Hoka One One Huaka Review

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Color: White/Silver/Black

Hoka's marketing pitch: Lightweight, fast ride with high levels of cushioning.

Surfaces tested on: Road, ambient temperatures of 17° C/63° F

Upper: Unlined spacer mesh, synthetic leather, heat fused overlays, rubberized+plastic eyelets.

Midsole: Structured injection molded EVA blend, 2mm heel offset.

Outsole: RMAT foam, rubber pieces under forefoot and heel.

Weight: 287 gms/ 10.1 Oz for a half pair of US11/UK10.5/EUR45.3 (Hoka sizing)

Widths available: Single.

The Huaka is a neutral running shoe which promises a fast, yet cushioned ride. It does live upto that claim, except that it is $40 too expensive and has an upper with a lot to crib about. 
Hoka Clifton, New Balance Fresh Foam 980
Quality of cushioning, ventilation, great transition, relatively lightweight
Price, upper fit and lacing system, durability
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To innovate, yet be true to the brand’s core. That is a hard nut to crack.

Life must be tough for a Hoka shoe designer. It’s been a few fast years since the European-now-American brand debuted their running shoe line with bottomless midsoles, and all that has built up a set expectation of what Hokas should feel like. They should be super cushioney, deliver a smooth transition, and have a unique sole design, which for all practical purposes, has become a visual Hoka trademark. A stereotype of sorts, if you will.

So here comes the not so easy part. How do you add new models year after year while keeping the Hoka-ness of the shoe intact? These guys are no Asics or Nike, whose running shoes can go from slim to fat to somewhere-in-between without breaking a sweat, because they can play within a wider boundary of footwear design.

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The Huaka is positioned as a Hoka conducive to fast runs, helped by its RMAT midsole formulation.

Hoka has planned a quiver of new designs for next year (Constant, Odessey, Valor, Vanquish etc). Hard to say how those models are differentiated till the time we have a go in them. But if we’re talking about the Huaka, it is easy to see a clear separation from the rest of road Hokas.

The Huaka is positioned as a distance racer which is designed to facilitate a fast ride. It might sound laughable to some, but then we’ve seen that even shoes like the Clifton doesn’t have a negative influence on running speed, unless you’re planning to sprint in them. Huaka is much firmer, yet has a smoothness of transition expected of a Hoka. Something which helps running uninterrupted long miles in adequate comfort.

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Is the Huaka differentiated enough? We feel so.

It may not have the squeeze down of Clifton’s midsole, but cushioning is very much a part of Huaka’s character, albeit present in measured doses. It spreads evenly from heel to toe, a signature linearity easily recognizable if you’ve run in a Hoka before. The lack of midsole layering might have you believe that Huaka is a lower profile shoe, but stack heights suggest otherwise. With stack heights of 27mm heel and 25 mm forefoot, not much sets it apart from a Conquest (29:25) or Clifton (29:24).

The difference here is that Huaka boasts of a 2 mm drop, with the added firmness bringing static and loaded drops closer to each other. That said, stack heights don’t act as a reliable barometer for cushioning. The overall design and choice of materials is what brings about a change in ride manners. The Hoka Rapa Nui 2 would claim that distinction of using the thinnest (sic) Hoka midsole (H 26: F 21); a handy tip if you are in a quest to seek the lowest road Hoka.

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A couple of accompanying paper tags call out the proprietary midsole compound.

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RMAT is structured injection molded foam, meaning the end product is denser and retains high definition of aesthetic details – like the logo right here.

A new midsole material called RMAT (also on Conquest) is Huaka’s marque component. Unlike compression molded foams seen on other models, RMAT is an injection molded compound with a difference. Commonly found injection molded foam midsoles get their final shape by first expanding and then shrinking; RMAT appears to be made using a low pressure, ‘structured injection molding’ process, which keeps expansion in check.

This adds resilience and also helps maintains a sharp definition of cosmetic details on midsole walls – something which is usually achievable only under traditional compression molding. The other effect of this is greater density, and hence higher weight when compared to regular EVA.

Wonder what does R-MAT stand for? Resilient Material?

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Midsole foam doubles up as the outsole. A few rubber bits cover key wear areas.

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These Hoka logo shaped lugs wear out really quick around the footstrike area.

Hoka puts a lot of burden on RMAT’s shoulders, trusting it not only with cushioning duties, but also has it serve as a significant chunk of the outsole. Huaka’s bottom is partially covered with soft rubber featuring lugs in shape of miniature Hoka bird logos. These lugs have excellent grip on a variety of surfaces, but the tradeoff is their fragility, which become quickly apparent once on road.

Initial runs will level them off to flatness till rubber is near flush with midsole foam. This wear will be concentrated in the area of footstrike, which could be heel or forefoot – depending on how you land. Drawing on our experience with other shoes, the intensity of shredding should taper off once the Boomerang shaped nobs are worn down to their base.

Don’t have any reason to believe that RMAT will last longer or shorter than most reinforced EVA foams. That said, love to see a comment or two from readers who’ve logged in 100+ miles on the Huaka and tell us like it is. There have also been talk of the welded overlays delaminating from upper, so related insights based on long term ownership would be welcome.

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Firm it might be, midsole delivers adequate cushioning. Rear-foot landers will be able to see the heel foam splay outwards during impact.

