Our verdict

The Gaviota 5 by Hoka confidently steps out as an evolved successor, not just a mere follow-up. Upholding the features that made its predecessor a hit, this iteration boasts a noticeably refined weight, a plushier midsole, and enhanced ventilation. While its pronounced low drop may challenge certain runners, in our opinion, if stability coupled with modern features is what you're after, the Gaviota 5 is really hard to overlook.

Pros

  • Remarkably stable
  • Breathable and comfortable upper
  • Lightweight for its size
  • Plushier than ever
  • Good stability option for forefoot strikers
  • Ideal for wide feet
  • Excellent for long runs

Cons

  • Low drop might pose issues for heel strikers
  • Performs poorly in colder conditions
  • Not for narrow feet

Audience verdict

83
Good!
  • Top 6% most popular running shoes

Who should buy

We think the Hoka Gaviota 5 is an excellent choice for:

  • Runners needing a stability shoe for wider feet.
  • Those who are looking for a comfortable-yet-stable shoe with nice arch support.
  • Hoka fans wanting a cushioned, low-drop, long-distance shoe in their collection.

Hoka Gaviota 5

Who should NOT buy

For many runners, the major drawback of the impressive Hoka Gaviota 5 is its notably low drop (2.2 mm). We think that if you're a runner who isn't keen on or simply can't use very low drop shoes, this isn't the best pick for you. Instead, consider the ASICS Kayano 30 for a high-drop option that still offers plush cushioning and stability.

If you favor a firmer and more natural feel for your runs, we believe the Saucony Tempus is a strong and cheaper contender. For a Hoka alternative, the Gaviota 4, the previous iteration, is well-regarded for that—if you don't mind the extra weight.

Hoka Gaviota 5 parts

Breathability

We couldn't wait to get our hands on the Hoka Gaviota 5. Improving an already fantastic shoe like the Gaviota 4 is no easy feat for any brand. Yet, there was one area ready for improvement—breathability.

In our lab, we put the shoe to the test with our cutting-edge smoke-pumping machine to gauge airflow. The results? Bravo! This Hoka nailed it with a perfect score—a 5 out of 5.

Holding the shoe up to the light, we were thrilled to see it with lots of ventilation holes. And not just in the usual spots like the toebox.

Surprisingly, even the medial part boasts these holes—a game-changer for those of us prone to hotspots or blisters in our arches.

Hoka Gaviota 5 micro

Looking through the microscope, we spotted an impressively thin engineered mesh, generously packed with hundreds of ventilation holes.

Hoka Gaviota 5 microscope

And here's another reason for this fantastic performance: the inside of the upper. While most brands go cheap and use plain fabric that doesn't breathe at all, Hoka did better by using a fabric with ventilation holes.

Test results
Gaviota 5 5
Average 3.8
Compared to 234 running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Breathability
5

Durability

Toebox durability

After checking out how well the Gaviota 5 breathes, we headed to another part of the lab to see how durable it is. Durability tests can be tough for ventilated uppers.

As we suspected, when we used the Dremel on the upper at 5K RPM, it did get some damage. But with a score of 2/5, this shoe held up better than many others we've tested!

Hoka Gaviota 5 Toebox durability
Test results
Gaviota 5 2
Average 2.4
Compared to 168 running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Toebox durability
5

Heel padding durability

The heel didn't hold up as well as the toebox. It's clear Hoka went for a softer material in the heel, aiming for comfort.

But in doing so, they sacrificed durability. We were disappointed and had to rate it a low 1/5 for this test.

Hoka Gaviota 5 Heel padding durability
Test results
Gaviota 5 1
Average 3.2
Compared to 164 running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Heel padding durability
5

Outsole hardness

To cut down on weight, we discovered that Hoka designed the Gaviota's fifth version with more exposed foam and minimal rubber in the outsole.

Hoka Gaviota 5 outsole

We measured the rubber's hardness at 83.1 HC. They chose a tougher-than-usual rubber, ensuring the shoe would last enough miles.

Hoka Gaviota 5 Outsole hardness
Test results
Gaviota 5 83.1 HC
Average 80.5 HC
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.
Compared to 285 running shoes
Number of shoes
52.1 HC
Outsole hardness
93.0 HC

Outsole durability

However, sometimes the durometer score doesn't reflect real-world toughness.

Because we're always keen to test shoes rigorously, we used the Dremel in the lab once more to see how much rubber wore away after 20 seconds.

We measured a wear of 0.9 mm, which is okay. This leads us to believe the outsole will hold up well, though it's not particularly extraordinary.

Hoka Gaviota 5 Outsole durability
Test results
Gaviota 5 0.9 mm
Average 0.9 mm
Compared to 146 running shoes
Number of shoes
0.0 mm
Outsole wear
2.0 mm

Outsole thickness

With a thickness of 3.8 mm, Hoka smartly exceeded the average to extend the shoe's life.

However, we feel adding even more rubber would be interesting. Thanks to its minimal coverage, increasing the thickness beyond 4 millimeters wouldn't result in a noticeable weight gain for this shoe.

