Okay, okay; I’ll admit it, I’m late to the party. This is my first review of Hoka One One shoes.
Instead of going to the tip of the maximalist iceberg, I decided to run in something more middle of the road: the Challenger ATR 5.
Now here’s the thing: winter running in the Pacific Northwest can get quite wet, muddy, and occasionally even icy and snowy, so I wanted to try out the GTX model to keep as much moisture out of the shoes as possible with the extra layer of Gore-Tex.
The one downside with the GTX model: they only come in one color scheme, black on black (officially Anthracite / Dark Gull Grey).
My wife said they look like janitor’s shoes at first glance... I wish I could disagree!
The first thing I noticed when examining these shoes out of the box is how big they look and how light they really are. The Challenger ATR 5 GTX weighs in at a respectable 10.40 oz. with a 5 mm heel to toe drop.
Yes, they look big and bulky, but I can assure you they are not. The materials are well constructed from the laces to the outsole.
Now is this really a trail shoe? Just by looking at the shoe, one may question what type of terrain this shoe is designed for (more on this later).
But rest assured, the Challenger ATR 5 truly is an all-terrain shoe, ready for just about any condition and any running surface one may find.
Once again, what makes the Challenger ATR 5 GTX unique is the extra Gore-Tex bootie that helps keep the unwanted moisture and muck out of the shoe.
I found this treatment and the water-resistant mesh a very nice amenity to the running experience. I was able to get out on quite a few wet days, splash through fun puddles, cross some creeks, and my feet stayed nice and dry pretty much the whole time.
Just a reminder, while these shoes are certainly water-resistant, I wouldn’t expect them to stay perfectly dry when getting deep in water or snow - everything has its limits.
The rest of the upper is breathable and well constructed. I appreciate the TPU layer around the toes; this helps protect from the occasional rock and roots that seem to jump out of nowhere on the trails!
My one critique of the upper is that it is not quite as form-fitting as I would prefer. No matter how tight I tried to tie my laces, there always seemed to be a little play in the upper.
This has not been a serious issue at any point, but don’t expect that glove-like feel that other shoes may provide. I do have some foot sliding from time to time, and the heel is not quite as locked in as other shoes, but nothing that has concerned me so far.
Hoka is known for revolutionizing the midsole game with their newest foams and cushioning techniques.
Again, I prefer to have a moderate feel of the ground below me, so I find the Challenger to be that nice Goldilocks level of cushioning with plenty of comfort while also maintaining a responsive ride.
I was a little worried about how I would experience the rocks and rough edges in these shoes, and to my excitement, the cushioning really does hold up quite well, even without a rock plate.
At first glance, the Challenger ATR 5 outsole is not a pure trail running outsole. If anything, it is more of a hybrid that allows one to run just as comfortably on pavement as dirt.
The design is pretty subdued, not aggressive by any means, with 4mm lugs and a pretty wide tread pattern.
However, I will say that after running my first 50 miles in these shoes, my previous reservations about the outsole have been proven joyfully wrong.
I still may not choose these shoes for the most extreme terrain, but overall, the outsole has held up quite well, offering plenty of traction and stability in mud, wet, and just about everything in between.
The Challenger ATR 5 GTX has proven to me that they truly are an all-terrain monster, and the added Gore-Tex bootie has left me comfortably dry and ready to take on the winter running.
While the shoes may not be as form-fitting as I would like in the upper, I appreciate the structure and quality throughout the shoe construction.
Some have complained that this creates too stiff of a shoe, but I appreciate the stable cushioned ride on the trails so far and have found them responsive.
I have discovered a few blisters on the outside toes after some significant up and downhill running. Still, I recognize that there are various factors to consider with blisters, from one’s foot shape, striking pattern, and more.
I have been able to mix it up a bit during some of the runs with gravel, wet, and even pavement as well, and again, the shoes hold up and continue to perform well on all surfaces.
While I may not choose these shoes for the most extreme conditions, these shoes will certainly be a go-to option for my upcoming wet and wild winter running.
Good to know
- The Hoka One One Challenger 5 ATR GTX is a trail running shoe designed to provide a secure and highly cushioned ride. It is the waterproof version of the Hoka One One Challenger 5 ATR.
- This neutral running shoe features a waterproof upper that keeps the foot dry and comfortable in any weather condition. The Gore-Tex® upper prevents the water and mud from getting inside the shoe without sacrificing breathability.
- A versatile trail outsole is integrated into the shoe for a smooth heel-to-toe transition. The outsole offers reliable traction on various surfaces.
- The soft EVA midsole is used to provide enhanced cushioning and support, allowing for a more responsive and efficient ride.
The Hoka One One Challenger 5 ATR GTX uses the standard shoe measurement to accommodate the usual expectations of runners when it comes to sizing. However, it is recommended to fit the shoe first or utilize consumers’ general feedback to ensure a perfect fit.
The technical components that affect the fit of the shoe include the shoelaces and padded tongue, which help provide a snugger and a more secure fit. Another element that affects the fit of the shoe is the removal insole that allows the user to adjust the comfort level of the shoe.
The Hoka One One Challenger 5 ATR GTX uses a podular outsole design, which provides stability on uneven terrain. The trail outsole delivers a smooth heel-to-toe transition and promotes a full ground contact. It allows the foot to react to the ground beneath without sacrificing durability and protection.
The outsole unit also incorporates 4mm lugs that enhance the shoe’s grip even on muddy and wet surfaces.
This Hoka One One running shoe features an oversized EVA (ethyl vinyl acetate) midsole that delivers lightweight comfort. The compression-molded EVA (CMEVA) is also included for great shock absorption and stable ride.
Providing a faster transition to the forefoot is the Early-Stage Meta-Rocker that is engineered to offer a smooth ride and enhanced propulsion. This technology is also featured in the Hoka One One Challenger 5 ATR and Hoka One One Arahi 3.
A removable insole is also incorporated into the shoe to provide added comfort and underfoot protection.
This running shoe features a Gore-Tex® upper that is lightweight and waterproof. It offers excellent protection, even during extreme weather conditions. The Gore-Tex® upper effectively prevents the water from getting inside the shoe while allowing the cool air to continually flow, keeping the foot dry and comfortable throughout the day.
The textured TPU toe-cap provides impact protection against underfoot hazards. Meanwhile, the internal heel counter offers stability while running over rugged terrain.
Integrated into the shoe are the padded tongue and shoe collar, which allows for easy on and off. These elements also offer additional comfort.
The traditional lacing system is also utilized in the shoe for a secure and customized fit. It allows the user to easily adjust the fit around the shoe.