During runs, the Huaka melds typical Hoka smoothness with a touch of firmness. This shoe is no Clifton, and if you were anticipating squishy pillow-ness, then you would have spent money on the wrong shoe. Compression of the foam happens judiciously as you transfer weight over the shoe; you feel the foam pressing downwards, but only to a certain depth. You can visually see that in action if you choose to video record it; the rear-foot foam will splay outwards slightly with each impact.

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Swiss cheese strobel goes below the insole.

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Identical to what’s used on Clifton. Thin sheet of EVA+mesh with some holes punched in.

At the same time, it does not feel extra firm. An apt analogy would be a NB Fresh Foam 980 with slightly thicker midsole, but underscored with foam properties of the Clifton. However, calling the Huaka ‘very’ responsive would be a bit optimistic, as there’s little feedback from the midsole to classify it as such.

A punched out strobel sheet and a thin insole are two more layers over the midsole, which were also seen on the Clifton.

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Toe area has a long spring (curved gap).

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Heel spring is like any other shoe; does not have the distinctive ‘Rocker’ shape.

Huaka is somewhat of an odd man out in the Hoka line-up, as it lacks a prominent ‘rocker’ heel spring. The toe spring is in place, early stage metarocker, stiff forefoot and all that, helping the forefoot roll forth. But the heel is just like any other running shoe, with only a slight gap between the midsole heel and running surface.

That design difference results in early stage rear-foot strike, instead of pushing the strike zone a little forward. (Read our Clifton review for a detailed explanation of what Metarocker does) At this point, we’d like to re-mention that Huaka has a mere 2mm heel drop. With that aspect part of Huaka, chances are that rear parts of your lower leg will get a workout if you’re switching from a higher heel drop (8-12mm) running shoe. On the same note, if your daily trainer is a low drop model, then nothing to fret about.

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Midsole has raised sidewalls.

There might be not a separate midsole layer which doubles as the Hoka ‘speed frame’, but Huaka’s midsole comes with raised sidewalls in mid and rear-foot. These help achieve the cupping like action advertised in the product description. And as marketed, the RMAT midsole lives up to its promise of helping go fast. While it might lack the utter immersive-ness of models like the Clifton, transitions come seamless and quick, helping the foot see through one fast gait cycle after another.

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Upper is where a lot starts going downhill.

We’e aren’t exactly Hoka experts, the Huaka being only one of the two shoes we’ve reviewed so far. And yet there’s a feeling of Déjà vu all over again, with the Huaka upper turning out to be a severe compromise. The fit quality is awfully out of sync, the lacing system is a fumbling mess and overall Will-o’-the-wispiness of construction is a red flag. Hoka has got their midsole set-up figured out, but boy, do they need a footwear 101 on how to make good uppers. And please, Hoka. Your last sucks. Copy New Balance’s or Saucony’s fit. Do something.

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Forefoot fit is wider than Clifton, but brings back the familiar sensation of the upper pressing down on your small toe.

Forefoot fit is strange indeed. It is narrow, but more on lateral (outer) side than medially. The upper pins down the small toe, behaving identically to the Clifton. Except that the difference in overlay design eases off some of the pressure.

The Huaka also runs half size larger as there’s lot of space in front of the big toe. Logically, one should do ok with buying a half size smaller, but then there’s the question of forefoot fit. Since the midsole is gradually tapered towards the front, we assume that closer the big toe to the shoe tip, more premium the overall forefoot space (on the sides) will be.

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‘Race-lace’, as Hoka calls it. A cord based system which relies on a toggle.

The Huaka comes packed with an extra pair of laces, but the default lacing system uses a toggle cord and a pair of elastic holding straps to keep it down. Operation sounds simple enough; pull on the cord laces at the end, and when the pressure is right, slide the two piece toggle downwards. The plastic fastener locks down the laces in the position, and then shove the remaining length of laces under twin stretch loops.

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This is how it should ideally look like when lacing is secured. But in reality, the two upper sides come extremely close. This has a good portion of cord loops protruding in the front.

Either way, it doesn’t end well. Leaving them above the loops will see it slapping the sides around. If you tuck them in, a part of it sticks ahead over the forefoot, and faster runs will see the plastic end moving all over the place. Doesn’t make a racket, but isn’t a pretty sight to see. We don’t think that this end result was intentional; ideally the cord joint should end just ahead of the second loop, as pictured above during our photoshoot.

The issue is with upper pattern design. When you tighten lacing, either sides of midfoot upper come extremely close to each other, mimicking Clifton’s behavior. This results in wider lacing span in the front and extremely narrow near the tongue tip. This also consumes less lacing, and thus leaving a lot more cord than what’s necessary.

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Great! Huaka has an extra eyelet at the back. But wait… how does one get the ‘race-lace’ to pass through it?

And the funniest thing of all? Huaka has an extra row of lacing near the collar. That’s good, because that’s what we missed in the Clifton. But the question is; since both the cord ends are securely tacked together, how do you pass them through? Uh Oh.

This reminds us of the Chinese linking rings magic trick – two solid metal rings without gaps linking and unlinking at will.

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This is the extra pair of lace(s) which comes packaged with Huaka

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Thin, synthetic Suede tongue flap. The cord laces help minimize top-down pressure.