Hoka Gaviota 5 Outsole thickness
Test results
Gaviota 5 3.8 mm
Average 3.2 mm
Compared to 304 running shoes
Number of shoes
0.0 mm
Outsole thickness
6.6 mm

Weight

When we placed the Gaviota 5 on our scale, we were really surprised. Weighing in at 10.5 oz or 299g for a US size 9, we found that this shoe is relatively light, especially given the significant amount of foam it contains.

Moreover, it's 25g lighter than its predecessor. What an improvement!

Hoka Gaviota 5 Weight
Test results
Gaviota 5 10.55 oz (299g)
Average 9.38 oz (266g)
Compared to 305 running shoes
Number of shoes
5.26 oz (149g)
Weight
12.56 oz (356g)

Cushioning

Heel stack

At our lab, we measured the heel of the Gaviota 5 using a caliper. We discovered that it has 34.9 mm of stack height.

Hoka Gaviota 5 heel

Based on this, we believe any heel striker, regardless of their weight, will find the cushioning in the Gaviota 5 more than adequate.

Hoka Gaviota 5 Heel stack
Test results
Gaviota 5 34.9 mm
Average 33.7 mm
Compared to 304 running shoes
Number of shoes
7.6 mm
Heel stack
45.7 mm

Forefoot stack

The Gaviota 5 really stands out in the forefoot area compared to most stability shoes on the market. Many of these shoes target heel strikers and often lack foam in the forefoot. However, we found that the Gaviota 5 is different. 

We measured a thickness of 32.7 mm in its forefoot area, which is mind-blowing.

Hoka Gaviota 5 Forefoot stack
Test results
Gaviota 5 32.7 mm
Average 25.0 mm
Compared to 304 running shoes
Number of shoes
7.6 mm
Forefoot stack
36.9 mm

Drop

The heel-to-toe drop is really low. We measured it carefully in our lab and found a difference of just 2.2 mm. This makes the Gaviota 5 almost like an Altra shoe in terms of its low drop.

What does this design mean? Well, if you are prone to calf or Achilles tendon issues, this shoe might not be the best fit for you.

It's also not ideal for extreme heel strikers who usually prefer shoes with a higher drop. However, we think it's one of the best stability shoes ever made for forefoot strikers.

Hoka Gaviota 5 Drop
Test results
Gaviota 5 2.2 mm
Average 8.7 mm
Compared to 304 running shoes
Number of shoes
-0.8 mm
Drop
16.1 mm

Insole thickness

The Gaviota line is all about comfort, and the insole plays a huge role here. We've measured it, and at 5.0 mm, it's just what we wanted.

Hoka Gaviota 5 Insole thickness
Test results
Gaviota 5 5.0 mm
Average 4.5 mm
Compared to 300 running shoes
Number of shoes
1.5 mm
Insole thickness
7.3 mm

Midsole softness

Note: a low durometer measurement equals a soft material, whereas a high measurement means it's firm.

While the Gaviota 4 is a decent shoe, we found it probably too firm. Given our experience with brands over the years, we anticipated they would introduce a softer version in their next update. But the extent of the change surprised us.

We measured the foam of the Gaviota 5 in our lab and found it to be at 12.9 HA, which is 120% softer when compared to v4.

This remarkably low number makes it one of the softest shoes we've ever tested. And it means the signature cloud-like cushioning of Hoka shoes is back.

Hoka Gaviota 5 Midsole softness
Test results
Gaviota 5 12.9 HA
Average 21.4 HA
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.
Compared to 232 running shoes
Number of shoes
8.5 HA
Midsole softness (soft to firm)
41.5 HA

Secondary foam softness

Note: a low durometer measurement equals a soft material, whereas a high measurement means it's firm.

Soft foam is a challenge for a stability-focused shoe. Hoka addressed this potential issue in several innovative ways, which we'll delve into throughout this review. Their first go-to solution? Integrating a firmer, secondary foam (blue) into the arch, heel, and tip areas.

This choice ensures that even with the ultra-soft main foam, the slightly harder secondary foam—measuring at 22.0 HA—provides balance without sacrificing that plush sensation.

Hoka Gaviota 5 Secondary foam softness
Test results
Gaviota 5 22.0 HA
Average 24.9 HA
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.

Difference in midsole softness in cold

The shoe's main foam doesn't fare well in cold conditions. It turns disappointingly firm.

After subjecting the shoe to a cold 20-minute stay in the freezer, we tested it again, and the reading was a discouraging 22.8 HA.

This significant 76.6% increase drastically alters the shoe's feel in colder conditions—a major shortcoming for a shoe premium-priced at $175.

So, what's the reason behind this? The issue stems from the Gaviota 5's midsole, which uses EVA foam known to underdeliver in chilly temperatures. Considering Hoka has started integrating Pebax into some of their other models like the Mach X, we're hopeful to see this upgrade in the Gaviota 6 to address this flaw.

Hoka Gaviota 5 Midsole softness in cold
Test results
Gaviota 5 76.6%
Average 25.5%
Compared to 231 running shoes
Number of shoes
0%
Difference in midsole softness in cold
100%

Stability

Lateral stability test

Given its stability-oriented geometry and the new Hoka H-Frame, we anticipated the Gaviota 5 would shine in this test. And, sure enough, it does!

