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The Best Hoka Running Shoes in 2023


After their founding in 2010, Hoka One One’s running shoes have quickly become known in the industry for providing maximum cushioning in a lightweight shoe.

While barefoot running and minimal shoes were the rage for a while, the pendulum has swung the opposite way, and now max cushioned running shoes like Hokas are more popular than ever.

And for good reason.

With great rebound properties and stability, the best Hoka running shoes are designed with comfort and performance, whether to help correct pronation, trail running, or for runners who want a cushioned ride.

They have also found a niche with runners suffering from knee issues, plantar fasciitis, and other running injuries. Their pillow-soft cushioning lends itself to easing the pain in common injuries.

Below is our list of the best running shoes that Hoka has to offer. The Clifton 9 is our top choice, thanks to the excellent combination of thick cushioning and energy rebound, the rocker sole, and the comfortable, soft upper.

Top 3 Best and Favorites


Hoka One One Clifton 9


  • Comfortable upper
  • More durable than prior versions
  • Good energy rebound


Hoka One One Bondi 8


  • Plenty of stability
  • Soft cushioning
  • Good grip


Hoka Rincon 3


  • Lightweight shoe
  • Balanced cushioning
  • All the excellent Hoka features

Best Overall

1. Hoka Clifton 9

The Clifton 9 isn’t Hoka’s most cushioned shoe, but it’s one of their most popular shoes. Plenty cushioned and made to be highly comfortable, it’s an excellent choice for any neutral-footed runner who’s after a feeling of complete comfort on each step.

What We Like

The Hoka Clifton is a highly cushioned shoe with a luxurious but not-too-soft feeling underfoot. Although the midsole is just EVA foam, it contours to your foot and offers subtle support with its bucket-seat design.

Its thickness protects your feet from the hardness of the ground by absorbing shock on every step. Those with plantar fasciitis, knee pain, heel spurs, and a variety of other painful foot and leg conditions can run in the Clifton happily with minimal pain.

The rest of the shoe is equally as comfortable. The upper is light and highly breathable; it hugs your foot nicely when locked down. An elf ear tab helps you get it on and off easily.

You’ll find strategically-placed rubber layers on high-wear areas on the outsole. There is a lot of exposed midsole foam in less war-prone areas. The heel features an extended crash pad and a meta-rocker in the outsole for smoother transitions and reduced foot fatigue.

Its unusually wide platform adds stability, which is welcomed as the unusually high stack height may feel unstable for some.

Why We Like It

It’s not too plush but still super comfy. It’s also protective and extremely comfortable, from upper to outsole. The Clifton is the perfect Hoka for those who want a good amount of cushion but not too much softness under your foot.

What to Consider

One thing about the Clifton is that the rubber on the outsole seems to wear away quite quickly. Maybe this is because you’ll be wearing it so often thanks to its comfort, but it is a slight disadvantage.

What’s New

The only real change from the Clifton 8 to 9 is that the flex grooves in the outsole have been changed from running horizontally to diagonally. Everything else is quite similar.


  • Light, breathable mesh upper hugs your foot and features an extended elf ear tab
  • A generous layer of midsole EVA foam is comfortable without being too plush
  • Wide platform for stability with flex grooves for ease of movement
  • Early-stage meta-rocker helps make the transition easy and smooth


  • The rubber outsole wears away quickly

Most Cushioned

2. Hoka Bondi 8

The Bondi 8 is Hoka’s most plush, cushioned shoe. If you’re looking for extreme comfort on any run, this is the shoe to go for!

What We Like

This shoe is one of the most cushioned you’ll find, although you should be aware that the thick layer of padding causes the shoe to be fairly stiff and inflexible underfoot.

But if it’s cushioning you’re after, you’ll love the soft, plush cushion of the Bondi 8. It does an excellent job of absorbing impact, preventing any jarring vibrations from reaching your feet.

The EVA foam contours to your arch, providing almost custom support. There’s also a deep heel cup in the foam to keep your foot in the right position and a sturdy heel counter for even more security.

Like the Clifton, the Bondi 8 features an early-stage meta-rocker that will help to make heel-to-toe transitions smoother while reducing fatigue in the foot muscles.