So the bottom-line is, if you want to get a better collar fit and overall reduction in fumbling movements, cut the ‘Race-Lace’ loose and go old school with the supplied pair of laces.

The only positive we saw in the cord lacing is that they pass through the combined rows of circular plastic and metal eyelets smoothly, and keeps top down pressure over the paper thin tongue at bay.

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Super thin, unlined mesh. Protection in the front comes from bumper molding and a grey overlay over it.

Coming to construction materials, the upper is made using a huge panel of unlined mesh. Very lightweight and breathable with large pore structure; you can actually see your fingers from outside when you run them under the forefoot.

Toe area has a molded internal bumper, and another layer of grey PU covers it.

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Shrink wrap thin, transparent overlays are what gives the upper its shape.

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The collar area is amply padded with foam.

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Heel has an internal counter, and a full service collar area.

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Mesh used is comfortable enough.

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Huaka has some decent reflectivity. This heel pull tab is, and so is another one on the forefoot.

The shoe is fused over with a network of transparent overlays. These begin from the toe section and provides most of the structure needed to keep the thin mesh panels propped up. There have been (other) numerous reports of this layer separating from the mesh, but this hasn’t been noticed on our pair yet due to low mileage. But the whole upper does look flimsy, except for the heel area, which is bulked up with an internal stiff counter and padded mesh collar. There’s some reflectivity too, in form of the heel pull tab and over the forefoot.

Needless to say, the Huaka won’t be an all round crowd pleaser. We bought the shoe because we had a review to write, but if that weren’t the case, it was unlikely that Hoka would have got our crisp Franklins . The ride is great, as is expected of Hoka, but a few other things don’t add up. Like:

– The Huaka is horrendously expensive for what it is. The materials used look like they belong to a lower price segment, and not on a $150 shoe. As a matter of fact, all Hokas are expensive. We can guess how that might have happened. In early days, these shoes were sold to a small band of runners in limited quantities. Understandably, the cost of development and running the brand had to be amortised over a smaller number of pairs, increasing the per pair cost. Add to that the fact that Hoka was a European brand. Everything is expensive in most of Europe, where even buying a cup of coffee and sandwich will make your wallet a lonely place. But now with sales numbers growing, it is high time Hoka had a re-look at the prices, or create a better price-value equation. Running shoes are industrial products, which means that a greater scale will translate into lower cost of manufacturing.

– It is heavy. Relative use of that expression, but compared to the Clifton, it is. Let’s look at the empirical dimensions real quick – 239 gms/8.3 oz vs. 287 gms/10.1 oz on the Huaka. Yup, that’s a big gap between the two.

– Durability is an obvious concern, with poor outsole rubber durability and suspect upper longevity.

– There are better shoes in Hoka’s road running line-up, with Clifton being an obvious favourite. The Huaka is sufficiently differentiated by its firm ride, but if you wanted the best of both, isn’t it better to buy the cheaper Clifton and a regular distance flat for speed work? There’s some foam for thought.




The Huaka is a good shoe functionally, except for its could-be-better upper and low durability, for which we’ve taken points off the total score. It is just that the shoe packs too little for its hefty price tag, and then some.

(Disclaimer: Solereview paid full US retail price for the shoe reviewed)

  • The Brilliant Green

    Sorry if i’m a bit offtopic, but when you speak about durability, in this case, you’re concerned about rubber durability. But when it comes to cushioning, how to evaluate longevity?

    • solereview

      We don’t evaluate cushioning durability. But given improved midsole formulations these days, midsoles in most $80+ shoes will more often than not outlive the outsole.

  • CSqrd

    150+ miles, mostly off road, and the overlays are starting to delam. Cushioning is still fine. This is a very comfortable shoe, which fits wider than my Clifton’s and Stinsons. Sole is holding up fine, but the speed laces never seem to stay tight. Lastly, the upper is made of a very ‘open’ mesh. Great in the summer, not so great on dusty trails or in the snow.

    • solereview

      Thanks for comment. Do you think you can upload a picture of the delam? Would be great if you can!

  • Patrick Libuda

    Hi,

    My first pair of Hokas were Mafate 3s – i.e. literally the exact opposites of the Cliftons in terms of weight – trail shoes, or as a fairly prominent and apparently equally competent German Hoka dealer (www.wat-laeuft.de) put it / told me, ‘the Leopard 2s’ (cf. Abrams main battle tank) ‘among running shoes’ !!!. I actually quite liked the quick fastening stuff although it was a bit ‘awry’ – let’s say it could have been a bit more ‘aligned’ or ‘straight’ (the German word would be that it was ‘schief’ as opposed to ‘gerade’ (straight, aligned, etc. ;-)…)). The same applied to the two elastic bits underneath you were supposed to tuck it. In the end, I switched to proper shoe laces and quite simply cut off the elastic stuff… (Despite the price tag, Hoka appears to have a bit of a quality problem ;-).)

    It would appear that unfortunately a couple of things were wrong with my particular pair, which meant that alas in the end I had to return it for a refund.

