89
Great!
135 users: 4.3 / 5
8 experts: 86 / 100
Terrain: Road
Weight: Men 7.2oz / Women 5.9oz
Heel to toe drop: Men 5mm / Women 5mm
Arch support: Neutral

Verdict from 10.2 hours of research from the internet

4 reasons to buy

  • One of the testers said that the Hoka One One Cavu 2 is responsive.
  • According to those who have tried it, the shoe has a lightweight structure.
  • Some users appreciated its well-cushioned construction.
  • The footwear is also comfortable enough for long walks, based on a few reviews.

3 reasons not to buy

  • A user commented that he felt a little pain in the ankle area during the running activity.
  • One of the buyers said that the shoe is not durable
  • According to a tester, the midsole feels stiff.

Bottom line

The Hoka One One Cavu 2 made some of the wearers satisfied and happy because of its responsiveness. They admired the shoe's performance not only on running but also on walking activities. Although some of the users had issues with its stiff midsole and pain in the ankle area, others still recommend the footwear because of its well-cushioned construction. Overall, the Hoka One One gained the hearts of the consumers because of its excellent performance and responsiveness.

Tip: see the best running shoes.

Expert reviews:

User reviews:

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Our reviews

81
/100 by Chris Dixon, posted on .

As a big fan of the first Hoka Cavu, I was very excited to try out the second release. The original shoe was a great lightweight trainer for tempo runs and speed workouts.

The Cavus were lightweight but sufficiently plush. They were a great option for runners who don’t like all the cushion that is associated with Hoka.   

 

 

Weighing in at 7.2 ounces, it is a lightweight trainer designed for speed and responsiveness. Like the original, the second version utilizes the PROFLY midsole. 

One of the main updates it has received is the addition of some rubberized foam in the outsole area to provide durability to the high-wear areas of the platform.

Usage & performance

The Cavu 2 feels best during faster workouts. Its lightweight design and responsive midsole make it a good option for speed work.

 

 

I found the performance to be great during tempo runs, track workouts, and repeats. The Cavu 2 is a neutral road shoe and has a heel to toe drop of 5mm, giving it a more natural feel. 

I have used these on longer runs and found that they are sufficiently supportive. Overall, they are pretty versatile.

Appearance

Compared to a number of other Hoka shoes, the Cavu 2 doesn’t have the big bulky outsole. This definitely makes the Cavu 2 more presentable and sleeker. 

The shoe comes in a number of color schemes, all featuring a white outer. The color schemes run from a basic all black to an eye-popping orange and blue fade.

 

Fit & feel

I found the Cavu 2 to run slightly larger than expected. This is a shoe I would recommend trying in person to verify the sizing is correct prior to purchasing. 

The overall comfort of the shoe is pretty average. While the upper is soft and breathable, I found the midsole to be stiff. 

This stiff midsole took a few runs to break in, which is worth noting for those who like a shoe that is ready to go right out of the box.

 

 

Although the shoe is definitely more on the responsive end rather than plush, there is more stack height compared to other shoes in this category. 

Combined with the extra rubberized foam on the outsole, you get the feel of hard foam beneath your feet. For me, this was not a strong point for the shoe. 

Some runners may like this aspect, as it is a split between cushion and being able to feel the ground beneath your feet. 

Overall the shoe is not uncomfortable by any means. However, I didn’t think the comfort was a strong point for the Cavu 2. One of my complaints about the original shoe was the durability, so it seems as if Hoka has traded some comfort for extra durability. 

Midsole

The Cavu 2 features Hoka’s PROFLY midsole, which is designed to blend cushion with enough responsiveness for propulsive toe-off. 

While I found that the midsole helps make this a fast shoe that brings a good amount of cushion and support, it took some breaking in to get there. Out of the box, the shoe felt pretty stiff, and I credit this to the midsole.

 

Outsole & durability

After over 80 miles, the outsole is holding up well with only slight wear. The extra protection added to the second edition appears to be very effective in making the shoe last longer than its predecessor.

 

 

While the Cavu 2 is a road shoe, it holds up well even in rainy or wet conditions and doesn’t slip. The shoe appears to have good traction, and running on loose gravel or grass does not appear to be an issue either.

