Fitness

HOKA Shoes Review

About HOKA

Hoka Shoes Review

Nothing can ruin your feet faster than an ill-fitting, unsupportive pair of shoes[1]. If you’re on your feet a lot, a good quality set is even more important. 

I’ve had my fair share of bad shoes. We rely on our feet to take us everywhere, so why do we settle for uncomfortable shoes?

HOKA One One (henceforth called ‘HOKA’) manufactures and distributes high-quality and high-performance footwear for anybody, from professional athletes to everyday people trying to get the most out of their footwear. 

HOKA sponsors several athletes, including professional runners Stephanie Bruce, Thibaut Garrivier, and Scott Fauble

The brand has a sizable 1.4M social community and has been covered by the likes of CNBC, PR Newswire, AP News, Outside Business Journal, Triathlete, and NBC News, among several other media outlets. 

Before you get ready to buy, check out this HOKA shoes Review. Ahead, I’ll take you through the latest on the brand’s best-sellers, customer reviews, FAQs, and more to help you decide if they’re worth your time and money.

Why You Should Trust Us

Our mission is to help you make better, more informed purchase decisions.

Our team spends hours researching, consulting with medical experts, gathering insight from expert professionals, reviewing customer feedback, and analyzing products to provide you with the information you need.

Studies About Running Shoes

Recent research on running shoes has found several interesting and important findings. Here are a few examples:

  1. Running shoe heel height can have a significant impact on biomechanics and injury risk. A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials published in 2021 found that higher heel heights can increase the risk of injuries, such as Achilles tendinopathy and plantar fasciitis, while lower heel heights can reduce the risk of injuries.
  2. The mass of running shoes can affect running economy. A systematic review and meta-analysis published in 2021 found that lighter shoes were associated with improved running economy, meaning that runners used less energy to run at a given speed.
  3. Maximalist running shoes, which have thick and cushioned soles, can improve running economy and biomechanics. A study published in 2021 found that maximalist shoes improved running economy and reduced impact forces compared to traditional running shoes.
  4. The comfort of running shoes may not always be a reliable indicator of their effectiveness. A study published in 2021 found that runners who rated their shoes as more comfortable did not necessarily have better running economy or lower injury risk compared to runners who rated their shoes as less comfortable.

Hoka Shoes Pros and Cons

Hoka Shoes Review

Before you lace up and start running through this HOKA shoes review, take a second to look over some pros and cons of the brand: 

Pros

  • Excellent cushioning: Hoka shoes are known for their thick and plush midsoles, which provide excellent shock absorption and can help reduce impact forces during running.
  • Lightweight: Despite their thick midsoles, many Hoka shoes are surprisingly lightweight, which can make them feel more comfortable and natural to run in.
  • Versatile: Hoka shoes are available in a variety of styles and designs, including road shoes, trail shoes, and racing flats, so runners can find a shoe that suits their needs and preferences.
  • Good for long distances: The cushioning and support of Hoka shoes can make them a good option for runners who are training for long-distance events, such as marathons or ultra-marathons.

Cons

  • May not be suitable for all runners: Some runners may find the thick midsoles of Hoka shoes to be too bulky or heavy for their liking, which can affect their running form and performance.
  • Expensive: Hoka shoes tend to be on the pricier side compared to other running shoe brands, which can be a drawback for runners on a budget.
  • Limited ground feel: The thick cushioning of Hoka shoes can reduce the amount of ground feel that runners experience, which some runners may find less enjoyable or less natural.
  • May take some getting used to: Due to their unique design, Hoka shoes may take some time for runners to adjust to and find the right fit and feel.