    The worst bit was that exactly where the padding/collar towards the heel changes colour (cf. see the photos of the Huakas – or http://www.runningwarehouse.com/HOKA_ONE_ONE_Mafate_3/descpage-HOM3M1.html) there were plastic bits digging into the back of my ankle. Under the seem (where the colour changes), there was a rounded plastic pin that apparently was part of the overall support architecture. Unfortunately, in the case of my particular pair, the pin on the outside of my right shoe would dig into the back of my ankle bone if I tilted my foot down (quite literally (!) until things would get bloody). I later realised that an apparent manufacture fault had actually proved quite useful with my left foot – the outside of my left shoe did not touch my ankle bone as closely as it did on my right foot (around 5mm further back than on my right foot (again – ironically cf. my comments on my pair of Cliftons in the following of this post) – otherwise it would probably have also dug in…

    (I would like to point out that I have noticed a similar problem with my Cliftons – however, as they are a lot softer than the Mafate 3, the fact that on the right shoe the outside bit behind the ankle is further forward around 5mm and also considerably steeper (approx. 20° as opposed to 45°-ish on the left shoe) does not constitute any showstopper as it unfortunately did for me with the Mafate 3 – I do feel it sometimes but I see no urge of returning them !!!))

    (Another thing I noticed was the folding on the upside (difficult to describe in text form basically – anyway, my feet are particularly allergic to 90-ish degrees angles folding upwards on the outside of the heel section part of the insole of running shoes I happen to be wearing, as e.g. Asics, New Balance, etc. – blisters !!!) of my Cliftons !!! On my pair of Cliftons, the upside-folding outside part of the insole also had folding bits that might have dug into the foot had sizing been too small – as I said/wrote, it is difficult to describe only in text form…)

    Another thing I noticed was that the insole of the Mafate 3 was unnecessarily rough (when trying them out barefoot) – and that is a rather (!!!) polite way of putting it.

    However, in all the years that I have been walking / running about I have never ever (!!!) worn any pair of running shoes that I found to be as cool as the Mafate 3. I absolutely loved them (!!!) despite of the fact that they did not work for me (cf. my disappointment with the Adidas Supernova Glide Boost). They absolutely had me in stitches – positively, as i would like to stress. I really would have loved to keep them !!! However, e.g. the plush tongue ironically dug into the space between two bones of my left foot. Ironically, I had been really worried about actually buying the Cliftons in view of my experience with the Adidas Supernova Glide Boost (cf. my comments (particularly those with reference to the tongue) under the Solereview review of these particular shoes as well as my even worse experience with the Supernova Sequence 6 !!! !!! etc. 😉 – no seriously, it (the Sequence 6) really was (were) that bad ;-)).

    As far as the Cliftons are concerned, I really love them but I could probably still do with another 5-10mm of cushioning underneath. Although I only do my running on tarmac and particularly the Mafate 3 did sound rather funny (!!!) while running on tarmac, they were one of the few pair of shoes were my hips did not ‘complain’ (or rather scream) after the first 2.5km – despite of forefoot strike-only (cf. the aforementioned heel problem). I actually quite like the idea of a tarmac (!!!) version of the Mafate Speed (4).

    I personally found the Cliftons to be a bit too ‘hard’ / thin. My usual running shoe test is to jump up and land on my heel. Very much to my amazement, the landing while wearing the Cliftons was rather hard – ‘ouch’ and I mean it. They quite simply did not swallow enough of the impact. Ironically, they might be too soft for me !!! (As far as running is concerned, I might have to look into weather i am touching the ground too hard while running. (It does really make you feel a bit of an idiot if you are feeling pain while apparently everybody else appears to be running as on pillows in the same pair of shoes…) – anyway, will continue to look into the issue ;-)).

    What surprised me was that the thin tongue of the Cliftons proved to be truly lovely !!!.

    I would be grateful if you could find some time to test the tarmac version of the Stinson (Stinson Lite as they are called these days – the cushioning appears to be similar to that of the Mafate 3 / Speed (4)).

    Unless you finally get free pairs from the various manufacturers, you might like to consider a kickstarter – I for my part would be more than happy to pledge :-).

    (Apart from that, it would also be nice if there were a possibility to make comments on a confidential level – i.e. only for you to read! It would also be nice if there were an official (mailing) address. I was so aghast about my Supernova Sequence 6 that I actually wanted to bung them in the post and send them to you but of course I could not. I am quite sure you would have found them rather interesting indeed 🙂 – however, I have since dumped them in an old shoes container…).)

    However, one thing that I really love about Hoka is their customer support !!! While Adidas (cf. my Glide Boost and Sequence 6 comments on Solereview) would only refer me back to supposedly ‘qualified’ sales folk and their apparently every so brilliant current models, Hoka was an entirely (!!!) different story. There, people actually did ‘listen’, reply, and give me the impression that the stuff I had written to them was being taken seriously !!! So, once again, and this time sort of in public, thank you, Hoka One One :-).

    Unless there are considerable changes I am fairly sure that my next pair of running shoes will be from Hoka One One and not Adidas !!! – a couple of months ago I would have laughed at the mere idea of choosing anything else than Adidas !!! Considering the fact that Hoka has only been around for a couple of years while Adidas has been churning out shoes for decades, my recent experiences with Adidas have left me absolutely gobsmacked and not not in any positive way at all.

    Anyway, carry on the good work :-).