Upper

The upper of the Cavu 2 is one area where the shoes truly shines. The upper is made with open engineered mesh, which makes it lightweight with excellent breathability. 

Underneath the upper mesh, a thin Lycra internal lining provides a seamless layer. The upper does a great job of keeping your foot in place, with no running or irritation, while being lightweight and breathable.

 

Pros

  • Breathable upper
  • Lightweight and responsive but sufficient support

Cons

  • Stiff midsole takes time to break in
  • Additions to the shoe increase durability but decrease comfort

 

Final thoughts

Overall, I would recommend the Hoka Cavu 2 for those runners with a neutral arch looking for a light, lower drop shoe to use for speed work but who are also wanting some cushion. 

The Cavu 2 isn’t going to be my go-to for speed work, and I still prefer the original Cavu, but the second iteration holds up well enough to find a spot in most runners’ shoe rotation.

Chris Dixon | Level 3 expert Verified
Hi, I'm Chris and I’ve been running now for about 6 years. My mileage varies quite a bit, but during marathon training, I tend to hit around 70 miles per week. I've completed 5 marathons and am currently training for number 6. I’m also an avid traveler and use running as a way to explore new cities that I visit.

81
/100 by Chris Dixon, posted on .

As a big fan of the first Hoka Cavu, I was very excited to try out the second release. The original shoe was a great lightweight trainer for tempo runs and speed workouts.

The Cavus were lightweight but sufficiently plush. They were a great option for runners who don’t like all the cushion that is associated with Hoka.   

 

 

Weighing in at 7.2 ounces, it is a lightweight trainer designed for speed and responsiveness. Like the original, the second version utilizes the PROFLY midsole. 

One of the main updates it has received is the addition of some rubberized foam in the outsole area to provide durability to the high-wear areas of the platform.

Usage & performance

The Cavu 2 feels best during faster workouts. Its lightweight design and responsive midsole make it a good option for speed work.

 

 

I found the performance to be great during tempo runs, track workouts, and repeats. The Cavu 2 is a neutral road shoe and has a heel to toe drop of 5mm, giving it a more natural feel. 

I have used these on longer runs and found that they are sufficiently supportive. Overall, they are pretty versatile.

Appearance

Compared to a number of other Hoka shoes, the Cavu 2 doesn’t have the big bulky outsole. This definitely makes the Cavu 2 more presentable and sleeker. 

The shoe comes in a number of color schemes, all featuring a white outer. The color schemes run from a basic all black to an eye-popping orange and blue fade.

 

Fit & feel

I found the Cavu 2 to run slightly larger than expected. This is a shoe I would recommend trying in person to verify the sizing is correct prior to purchasing. 

The overall comfort of the shoe is pretty average. While the upper is soft and breathable, I found the midsole to be stiff. 

This stiff midsole took a few runs to break in, which is worth noting for those who like a shoe that is ready to go right out of the box.

 

 

Although the shoe is definitely more on the responsive end rather than plush, there is more stack height compared to other shoes in this category. 

Combined with the extra rubberized foam on the outsole, you get the feel of hard foam beneath your feet. For me, this was not a strong point for the shoe. 

Some runners may like this aspect, as it is a split between cushion and being able to feel the ground beneath your feet. 

Overall the shoe is not uncomfortable by any means. However, I didn’t think the comfort was a strong point for the Cavu 2. One of my complaints about the original shoe was the durability, so it seems as if Hoka has traded some comfort for extra durability. 

Midsole

The Cavu 2 features Hoka’s PROFLY midsole, which is designed to blend cushion with enough responsiveness for propulsive toe-off. 

While I found that the midsole helps make this a fast shoe that brings a good amount of cushion and support, it took some breaking in to get there. Out of the box, the shoe felt pretty stiff, and I credit this to the midsole.

 

Outsole & durability

After over 80 miles, the outsole is holding up well with only slight wear. The extra protection added to the second edition appears to be very effective in making the shoe last longer than its predecessor.

 

 

While the Cavu 2 is a road shoe, it holds up well even in rainy or wet conditions and doesn’t slip. The shoe appears to have good traction, and running on loose gravel or grass does not appear to be an issue either.

Upper

The upper of the Cavu 2 is one area where the shoes truly shines. The upper is made with open engineered mesh, which makes it lightweight with excellent breathability. 