Features

Hoka is a popular brand of running shoes that is known for their distinctive design and technology. Here are some key features of their shoes:

  1. Maximum cushioning: Hoka shoes are designed with thick and plush midsoles that provide excellent shock absorption and cushioning. This can help reduce impact forces during running and provide a more comfortable and enjoyable running experience.
  2. Meta-Rocker technology: Hoka shoes feature a unique rocking motion in the midsole called the Meta-Rocker, which is designed to provide a smooth and efficient ride. The Meta-Rocker encourages a natural and efficient gait cycle and can help reduce fatigue during long runs.
  3. Lightweight construction: Despite their thick midsoles, many Hoka shoes are surprisingly lightweight. This can make them feel more comfortable and natural to run in, and can help reduce the overall weight of the shoe.
  4. Versatile design: Hoka shoes are available in a variety of styles and designs, including road shoes, trail shoes, and racing flats. This makes them a versatile option for runners who want a shoe that can handle different types of terrain and distances.
  5. Wide base: Hoka shoes often have a wider base than other running shoe brands, which can provide a more stable and secure platform for the foot. This can help prevent ankle and foot injuries and provide better overall support.
  6. Upper construction: Hoka shoes often have breathable and flexible uppers that provide a snug and comfortable fit. Many Hoka shoes also have padded tongues and collars for added comfort and support.

Overall, Hoka shoes are designed to provide a unique and comfortable running experience with their thick cushioning, Meta-Rocker technology, and versatile design.

Materials

Hoka shoes are made with a variety of materials, each chosen for its specific properties and intended to enhance the shoe’s overall performance. Here are some of the materials commonly used in their shoes:

  1. Midsole foam: Hoka shoes are known for their thick midsole foam, which provides cushioning and shock absorption. Hoka uses a proprietary foam called EVA (ethylene-vinyl acetate) that is lightweight, durable, and provides a responsive ride.
  2. Upper materials: Hoka shoes use a variety of materials for the upper, including mesh, synthetic fabrics, and leather. These materials are chosen for their breathability, flexibility, and durability.
  3. Outsole materials: The outsole of Hoka shoes is typically made from rubber or a rubber-like material that provides traction and durability. Some Hoka shoes feature specialized outsoles designed for specific types of terrain, such as trail running or road running.
  4. TPU overlays: Hoka shoes often feature thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) overlays on the upper, which provide support and structure to the shoe. These overlays can help prevent the foot from rolling inward (pronation) or outward (supination) and can improve the overall fit and feel of the shoe.
  5. Meta-Rocker geometry: Hoka shoes use a unique midsole design called the Meta-Rocker, which features a rounded heel and toe shape that promotes a natural gait cycle. This design helps the foot roll smoothly from heel to toe and can reduce stress on the joints and muscles.

Overall, Hoka shoes are made with high-quality materials that are chosen for their specific properties and intended to enhance the shoe’s overall performance.

The thick midsole foam, Meta-Rocker geometry, and supportive overlays are just a few of the features that make Hoka shoes a popular choice among runners.

5 Bestselling HOKA Men’s Shoes

Whether you’re up and about all day for work or you need a pair of sneakers to help you power through your next sweat sesh, HOKA sneakers have you covered with these picks. 

The Bondi 8s, the Mach 5s, and the Rincon 3’s have been shouted out by several sources as some of the best of the best, but I’ve included a couple of the brand’s other hits below that people may just be sleeping on. 

HOKA Men’s Clifton 8 Review 

The HOKA Men’s Clifton 8 runners are a lighter-weight take on the previous Clifton models thanks to a more airy and reactive make with its EVA foam. I’m not a big fan of bulky sneakers, so details like this make a big difference to me.

The shoes are designed with a breathable mesh upper, a  grippy and durable rubber sole, and a gusseted tongue. 

The runners are offered in 8 different colors and 2 fits, including regular and wide. You can grab a pair of these beauties (a total improvement on the HOKA Clifton 7s) for $130. 

What customers are saying: “The Clifton’s have made a difference in my teenagers who run for sport. I wear them because they are literally the only shoe I can walk in without pain in my foot (2nd toe metatarsalgia & bunions). I recommend them as a health professional as well!!”

HOKA Men’s Bondi 8 Review 

Make way for the HOKA Bondi 8, the latest in the brand’s search for ultimate foot comfort. Personally, I’ll take all the comfort I can get, so please Hoka, do go on.

Featuring generous helpings of cushioning technology and with added extended heel geometry, this shoe is all about softness from sole to upper.

The heel in particular is made to absorb to provide quality support and shock-absorption while keeping everything where it needs to be. Featuring a full-length, compression-molded EVA midsole and an internal heel counter, I think it’s safe to say that this product has got the goods.

