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It’s safe to say that Hoka One One is hitting its stride in the sneaker market. In 2019, it was one of the best-selling running brands in the U.S. and experienced explosive sales last year despite an overall decline in the footwear industry. From everyday consumers to celebrities, it seems everyone is talking about (and wearing) Hoka One One.
Founded by French French trail runners Nicolas Mermoud and Jean-Luc Diard in 2009, the now Deckers-owned company defied trends by debuting a maximalist running shoe at a time when minimalist running shoes were popular. The duo’s vision was to create styles that mirror the floating sensation often felt in downhill sports like skiing and mountain biking (both Mermoud and Diard previously worked day jobs designing gear in the outdoor sport industry). To create the smoothest and most comfortable ride possible, they partnered with a chemist from a Chinese shoe company to create an ultra-lightweight EVA foam that’s more elastic and durable than traditional EVA alternatives. Having been branded under the names RMAT and R-Bound, the proprietary foam is made of a shock-absorbing, high energy return rubber blend that’s free of any plastics or gel.
Early models like the debut Marfate and the Bondi — the brand’s first road running shoe —also became recognizable for their oversized midsole design.
In addition to offering added cushioning, the brand’s silhouettes are beloved for their signature Meta-Rocker technology. Built into the midsole and outsole near the metatarsal bones in the feet, this feature is designed to create a fulcrum effect, like a rocking chair, to support the runner’s natural stride while prompting smooth, efficient transitions.
Other key technologies include a Active Foot Frame that cradles the heel and embeds it into the midsole (the brand compares this effect to sitting in the bucket seat of a race car), as well as a carbon fiber plate that curls under the toes to deliver smooth transitions. One if its latest technologies is Prof-fly, a two-part midsole that combines soft foam in the heel and firmer foam in the forefoot to deliver a cushioned landing and responsive toe-off.
Many of its pairs are so comfortable, in fact, they’ve earned the American Podiatric Medical Association’s Seal of Acceptance for promoting good foot health.
For people with overpronation issues, Hoka One One offers a handful of stability shoes featuring the brand’s supportive J-frame system. Many of its pairs also come in wide width sizes and are offered with various levels of cushioning to support different foot types and feel preferences.
Alongside its road and trail running shoes, the brand has expanded its offerings to include a range of other footwear categories. In terms of sneakers, you’ll also find training and spiked styles among the selection, but also shoes built for backpacking and hiking. What’s more, the brand carries recovery shoes and sandals for supporting feet after a long workout, and debuted its first lifestyle sneakers, the Bondi L and Clifton L shoes, in March.
The brand also recently released its largest shoe ever called the TenNine, a trail-ready style built with an exaggerated heel and aerodynamic midsole geometry.
To top it all off, the chunky, often colorful pairs are stylish, affordable and sometimes, vegan, too.
Given this, it’s no wonder why they have hundreds of positive customer reviews on Hoka One One’s website. To help you weed through the selection, we’ve rounded up the best Hoka One One shoes according to reviews — from running shoes to recovery sandals.
Take a look below.
The brand’s Clifton series was revolutionary in that it offered plush cushioning without weighing runners’ feet down. Today, the series remains one of the brand’s most sought-after. Its seventh iteration, the Clifton 7, has all the beloved features of the original model and more. This daily running style includes the same EVA foam midsole and early-stage Rocker — which places the transition zone behind the metatarsal bones to encourage a smoother, faster ride — and has been updated with an open mesh upper, gusseted mesh tongue and vertical pull tab for easy entry. Thanks to its flat-waisted geometry and high-abrasion rubber zones in the outsole, the style is designed to be ultra-lightweight while providing full contact with the ground to enhance stability.
What reviewers say: “I’m a long-time user of the Clifton line. I’ve used Hoka shoes (mostly Clifton) for my last 5 marathons. I’ve flirted with Nike, but eventually swiped left. Loved the softness and ride of the famous Clifton 1 and the upper on the 3 so much that I stocked up on three to five pairs of each. The Clifton 7 beats both in my opinion. It has a slightly firmer landing and feel compared to the 1, but is still very soft and smooth with just an incredible upper. It’s locked in, secure and just felt plush but not ‘fat’ and chunky.”
Men’s Cilfton 7, $130; hokeoneone.com.
Women’s Cilfton 7, $130; hokeoneone.com.
Hoka One One’s Bondi is the most cushioned road shoe in the brand’s lineup. With over 900 four and five star reviews, the latest model is engineered with the same full EVA midsole, breathable mesh upper and signature Meta-Rocker technology as its predecessor, but includes a plush collar made from memory foam that’s designed to accommodate a narrower heel. TPU overlays also offer additional structure and support, while an internal heel counter is built to provide a locked-in feel. In addition to wearing them for running, many customers note they sport them for leisure activities, too.
What reviewers say: “I am floored by how comfy and stable these shoes are. You feel like you’re walking on marshmallows as far as the plushness is concerned, but you are not wobbly you are completely stable and balanced. Having worn Ecco and Merrell shoes for years (which I still love), this was an experiment, and it turned out to be rewarding.”
Men’s Bondi 7, $150; hokeoneone.com.
Women’s Bondi 7, $150; hokeoneone.com.
Named after Hoka Athlete Karl “Speedgoat” Meltzer, the Speedgoat series is designed to help you tackle tough terrain comfortably and efficiently. Each pair offers a tieless design to minimize distractions, a Vibram Megagrip rubber outsole with 5mm lugs for grip in wet and dry conditions and a gusseted tongue with cutouts for breathability. The latest model includes a range of new features, including an updated mesh upper designed to be more breathable and rugged than previous versions and 3D printed overlays for increased midfoot support. It also offers a new lightweight foam in the midsole and a roomier toe box for enhanced comfort.
What reviewers say: “The wide sizes are a perfect fit, they have great cushioning for longer runs, but are still super responsive for those quick and technical descents. And this is the first time in years I’ve gotten more than 300 miles in a shoe and they’re still going strong!”
Men’s Speedgoat 4, $145; hokeoneone.com.
Women’s Speedgoat 4, $145; hokeoneone.com.
Challenger ATR 5
Although the predecessor to the latest Challenger ATR model, the ATR 5 also continues to be a customer favorite for trail runs. Of 267 reviews, over 89% of customers gave it four or five stars. Uniquely, this version features a modified midfoot design for improved lockdown and supportive heel counter for lateral and medial security. In keeping with the the model’s heritage, the lugs on its outsole are arranged closer together towards the heel for smooth transitions and are wider spread in the forefoot to provide grip in wet conditions. Other highlights include a vegan construction featuring a dual-layer mesh upper, textured TPU toe reinforcement and internal heel counter for a locked-in fit.
What reviewers say: “I mostly run trails, but need a shoe that can handle roads as necessary. Challenger ATR 5 has been a great combo shoe for me. Comfy out of the box, responsive and still has enough space in the toe box for me.”