Founded in 2009, Hoka One One began a minimalist shoe movement that slowly continues to reach its peak. Started by French trail runners Jean-Luc Diard and Nicolas Mermoud, Hoka shoes are inspired to give you a smooth and "floating feel" as you run. This running shoe used an EVA foam that was not only soft but also surprisingly lightweight, a characteristic that not only hallmarks the best Hoka running shoes but all Hoka running shoes.

Initially, they made the prototypes themselves while working with a chemist in a Chinese shoe company in order to develop this entirely new type of EVA foam. Today, Hoka running shoes are popularly known for their sizeable midsoles and plushy comfort, which makes them ideal running shoes for running and training.

The best Hoka One running shoes all share the same attributes, but each model is tweaked with specific attributes to serve the different concerns a runner might have. However, Hoka One running shoes were originally built to help carry your speed and racing momentum forward, impressively, the new generation of Hoka running shoes does that and so much more.

Mermoud and Diard developed these running shoes around basic qualities: adding more cushion, using ultra-lightweight materials, and a wide rocker midsole that helps preserve racing momentum and create a more responsive and more comfortable run. Initially, the shoes were targeted towards trail runners; however, the brand now has road shoes and track spikes in their line.

Some companies no longer use the EVA foam entirely in favor of the newer formulations, but Hoka sticks with its proprietary EVA-rubber blend that has more elastic. This comes in handy since it gives it better support and energy return) and more durable than traditional EVA. Though Hoka's foam has gone by different names, including MAT, and R-Bound, its underlying chemistry is essentially the same.

Best Hoka Running Shoes

1. Hoka One One Rincon 2 Running Shoe

The Hoka One One Rincon 2 running shoe is a relatively plush shoe that is designed to give your feet enough stability even on a rough, technical trail. This latest version of the Hoka One One Rincon 2 maintains everything that was considered great about the original version while improving its comfort and fit. Now, mostly thanks to its new lightweight and durable upper, it now comes with a wider toe box and has a rubberized foam midsole that provides plenty of good cushioning on the heel and forefoot.

The Vibram Megagrip outsole makes it a great trail shoe because it offers plenty of traction that is important as you train in the mud or on rocky terrain trails. This shoe takes the mantle as Hoka's light and fast trail race day trainers. The Kevlar-infused Matryx upper is highly durable and has a few tweaks to it to increase comfort and stability as you run over the long miles.

While many of Hoka's running shoes fall on the narrow end of the spectrum, the Hoka One One Rincon 2 is a bit roomier, especially at its toe box. It also has a tall stack height that provides plenty of cushioning and protection on race day. The rubber foam midsole gives you a soft landing for extra comfort, but also with increased energy return to help you go fast.

  • Pros
  • It has a super tough and durable Kevlar-infused Matryx upper
  • Its Kevlar upper is reinforced with a Matryx fabric to ensure that it's not shredded on the rocky trails
  • It has a Vibram Megagrip tread to help maintain stability
  • It has a thick sole to help offer plenty of protection while on technical trails
  • It has a roomy toe box
  • Cons
  • The laces may loosen up over longer runs

2. HOKA One One Men's Bondi 7 Running Shoe

Hoka One One Men's Bondi 7 - Black/black - 09D
  • Breathable open engineered textile mesh upper with...
  • Breathable textile lining for abrasion-free wear
  • Removable textile lined, foam padded insole for...
  • Durable full-length EVA midsole to absorb shock...
  • Durable synthetic sole with rubber inserts for...

Considered as one of the best Hoka One trail shoes for road running, it has generous cushioning on its midsole and a thick slab of full-length EVA foam to create the sensation like you're running on clouds. This extra cushioning makes the Bondi 7 Running shoe a reliable shoe for long runs and even marathon base building.

The Bondi 7 trail shoe has a low offset compared to other models, which falls between 7mm to 10mm. It also features Hoka's meta-rocker technology, a curved geometry that gives it a smoother heel-to-toe transition. The 27mm (ladies) and 29mm (men) forefoot stack height is comparably high compared to the average trainer shoe, which falls between 21mm to 23mm.