    Cheers
    Patrick

    P.S.: I have been informed that on Saturday, 13 December 2014, there would be a kind of Hoka evening at ‘Wat läuft’ in Bochum-Wattenscheid. Ruhr Area, Germany.

    • Patrick Libuda

      Hi,

      I have noticed that the insoles you displayed in your Clifton review did not show any of the heel-part upfolding and folding (!!!) probs I mentioned.

      Cheers
      Patrick

      • We did not face the problem either in the Clifton or Huakas, both of which feature the same insole.

        But you do have a point, the insole walls are thin and raised, so quite likely for your experience to have happened.

        • Patrick Libuda

          Hi,

          Anyway, I would be grateful for a Hoka Stinson Lite (tarmac) review ;-).

          Cheers
          Patrick

          • Sure, let’s see if we can fit that in somewhere. Thanks for the suggestion!

        • Patrick Libuda

          Hi,

          Allegedly, Hokas were supposed to come with two insoles. However, neither the Mafate 3 I had or the Clifton that I have came with any alternative insoles. I am only mentioning this because the subject came up when discussing Hoka shoes !!!:

          Cheers
          Patrick

          • Neither did we – never seen additional insoles on our Hokas.

    • Patrick Libuda

      Hi,

      On the whole my Cliftons appear to be of much better quality than the Mafate 3s I had to return. The latter also had a kind of sideways rocker on the right shoe. My pair of Cliftons has not.

      Cheers
      Patrick

      • Thanks for the feedback, can’t offer any insight here since we haven’t reviewed the Mafates yet.

        • Patrick Libuda

          You better hurry!!! As I said they (really) are the funniest and coolest running shoes I ever had on my feet :-). (Ironically the thick tongue contributed to them not being made for me – despite of the flaws that forced me to return them!) The looks I got when I went shopping in them were just hilarious!!! They tend to make a rather funny noise on tarmac (or shop floors) ;-).

          • That would have to wait :). For now, we have the Hoka Constant, Vanquish and Bondi 4 waiting to be reviewed!

          • Patrick Libuda

            Hi,

            Have since got myself a pair of Bondi 4s. I quite like them so far. They give me the extra cushioning I am missing in the Cliftons – while the Cliftons sometimes literally hurt when running / jumping about / and particularly touching the ground, the Bondi 4s do not (or at least nowhere near as strongly) !!! Looks like things are going in the right direction for me regarding sole thickness :-). However, in my size, 12.5 US, the insoles (both – flat and shaped – unlike with the Mafate 3 and Clifton I got two insoles with the Bondi 4 – of the Bondi 4 are too wide !!! The default shaped insoles kind of tilt to the outside, just like a badly (over)laden freighter… while the inside folds up like they did in my my Cliftons (there on both the inside and the outside), if of course naturally predominantly on the inside. So far, no problem with any blisters but will see what the future brings.

            Anyway, happy Easter and keep up the good work:-)

            Cheers
            Patrick

          • Patrick Libuda

            As I said (at least so far) I really love the Bondi 4. Considering the general image of Hoka shoes – wear them and be laughed at (by those who do not know… – over here in Europe (in my case Germany) very likely even worse than in the States…) – they even look remarkably good (in my case the EU bluish lime version – cf. Hoka Europe site). However, it is hilariously funny that out of all things it was the insole(s) where Hoka have managed to eff up – at least in case of my size (12.5 US).

            In terms of weight they are remarkably lightweight – in a way they feel like a big brother to the Cliftons.

            Once April weather stops (over here), I might even put them to test as running shoes… As I said, they are remarkably lightweight for their size and I really feel tempted to put them through their paces 🙂 …

          • The Bondi 4 might not be featherweight, but that said, they are certainly not as heavy as they look!

          • Thank you Patrick, and happy to see you here again!

            We’re going to review the Bondi 4 along with the Constant and Vanquish this month. Let’s see how these turn out. And yes, we got an additional pair of insoles with all three shoes.

            It seems that this is a new Hoka tradition.

          • Patrick Libuda

            Hi,

            One thing to look out for with the Bondi 4s are the plastic (?) rings in each shoelace hole. With my pair they are a teensy bit too long and can therefore dig into your foot if the (fairly narrow) tongue slides to the side. Normally the tongue takes care of the problem but it is fairly narrow although a lot thicker than in the Cliftons I got. Alright I know about the massive flak the Bondi 3s got but I nevertheless think that something along the lines of the tongue of the Cliftons (allegedly a bit thicker than that of the Bondi 3) would have been a better idea – particularly the fact that it is wider.

            Anyway, am looking forward to the review.

            Cheers
            Patrick

            (P.S.: The flat ones of the two pairs of Bondi 4 insoles currently are inside my Cliftons – there they fit like a glove.)

          • Patrick Libuda

            Erm, sorry, I meant of course metal and not plastic. I should probably have taken another look before posting ;-).

            Anyway, as far as durability of the outsole is concerned they are about as good or bad as the Cliftons (the additional rubber is more prone to wear than you would expect).

            Another thing I noticed was that the shoelaces of the Bondi 4s are quite good at undoing themselves – and they do so quite regularly. If you use all four of the upper shoelace holes the shoelaces also prove too thick – on the inside (you know, go through the outside on the front hole and have the shoelace come back through the inside of the front rear hole) they tend to dig into your foot as well (at least they did in my case) – here also the narrow tongue is not exactly helpful.