Underneath the upper mesh, a thin Lycra internal lining provides a seamless layer. The upper does a great job of keeping your foot in place, with no running or irritation, while being lightweight and breathable.

 

Pros

  • Breathable upper
  • Lightweight and responsive but sufficient support

Cons

  • Stiff midsole takes time to break in
  • Additions to the shoe increase durability but decrease comfort

 

Final thoughts

Overall, I would recommend the Hoka Cavu 2 for those runners with a neutral arch looking for a light, lower drop shoe to use for speed work but who are also wanting some cushion. 

The Cavu 2 isn’t going to be my go-to for speed work, and I still prefer the original Cavu, but the second iteration holds up well enough to find a spot in most runners’ shoe rotation.

Chris Dixon | Level 3 expert Verified
Hi, I'm Chris and I’ve been running now for about 6 years. My mileage varies quite a bit, but during marathon training, I tend to hit around 70 miles per week. I've completed 5 marathons and am currently training for number 6. I’m also an avid traveler and use running as a way to explore new cities that I visit.

92
/100 by Sean Kiffe, posted on .

Naming a shoe after a lightweight single person aircraft seems appropriate for a company that boasts the slogan ̈time to fly. ̈  Weighing in at 7.2oz, a full ounce lighter than the first iteration, the Hoka One One Cavu 2 is the lightest running shoe I've ever owned (however not the lightest offered by Hoka).

Something about them just screams racing flat, and the impulse to run fast in these shoes is overwhelming. 

 

 

My first run out in these was intended to be an easy couple mile jog, but it quickly turned into a speedy sub-20 min. 5K. The Cavu 2 is light, fast and nimble, yet boasts enough of the trademark Hoka cushion to keep things comfy.

Specs

Category: Road

Type: Stability

Drop: 5mm

Wt.: 7.2oz

Fit

Right out of the box, the Cavu 2 felt like home. The fit is true to size, and the initial feel was comfortable and slightly pliable, almost broken in.

The one-piece seamless mesh upper creates a nice airy wrap for the foot. Combined with the lycra comfort-fit bootie, your foot feels snug and secure in the comfortable, lightweight package surrounding the foot.

The toe-box is on the narrow side, so beware of this if youŕe partial to a roomier fit. I typically like a little more room, but with the Cavu 2, I didn't mind the snug feel at all.

The pliable lycra material allows your toes to do what they need to without rigid restriction. Given that this is a shoe geared for fast-paced road running with high foot turnover rates, it makes sense that you would want a snug forefoot.

 

 

The tongue is gusseted and ties into the partial bootie that wraps the midfoot. The gusseted tongue is always a welcome feature to see on running shoes as it helps keep the tongue in place.

Performance

The Cavu 2 is one of the most responsive shoes I've run in. The shoe is exceptionally adept at adjusting the changes in direction on pavement at a fast pace. The PROFLY™ midsole rubberized foam gives enough cushioning to feel a little forgiving but not so much as to inhibit a quick foot return during high cadence running.

The upper keeps your feet cool with well thought out ventilation. The upper also cradles the foot nicely, keeping it stable above the sole and in place during lateral movement.

 

 

The X-shape design of the sole gives ample grip and traction on pavement and asphalt alike. I also did some 200m repeats in these shoes on the local high school track, and these shoes thrived on that surface.

In the early morning September rain, the shoe held its own, with a reliable grip on wet cement and asphalt alike. The shoe doesn't get overkill on cushioning in the upper material, and in the wet conditions, this was a godsend. No water logging with the Cavu 2!

 

 

Track athletes should take note of whether or not the colorways match their team colors. The Cavu 2 ́s is a superlative choice for tempo runs and speed work.

The Cavu 2 ́s would be a great choice for shorter distance racing and even distances up to a ½ marathon. However, I'm not sure how they would fair in the marathon for the average runner.

My caution stems from speculating on how long the cushioning will retain its performance on the long course. For someone like me who is bound to be (on my best day) out on the marathon course for 3:30 to 3:45 a shoe with more cushioning would be nice.

That said, the Cavu is perfect for shorter distances, and on my longest run in them yet (12 miles), I didn't notice any change in the amount of perceived cushion.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Responsive

Cons

  • The longevity of cushion for longer distances

Overall

The Cavu 2 is a great shoe for anyone looking for a lightweight performer that is ready to tear up speed work or shorter distance races.