It has maximum cushioning on its underfoot to help the shoe score on plushness with a higher heel collar. The new memory foam collar gives your foot and the surrounding Achilles pillow-soft padding, while the shoe's engineered mesh upper provides extra comfort.

  • Pros
  • It has a memory foam collar for a secure and comfortable fit
  • It is very soft yet quite durable
  • It has an EVA foam midsole
  • It has a full-length EVA foam to help provide maximum cushioning and stability
  • Cons
  • It has a tall stack height that can make some runners feel quite unstable
  • It has a thick upper material that can trap heat

3. HOKA ONE ONE Men's Clifton 7 Running Shoe

The Hoka One One Clifton 7 running shoe has an appearance that is more streamlined to help you clock faster miles on your usual race course. Its upper is woven and has a Lightweight mesh gusset that helps prevent tongue migration, snugging onto your foot more securely than most. Overall, it has a sportier look or a heel collar that provides padding without causing any friction on the Achilles.

Most users appreciate the new pull tab on the Clifton 7 that still counts as an upgrade. The profile midsole and dual-density foam give a softer feel to the heel and a firmer put on the forefoot. It also makes use of an early-stage Meta-Rocker Profly midsole. The Hoka One One Men's Clifton 7 takes up the lighter and speedier side of Hoka's lineup.

  • Pros
  • It has a slightly curved sole that is paired with Profly foam to help promote a propulsive ride
  • It is incredibly lightweight and plush
  • It has a dual-density Profly foam to provide a soft and responsive platform
  • It has an Early-stage Meta-Rocker for the quick heel-to-toe transitions
  • It is ultra-lightweight
  • Cons
  • It has a little grip that is not so useful in wet conditions

4. HOKA One One Clifton 7 Running Shoe

Hoka Clifton 7 Black/White 8 B (M)
  • Hoka One One
  • Womens Shoes
  • Running Shoes
  • Black/White
  • Synthetic & Mesh

The original Hoka One One Clifton is a legendary running shoe in the Hoka community, which marked a turning point for the brand. It proved that a shoe could actually provide maximum cushion without being all clunky. This seventh version of the Hoka One Clifton builds on the model's reputation as a solid and reliable daily trainer and also as a recovery shoe.

The Hoka One Clifton has an EVA foam and Meta-Rocker outsole to create a soft, lightweight, but responsive foot frame for a stable racing ride. Its roomy toe box delivers a comfortable, stable, and plushy fit that's also slightly lighter than its predecessor, but some users have pointed out that the thick upper does overheat the feet a little. The Hoka One Clifton 7 is relatively soft for a plush shoe, making it an ideal choice for all types of runners who want a cushioned midsole for their feet and a stable, responsive ride.

The lightweight, smooth feeling and incredible comfort are great for those recovery days when your feet and legs are feeling totally zapped. This all-terrain runner shoe encourages that efficient gait cycle with its early-stage Meta-Rocker outsole, Hoka's roll technology that makes your turnover smooth and quick. Paired with Hoka's beveled stable heel and a full-ground contact outsole, it gives a plush shoe that's more forgiving on the joints and doesn't cause any lag.

Its light engineered mesh upper provides more breathability, but its thick 'sandwich mesh construction makes sure that the Clifton following won't be disappointed with the foot cushioning, which is soft enough for the calloused runner feet. Its full-compression EVA foam is unanimously praised as one of the best features.

  • Pros
  • It is much lighter than its Clifton 6 predecessor
  • Its rocker rubber outsole gives a smooth ride and quick transitions
  • Its full-length EVA foam midsole provides plenty of foot support for runners who are most susceptible to injury
  • Its beveled heel and early-stage Meta-Rocker sole gives stable and smooth transitions
  • Cons
  • Its thick upper mesh feels a little less breathable

5. Hoka One One Elevon 2 Textile Runner Trainers

HOKA ONE ONE Mens Elevon 2 Mesh Blue Fog Fiesta Trainers 7.5 US
  • Breathable textile mesh upper with synthetic...
  • Breathable textile and synthetic lining for...
  • Removable textile lined, foam padded insole for...
  • Top-layer PROFLY midsole offers a cushioned...
  • Durable synthetic sole with rubber inserts for...

