Comfortable shoes are few and far between—so whenever I find a pair that makes me feel like I can walk 500 miles and then walk 500 more, I hold on to them for dear life. In my old, rundown Nike Roshes, my shins, knees, and lower back were struggling even after a mile-long stroll. Knowing that podiatrists vouch for Hoka as a brand, I decided to test their new fall release: The Hoka Solimar ($125).
The first thing that struck me upon opening the bright-blue Hoka box is that the Solimar’s midsole was considerably less bulky than the usually dramatic sole for which Hoka sneakers are known. Hoka's usual running shoes — for example, the Hoka Transport, Hoka Rocket X 2, and the Hoka Clifton 9 — all have ample cushioning built in. I also love that the toe area is supple and stretchy, which provides the Solimar with its high flexibility. With the Solimar, Hoka has made a sneaker that you can wear during most of your activities.
But don’t just take my word for it.
Why podiatrists love the Hoka Solimar
According to board-certified podiatrist Doug Tumen, DPM, author of Ask the Foot Doctor, the Hoka Solimar is “A great do-it-all shoe. When I first saw it and put it on, I knew this was the one I was going to wear to work,” says Dr. Tumen. And when he says “do-it-all,” he means it. He rocks them all day at work, and “If I forget my running shoes, I can also use these for running,” Dr. Tumen says, adding that he particularly likes that the shoes are lightweight, breathable, and flexible at the toes. (Same, Dr. Tumen! Same.)
Podiatrist and podiatric surgeon Dana Canuso, DPM, founder of Dr. Canuso Skincare for Feet, gives a special shoutout to the bottom of the shoe. “The Solimar has that rocker bottom, also known as a roller bottom, which helps propel you forward and takes pressure off the heels and toes,” Dr. Canuso says. She points out that this shoe’s cushioned bottom will actually help shock absorbtion through your entire body.
And during my test run of the Solimar, I learned this for myself.
My experience living life in the Hoka Solimar
During the four weeks I tested the Solimar, I did everything in them to deliver a well-rounded review. I wore them to work, on errands, and to the gym. I ran in them, I took leisurely strolls in them, and I did resistance training in them.
For work, I nanny two to three times a week. Between pushing a stroller along the beach and chasing the kids around, I average 19,000 steps every shift. The Solimar make those steps feel like a piece of cake. As Dr. Tumen and Dr. Canuso point out, the midsole absorbs a lot of the shock—so I haven’t felt any joint pain when I strut around in these.
After a few weeks, I couldn’t imagine a more comfortable walking shoe, so I figured the Solimar would also be great for running. I chose wisely.
I’m certainly not a marathoner, but I’ve recently taken up running and log between eight and 10 miles a week. The Solimar’s midsole is also the MVP when I run, but there are a couple of other worthy shouts. Whether I was on the treadmill or the pavement, this shoe offered unparalleled breathability. Since I live in Los Angeles, we get 80-degree weather well into the fall. Even in those higher temperatures, my feet remained cool. And on a cloudy, sub-60-degree day, my feet didn’t get cold at all.
Dr. Canuso warned me that the Solimar might “not offer enough balance for weightlifting,” but I wanted to experiment for myself. Turns out, she was right. Remember that rocking bottom that Dr. Canuso loves so much? It’s great to propel you forward, which makes it a bit tricky to fully keep your balance during squats and other exercises.
What activities are the Hoka Solimar best for?
Per Hoka, these shoes are “everyday running and training shoes,” but Dr. Tumen says they’re actually best for short runs, long walks, and speed workouts. “I’m not going to wear this for my long-distance running, and I’m not going to use them on the trail,” says Dr. Tumen. “Also, the bottom of the shoe is not really for trail running,” he adds. I concur, considering that I could log short runs and endless walks while wearing the Solimar.
On a scale of 1-10, I give the Hoka Solimar a solid 8.5. It might sound low given the glowing review I gave, but I wish I could run longer distances in these. Sadly, due to the thinner sole, I’ll be using them for shorter runs. Even though I’m not big on resistance training, I also wish I could lift better in the Solimar.
That said, I would wear these sneaks on any trip and for all walking activities. They’re easy to put on and take off, they’re breathable, offer that unparalleled Hoka comfort, and they’re pretty stylish. A concluding thought from Dr. Tumen: “Hoka nailed it with an everyday shoe and if you want to wear athleisure—but it’s also a great go-to-work shoe, especially if you’re on your feet all day.”
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