 

 

With just enough cushion to keep things comfortable, the Cavu still excels at being responsive and feeling agile. The Cavu 2 is light and wears like a racing flat, and in fact, that's my intended use for it this fall.

From speed workouts, track sessions to 10K ́s the Cavu 2 is certain to come through. The simple, unassuming design and stylish look make the Cavu 2 an easy choice. With an MSRP of $110.00, the Cavu 2 is pretty affordable.

Sean Kiffe | Level 4 expert Verified
My name is Sean Kiffe. I live with my wife and three daughters in Missoula, MT where I teach middle school science. I am primarily a trail runner but also dabble in road events occasionally. Currently, I am working my way into ultra distances and will be doing my first 50K and 100K trail races this season.

88
/100 by Jake Boesch, posted on .

Over the past month, I have started to rebuild my mileage base after surgery kept me out for a while. As I’ve progressed from one to six-mile runs, I’ve had time to form an honest impression of the Hoka One One Cavu 2.

The shoe feels flat and unresponsive during the first few miles, but quickly breaks in and becomes an excellent everyday trainer and tempo shoe that encourages runners to pick up the pace.

 

The Hoka One One Cavu 2 has a minimal upper and subtle branding.

Looks

The Cavu 2 has a simple yet effective design. The unobtrusive branding and blue/orange colorway on the pair I received work well together. I appreciate it when a shoe maintains a low-profile design with seemingly high-quality materials.

Moreso, I am not a fan of Hoka’s traditional aesthetic concerning the massive midsole; however, the Cavu 2 nicely balances the upper and midsole to make a good-looking shoe in the $110 price range.

 

The shoe features a five-millimeter drop from heel to forefoot, which leads to an efficient stride.

 

There are some fit discrepancies amongst reviewers. I ordered a half size down, and it felt a little too snug. I’d recommend true to size.

Fit

Before I got the Cavu 2 to test, I read other reviews that recommend buyers size down a half size. I followed their advice and am not sure it was merited.

My Cavu 2s just barely fit in the half size down. And, I frequently feel my toes push up against the front.

The width feels spot-on, which could be why some reviews suggested the half-size down. My heel stays locked in, and I experienced no hot spots, which have been a problem for me in other Hoka shoes, such as the Clifton 3.

I’d encourage buyers to try the shoe on to get the perfect fit, but I think true-to-size would work well for most people unless you have narrow feet.

 

The mesh upper leaves plenty of room in the forefront without sacrificing foot lockdown.

Upper

The upper on the Cavu 2 secured my foot well and did not cause any discomfort. The mesh was breathable and has held together nicely over the past several miles.

 

The Cavu 2’s midsole feels dull and concrete-like for the first few miles, but once it breaks in, it offers a smooth and comfortable ride.

Midsole

The Cavu 2 has a strange midsole. On my first run, I expected a bit softer and springier feel than I experienced.

For instance, I remember thinking, these are some of the least responsive and comfortable running shoes I have tried. However, on my third run, I felt a bit more optimistic.

The foam seemed to break in a bit and became a lot more comfortable and enjoyable. So much so that I wanted to run faster and further than I set out for.

I now like them so much that I have put aside my Adizero Boston 8 altogether. In the Cavu 2s, my stride feels efficient, and the cushioning feels ideal for daily runs and days when I want to pick up the pace.

 

The outsole is all exposed foam, which hurts the shoe’s traction and longevity but decreases weight.

Outsole

I do not like the exposed outsole of the Cavu 2. I know that it saves weight and perhaps leads to a softer ride, but it has started to rain pretty frequently in Boston, and I am not confident to wear these shoes on wet surfaces.

They glide across the dry pavement, but I’d appreciate more grip as the changing winter approaches. Additionally, these slid a tad on mulch and packed dirt trails, which took a little bit of the snappiness out of my stride.

Nonetheless, these are your everyday road shoes, and they performed well and dry roads and sidewalks. I will have to wait and see how the exposed cushion holds up after 50 miles.

 

Overall, despite my gripes over the exposed outsole, break-in period, and difficult-to-nail fit, Hoka has created a daily trainer that I put on over shoes like the Adizero Boston 8.

