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A good pair of walking shoes can take you far, literally and figuratively. Besides being comfortable and stable, walking shoes should also be hip and stylish to show off when strolling around the town.
One brand that has been making waves in the walking realm is the Hoka. Boasting its comfortable, supportive, and durable footwear collection, this brand has been dubbed one of the podiatrists' favorites for countless fantastic reasons. And we sure did experience what Hoka has to offer when we put them on our feet and tested them away!
If you're interested in getting a pair or two, we've concocted our recommendations under various categories to make your Hoka walking shoe hunting quick and easy.
When we think of Hoka shoes, high expectations for the shoe’s cushioning immediately come to mind. Thankfully, the Hoka Transport’s cushioning is able to deliver walking perfection and then some! Our thorough testing of the shoe on our feet and in the lab gave us a deep appreciation for the Hoka Transport. Its combination of Goldilocks cushioning, stable base, and sturdy construction makes it our pick to be the best Hoka walking shoe.
The Hoka Transport’s cushioning feels just perfect for long days. We tested its hardness in the lab by pressing our durometer to its midsole, giving us a reading of 21.9 HA - meaning it’s 23% softer than the average walking shoe. Compared to other Hoka shoes, we discovered that it’s well-balanced between the Clifton and the Arahi, granting the best of both worlds in terms of softness and firmness. Of course, its stack height gives a lot of volume to work with like in other Hoka shoes. It’s 22% thicker at the forefoot and 10% thicker at the heel versus other walking shoes.
A wide and stable base with some sole flaring makes the Hoka Transport a good partner for surefooted strides. We measured its midsole with our caliper in the lab, yielding figures of 112.8 mm at the forefoot and 92.5 mm at the heel. These figures are significantly wider than those of the average walking shoe (107.5 mm and 85.2 mm on average) and give off a feeling of being well-planted.
Something that stood out to us is its solid construction from tip to heel. When we pressed our Dremel drill against its tip (with a force of 3.2N over 10,000 RMPS), it came out looking fine versus other shoes. To us, it seems more in the league of sturdy hiking shoes in terms of durability rather than standard walking shoes. Its outsole is no slouch either when it comes to hardiness, with a hardness of 81.9 HC (13% firmer than the average) and thickness of 3.7 mm (117% thicker than the average).
When we bisected the Hoka Transport to measure its dimensions, we saw a pretty significant variance between its declared stack height of 5 mm and its actual stack height of 8 mm. We don't recommend this for those who were hoping to walk in its original stack height.
The more we tested the Hoka Clifton 9, the more excited we got about it! It breezed through both our lab and field tests, showing its mettle every step of the way. We decided to pick it as #1 Hoka shoe with the best cushioning for walking. What made a difference for us was its supremely soft sole, the amazing lightness that comes with it, and its supportive build that doesn’t leave feet hanging.
As we logged miles with the Hoka Clifton 9, we found its cushioning to be in a league of its own. In the lab, we pressed our durometer against its midsole and measured its hardness at 20.4 HA. This figure makes its midsole 26.1% softer than the average walking shoe. It doesn’t end there, however. On our feet, we felt it to be amazingly snappy and responsive, making for an incomparable underfoot experience.
It’s also surprisingly lightweight, considering that its stack heights of 26.6 mm at the forefoot and 32.7 mm at the heel are higher by 24.3% and 5.8% than the average walking shoe, respectively. Our scale shows that it is 248g (8.7 oz), which is even 6.1% lighter than the average walking shoe. We found that its combination of softness and lightness makes for smooth and satisfying strides.
Still, we never felt like we were going off the rails with the Hoka Clifton 9 because of the support it provided. We found its stable platform to provide a good base for our feet to balance against. Its midsole widths of 115.3 mm (at the forefoot) and 96.0 mm (at the heel) are wider than the average walking shoe by 7.2% and 12.7%, respectively. Furthermore, we prodded its heel counter systematically, finding that it was a 5 out of 5 for stiffness. This stiffness isn’t something that creates tension, however. In fact, we found the Hoka Clifton 9 to be very supportive of the Achilles area.
We tested the Hoka Clifton 9’s breathability by pumping smoke into its interior to see how well the particles escaped. We found it to be breathable but only to an extent, limited by its dense mesh and its perforations. Thus, we cannot recommend it to those who want a shoe for exceedingly sweaty summers.
