Image Credit: HOKA
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Not long after I moved to Jackson, I took a good hard look at my hiking boots. The soles that’d carried me long miles on the Appalachian trail, all throughout Yellowstone, and the Tetons were looking less than their best to say the least. I polled the local authorities on all things adventure shoes and decided it was time to make the leap to something with a lower profile and fewer blisters. Ten trail running shoe brands later: Hokas win the race.
At first, my family made fun of me. This was before Hokas—and their distinctive chunky look—were the household brand they are today. As an early adopter of the Hoka trend, they told me I looked like I was wearing shape-up shoes from the 90s. Let it be known—I was (until my sister stole them…) the proud owner of the rainbow lace Hoka x Outdoor Voices collab shoes. Four years later, it’s the only running shoe all members of my family own, and I’ve come to learn Hokas are a far cry from a trend – they’re an outdoor lovin’ girl’s staple shoe. Here’s the rundown on the most epic adventure sneaks on the market.
The Hoka Rundown:
- Best Hokas for Walking: Bondi 8 — 165
- Best Hokas for Short Runs: Arahi 6 — $140.
- Best Hokas for Trail Running: Mafate Speed 4 — $185.
- Trail Running Shoes: Speedgoat 5 — $155.
- Best Hokas for Hiking: Anacapa Breeze Low — $155.
- Best Hokas for Everything: Kaha Low GTX — $220.
Bondi 8 — $165.
The Bondi are the absolute best Hoka shoes for walking around your neighborhood, a bustling city market, or a beach town boardwalk. Hoka has updated this tried and true style over the years, and the Bondi 8 is its best version yet. The lightweight, resilient foam that makes up the base of this shoe has literally received a “seal of acceptance” from The American Podiatric Medical Association, who deemed this shoe good for you (well, your feet at least). The heel tab at the back make these the cushiest, easiest-to-slip-on sneakers in existence. What I love most about the Bondis is that they’ve gone beyond typical running shoes. I’ve witnessed everyone from friends to coworkers to strangers to influencers pull off these ultra-comfy tennies with a non-work out or athleisure outfit and look gooood. Get this shoe in a neutral color and it’ll go seamlessly with your cottage core sundresses. Don’t knock it until you try it.
Arahi 6 — $140.
Do you love a light morning jog? Are you signed up for a 5k this summer? The Hoka Arahi 6’s are for you. The J‑Frame midsole support of these sneaks stabilize your feet while you run without weighting you down. The early stage meta rocker in this design makes it so that your forefoot feels supported while you stride along the sidewalk. This style has even more cushion than the Bondis to ensure your feet are feelin’ good post gentle jaunt. This style is a little less intense than the race-specific running shoes by Hoka, making them a candidate for everyday wear as well. If you’ve never owned Hokas before, these are an awesome place to start since they are pretty much up for anything (that’s not too serious).
Mafate Speed 4 — $185.
As someone who’s bound to run hundreds of mountain miles this summer, the Mafate Speed 4s are the Hokas I’m about to buy. The sister of the Hoka Speedgoats, this style is designed to take you far and high whether it’s in an official race or in a friendly local challenge. These trail running shoes are equipped with 5 mm traction lugs that grip into the ground. The bolstered heel construction help keep your feet content whilst you bound up and down uneven terrain. And as someone who’s lost a large number of toenails in my time, the rubber toe cap is of utmost importance when it comes to making it to the Friday night outdoor concert with an intact pedicure.
What I love most about Hoka trail running shoes is that they double amazingly as hiking boots for those who don’t rely so much on ankle support. Nowadays, I feel like the only thing the higher profile coverage does for me is lock in moisture to make my feet blister and swell. These are the shoes I’ll wear the most this summer, and they’ll be my running and hiking shoes too. The Hoka Mafate Speed 4’s sit at a higher price point than most others in the family, but these race ready sneaks are the best trail running shoes on the market so they are so, so worth it.
Anacapa Breeze Low — $155.
I know, I know! I juuust said one pair of Hokas are likely to do the work of two for me this summer, but just to play devil’s advocate, how bad would an arsenal of Hokas really be on my bank account? Personally, I’ve found that the more miles I put on my trail running shoes (the more fun I’m having), the more frequently I need to buy fresh shoes with fresh treds, and the more I spend money, honey. Why not skip a step and buy a couple of pairs right away? The absurd cuteness of the Hoka Anacapa Breeze Low makes investing in a hiking-specific Hoka shoe seem like a no-brainer. Hoka describes the Anacapa shoes as the style that “feels like a shoe, wanders like a boot,” and I couldn’t have said it better myself. These sneakers are engineered for warmer climates with the best of the best breathability and a Vibram Megagrip outsole that screams “take me to the mountains.” If the idea of leaving behind the high ankle hiking boots is just too much for you, check out the Anacapa Mid GTX for the same stunning sole combined with the ankle support of your classic boots.
Kaha Low GTX — $220.
As I’ve already made clear, Hokas pass the lifestyle test on their own, but we’ve established that two (or more) Hokas are better than one, and the Hoka Kaha Low GTX are a gorgeous functional and fashionable hybrid that will ensure you preserve your trail running treds for the hardest trails. These precious suede shoes have the same 5mm lugs as the Mafate Speed 4’s with more cushion and are designed to perfectly accent your favorite hiking fit. I see these taking you effortlessly to an Alpine lake and doing double time as your walk-around-town-shoe too. I deem these the best of Hoka hiking shoes for women because they consider every aspect of support and style in colorways that make me swoon. Hoka answered the call— these lightweight hiking shoes will never weigh you down and support any adventure on your summer calendar.