Summary

The Cavu 2 has aspects that are easy for me to criticize, such as the exposed outsole, sizing discrepancies, and an initial break-in period.

However, I enjoy my runs more than I have in a while when I am in the Cavu 2 due to its efficient ride and lightweight, which makes it an excellent choice for many runners.

Pros

  • Great road feel once broken in
  • Quick and efficient
  • Durable mesh for the upper
  • Solid heel lockdown
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Exposed outsole
  • Sizing inconsistencies
Jake Boesch | Level 3 expert Verified
I have been a runner since middle school and am now in graduate school. I typically cover anywhere from 20-40 miles per week on roads, trails, and occasionally the treadmill. I have competed in several races both local and collegiately, but I've never raced a distance longer than a 10k. However, I'm currently training for the 2018 Philadelphia Marathon.

  • The Hoka  One One Cavu 2 is a versatile road running shoe that holds a simple and bold appearance. The footwear is strategically designed for runners who have neutral foot mechanisms. Like its predecessor, it utilizes the PROFLY midsole. This material is made from rubberized foam. It is described to be durable, light and responsive which will make the runner run faster.
  • This running shoe is comes in a seamless construction that gives runners a smoother fit. Along with the seamless construction is the open engineered mesh. Its lightweight structure aims to provide added breathability and comfortable fit.
  • When compared to the previous model, the Cavu uses the Zonal RMAT in the outsole area. Its primary role is to provide durability to the high-wear areas of the platform. RMAT is crafted using the unique blend of foam and rubber that is highly elastic.

The second installment of Cavu from Hoka One One utilizes the standard running shoe measurements. It runs true to size. The shoe is sure to provide the wearer with a more secure and snugger fit that prevents any possible slippage and injury during the run. It can surely accommodate those runners with average to low foot volume. For both men and women versions, the available width profile is medium.

A rubberized foam outsole is integrated into the Hoka One One Cavu 2. This component of the footwear is essential in providing a softer and more responsive landing without compromising its lightweight structure.  

Strategic flex points are offered by the X-shape design. This provides flexibility whenever necessary.

Better shock absorption is encouraged by the PROFLY. This material is described as a dual-density midsole that is firm in the forefoot and soft in the heel. The softness of the heel section is meant to provide extra cushioning while the firmness of the forefoot is focused on adding propulsion. As a result, a quicker heel-to-toe transition and a more comfortable landing are experienced by the runner. When compared to other midsole compounds from Hoka, the PROFLY has a higher shock attenuation capability.

Like the Bondi 6, the upper section of the Hoka One One Cavu 2  uses an open engineered mesh. This material is vital to encourage better inflow and outflow of air.

The Lycra internal lining works well with the open engineered mesh upper. It provides a seamless layer underneath and a thin layer of wrap around the foot, creating a more individualized fit. It is meant to prevent irritation and encourage a second-skin feel.

Integrated into the shoe are the thin tongue and laces. This component of the Hoka one One Cavu 2 is essential in keeping the foot in place while running.

Utilized in the shoe is the embroidered HOKA ONE ONE logo. This feature adds to the appealing design of the running shoe.

Size and fit

True to size based on 81 user votes
Small (1%)
True to size (99%)
Large (0%)
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Same sizing as Hoka One One Cavu 3.

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Size comments

The fit is true to size, and the initial feel was comfortable and slightly pliable, almost broken in. - Sean Kiffe, Level 4 expert
I’d recommend true to size. - Jake Boesch, Level 3 expert

How Cavu 2 compares

This shoe: 89
All shoes average: 86
58 99
This shoe: $110
All shoes average: $119
$40 $350
This shoe: 7.2oz
All shoes average: 9.5oz
3.5oz 16.2oz
Author
Jens Jakob Andersen
Jens Jakob Andersen

Jens Jakob is a fan of short distances with a 5K PR at 15:58 minutes. Based on 35 million race results, he's among the fastest 0.2% runners. Jens Jakob previously owned a running store, when he was also a competitive runner. His work is regularly featured in The New York Times, Washington Post, BBC and the likes as well as peer-reviewed journals. Finally, he has been a guest on +30 podcasts on running.

jens@runrepeat.com