As someone who laces up sneakers 99% of the time, I want a similar feel when I put on a hiking boot. Thankfully, there’s a pair from Hoka One One that provides a similar ride.
I packed the Hoka One One Arkali, a light hiker from the running-focused brand, on a mid-August hiking trip. The style is equipped with several technologies the company uses on performance running looks, which made them attractive even before lacing them up.
Much like Hoka One One’s running shoes, the Arkali is comfortable right out of the box. The boot is something you can just lace up and go, without any need to break them in. This sensation comes from the Profly midsole, which is both soft and responsive — something fans of Hoka One One running shoes are intimately familiar with.
Aside from the feeling of a sneaker, the Hoka One One Arkali is durable. They can take as much abuse as any light hiker on the market today. The rubber toe cap, aside from giving the style a cool aggressive look, ensures your feet will be protected no matter how technical the terrain is or how many rock scrambles you encounter (there are never enough rock scrambles).
Its traction is also worth noting, which is provided by industry-leading Vibram Megagrip outsoles. For fans of both Hoka One One and trail running, the brand has also used them on its Speedgoat shoe franchise, the signature looks of ultrarunner Karl Meltzer.
However, the boots alone weren’t responsible for feeling comfortable on the trail.
Although I don’t do this too often anymore, I have in the past written off hiking-specific socks as unnecessary. Why spend $20 or more on a hiking-specific sock when you can get a pack from a name brand for the same price? Thankfully, I had some pairs from Darn Tough with me.
After roughly three hours spent on the trail in 90-plus degree heat, my feet were cool from start to finish, which I largely attribute to the brand’s Pinnacle Micro Crew Light Cushion sock. Also, my feet were pain free when I returned to my car — specifically my heels and forefoot, which are almost always sore after a hike. Although the Arkali’s midsole had a lot to do with this, the sock’s added cushioning in the heel and forefoot absolutely helped.
And Darn Tough describes the Pinnacle Micro Crew Light Cushion sock on its web store as quick drying, which is an incredible understatement. Having been off the trail for several months — thanks COVID-19 — I was a bit clumsy in my return checking out a waterfall, which led to an unexpected dip. However, the socks dried so quickly that I almost forgot I slipped and my foot landed in the water.
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