Thanks to the plush, comfortable upper, you can get a great lockdown, which adds to the shoe’s luxurious feeling.

Carefully-placed rubber on the outsole keeps the shoe’s weight down, although it’s still on the heavy side. You can choose from regular, wide, and extra wide to suit every kind of foot.

Why We Like It

The Hoka Bondi 8 is the most cushioned shoe in Hoka’s lineup. If max-cushioned and extremely comfortable sounds like your kind of shoe, then the Bondi 8 delivers!

What to Consider

Some people feel that the new foam used in the Bondi isn’t as soft and pillowy as the last model.

What’s New

The Bondi 8 differs from version 7 with a new cushioned tongue. It also has a new type of foam that is lighter but remains just as soft. The heel in the midsole slightly protrudes more as well.


  • Extremely comfortable from upper to the midsole
  • Plush, thick EVA foam cushioning offers a luxurious feeling underfoot
  • A deep heel cup and heel counter keep your foot stable and secure
  • Carefully-placed rubber on the outsole protects the spots most prone to wear


  • The Bondi 8 may not feel as soft to you as older models

Top Value

3. Hoka Rincon 3

The Rincon 3 is one of Hoka’s budget shoes, but it offers everything you need in a daily running shoe. It’s versatile enough to be excellent value for money.

What We Like

The Rincon 3 is a versatile shoe, and weighing just over 7 ounces for an average-sized men’s and just over 6 ounces for a women’s, you can do everything from tempo runs to speedwork in this shoe.

The lightness of the shoe makes it easy to run in. In the midsole, you’ll find what Hoka labels “balanced cushioning,” a nice combination of soft and responsive. It’s great padding for slightly longer runs mixed with a bit of spring for the shorter, speedier runs.

Like the two before it, the Rincon 3 has an early-stage meta-rocker to take the strain off the forefoot during the heel-to-toe transition.

It has quite an attractive vented mesh upper, which looks good and effectively allows air to flow through the shoe while you’re running. This keeps your feet cool even in hot weather.

Like all Hoka shoes, rubber is limited on the outsole but covers the areas most likely to take wear and tear. For its price, you get a lot of value in this shoe!

Why We Like It

The Rincon is the best choice for those who want all the fantastic features of a Hoka but are on a budget. It offers everything that makes Hokas special at a more wallet-friendly price tag.

What to Consider

The Rincon has a reputation for running slightly small and narrow. If you prefer a looser fit that you can cinch down, you may be better off going for a half-size or full-size larger.

What’s New

The Rincon 3 has lost a touch of weight since its previous version, despite having an extra millimeter of foam in the midsole. The tongue is thinner than before, which could account for the reduced weight.

Unlike the 2, the Rincon 3 has a small nylon string tab on the heel. It also has a little more rubber on the outsole and a more streamlined heel counter.


  • Unusually light, weighing just over 7 oz for men’s and 6 oz for women’s
  • Balanced cushioning provides a good mix of soft and responsive
  • Versatile shoe for speedwork, longer runs, or running errands
  • Attractive price point with all the excellent Hoka features


  • This shoe runs a little small and narrow

Best for Stability

4. Hoka Gaviota 4

For the overpronators among us, the Gaviota 4 is the Hoka of choice. Although it’s a stability shoe, it’s still max-cushioned and highly comfortable.

What We Like

This is one of the most cushioned stability shoes you can find, giving it a superb combination of comfort and security that’s not often found in stability shoes.

It’s plush from top to bottom. Starting with the upper, it’s a vegan mesh layer that’s tightly knit, which adds stability from the outside. It works very well with the traditional lacing system to lock down securely on the foot, so your feet can make the most of the support features.

Speaking of support features, the midsole features a J-Frame, a dense, incompressible piece of foam on the medial side that stops the foot from rolling over. There’s excellent arch support, thanks to the contoured EVA foam.

Unlike the three shoes we’ve already mentioned, the Gaviota features a late-stage meta-rocker. This is positioned slightly in front of the ball of your foot. It still offers a little bit of help pushing off, but it significantly adds to the stability of the shoe by slightly reducing the rocker shape.