Get the 100% vegan HOKA Bondi 8 for $200.

What customers are saying: “I wear them as casual every day walking, working and general use. They are comfortable beyond what I expected. If I go for a walk I feel like I am reenergized and can go so much further.”

HOKA Men’s Bondi 7 Review 

What elevates the HOKA Men’s Bondi 7 from its previous model is the new memory foam collar that is designed to accommodate a narrower heel and provide the utmost support to your Achilles tendon. 

I’ve had tendon and foot-related injuries before, so adequate support is also something I look for in a shoe.

The HOKA Bondi 7s feature TPU overlays for more midfoot structure and support. Otherwise, you’re getting the same EVA midsole, mesh upper, frames, and supports that appear in previous models. 

The runners come in 12 color combinations, ranging from neutral to vibrant and everything in between. These fan favorites are available in regular, wide, and extra-wide fits for $150. 

If you’re looking for something that can double as a walking shoe, check out a pair of the HOKA Arahi road shoes.

What customers are saying: “I started using Hoka Bondi 7 two years ago, and haven’t looked back since. I’m a big guy and need the cushioning it affords. An all around great shoe. Would recommend it to anyone who runs daily.”

HOKA Men’s Rincon 3 Review

The lightweight HOKA Men’s Rincon 3 sneakers popular among customers, offering an impressive cushion-to-weight ratio.

This update on the Rincon features a cloudlike silhoutte, thinner pull tab, vented upper mesh, enhanced rubber coverage, and an asymmetrical tongue package, among many other supportive and performance-enhancing technologies. 

HOKA offers this model in 11 colors between sizes 7-16. Personally, I love the green ash/ plein air colorway.

Grab a pair of the HOKA Rincon 3 for $150

What customers are saying: “Lightweight, comfy, and tons of cushion! I love the Bondi 7 and wanted something lighter and faster but still with plenty of cushion and this shoe fits the bill! Thanks, Hoka!”

HOKA Men’s Mach 5 Review 

Heavy, unsupportive shoes have no place in running. Lightweight, these supportive runners are softer and more cushiony than their previous iterations. 

The HOKA Men’s Mach 5 runners feature a PROFLY midsole and a durable rubberized EVA outsole for ultimate cushion, along with a removable EVA sockliner and anatomical Achilles-embracing construction for support and comfort. 

You can find the HOKA Mach 5 in 6 colors for $165. 

What customers are saying: “The MACH 5 is an ideal combination of lightweight cushioning and speedy transitions; just what I hoped for.”

5 Bestselling HOKA Women’s Shoes

Did you know that women typically tend to have more foot problems[4] than men? I sure didn’t. That is even more reason to invest in a pair of HOKA One One ultra-supportive sneakers to protect your feet from injury and pain. 

Check out these top-sellers for women that look as stunning as they are functional. 

HOKA Women’s Bondi 8 Review 

The fan-favorite HOKA Women’s Bondi 8 shoes are the epitome of cushioned comfort all condensed into a cute pair of shoes. The bouncy foam bottoms make them super cute for running errands before or after hitting the pavement.

An open and breathable mesh upper is fitted with a supportive lycra heel frame, a cushiony EVA midsole, and a grippy rubber outsole. 

The vegan running shoes are amplified with technologies such as a pillowed tongue, new extended heel geometry, a Meta-Rocker, and an internal heel counter. Currently, they cost $200.

What customers are saying: “Hoka’s are the only sneakers I put my collapsing worn out feet into. Why? Because no other brand helps my feet with the pain as much as some select styles of Hoka do. Even my doctors recommend Hoka.

HOKA Women’s Bondi 7 Review 

Feel like you’re flying across the pavement with the lightweight and flexible HOKA Women’s Bondi 7 runners, which I read are the most cushioned shoes in the Hoka road-shoe lineup. 

The Bondi 7s feature the same full EVA midsole, breathable mesh upper, durable rubber outsole, and signature Meta-Rocker technology as its previous model, but are elevated with the addition of TPU overlays for midsole support and a memory foam collar for Achilles tendon comfort. 

Get them in an array of color combinations for $150. For something with similar propelling capabilities, I recommend taking a look at the ever-graceful Hoka Carbon X.