Thicker and more energetic midsole cushioning
Lighter than the v8
Easy on the knees
Available in wide
Good traction on roads and mild trails
Mild, unobtrusive stability elements
Can handle faster paces better than previous editions
The eighth iteration of the Hoka Bondi remains as runners' beloved plush and cushy daily trainer that excels on easy days and recovery sessions. With its humongous foam, your foot will find itself in a very comfy position. On top of this, it will allow you to move with precision, thanks to its highly stable ride.
For us, Hoka walking shoe with the best arch support should provide unquestionable stability. From testing the Hoka Arahi 6 on our feet and in our lab, however, we found it to be much more than the run-of-the-mill stability shoe. Its firm sole and stability features gave us a ton of protection as we went about our strides. Plus, it has a surprisingly lightweight construction that was a treat for our feet!
As we put the Hoka Arahi 6 to work, we found its sole to be clearly firm, giving us the consistency we wanted. We tested this in the lab by pressing our durometer to its midsole. Its hardness of 41.0 HA shows just how firm it is, considering that the average walking shoe has it at 27.6 HA (the lower the number, the softer the foam). Still, we found its ride to be fairly responsive.
We also bisected the shoe in our lab and found that its stack heights of 32.6 mm in the heel and 28.5 mm in the forefoot offer a good amount of cushioning, considering that the average walking shoe has them at 30.9 mm and 21.4 mm, respectively.
Taking a deeper look at the Hoka Arahi 6’s stability features, we found its platform highly dependable because of its width. Its midsole widths of 115.3 mm and 97.5 mm at the forefoot and the heel look absolutely amazing compared to the average walking shoe’s 107.5 mm and 85.2 mm, respectively. Plus, we found its J-shaped frame on the outside of the midsole effective in providing support. In particular, we felt it was more potent than other stability shoes.
Going against the trend of weighty stability shoes, the Hoka Arahi 6 is actually relatively lightweight. Its weight of 266 g (9.4 oz) is equal to the average weight of a walking shoe (inclusive of neutral shoes). It’s a far cry from the average stability walking shoe at 372 g (13.1 oz).
Something we found lacking in the Arahi 6 is its traction. We don’t recommend it for those looking for something that grips the ground aggressively.
The Hoka Mach 5 knocked our socks off with its lightweight build as we tested it in the lab and on the streets. Beyond its overwhelmingly lightweight construction, we found it to be amazingly efficient with its soft and energetic sole and its stable base.
The Hoka Mach 5’s lightweight construction is beyond impressive. With a much heftier heel stack height of 25.0 mm at the forefoot (higher by 16.8% than the average walking shoe), one would expect that it comes at a cost. Well, it hasn’t been a problem for the Hoka Mach 5. Its weight of 232g (8.2 oz) is much lighter than the average walking shoe - being a whole 12.1% lighter. We found its build pleasant for our feet, never feeling too draggy - even as we racked in more miles.
As we spent more time with the Hoka Mach 5, we were left asking ourselves the question, “what can’t it do?” It just seems to have everything figured out. We tested its hardness using our durometer, resulting in a reading of 15.0 HA. This makes the shoe’s midsole softer than 45.6% softer than the average walking shoe. Despite its overwhelming softness, it still felt so satisfying to walk in — feeling responsive and peppy to our feet.
The Mach 5 doesn’t slack with its stability, either. We found it to be a pretty stable shoe, with sufficient heel flaring to give support. We measured its midsole width with our caliper. Its dimensions of 113.0 mm at the forefoot and 96.7 mm at the heel are 5.1% and 13.5% wider than that of the average walking shoe, respectively. These make for a reliable platform underfoot.
While the Mach 5 shines in most of the essentials of a walking shoe, it’s a miss when it comes to traction on wet surfaces. We don’t recommend the shoe for those who walk in rainy conditions.
For us, the ideal Hoka walking shoe for hiking would be an amazingly cushioned shoe that makes for secure strides on trails. We had an absolute blast while testing the Hoka Speedgoat 5 in our lab and on hikes, as we felt just how reliable of a partner it was. What led us to pick it for this category is its soft-yet-bouncy sole, its wide platform, and its grippy sole.
