There are two experiences I've had when running where I would've signed over my life's savings to Hoka One One for saving my life...or at least my run.
The first happened after a flood in New York. I was bound and determined to get in a run, so despite the fact that the City had experienced buckets of rainfall, I was going to log some miles on my quest to run a marathon. By about mile eight, however, my shoes were soaked, and I felt like I was running with cinderblocks strapped to my soles. I made the executive decision to switch to a pair of Hoka Rincon sneakers, the brand's ultra-lightweight neutral shoe, and I flew through the remaining six miles. It was the best feeling ever.
The second happened mid-marathon. I'd been wearing a pair of shoes that I'd loved during training but for some reason, when I set out on the race, they weren't quite supportive enough, and my Achilles was feeling the pain. I kicked on the Hoka Arahi sneakers—a supportive, yet surprisingly light pair—and the pain I'd been feeling in my Achilles' tendon basically melted away.
While both of these experiences happened during some ultra-long runs, Hoka is equally known for its walking shoes, which make strolls around your neighborhood more comfortable. "Walking shoes are made for a rolling gait, compared to running shoes which are made for more impact," Najwa Javed, DPM, a California-based podiatrist and creator of footwear brand E'MAR, previously told Well+Good. "There is a greater need for cushioning and shock absorption in running shoes, whereas walking shoes have the need to be lighter and with more stability versus cushioning."
In fact, what Hoka nails so completely in almost all of its shoes is the ability to provide both support and cushioning in a single go. Many of its models are made with the most modern forms of both technologies: stabilizing frames that help to keep your foot supported in whatever form of motion feels best to your body, coupled with lightweight foams to keep your steps springy. Convinced you're ready to try? Here are the best options for both support, cushioning, and the best of both worlds.
The HOKA Clifton is the most cloudlike shoe I’ve ever slipped on. The marshmellow-y cushioning in the midfoot is almost 15 percent lighter than previous models, so you’ll be very happy you laced these on for longer runs or walks when every single step adds up.
There’s a meta-rocker at the front of the shoe, which helps to propel you forward and lets you use less effort to do so. Finally, a tab on the back of the shoes helps with easy entry so you can slip them on and be on your way.
The most stable
The first time I put on a stability shoe from HOKA, I thought I’d been sent the wrong sneakers. The shoes are impossibly lightweight while also helping to stabilize motion or pronation (the foot falling inward) while running and walking that can sometimes contribute to injury.
The Arahi 6 does just that. Coming in at a mere 7.6 ounces, the shoe is equipped with J-Frame technology, which helps to keep the foot from collapsing inwards as you run. However, that paired with a meta rocker at the front of the foot keeps these shoes feeling light on your feet.
For the best of both worlds
This shoe gives you all that you’re looking for between stability and cushioning. It has an extended heel and a crash pad at the back of the foot to help absorb any impact that you might feel for a comfortable stride. The shoe is also packed with heaps of foam that put your energy back in your foot so that you’re always moving forward in a smoother ride. This shoe is heavier than the other two models because it offers both the support and the cushioning that those who want the best of both worlds are likely looking for.
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