In 2018 Hoka One One launched the Fly collection consisting of the Elevon, the Mach and the Cavu. The three shoes in the Fly collection are all light, yet cushioned shoes. The most cushioned shoe in the collection is the Hoka Elevon, which is a bit similar to the Hoka One One Vanquish.
The Elevon is a neutral running shoe and has a 5 mm drop with a 33 mm heel height and a 28 mm forefoot height and weighs 244 grams. It comes in quite bright and bold colours. Mine were white with cherry red but needless to say the white didn’t stay that way for long.
I’ve tried the Hoka Bondi 4 before, but that was not the right shoe for me. It didn’t have enough room in the toe box and it wasn’t responsive enough. I don’t seem to be the only one who had that experience with the Bondi; the New York Times even showed that the Bondi actually makes you 3% slower, so I guess that wasn’t just me. Hoka promotes the new Fly collection as being very responsive, so I was curious, but also a little skeptical when I first put on the Hoka One One Elevon.
When I started running I was pleasantly surprised at how responsive the shoes actually were. They are definitely way more responsive than the Bondi 4. With the Bondi 4, I had the feeling I needed to put in extra effort to propel myself forward. I don’t have that feeling at all while running in the Elevon.
What I also noticed right away was that the stitching on the upper looked a bit sloppy. Especially around the area where the laces go. Another thing I noticed with the laces was that the shoelace holes weren’t the best design feature of this shoe.
The shoelace holes on the Elevon aren’t really holes, they are slits. Which isn’t a huge problem, unless you have to lace your shoes. It’s very difficult to get the laces through since the slits are so narrow and the end of the lace is thicker because of the plastic protection.
Some of the slits weren’t even punched out properly. I have a small heel, so I often have to use the extra shoelace hole to lace my running shoes differently and lock in my heel a bit better. Normally this isn’t an issue, but it was with the Hoka Elevon.
Not only is it difficult to get the laces through, but I also noticed that when I laced through the extra hole this would create a pressure (since the shoelace itself can’t really move around in the tiny slit, while your foot does move).
This would create a hotspot on the top of both of my feet. So, in the end, I had to lace them in a regular way to avoid this from happening.
The upper is made of a breathable, seamless and somewhat flexible double knit mesh. The toe box isn’t super roomy, although roomier than in the Bondi 4, but the mesh does give you quite a bit of vertical space.
However, the front of the shoe doesn’t provide much stability. While running the front of your foot moves around quite a bit in the front of this shoe, especially laterally.
The back of the shoe is made of a bit more tightly knit mesh and a Thermoplastic Polyurethane heel cup that protects your heel. It does provide some stability, but can’t make up for the lack of stability in the rest of the shoe. However, the padded tongue and collar of the shoe are very comfortable.
The midsole allows you to sink into it a bit, instead of only sitting on top of the midsole.
The midsole is made out of PROfly material which is a dual-density foam. It is firmer at the front of the shoe than at the heel. The midsole does provide enough medial support.
The sole has a meta-rocker shape, together with the low drop it helps you maintain a natural rolling movement and creates a smoother ride. The groove design does provide ample flexibility, but small stones or twigs will get stuck in the larger opening of the outsole.
The outsole is made of Zonal rubber to provide more durability, but this doesn’t seem to be very effective since the outsole already showed signs of wear after approximately 50 miles run in the shoes.
The outsole definitely provides more traction on road than on the easy trail. The shoe doesn’t perform that well on sand or gravel surfaces.
It is a good shoe for speed work, but due to the lateral instability, it is not easy to make a sharp turn in them. The rubber of the outsole provides enough traction to comfortably run on a wet surface.
I had my normal size, which was the right length (I only had one thumb width left in the front), but overall the shoe felt a bit too big. Maybe it just felt this way because of the instability of the forefoot.
The Hoka One One Elevon is indeed a light and responsive ride. Although it is a pretty bulky shoe, the grooves provide flexibility, but those do collect small stones.
Even though the shoe is quite bold, I do like to look of it. I wish I could say the same thing of its performance. The upper is comfortable and so is the cushioning, but the instability and the problems with the durability and laces are a bit of a dealbreaker for me.
After running in the Hoka One One Vanquish 3, I thought I found my forever shoe. I bought about 5 pairs when they started phasing them out and prayed that they would release a new version before I ran out of shoes. This is when the Elevon comes into the picture.
The Elevon was released as a part of the Hoka One One Fly collection as a relative to the Vanquish. It is a neutral style of running shoe.
The initial design and appearance of this shoe immediately drew me in. The sweet combination of red and white screamed "fast" to me as it did not look bulky compared to other Hoka shoes.
The overall color patterns and options make this an impressive upgraded Hoka shoe compared to some of their older models and color patterns. Bonus that they are attractive enough to be worn as casual shoes with jeans.
The sole of the Elevon leaves a little to be desired with a very smooth and flat layer of rubber. It made me feel upon purchase that I would likely wear the shoe out completely in about 2 months.
The midfoot to heel has a similar gap compared to the Vanquish which can trap rocks and mud. The mesh layer on the top of the foot was very breathable and more comfortable than any other shoe I’ve tried.