            The only thing I do not like about the Bondi 4s is the default shaped insole (as opposed to the flat one) because of its tendency to list towards the outside and not stay straight – instead it also folds vertically on the inside – as far as I am concerned I would have preferred a flat one that fits better – as I said my flat Bondi 4 one currently resides inside my Cliftons and fits beautifully there.

            All in all I love the the Bondi 4s – regardless of the insoles provided. Anything flat and fitting should do, even if it is only one of those barefoot insoles for the summer.

          • Patrick Libuda

            Sorry, I meant top front and top rear shoelace holes…

            Anyway, am looking forward to your reviews :-).

          • Appreciate the insights! Very useful.

          • Thanks for the input, Patrick, will consider it during our review.

          • Patrick Libuda

            Had another closer look by the way. It actually is not a supporting ring it is just the way the metal supports for the shoelace holes were pressed.

            Anyway, I have my doubts whether they were necessary in the first place. Useless additional weight in my opinion. The Cliftons showed that you can easily do without.

            Otherwise, the Bondi 4s are dangerous – they can get you hooked on plush again ;-).

          • Those are metal eyelets, alright. Haven’t faced the issue so far, but yes, agree that metal eyelets aren’t necessary for proper lacing.

    • Agree, Hoka does need to smoothen out some of their design issues. Thanks for the detailed feedback.

      You mentioned that the Clifton ‘bottoms’ out when you land; do you have a large build? Sorry if you’ve mentioned this before. And let’s see if we can test the Stinson Lite, maybe around March or so, when most of the other new releases are covered.

      We think we will stick to buying shoes instead of expecting companies to supply them. Dealing with brands is way too unproductive, and nothing really comes free. Thank you for your offer to help us if we went on Kickstarter, appreciate it!

      For 1-on-1 comments, you can always use the ‘contact’ option at bottom right of any page. Great to hear that Hoka is taking feedback seriously, that is a rarity in this industry.

      How was the Hoka evening?

      • Patrick Libuda

        Hi,

        Large build ??? Despite winter, my ‘ideal weight’ (if that kind of thing exists at all – !!!) would be somewhere between 72 and 73 kgs (at 1.86cm). At the moment (Christmas / New Year period), I have a bit more, 75 – or 77ish if I am a bit of ‘fattish’ slob ;-). (I do quite like chocolate et al. 😉 – particularly at this time of year – not to mention the wine (!!!) ;-)).

        Cheers
        Patrick

        • Patrick Libuda

          Hi,

          People tend to underestimate the calories that wine has. I am half-German and half-English. I also and absolutely adore the British ‘Digestive’ biscuits – in fact, I am fairly near (as close as you can probably and humanly possibly can get) addicted to them :-). Anyone who has ever tasted them will know what I mean :-). They really are that lovely. (Sorry about the shameless plugging :-).)

          Cheers
          Patrick

          • No worries, one off-topic comment here and there doesn’t count. Haven’t had those English biscuits though!

        • Patrick Libuda

          Hi,

          In mid Feb 2015, I would be reaching my next ‘Schnappszahl’ (‘liquor number/figure’ as we say in German) – 44 years of age.

          Cheers
          Patrick

        • Sorry, thought the body weight bottoms the Hokas!

      • Patrick Libuda

        Hi,

        Sorry for being stupid but (at least as a guest) you either get ‘reply’ or ‘share’ or has silly me been missing anything.

        Cheers
        Patrick

        • Hi,

          As a guest commenter, one does get the option of ‘reply’ or ‘share’!

          Thanks,

  • Benjamin

    Hi,

    I really enjoy reading your reviews, and I used them, among others, to chose my last pair of running shoes. Now I’m looking for running flats and I hope you may have some ideas for me. I weight about 56 kg (~123 ibs), I’m a neutral pronator and I usually run 5 km (~3 miles) runs to half marathons.

    Cheers
    Benjamin

    • Hi Benjamin, you could look at the Nike Zoom Streak LT2 and Streak 5. The adios Boost is also a good distance shoe, except that they aren’t flat, with a 10 mm heel to toe gradient.

      • Benjamin

        Ok, thanks for your tips. Until now I had good experiences with Brooks, so do they have some good alternatives ?

        • We haven’t put many miles on recent Brooks lightweights, so can’t offer an opinion. We’ll review a few by January – Feb.

          • benjamin

            Ok, thanks for your time , I appreciated your comments.

            cheers from europe

  • Kenny

    Stumbled upon your site a while back and have to praise the fullness and honesty of your reviews. Heartening to read that you bought the Hokas you reviewed here and so can be completely unbiased in your views. For what it’s worth I think somebody needs to show the guys at Hoka what a human foot looks like. Much as I love the cushioning in their shoes I’d have to cut off my little toes to wear them. I don’t think I have particularly wide feet but I’ve tried 4 models and gone a full size up but still they all pinch the little toe – no good for something you want to cover 50 miles in. Any chance of including any of the Olympus shoes in upcoming reviews.

    • Nice to hear that you find our reviews helpful – we actually buy all the shoes we review!

