one of the best, fastest technical trail runners on the market. You can work on gaining the lead position without thinking about your shoes.
The fact that Hoka One One takes their technology seriously is evident in the Gaviota. This is their premium stability shoe (meaning it stabilizes the metatarsals and midfoot). It also features Arch-Lock Wings technology for further mid-foot support. The RMAT J-Frame also provides a level of support, rebound, shock absorption, and durability. Despite the stability features, this is not a heavy or rigid shoe.
If you need to stabilize your midfoot to prevent pain due to an injury or medical condition, the Arch-Lock Wings in the Gaviota will do just that. Your midfoot will be comfortable and still while the shoe does the gait cycle work for you.
The J-Frame in this shoe is also designed for foot stabilization. It supports and protects the foot while guiding it through each step, all without using any unforgiving or rigid materials. This shoe is at the higher end of the price range for our list. However, for the price, you are receiving Hoka One One’s premium stabilizer shoe. It stabilizes without rigid material and without excessive weight. All the support you could ask for in a functional, lightweight runner.
10. Challenger 4
Another great trail runner from Hoka One One! This running shoe features a closed air mesh to keep the dirt out but let the air in, an oversized EVA midsole for cushioning, and an early stage Meta-Rocker. For traction on the trail, the shoe has 4 mm lugs and popular design in the outsole. This shoe doubles as a good road runner as well.
4 mm lugs and a popular outsole help with traction on all terrains and on uneven terrain. This shoe will keep your feet secure on the trail or on the road so you can work on your training.
Good trail runners keep the dirt, dust, and debris out of your shoes while you’re running. The shoe remains very breathable throughout your run without worrying about discomfort from grit and small debris underfoot. This shoe is in the midrange price wise which is great for a shoe that you can train on-road or trail in. You also receive all the benefits common to Hoka One One shoes - comfortable insoles, breathability, and a stable, smooth run.