Torsional rigidity

When we twisted the shoe, it felt stiff—just as a stability shoe should, to prevent lateral movement. We gave it a 4/5 rating.

Test results
Gaviota 5 4
Average 3.2
Compared to 283 running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Torsional rigidity
5

Heel counter stiffness

In the heel, we discovered it wasn't as stiff as we anticipated. Considering the shoe already feels quite stable, we believe this is a good decision because flexibility in the heel enhances comfort.

We noted a 3/5 rating that aligns more with a daily running shoe.

Test results
Gaviota 5 3
Average 2.8
Compared to 267 running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Heel counter stiffness
5

Midsole width in the forefoot

The secret sauce in the Gaviota 5's recipe for stability is its incredibly wide design. With a forefoot width of 125.1 mm, it broke all our lab records. It's M-A-S-S-I-V-E.

Test results
Gaviota 5 125.1 mm
Average 113.7 mm
Compared to 305 running shoes
Number of shoes
100.5 mm
Midsole width in the forefoot
126.5 mm

Midsole width in the heel

The heel continues on this wide trend. We measured it at 106.6 mm, which, when compared to the average, stands out immensely.

This broad base allows the shoe to maintain stability while still offering comfort and a plush feel.

Hoka Gaviota 5 Midsole width in the heel
Test results
Gaviota 5 106.6 mm
Average 90.5 mm
Compared to 305 running shoes
Number of shoes
74.9 mm
Midsole width in the heel
106.6 mm

Flexibility

Stiffness

During our 90-degree bend test in the lab, we had to apply 32.7N of force to bend the shoe to the desired point.

While this isn't an extremely high force, for a training shoe without a plate, it's notably stiff.

Test results
Gaviota 5 32.7N
Average 29.2N
We use an average of four tests. The video shows one of those tests.
Compared to 287 running shoes
Number of shoes
2.2N
Stiffness
94.4N

Difference in stiffness in cold

After putting the Gaviota 5 in freezing temperatures for 20 minutes, we ran the same test. This time, we measured a force of 40.2N.

This is a 22.7% difference, which is quite impressive! This shows us that regardless of the temperature you're running in, the Gaviota 5's stiffness doesn't vary much.

Test results
Gaviota 5 22.7%
Average 35.9%
Compared to 287 running shoes
Number of shoes
0%
Difference in stiffness in cold
148%

Size and fit

Internal length

We measured the internal length of the shoe to be 269 mm. This is really close to Hoka's official sizing chart, which lists it at 270 mm.

Hoka Gaviota 5 Internal length
Test results
Gaviota 5 269.0 mm

Toebox width at the widest part

The toebox is roomy (101.8 mm), making it great for those with wide feet. Even better, Hoka offers a wide sizing option for this model.

Hoka Gaviota 5 Toebox width at the widest part
Test results
Gaviota 5 101.8 mm
Average 98.4 mm
Compared to 305 running shoes
Number of shoes
89.5 mm
Toebox width at the widest part
109.1 mm

Toebox width at the big toe

We measured the area around the big toe and found it to be 83.1 mm wide.

This is notably broader than most other shoes. If you have a Roman foot—where your first four toes are aligned—you'll likely appreciate this extra space.

Hoka Gaviota 5 Toebox width at the big toe
Test results
Gaviota 5 83.1 mm
Average 78.2 mm
Compared to 179 running shoes
Number of shoes
60.4 mm
Toebox width at the big toe
92.5 mm

Tongue: gusset type

Hoka rocks a unique one-side semi-gusseted tongue—a feature not many brands sport.

In all our test-runs, we felt that it gives a top-notch lockdown without piling on extra weight.

Hoka Gaviota 5 Tongue: gusset type
Test results
Gaviota 5 One side (semi)

Comfort

Tongue padding

The tongue thickness measures in at 8.6 mm, so it's super padded.

Hoka Gaviota 5 tongue

We discovered that this padding helps protect the instep from issues like lace bite. Still, we think Hoka should shave off 1-2 mm in the next version to make the shoe even lighter.

Hoka Gaviota 5 Tongue padding
Test results
Gaviota 5 8.6 mm
Average 5.6 mm
Compared to 302 running shoes
Number of shoes
0.5 mm
Tongue padding
14.2 mm

Heel tab

On the back of the shoe, Hoka put in a finger-loop heel tab. We found that it doesn't just give the shoe a cool look—it also makes getting our feet in way easier!

Hoka Gaviota 5 Heel tab
Test results
Gaviota 5 Finger loop

Removable insole

We were able to take out the insole and pop in our own orthotics. Super easy and no hassle!

Hoka Gaviota 5 Removable insole
Test results
Gaviota 5 Yes

Misc

Reflective elements

We're all about the tiny details, and here's a perfect example! Hoka added these shiny reflective parts on the back that look like seagulls.

And just so you know, "gaviota" is how you say "seagull" in Spanish!

Hoka Gaviota 5 Reflective elements
Test results
Gaviota 5 Yes