Why We Like It

The Gaviota 4 offers all the amazing Hoka cushioning and comfort but includes stability features that cater to overpronators. It doesn’t feel like a stability shoe, but you’ll get excellent protection and security.

What to Consider

The tongue is plusher than before, offering a higher level of comfort. However, it’s only gusseted on one side.

Some may find that this feels lopsided or that it bunches up as you move. It can be fixed with a great lockdown, though.

What’s New

Only the upper has been changed. It now offers a better fit and a more plush heel collar and tongue.


  • Max-cushioned stability shoe for the best of both stability and comfort
  • A dense J-Frame in the midsole prevents the arch from rolling inwards
  • Vegan mesh upper that’s soft on the foot and allows for an excellent lockdown
  • Late-stage meta-rocker adds extra stability to the wide platform


  • Some may find the partially-gusseted tongue to be annoying

Top Lightweight Hoka for Overpronation

5. Hoka Arahi 6

The Arahi 6 is another support shoe from Hoka. It’s lightweight and peppy, ideal when you want to pick up the pace a little.

What We Like

Like the Gaviota, the Arahi 6 features a J-Frame in the EVA midsole, designed specifically to stop your foot from rolling inwards and compressing the midsole foam.

It offers a food combination of softness, protection, and responsiveness. It’s not ideal for speedwork, thanks to the 30mm stack of foam underfoot, but it does have a surprising bit of spring to it that could make tempo runs and intervals a little more fun.

An average-sized men’s shoe weighs just over 9 ounces, while a women’s weighs just over 7 ounces. This is unusual for a stability shoe and gives the wearer a speedier feeling.

The early-stage meta-rocker helps propel you forwards with less effort on your part, making you feel faster and reducing your foot muscle fatigue simultaneously!

Why We Like It

The Arahi 6 is a bit more lightweight than the Gaviota and has a bit more bounce to it. It’s the better choice if you want to do a bit of a peppier run but remain protected and effectively supported at all times.

What to Consider

Although Hoka shoes all have a wider fit than average, the Arahi 6 appears to have a bit of a tighter toe box than usual. If you have wide feet or specifically want a more spacious forefoot, you may be disappointed in this shoe.

What’s New

The upper is lighter than before and uses recycled materials in this iteration. The tongue is also a bit plusher to add more cushion to the top of the foot and reduce lace bite.


  • Strong arch support and supportive J-Frame keep your foot in a neutral position
  • High stack height is plush but still offers some responsiveness for speedier runs
  • Lightweight despite being a stability shoe with thick cushioning
  • Meta-rocker effectively propels you forwards with less effort


  • This shoe has quite a snug fit through the forefoot

Best Trail Shoe

6. Hoka Challenger 7

If the trails are your preferred place to run, then we highly recommend a pair of Hoka Challenger 7’s on your feet. They offer all the comfort of a regular Hoka with trail-specific properties to keep you safe on rough ground.

What We Like

This shoe features recycled material on the upper, which is double-layered to provide extra support. It’s also reinforced around the rearfoot, holding the heel firmly in place for stability on uneven ground.

An extended toe cap helps to protect your fragile toes from being injured by hazards on the trail. You can run freely and without worrying about accidentally kicking things.

CMEVA foam in the midsole provides both support and comfortable cushioning, absorbing shock and keeping foot and leg fatigue to a minimum.

Underfoot, you’ll find 4 mm lugs that effectively grip sand, mud, rocks, grass, and other surfaces you may find on the trail.

One of the things we really like about this shoe is that although the lugs are designed for trails, they’re not so chunky that you can’t take this shoe on the road.

If you have to run some roads to get to the trail, this shoe should deal with them quite well. The zonal rubber provides excellent grip on many different surfaces, keeping you safe on your feet no matter where you’re running.

Why We Like It

The Challenger 7 is great for moderate trails and can also handle road runs without tripping you up!

What to Consider

The Challenger 7 seems to run a touch narrower than other Hokas. To be safe, you should go half a size up to get a comfortable fit width-wise.

What’s New

The only real changes are the appearance of the shoe. The 7 features a much tighter-knit upper and a thicker midfoot strap for better lockdowns.