The Hoka One One Elevon 2 is a great option for neutral speed runners who are looking for a cushiony recovery shoe for calloused feet. This latest Elevon version has a deeper Active foot frame for more support, stability, and speed as you run. It also comes with a revised upper that features a thin, asymmetrical tongue that wraps around your midfoot for a more stable and secure fit.

Some users love this snug feeling, while others find it a little too constricting. Hoka One One Elevon 2 also has an added new crystal rubber outsole that alleviates its traction on rocky terrain and wet surfaces. This cushioned Elevon version is light in weight and meant to pamper your feet on those training days when you are not planning to push your pace and just need a steadfast trainer shoe to help you recover but still reap on mileage for the long training cycle.

This lightweight trainer is a few tenths of an ounce lighter in weight than the original Hoka One One but still maintains its near-maximalist feel that Hoka One One is popularly known for. It has an extended heel that further provides more shock absorption, making it one of the favorite components for heel strikers. Its upper and heel counter provides more support, structure, and stability.

  • Pros
  • It has a plush feeling with excellent shock absorption that makes it especially ideal for heel strikers
  • It is lighter in weight compared to its predecessor
  • Its extended heel helps a lot with the heel-to-toe transitions
  • Its extended heel is light in weight but provides plenty of support
  • Its cushioned midsole is light in weight but well absorbs shock
  • Cons
  •  It can be quite stiff
  • Its tread collects rocks at times

Factors to Consider When Getting the Best Hoka Running Shoes

A) The Intended Use

You should always first consider the type of running that you're regularly going to be doing. This is the most important consideration that's going to determine what shoes you're going to settle for. For instance, some are designed with extra stability that is meant for trail running, while others will feature extra cushioning to help keep you comfortable while you run on the pavement.

B) Cushioning

Generally, all Hoka shoes are designed to be soft, plush, and comfortable; however, others are built to offer more padding than others for different running or raining purposes.

C) Stability

 All Hoka shoes have an engineered construction that is specifically built to prevent ankle rolls. However, if you're overly prone to it, then you should look into a pair that is built to offer that extra stability.

D) Customer Reviews

Running shoes don't come cheap, so it's equally important that you read other customers' reviews to ensure that the shoes well serve the purpose for which you've bought them and that you're getting the best value for your hard-earned money.

E) The Feel

The best way to evaluate a shoe's functionality and performance is by trying it in person.

Frequently Asked Questions On The Best Hoka Running Shoes

1. Which Hoka shoe is best at each category of running?

  • The best high-end Hoka shoe - The Hoka One Carbon X 2 All Gender Ironman Kona
  • The most affordable- The Hoka Rincon 2
  • The best shoe for everyday training - The Hoka Clifton 7
  • The best for road running - The Hoka Bondi 7
  • The best for trail running - The Hoka One Speedgoat 4
  • The best for distance running - The Hoka Clifton Edge

2. Are Hoka shoes meant for running?

The most critical tool for runners is the shoes. Your choice of footwear can either make or break your running day, especially for the day-to-day runner.

This is why highly cushioned shoes such as the Hoka One One's have become such a popular choice among many runners. For you to comfortably run, you will need a shoe that is well-cushioned.

3. What is the most comfortable shoe in the Hoka line?

Bondi 7 ranks high in the comfort test by most runners since the Bondi Hoka is Hoka's most cushioned road shoe. It has a layer of EVA foam that anchors quite a beefy midsole. The latest version of the Bondi Hoka maintains this same formula; maximum cushioning for an ultra-plush run. This has won the Bondi 7 shoe such a devoted cult following.

4. Which Hoka is best if you have bad knees?

Runners are always looking for the ideal combination of both cushion and support. Look no further with the Hoka One One Bondi 7. Hoka shoes are built with a thick layer of EVA foam that absorbs the shock as you land, preventing the stress that rattles up your joints and, in the end, causes knee pain.

About the Author Brian

Hello, I'm Cindy. I’m a super duper mega hiking enthusiast, with a love for everything that has to do with outdoors, hiking, gear, footwear and more.

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