Walking on trails, we were amazed at the softness we felt underfoot. We found ourselves wondering just how soft it was, which we tested in our lab by pressing our durometer against its midsole (5 times for improved accuracy). Its softness of 11.0 HA is on a whole different level. This shows that it is 60.1% softer than the average midsole of walking shoes. What gives this even more merit is the fact that it’s not simply soft; it returns some energy while on strides, which feels absolutely amazing!
With that said, it still has a ton of features that give a good amount of security. Its midsole makes for a wide stable base for feet to stand on. We measured it in our lab using our caliper, where its midsole has a width of 116.4 mm at the forefoot and 97.5 mm at the heel. These are significantly larger than those of the average walking shoe at 107.5 mm and 85.2 mm. We also felt safe with how grippy its outsole is. Its lugs are spaced closely together, generating a good grip on different surfaces.
While the Hoka Speedgoat 5 has definitely got the goods when it comes to being a walking shoe for hikes, its design isn’t for everyone. We don’t recommend it for those who dislike flared collars.
Hoka Bondi SR is unbeatable as the greatest Hoka walking shoe for work because we feel invincible whenever we are in the pair. Even though we are slaving at our 8 to 12-hour jobs, Bondi is so easy on the feet that we never felt tired down below. The safety it brings makes it a real haven at work!
One thing that made us not mind standing and walking on our jobs for prolonged hours is the very plush midsole. Our durometer even backed our impression as it revealed a midsole hardness of 20.4 HA, which is softer than average by 21.2%.
In terms of falling risks, we can confidently say that Bondi faces none. We tested it on the kitchen, hospital, and other slippery floors, and we didn’t miss our footing anywhere. Our lab test also supported our claim as we found that the outsole is 73.1 HC soft. This makes Bondi’s outsole 1.7% softer than average, meaning, it clings to the tiles much easier.
Another risk we are safe from because of Bondi is getting our feet wet on accident spills at work. Peaking at its upper through our microscope made us realize how perforation-free it is. This only confirmed the water-tightness of the shoe.
The thing we couldn’t help but notice while busting our humps is the weightiness of Bondi. At 14.3 oz (404g), it’s 53.6% heavier than average. If this bothers you, we suggest looking for alternatives.
Walking is one of the most accessible and effective ways to cultivate long-term health and well-being. Although walking is low impact and relatively pedestrian (pardon the pun), you can still risk discomfort and even injury without the right shoes.
Hoka shoes are most often associated with distance running thanks to their exceptional comfort and max cushion designs, but these qualities make them a top choice for walkers too.
Why choose Hoka shoes for walking?
Hoka shoes have revolutionized the footwear industry with their unique approach to cushioning. The brand is practically synonymous with maximalist cushioning–almost all Hoka shoes feature supportive, plush, and thick midsoles.
This design minimizes impact forces otherwise absorbed by your legs, so it is no surprise that the smooth, supportive, and comfortable ride Hoka shoes provide has made them extremely popular with runners and walkers alike.
Understanding your walking style
Before deciding on Hoka shoes, it's important to understand your walking style.
Do you walk for fitness, for leisure, or as part of your job?
What surfaces do you typically walk on?
Do you require extra stability or arch support?
Your answers will help you identify what type of Hoka shoes are best suited for you.
Factors to consider
When choosing the best Hoka walking shoes for you, several factors come into play. Let's take a closer look at the most important ones.
Cushioning and support
Hoka shoes are renowned for their exceptional cushioning, but the level of cushioning can vary between models. If you're looking for maximum cushioning for support and all-day comfort, consider shoes with plush midsoles, like the Hoka Bondi or Hoka Clifton.
Hoka Clifton 9 parameters: 32.7 mm heel stack, 26.6 mm forefoot stack, 6 mm drop
If you’re looking to get a bit more of a workout, then a light and responsive shoe with slightly less cushioning, like the Hoka Mach, is more appropriate.
Hoka Mach 5parameters: 30.7 mm heel stack, 25 mm forefoot stack, 5.7 mm drop
Color and style
If you are wearing Hoka shoes for work, city walks, or travel, your style preferences will likely differ from your workout-specific shoes. Hoka does flashy, athletic colorways well, but there are also more versatile and muted colors and shoe designs to choose from, like the Hoka Transport.