  • 4 mm lugs can handle moderate trails as well as road surfaces
  • CMEVA foam in the midsole supports and cushions your feet on rough ground
  • An extended toe cap keeps your forefoot safe from hazards on the trail
  • Zonal rubber on the outsole is designed to provide excellent grip on multiple surface types


  • This shoe runs a little narrow

Top Daily Trainer

7. Hoka Kawana

The Kawana looks a little different from the other Hokas, thanks to its unique heel, but it’s a fantastic daily trainer that’ll keep you comfortable on the road.

What We Like

The Hoka Kawana is one of the newer shoes. It’s an excellent choice for the road, particularly if you’re looking for a daily trainer that’s comfortable and looks good too.

It’s a max-cushioned shoe that falls into the “plush” range on Hoka’s website. This ensures excellent shock absorption, which is enhanced by its Swallowtail heel. This doesn’t just stand out looks-wise; it has a purpose! It’s especially great for heel strikers.

Pair the Swallowtail with the early-stage meta-rocker, and you’ve got a great-feeling shoe that moves you easily from heel to toe. The midsole foam has a bit of bounce, so you can pick up the pace if you need to.

A Jacquard mesh upper with flat laces helps you to get a solid lockdown. Under the shoe, rubber is placed carefully on the most high-wear areas to provide protection and durability while keeping the weight down.

Why We Like It

This shoe may be max-cushioned, but it’s comfortable enough for daily use and has a surprising bit of liveliness in the midsole as well.

What to Consider

The Kawana has a narrower-than-usual fit for a Hoka. Be aware of this if you’re used to the wider fit of Hokas – you may need to order a wider size to get the same fit and feel.


  • Jacquard mesh upper with flat laces helps to provide a solid lockdown
  • Plush cushioning offers a high level of comfort with some liveliness
  • Swallowtail heel absorbs shock on the foot strike and makes the transition easy
  • Durabrasion rubber in strategic places on the outsole for durability


  • Narrower fit than average for a Hoka

Best for Speed Workouts

8. Hoka Mach 5

The Mach 5 will be an excellent choice if you enjoy speed workouts. It’s one of Hoka’s newer updates, but it’s great for speedwork.

What We Like

The Mach 5 is a road shoe that’s designed to be faster than most of Hoka’s usual shoes. It still offers quite a stack height of EVA foam, but it uses Hoka’s PROFLY+ foam, which adds a bit of bounce that’s ideal for speedwork.

Rubberized EVA foam in the outsole adds to the springiness of the shoe while offering traction and durability. This update is new, so there’s no word yet on the long-term durability of this design.

Of course, Hoka’s meta-rocker design also helps you to get that extra dash of speed, especially when you’re leaning into it.

You certainly won’t be held back by these on the road at a little over 8 ounces for a men’s shoe and even less for a woman’s.

Why We Like It

This shoe is very light and very responsive, ideal for speedwork. However, it can still handle easy runs or longer distances quite well.

What to Consider

Some users have mentioned that the shoe feels too plush to take on speedwork effectively. Ultimately, it depends on you, but the cushioning is designed to be responsive and soft.

What’s New

The update from 4 to 5 isn’t a major one. A redesigned upper, a more responsive foam, and a slightly reduced weight make this a small but significant update.


  • The lightweight nature of the shoe makes speedwork easy on the feet
  • Responsive PROFLY+ cushioning adds some bounce to the midsole
  • Rubberized EVA outsole offers extra spring and shock absorption
  • Classic rocker geometry helps you to really lean into the run


  • Some may feel that the shoe is a little too plush for speed

Top Racing Shoe

9. Hoka Carbon X 3

If you’re planning on racing in Hokas, we highly recommend the Hoka Carbon X 3. It’s light, fast, and exceptionally comfortable.

What We Like

Built for speed, this shoe is streamlined and lightweight, so it won’t get in your way when racing. When wearing these, weighing under 8 ounces for an average-sized men’s and even less for a women’s, you’ll feel light and speedy on your feet.

