Verdict from 7 experts and +100 user reviews

5 reasons to buy

  • 'Comfortable' is the term that is used to describe the in-shoe experience of the Hoka One One Cavu 3; runners are mostly happy because of the form-welcoming design.
  • The uncluttered facade of this road running shoe is welcomed by those who don't like bulky-looking footwear.
  • The outsole unit is able to adhere to the ground with ease, according to a couple of reviewers; swerves, turns, and brakes are effortless to pull off because of the rubber.
  • Based on a handful of comments, the upper unit is breathable enough to accommodate all-day use; the foot can apparently enjoy a cool and dry ride due to the breathing pores of the knitted textile.
  • The cushioning system is suitably responsive and flexible, some users have noted.

2 reasons not to buy

  • The forefoot section of the in-shoe chamber is a bit restrictive, according to a few testers.
  • A couple of users have noticed that the collar's lining has a tendency to irritate the skin of the ankles.

Bottom line

The Hoka One One Cavu 3 aims to provide runners with a smooth and agreeable ride. The in-shoe experience of this product is intentionally made to feel smooth and form-fitting. Such a design works because a stretchy knitted fabric governs the upper unit’s construction. Also, natural motion and easy steps are afforded by the slightly rockered midsole and the premium foam that encompasses it.

Tip: see the best running shoes.

Good to know

  • The Hoka One One Cavu 3 is an update to a well-known running shoe series designed for the neutral pronator. The overall construction, though seemingly similar to the Cavu 2, boasts noticeable changes that aim to heighten the in-shoe experience.
  • The upper unit replaces the engineered mesh configuration with a stretchy knitted fabric for form-fitting security while the updated midsole offers smooth heel-to-toe transitions. Furthermore, the underfoot platform has been molded to follow the curvature of the foot. The external pad utilizes rubberized foam to provide surface grip and extra oomph to the platform as a whole.

Runners who expect a true-to-size Hoka One One running shoe can enjoy the Cavu 3. The brand has utilized the standard measurements to allow the users to enjoy their usual sizing expectations. Still, it is recommended to test this shoe first or to sturdy user reviews from various sources to get ahold of the quality of the interior environment.

The sideways fit is affected by the various elements that potentially welcome the shape of the human foot. This neutral running shoe features a stretchy and seamless upper to accommodate the natural bending and swelling of the foot as it takes each step during the running session.

The outsole unit of the Hoka One One Cavu 3 is made of rubberized ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA). This technology offers surface traction, yet it retains the spongy nature of EVA to add some more structure to the underfoot experience. It independently covers the contact points of the forefoot and heel to ensure targeted shielding from wear-and-tear.

Flex grooves permit the whole underfoot platform to bend in conjunction with the wearer’s foot as it transitions from the heel to the toe during the step. Added flexibility can also enable versatile gait styles, such as midfoot striking, because the foot won’t feel limited or restricted.

Underfoot cushioning is the responsibility of a full-length EVA base. This accouterment is tasked with mitigating the impact shock generated by the foot-strike then energizing the foot as it prepares for the liftoff phase. The slightly generous thickness ensures consistent support that lasts. EVA is a staple in the industry as it is used in many series of running shoes. Updates to the Hoka One One Bondi line also enjoy this industry-standard feature.

PROFLY™ is a cushioning technology that is placed right above the EVA base. This feature is tasked with providing a soft heel structure for impact mitigation, as well as a firm forefoot design for an increase in propulsive power.

The Meta-Rocker is a slightly convex platform shape that ultimately benefits the quality of the running session. The curve of the heel facilitates an even landing of the foot. At the same time, the similarly bent forefoot further elevates the energized toe-off. Instability won’t become a problem because the weight of the runner would flatten the platform naturally when standing idly.

An adaptive stretch knit is used for the upper unit of the Hoka One One Cavu 3. This element is meant to deliver a hug that doesn’t limit the natural movement capacity of the foot. It has a seamless construction to prevent hot spots and chafing from occurring during the run.

Version 3 moves away from the collar-and-tongue design of the previous iterations of the Cavu, employing a wraparound shoe-opening that accommodates the feeling of being wrapped by a seamless sock. Unlike most slip-on running shoes, the design of this model gives space for padding to grace the collar. The added cushioning has the goal of shielding the foot from impact and preventing it from wobbling.

Zonal perforations on the upper unit are tasked with delivering a means of ventilating the foot inside the shoe. These breathing holes aren’t too obvious, yet they are strategically placed to sustain a cool and dry ride.

A traditional lacing system is placed on top of the upper unit. Flat shoelaces traverse a set of discreet overlays, causing the upper to adapt to the adjustments that are done to them. Giving the ability to tighten or loosen the fit promotes a custom in-shoe feel that can heighten the confidence during the activity.


How Hoka One One Cavu 3 ranks compared to all other shoes
Bottom 25% road running shoes
All road running shoes
Bottom 4% Hoka One One running shoes
All Hoka One One running shoes
Bottom 14% maximalist running shoes
All maximalist running shoes


The current trend of Hoka One One Cavu 3.
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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.