      Hopefully Hoka fixes their last soon. We’re going to review the new 2015 Vanquish and Constant soon, let’s see how they stack up on fit. No plans for Altra reviews right now, maybe sometime around summer ’15.

    • Patrick Libuda

      Hi,

      I do not agree but I have to admit that my feet are rather slim. When I wear them (so far Clifton and Mafate 3), they fit perfect.

      Cheers
      Patrick

      • Patrick Libuda

        P.S.: Take the Hoka sizes given on their Websites and add a bit – i.e. 2.5cm or a thumbs width – that is at least is what I did (upon an according recommendation) and it works.

  • Kenny

    Sorry my comment should have said any chance of reviewing any Altra does – meaning the Olympus.

    • No worries, understood your question regardless!

  • Hi Patrick,

    don’t worry about the pictures, just upload them here!

    Yes, that’s what we do here at solereview – we call out what we think are positive, and then scathingly point out areas of potential improvement. With our reach gradually growing, at some point we hope some brand will take our feedback for whatever they think is worth.

    Wish you a great new year too, we’re hoping the year turns out well for us!

    We tested the Hoka only on road. We think they would make terrible trail shoes – not much of a grip, and the upper is very open – which makes debris getting in easy.

    Agree that Boost is a superior material – like we said in our Energy Boost review, the Germans did find their magic potion!

    Best,
    S

  • Appreciate the comment and insights. Considering that our review does not cover the shoe from a trail usage perspective, your feedback adds value – which readers can use to their advantage.

    We also think the Adios and Energy to be great shoes, though less than impressed by the Triumph ISO, given all that marketing. Haven’t reviewed the Izumi, so don’t have an opinion. Thanks for the link to your blog!

  • Patrick Libuda

    Hi,

    Sorry I forgot, they do not call it ‘Servicewüste Deutschland’ (The Service Desert that is Germany) for nothing :-).

    Cheers
    Patrick

  • Happy new year to you too!

    Yes, US consumers are spoiled for choice, and we point that out in our reviews much too often (see lower half of our Nike Structure 18 review). We see ladies ‘returning’ half used bottles of cosmetics to the shop, and guess what, that’s free too.

    There are websites like MyUS or Shipto which will help send you shoes from the US for a small fee, so if Germany is very expensive, you can try these proxy services to buy Hokas.

    You should be to edit your posts if you register with Disqus – as guest posters, that option is unfortunately unavailable.

    Best wishes,

    • Patrick Libuda

      Hi,

      By the way, ever since my walking in them with two pairs of socks the insoles decided to come up every time I wore them. Have since had to chuck them out and replaced them with something else. (I have read that some people just throw out the insoles from the start and just wear the Cliftons ‘plain’ so-to-speak.

      So, should anyone have the same problem my advice would be to go at least one size higher (from my own experience I would suggest that you have a look at the official size recommendations on Hoka’s Website and then basically add an inch / 2.5cm). Then things should work – they did at least work for me.

      Cheers
      Patrick

      • Actually the newer Cliftons seem to come with optional Ortholite insoles. One of our readers (on the Clifton page) shared a picture!

  • Thank you for sharing your experience in detail, very helpful for other readers.

    The irony of the Huaka isn’t lost on us; that one of Hoka’s best products happens to be a non-maximal, non-soft shoe! Vastly under-rated Hoka shoe, a lot more people should get to experience the Huaka.

    And 65 dollars? You, sir, got the shoe at a steal.

    • Patrick Libuda

      Hi,

      I definitely am jealous. It is unfortunately not very likely that you would be able to get them this side of the big pond at that kind of price – even in particularly revolting colours ;-). I was already grateful to have been able to buy my most recent two pairs at 100-110 Euro over here… Who said that the world was fair… These days Running Warehouse are also selling their stuff here in Europe – alas, however, they appear to be sticking to a more local pricing range…

      Cheers
      Patrick

      • US has the best apparel prices globally, period. There is absolutely no reason to buy anything full price, except when you want to get reviews done in a hurry 🙂

  • Shawn H

    Big Adidas Boost fan here. I have the Supernova Glide 6 Boost. I also rotate some Saucony Ride 6 in the line-up. But BY FAR my Hoka One One Huakas are my all-time favorite shoes. Best ride I’ve ever had in 36 years of running. Great cushion on pavement, especially for middle-aged (creeping up on older aged) runners. Sure, the Huaka needs some improvements. A padded tongue like the new Hoka Clifton 2 would be great. A decent insole would be nice because the thin piece of nothing that comes with the shoe is pure garbage. And I don’t know how durable the Huaka will prove to be, even though they show no real signs of wear after 50 miles. I got my Huaka in the same colors as in this review at Running Warehouse. The sale price was 69.00, and with a coupon I found online, the final price was 59.00, with no tax and no shipping cost. Well, after just running a couple of times in the Huaka, I immediately bought another pair. I was a big Hoka skeptic, but no longer. No, I wouldn’t want to pay the 150.00 price tag for the Huaka. That’s outrageous for a shoe that needs improvements, including a repacement insole. But I can safely say that even IF you bought the Huaka for its regular price you’d probably really like it. It’s light, extremely well-cushioned, and the RMAT midsole is very responsive. It feels like a well-cushioned racing flat. As you can tell, I can’t say enough good things about the Huaka. Keep it up, Hoka–update the Huaka with just a few minor changes, and I’ll be a loyal customer.