The shining star of this shoe is the built-in carbon fiber plate. You’ll immediately notice the stiffness of the shoe when you put it on, but when you start running, you’ll feel the pop.

It works with the PROFLY X foam, which gives you impressive cushioning and underfoot comfort while remaining lightweight. And, of course, there’s a Hoka meta-rocker in the midsole, which is more aggressive in this shoe to aid with propulsion.

An integrated tongue creates a sleek, sock-like fit that’s aerodynamic and comfortable, with as few hotspots as possible.

Why We Like It

The Hoka Carbon X 3 is sleek and fast. While it’s very responsive, thanks to the combination of midsole foam and carbon plate, it manages to be extremely comfortable simultaneously.

What to Consider

The Carbon X 3 is not a cheap shoe. While this isn’t unusual for racing shoes, it may put some people off if they’re looking for a mid-range racing shoe.

What’s New

The X3 has a more accommodating fit than the previous version, with more stretch and structure in the upper. It also uses a new, softer midsole foam and is slightly lighter than the previous version of the shoe.


  • PROFLY X midsole foam for both responsiveness and comfort
  • The carbon plate in the midsole adds supportive stiffness and springy sped
  • A more aggressive meta-rocker works with the carbon plate for speed and spring
  • The integrated knit tongue creates a sock-like fit for sleek, streamlined comfort and a great lockdown


  • These shoes are expensive

Buyers Guide – Hoka Running Shoes


All Hoka running shoes are highly cushioned. It’s their trademark! However, they all have their own unique feeling. Some are extremely plush, while others are more firm.

Some Hoka shoes have excellent energy return, while others focus more on softness and comfort. Their support shoes have a good blend of cushion and built-in stability.

You will need to decide which style of Hoka running shoe is best for your needs and your preferences. But even the less cushioned of Hoka’s shoes are more cushioned than many other brands out there.


Despite their high level of cushioning, Hoka running shoes are surprisingly lightweight. The lightness of each shoe depends on how much cushioning it contains as well as any stability or support elements in the shoe.


Hoka places rubber in strategic areas along the bottom of their shoes. They don’t have full-coverage rubber, but high-wear areas are protected. This reduces the weight of the shoe but may make them less durable.


Hoka has two kinds of meta-rocker—early-stage and late-stage. An early-stage meta-rocker is found in the forefoot just behind the ball of the foot and helps to make the midfoot-to-toe transition faster and make the push-off more powerful.

The late-stage meta-rocker is located just in front of the ball of the foot. It’s a less pronounced rocker shape and helps to stabilize the foot during the stride.

The meta-rocker varies from model to model of Hoka shoe. Double-check before you buy if this is something you need.

J-Frame Stability

This is Hoka’s way of adding stability to a shoe for overpronators. A J-shaped piece of dense, hard-to-compress foam is placed on the medial side of the midsole.

This prevents the midsole from compressing under the collapsing arch, effectively keeping the foot in a neutral position.


When Did Hoka One One Change Its Name to Hoka?

After years of mispronunciation, Hoka One One officially changed its name to “Hoka” in 2021! This is how people referred to the shoes anyway, so it only made sense to make that change official.

Do Hoka Trainers Run True to Size?

Hoka running shoes generally run true to size, although they are a little on the wide side. It can also vary slightly from model to model, and some may need some time to break in effectively.

What Is the Difference Between Hokas and Other Running Shoes?

Hoka running shoes are exceptionally cushioned. They caught attention upfront for their chunky midsoles and pronounced stack height, and they became known as soft, comfortable shoes with max cushion.

It’s worth noting that Hoka doesn’t have its own proprietary midsole foam. However, they have their own J-Frame stability technology and unique meta-rockers.

How Long Do Hokas Last?

Hoka running shoes fall into the average range of 500 or so miles before needing to be replaced. Their thick cushioning doesn’t flatten as easily as less chunky midsoles.

But their lack of full-coverage rubber on the outsole means it can wear down to the EVA foam quite quickly if you run on rough ground.

Ben Drew

Ben Drew

Ben is an avid road and trail runner, and has completed multiple marathons and ultras. A former running store owner, he now shares his knowledge and experience writing these articles.

The Wired Runner