Even after 400+ miles, there are no holes or even signs of wear is the mesh. The rubber on the sole of the shoe held up far better than I anticipated, even after 400+ miles. The feeling of support in the arch and bottom of the shoe seems to disappear after around ten miles of running at one time.
The Elevon is the least plush Hoka shoe I have tried. It is listed in the "plush" category on their website, but I feel as though it offered little to no soft "squishy" cloudlike layer that I find myself desiring during a 55+ mile week.
This shoe was very responsive during short to mid-distance workouts on the track and the road.I have very narrow feet, so it is often a struggle for me to find shoes that truly "fit." This shoe does not have the incredibly narrow toe box as the Vanquish did, which some people may prefer.
The heel cup on this shoe felt just right and at no point during any distance of run did I feel as though I would develop any blisters. The arch of the shoe feels just right, and I did not end up developing blisters on the insides of the bottoms of my feet as I have with other Hoka shoes that have higher insole arches.
- Color options and overall design
- More room for toe-splay
- Soft mesh outer
- Durable sole and mesh
- Not as plush as other Hokas
- "Flat foot" feeling during longer runs
I wanted to like this shoe far more than I truthfully ended up. The first 50 miles in these shoes brought a lot of calf and skin irritation. Although they have the same 4-5mm drop height as the other Hokas I have worn, I think the earlier stage meta-rocker and lack of adequate cushioning lead to the irritation.
I use these through my training as mid-distance shoes (nothing further than 8-10 miles) and speed training shoes as I feel they are more responsive and contain explosive power for these purposes. I would purchase them again specifically for this purpose but not as an every-day long distance trainer.
Overall, I think it is extremely far fetched to call these a relative of the Vanquish. It may even be a stretch to say they are distant cousins. But they are a great pair of shoes for someone looking to add a speedier shoe into their training rotation.
Good to know
- On the outsole is a Zonal rubber placement which enhances the durability. The rubber covers high-impact areas that commonly receive the most beating during runs. With this in place, the outsole is strengthened as the traction is improved.
- To help drive the runner forward, the Early Stage Meta-Rocker technology was incorporated into the midsole. Because of its sculpted outsole and low heel-to-toe differential, it aids in smoothening the transition of a runner’s running cycle while encouraging a natural gait.
- A unique balance of PROpulsion and PROtection technologies comes in the form of the PROfly, located on the Hoka One One Elevon’s midsole. This dual-density topsole foam permits runners to have both protection and responsiveness. It lessens the landing impact by providing softer cushioning on the heel and augmenting the responsiveness with its firmer foam on the forefoot, which promotes a comfortable experience for daily runs.
- To support and minimally stabilize the heel, a TPU clip was introduced. It doesn’t totally lock the heel down, but it serves as an extra structure for security.
The Hoka One One Elevon is available in standard running shoe measurements. For length, runners can make use of their usual size preference. As for the shoe’s width, runners can get it in standard measurements – B – medium for women and D – medium for men.
What Hoka One One did was reinforce the key areas of the outsole for durability. On areas that normally receive the highest impact when running, a tougher rubber has been used. The middle area was left with a more flexible kind of rubber to permit movement that won’t let the runner feel restricted. Strategically, having Zonal rubber on the outsole also delivers sufficient traction on common surfaces.
The outsole is composed of deep and shallow flex lines and grooves that permit the shoe to move optimally. Since these lines divide the outsole into sections, the tread pattern helps the bottom of the shoe to adapt to uneven surfaces, improving the runner’s balance.
The Early Stage Meta-Rocker has been introduced to the midsole to promote a smoother ride. It was designed with a low drop and a sculpted outsole to create a rocking chair effect as the runner is in motion. Because of this movement, the transition from heel to toe becomes almost effortless.
The midsole construction includes the PROfly topsole which is a foam technology that is softer on the heel for extra cushioning and proper shock dispersion, and firmer in the forefoot to help propel the runner forward. The benefits of the PROfly of Hoka can be likened to the Zoom Air of Nike, which could be found in the Air Zoom Pegasus 35.
To complement the function of the PROfly, a high rebound injection bottom frame has been added. It acts as a cradle to the foot, providing that extra spring with every step.
The upper is made up of an open engineered mesh that promotes breathability and a comfortable fit. On the forefoot area going to the midfoot, several holes can be seen on the mesh to encourage airflow and reduce hotspots. Meanwhile, in the rear area, a sturdier engineered mesh has been introduced for better support on the heel.
An additional TPU heel clip was added to prevent the heel from moving excessively without constricting it. The clip also serves as extra security since the TPU or Thermoplastic Utherane is a more solid material that can protect the Achilles from injuries.
The lacing of this shoe is standard, with flat laces. A guidance loop sewed on the tongue keeps the laces in place, preventing them from moving in different directions while the runner is in motion. Tightening the laces ensures a more secure fit.
For additional comfort, the tongue has been padded. This delivers a comfortable feel on the dorsal part of the midfoot while acting as a cushioned bed for the shoelaces to rest on.