    • Appreciate the detailed insights. We love the Huaka ride too, but that’s pretty much where the good things end, in our opinion. We paid $150 for this shoe, and that’s miles away from value for money, given the idiosyncratic upper and overall quality of materials.

      If the true retail was $60, boy, that would have changed our perception completely.

      • Patrick Libuda

        Hi,

        Have since got myself a pair of Hoka Valors (cut price – don’t worry, I am not completely mad). By the way, they look a bit like a big brother of the Huakas (particularly from the outside side..) and are fairly light. Also in their case, I share your assessment regarding manufacture quality!

        Apart from that, they also had this strange elastic rubber above the tongue between the two rows of eyelets. Once I cut it out on both shoes my feet had far more room :-). They are beginning to grow on me. At first I had problems with two strengthened 1cm wide strips going down diagonally on both sides of each from underneath the tongue towards the outsole. If you tilted the shoe forward they would press on the upper side of one of my big toes (quite painfully so…). However, after bending the forward part of the shoes forward several times the problem went away. Now the pressure has reached normal levels. Using both insoles at the same time also helps.

        By the way, I read somewhere that the Valors were supposed to be large retail store versions of the Bondi 4s. However, that appears to be wrong information. They definitely are different and comparatively light.

        And the shoelaces actually stay tied 😉 !!!

        Cheers
        Patrick

        • Patrick Libuda

          sorry, should have said ‘on both sides of each shoe’

          (And they are black/blue, which means that they look less outrageous than most Hokas ;-).)

          • Patrick Libuda

            P.S.: The Stinson Lites were 112 Euro and the Valors were a bit over 100 Euro.

            Another thing I noticed was that both of them had a different type ID on the lower side of the foot-shape outsole above the size (US 12.5 in my case). While it was ‘SP’ in the case of the Bondi 4s, it was ‘HR-1’ in the case of the other two. And the HR-1s also seemed fit better inside the Bondi 4s. There is a possibility that my Bondi 4s came with the wrong foot-shape outsole but so far I have not yet got round to contacting Hoka in order to ask them.

          • Interesting.

        • Thanks for the feedback on the Valor. Would love to have a review up here, but time is always at a premium.

    • Patrick Libuda

      Hi,

      Read your post with very much interest as I also do my running on tarmac (only 5-7km but I do 90km on my bike when I have time…). However, my weapon of choice is the Stinson Lite. The cushioning is remarkably soft and it is more reactive than the Clifton 1s, Bondi 4s, and Valor that I also have (don’t worry, the Stinson Lites and the Valors were cut price ;-)) Out of these four, the Stinson Lites definitely are my favourites for running !!!

      The thing where I do not agree with you is your reference to the tongue of the Clifton 2s. The Clifton 1s are marvellous – boy was I a sceptic !!! The Valors’ tongue is also padded but I very much prefer the thin tongue of the Clifton 1s. It does not dig into your foot, as for example painfully squeeze in between bones. The best thing about them is that Hoka did without their metal eyelet supports. Particularly in my Bondi 4s, they are a bleeding nuisance indeed. Yippee, they have a padded tongue – unfortunately, it does tend to slide to both sides and have the metal eyelet supports apply pressure on your foot! The thin tongue in the Clifton 1s and the Stinson Lites is thin and wide, which means that you do not get this problem – at least not with the Clifton 1s. However, the Stinson Lites also have these poxy metal eyelet supports and there they prove to have been a rather bad idea. Although the tongue is thin and does not dig into your foot, it is not thick enough to fully compensate for the metal eyelet support nonsense. And it could also be a teensy bit wider because it can slide as well – however, the problem is nowhere near as grave as with the Bondi 4s! Had Hoka done without this rubbish, the Stinson Lites’ tongue would have worked as well as it does with the Clifton 1s. It basically is a bit like crafting a masterpiece with your hands and then knocking it over with your big fat bum !!! Nevertheless, despite of the tongue / metal eyelet support problem, the Stinson Lites are absolutely marvellous !!! And they even have a proper rubber outsole !!!

      Anyway, after reading your post suddenly the Huakas have become immensely interesting as well ;-).

      Cheers
      Patrick

      • Patrick Libuda

        Hi,

        One thing I would like to point out is that the Stinson Tarmac/Lites are supposed to be legendary should you have any problem knee-related. Even in cases where doctors said ‘no’ they are apparently known to have made people officially unfit to run fit to run again.

        Cheers
        Patrick

  • Sarah Merrill

    I bought a pair of Huakas for cheap (~$50) after hearing they were firmer than the Cliftons, which were way too squishy for my taste. Ideally I wanted to put them on easy- and recovery-run duty. Well, I can’t do that because I enjoy the ride so much that I can’t run slowly enough. This shoe tricks me into running approximately marathon pace when I’m planning to run a minute per mile slower. That said, I think this shoe has enough flaws to keep it from replacing the Kinvara as my marathon shoe. However, if Hoka improves upon these flaws in a future version, look out Kinvara.

    • ” This shoe tricks me…” – funny 🙂

      That’s the thing with Hoka shoes so far – their ride is more or less solid, but many flaws in how they fit.

      The Kinvara has been softened beyond recognition vs the original concept.