What customers are saying: “These are great shoes. I can wear these 24/7. Really cushiony and lightweight and helped me heal from a stress fracture in my arch.”

HOKA Women’s Rincon 3 Review 

The sleek and stylish HOKA Women’s Rincon 3 sneakers have all the same features as the Men’s Rincon 3s I covered earlier in this HOKA shoes review.

The asymmetrical design, stripped-back profile, and pull tab give the shoe a sporty and futuristic appeal. The shoes feature supportive technologies such as a full compression EVA midsole, high abrasion rubber zones, and a Meta-Rocker, and so much more. 

Another customer favorite, the Rincons cost $150

What customers are saying: “I have feet issues. Metatarsal wearing out since I have been working on my feet over 40 years. I love HOKA shoes. I can run at my age and my feet don’t hurt.”

HOKA Women’s Mach 5 Review 

The HOKA Women’s Mach 5 runners are perfect for running long distances and getting those miles in. A PROFLY midsole and a rubberized EVA outsole meet with a removable, molded EVA sockliner for unmatched cushioning and comfortability. 

The engineered mesh upper also ensures that you will have an enjoyable, dry run. Nothing ruins a run like soggy feet, am I right? I’m partial to the pastel palette of these shoes, but Hoka offers these runners in a total of six colorways. Get yours for $165. 

What customers are saying: “These might be my favorite runners ever. Super light, feel very supportive and I forget all about them while I’m running.”

What Do Experts Think? 

Hoka Shoes Review
Image Credit: HOKA

I love the fact that I can supplement this HOKA shoes review with expert advice. Select styles of Hoka shoes bear the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) Seal of Acceptance

HOKA’s website features an impressive number of testimonials from healthcare workers across various practices that praise the brand’s shoes for their high-quality design and benefits. 

Tim Dutra, DPM, MS, MHCA, and Assistant Professor/Clinical Investigator, claims that “HOKA offers a variety of shoes with a wide range of cushioning and support and width options, and HOKA shoes are a favorite of runners, walkers, and hikers.”

Robert Fridman, DPM, FACFAS, is also a fan of the brand: 

“I am always faced with the task of helping my patients get through their exercise goals and activities of daily living…  I feel very comfortable recommending their range of supportive and cushioned shoes for patients of a variety of activity levels and foot types…”

Some doctors even claim that the shoes have changed their own lives, such as Stephen Barnett, M.D., Fellow, American College of Surgeons: 

“As a surgeon, I am constantly on my feet, standing and walking. I find that the HOKA Bondi provides excellent support and stability. Accordingly, I have happily recommended them to friends and colleagues.”

Who Is HOKA For? 

Hoka Shoes Review
Image Credit: HOKA

HOKA produces footwear for men and women of all ages with all kinds of lifestyles, as I detailed throughout the product list in this Hoka shoes review. 

The brand is well-known for their affiliation with several athletes, but they also bear seals of approval from several podiatrists and podiatric associations, making them popular among those who require orthopedics to help them with various foot-related ailments. 

Alternatives

There are countless shoe brands on the market, and I’m sure you want to explore all the best options before making a final decision. Here are three other highly competent running shoe brands:

  1. NOBULL: Just like the name suggests, NOBULL is a footwear, apparel, and accessories brand for athletes and fitness self-starters who want solid products without gimmicks.
  2. ASICS: Asics brings a wide selection of athletic footwear, apparel, and gear to men, women, and kids. 95% of their running shoes made from recycled materials!
  3. Brooks: This sports company has its beginnings as far back as 1914. Since then, they’ve won awards for their women’s running shoes.

Comparison: HOKA vs NOBULL

Hoka Shoes Review
Image Credit: HOKA

NOBULL was launched by co-founders Michael Schaeffer and Marcus Wilson in 2015.

Since their inception, the brand has operated on the core tenet of cutting to the chase and actively pursuing the life you want without cutting corners or relying on gimmicks—hence the name.

In NOBULL’s online store, you will find athletic apparel, footwear, and accessories for men and women. 

NOBULL is currently headquartered in Boston, MA, and they boast a large team that consists of dedicated and inspiring athletes.