Different Hoka shoes cater to different surfaces. Road shoes are perfect for walks around the neighborhood or on the treadmill. But for trails or snowy and icy conditions, trail shoes with lugged outsoles, like the Hoka Speedgoat, offer some much-needed traction to keep you stable and upright.
Hoka offers a diverse range of walking shoes to cater to different styles and use cases. Here’s a quick summary of the best Hoka shoes for walking.
Everyday Walking Shoe
The Hoka Transport is the ultimate everyday walking shoe that seamlessly balances form and function. Thick midsoles, stylish colorways, and Vibram outsoles make it a great shoe for just about any walk imaginable.
The Hoka Clifton strikes a balance between cushioning and responsiveness. This makes it a versatile choice for various walking styles, including neighborhood strolls, speedy aerobic sessions, or long days spent exploring a new city.
If you're all about cushioning, the Hoka Bondi is your go-to option. It features generous cushioning and a plush feel, making it perfect for walkers seeking superior comfort.
The Hoka Speedgoat is like the off-road vehicle of the shoe world. Designed with rugged trails and long days on your feet in mind, they’re the best Hoka shoe for walks and hikes extending beyond the pavement
Stable Arch Support
The Hoka Arahi is a stability running shoe. It provides additional arch support, catering to walkers who require more foot stability than most neutral shoes offer.
Light and Nimble
The Hoka Mach is designed to be light, nimble, and responsive. Its bouncy and light feel is well suited to walkers with a brisk pace.
The tech in Hoka walking shoes
Nearly every Hoka walking shoe incorporates one or all three of these key technologies. They are tailored to deliver comfort, cushioning, and stability for walking to varying degrees depending on the specific shoe model.
Lightweight cushioning foam
The signature feature of Hoka shoes is their thick, highly cushioned midsoles. The brand's compression-molded EVA (CMEVA) foam marries plush all-day comfort with lightweight construction.
Based on our durometer measurements, Hoka walking shoes tend to be softer than average. Depending on the model, it can be anywhere from 15% to 130% softer than average.
Some of the best lightweight Hoka walking shoes, like the Mach, utilize innovative supercritical EVA blends achieved through exposure to high temperatures and pressures with nitrogen or carbon dioxide. The energetic bounce this provides is perfectly suited to brisk walks, whether working out on the treadmill or cruising around outdoors.
The Mach 5 is one of the softest running/walking shoes from Hoka
Hoka shoes incorporate a Meta-Rocker design–gently rounded soles encourage a natural and efficient foot strike pattern. Meta-Rocker soles mitigate the dull, unresponsive sensation that some walking shoes provide.
Active foot frame
Another defining element of Hoka walking shoes is their deep, molded foot frame. By embedding the foot frame deeply within the midsole, Hoka shoes feel secure and stable, even with their extra thick midsoles. By pairing stability with robust cushioning, Hoka shoes are perfect for long days on your feet, whether they are spent standing, running, or walking.
FAQs about Hoka walking shoes
Are Hoka shoes suitable for long walks?
Hoka shoes are renowned for their comfort and cushioning, making them an excellent choice for long walks.
Can I use Hoka Speedgoat shoes for regular walking?
While designed for trails, Hoka Speedgoat shoes can also provide comfort during regular walks, especially if you value extra traction and stability.
Their 3-mm lugs aren't too deep to be pronounced on the pavement and other hard surafces.
How often should I replace my Hoka walking shoes?
On average, you should replace your walking shoes every 300 to 500 miles, or when you notice signs of wear and tear.
In our lab durability tests, Hoka shoes often perform better than average.
Can I machine wash my Hoka shoes?
It's best to avoid machine washing Hoka shoes, as it can damage the materials and cushioning. Instead, clean them by hand using a gentle cleaning solution.
How we test walking shoes
Here is our approach to give you an honest and fair review:
We buy these shoes using our money to avoid any biased feedback.
We subject them to a slew of lab tests and comparisons to check a wide array of parameters. Plus, we split the shoes in half to have a closer eyeshot of what's inside.
We go through our usual affairs in a day - walking indoors and outdoors, going to work, traveling, and others - only this time, we do them while the walking shoes that we want to test are on.
Laci is a contemporary dancer turned shoe aficionado. She is the most knowledgeable person when it comes to athletic shoes, size conversions and details people nitpick about footwear. She keeps the RunRepeat content gears turning 24/7. And she walks 20miles/week.