They are also affiliated with the likes of Jared Stevens, Sam Dancer, Brooke Wells, Kristi Eramo, Tola Morakinyo, Will Grier, and Katrin Davidsdottir. 

The brand has a handful of physical retailers in the US, and ships to Canada, Australia, the US, and several countries in Europe from their online store. 

As for how their runners stack up, I found that the NOBULL Ripstop Runner ($139) is a versatile, lightweight, supportive sneaker made of perforated polyester ripstop material. 

This competes with the ultra-supportive EVA foam and mesh upper HOKA Men’s Clifton 8 ($130), a notable best-seller on the website.

In terms of supportive technologies, the HOKA shoe wins, but in terms of aesthetics, the NOBULL runner takes the cake for its sleek design. 

As for the price points of runners on either site in general, I don’t think they differ by much. The price varies depending on the model in question, but the two brands price their products quite similarly. 

Safe to say it’s up to personal preference when it comes to these two quality brands.

HOKA Reviews: What Do Customers Think?

Hoka Shoes Review
Image Credit: HOKA

No HOKA shoes review would be complete without taking a look at what customers had to say about their experiences with the brand’s products.

I’ve looked at the tech and I’ve seen that they’re doctor-approved, but how do they shape up in the real world?

I’ll take a look at the brand’s website first, and follow it up with some external takes from the likes of TrustPilot and SiteJabber. Let’s dive right in.

To no one’s surprise, individual product reviews on hoka.com are absolutely glowing. For example, the men’s HOKA Clifton 8 boasts a very impressive score of 4.5/5 stars out of 332 ratings. Many of the happy comments sound a little bit like this:

“The shoes themselves are great. True to size, although they do seem a tad narrow for a “wide” size… Definitely a shoe for a neutral arch. The shoes themselves feel like good construction so far, and they do seem to have a good amount of shock absorption and rebound.. Would definitely recommend!”

During my research for this HOKA shoes review, I found that other products are also well-received on their website.

It’s all looking great so far. Across the board, each of the brand’s shoes is a hit. But I wondered: how does HOKA fare on external review sites?

On a positive note, there are quite a few comments to the tune of, “Ordered a pair of Challenger Low Gore-Tex (£130) on Monday evening and received them Wednesday morning (DPD). The shoes are exactly as I expected, having bought the same ones (at a higher price!) two years ago from a shop in Manchester” on Trustpilot.

Moving forward, I was initially disappointed to see a lower rating of 1.7/5 stars out of 39 reviews on SiteJabber. 

After some investigating, it appears that there are quite a few third-party vendors masquerading as the brand and sending wrong/poor-quality items or nothing at all!

No wonder there are so many people who have complaints about their supposed “HOKA tennis shoes.” 

It’s important for me to stress in this HOKA shoes review that you should always make sure you’re buying through an official channel, like the brand’s website or Amazon.

People who ordered through the official store were much more likely to say things like, “I got exactly what I ordered 2 days after I ordered them! Very happy with my beautiful red and white shoes!” Now that’s more like it.

All in all, as long as you know what you’re ordering from their legitimate website and don’t need to bother with returns or exchanges, it seems to me that HOKA shoes are an utter hit.

Is HOKA Worth It?

Hoka Shoes Review
Image Credit: HOKA

The brand has great reviews on their actual products, but poor reviews on customer service practices. With that in mind, I think it might be better to buy the shoes from an in-person retailer than through the site itself. 

Fortunately, some customers say that they had no problem on-site and in-person, and that’s something that I can get behind. 

When it comes to the merits of the actual shoes, there are so many I discovered while writing this HOKA shoes review.

According to the breakdown of the technologies in each HOKA shoe, they provide a ton of support for individuals with any orthopedic history to enjoy any kind of activity. 

At the end of the day, Hoka is an easy brand to recommend and I deem them to be absolutely worth the buy.

HOKA Promotions & Discounts 

Hoka Shoes Review
Image Credit: HOKA

The promotions and discounts offered by the brand vary depending on where you are shopping from, but for US customers, HOKA offers free standard ground shipping and returns with no minimum amount required. 

Also, if US customers spend $200+ on the site, they will get a free Rincon 3 Water Bottle with the order. 

Canadian orders over $200 ship for free and are entitled to free returns. Additionally, if Canadian customers spend $250+ on the HOKA site, they too will get a free Rincon 3 Water Bottle with their order. 

The discounts are quite similar between the two countries, but with minor adjustments, since the brand ships from within the US. 

Where To Buy HOKA

Hoka Shoes Review
Image Credit: HOKA

You can purchase Hoka shoes directly from the brand’s website at hoka.com. You can also find the brand’s products in major retailers in several countries across the globe and through partner retail platforms such as Amazon. 

FAQ

Hoka Shoes Review
Image Credit: HOKA

Who is HOKA owned by?

HOKA was founded by Nicolas Mermoud and Jean-Luc Diard. The brand is currently a subsidiary of Decker’s Brands, whose current president is Wendy Yang. 

Where is HOKA made? 

While checking things out for this HOKA shoes review, I found that the brand’s corporate office is located in Goleta, California. The brand manufactures their footwear at a facility in China

Are HOKA shoes good for arthritic feet? 

Arthritis, whether from genetics or activity, can cause severe pain and discomfort to those that suffer from it.

Custom-fitted shoes, padding, and arch support are three things that have been proven to alleviate the symptoms of arthritic feet. 

Fortunately, HOKA shoes are custom-fitted, and they feature technologies that provide support, cushioning, and alignment to the feet. 

Do HOKAs help back pain? 

When it comes to back pain resulting from your runs, the culprit is usually a shoe that doesn’t have enough cushioning or support. 

HOKA’s running shoes are specifically designed to provide runners with optimal cushioning, stability, and support in order to make them perform better and more painlessly. 

Do Hoka shoes fit true to size? 

HOKA has many tools in place on its site to help you find your true fit. It offers a men’s, women’s, and unisex size chart for footwear, apparel, and accessories. 

I appreciate that it also offers a true fit size guide that helps you determine your size through a series of questions and instructions for measurement. 

What is HOKA’s Shipping Policy?

Eager for your pair of HOKA Clifton 6s? 

While researching for this HOKA shoes review, I was happy to learn that the brand ships to countries all over the globe. You can tailor the site to your destination.

For a limited time, HOKA is offering free standard ground shipping to US orders within the continental US. 

The brand consistently offers free shipping on Canadian orders totaling $200+. Shipping rates for the US and Canada are as follows: 

US

  • Standard ground shipping (3-10 business days): $8
  • 2-day shipping (2 business days): $16
  • Overnight shipping (1 business day): $26

CAN

  • Standard: (2-7 business days): under $200 is $10, $200+ is free
  • Expedited: under $200 is $20, $200+ is $20
  • Next Business Day: under $200 is $35, $200+ is $35

What is HOKA’s Return Policy?

Not entirely happy with your pair HOKA Bondi 8s? You may request a refund or a product exchange within 30 days of the original purchase, no strings attached and no questions asked. All you have to do is visit their website to get started.

How To Contact HOKA

If you have any questions after reading this HOKA shoes review, customers are invited to contact the brand via Live Chat from Mon-Sat 10 am – 7 pm EST. 

You can also phone HOKA at 1-(866)-491-3125 by text message for 24/7 service, or call Mon-Sat 10 am – 7 pm EST.


Looking for more options? Check out some other top shoe brands:

Rothy’s

People Footwear

Native Shoes

Cariuma

GREATS

Article Sources

[1] Buldt, A.K. and Menz, H.B. Incorrectly fitted footwear, foot pain and foot disorders: a systematic search and narrative review of the literature BMC Journal of Foot and Ankle Research, 11(1)
[2] She, S., Tian, Y., Lu, L., Eimontaite, I., Xie, T. and Sun, Y. An Exploration of Hiking Risk Perception: Dimensions and Antecedent Factors PubMed Central International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 16(11), p.1986
[4] López-López, D., Marañon-Medina, J., Losa-Iglesias, M.E., Calvo-Lobo, C., Rodríguez-Sanz, D., Palomo-López, P. and Vallejo, R.B. de B. The influence of heel height related on quality of life on the foot in a sample of women SciELO Brasil Revista da Associação Médica Brasileira, 64(4), pp.324–329

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