Though Hoka labels these shoes as “lifestyle,” they are certainly adequate for use as a dedicated trainer. While they provide a fair amount of cushion, Hoka also kept the weight down to 8.2 oz (men’s), which is lighter than many training shoes.
Not everything about this shoe is good, however. The shoes seem to run about a half size large, which resulted in a lot of heel slippage. In order to remedy this, I had to use the uppermost eyelets when lacing the shoes to hold my heel in place.
Additionally, Hoka appears to have skimped on the upper material of the shoe. The material is thick and stiff with poor breathability and some irritating seams. Overall, this is a plain looking trainer that delivers average performance.
Time for the frivolous section of the shoe performance reviews... looks.
In this case, though, the looks are an important part of the shoe. Hoka has a tendency and reputation for making shoes that look similar to, well, moon-boots.
The Hupana is just the opposite – plain and understated, the shoe looks just as normal running weekend errands as it does out on a run.
This is a good thing, as runners looking to try the Hoka brand can use this shoe as an under the radar entry point. The only minor oddity is that the shoe appears a little narrow and rectangular (shapeless) when looking down on them.
The upper material is the Achilles’ heel of this shoe. Hoka attempted a knitted upper, meant to provide air-flow, flexibility, foot security, and prevent irritation. The only thing they succeeded on was foot security in the midfoot region. The thick material limits breathability and is noticeably stiff.
Instead of using seams, Hoka elected for synthetic welds. Unfortunately, these ‘seams’ are located on the inside of the shoe, putting them in contact with the foot and creating uncomfortable creases – especially at the edge of the toebox near where the lacing begins (location of irritating seams approximated in below image with red lines).
I also experienced some annoying abrasion and restriction of ankle movement from the tongue – though this may have been due to having to use the heel lock lacing technique (see image below).
Sole & Ride feel
The Hupana uses RMAT material for the sole.
While it certainly isn’t the softest shoe, it provides enough cushion for longer runs while remaining a light shoe. The RMAT sole does an excellent job maintaining traction in wet conditions and on slippery surfaces.
Though the sole has grooves meant to allow for flexibility, the shoe is quite stiff compared to other lightweight shoes. The sole does exhibit good durability and shows minimal wear.
In terms of overall ride, the shoe feels a little clunky and slow on transitions – especially during speedwork.
Good to know
- The Hoka One One Hupana is a running shoe that’s meant to deliver high levels of performance and superb cushioning for runners who have a neutral running gait. Unlike most Hoka shoes, this model doesn’t have a bulky façade that employs layers of fabric and features. Instead, a smooth and simple look has been implemented here.
- The upper unit mainly uses a knitted fabric, which makes the overall cover system more agreeable to the shape and movement of the foot. This material also allows environmental air to enter the foot-chamber, thus maintaining a cool and dry running experience for the wearer. Lightweight, synthetic overlays are welded to the upper to make it more robust and supportive.
- Underfoot cushioning is provided by the RMAT material. This full-length unit delivers comfortable strides and confident performances on the asphalt because it’s responsive and long-lasting. It also serves as the outsole unit of the Hoka One One Hupana. It is capable of latching onto the ground, maintaining traction and surface control at all times. The use of this single-piece technology also helps in reducing the overall weight of the shoe.
The Hupana from Hoka One One has sizing schemes that follow the regular measurements. It welcomes the size preferences of runners. The available width for both the men and women’s versions is medium. It accommodates those who have medium sized feet. Also, the natural curve of the human foot is mimicked by this shoe’s semi-curved shape.
A single-piece material called the RMAT is used for the underfoot platform of the Hoka One One Hupana. The outsole section of this unit is capable of holding onto the ground with sureness and ease. It is basically traction-ready. Several small trenches and cross-sections in its façade improve grip by acting as traction-points or clamps.
Flex grooves in the rear and front sections of the outsole make the foot more capable when it comes to moving naturally through the gait cycle. Their presence actually smoothens the transitions from heel to toe, thus ensuring easier and more enabled steps.
The mid-sole section of the RMAT offers responsible cushioning to the foot of the runner. Its rebound-capability permits springy takeoffs and comfortable landings. This material is also durable, so it’s going to remain efficient even after many uses. The maximalist design of the Hupana appeals to runners who prefer more cushioning; conversely, the Saucony Kinvara 10 is more suited to those who want a lower platform, as well as a lower stack height.
The upper unit of the Hoka One One Hupana features a knitted fabric, which accommodates more freedom of movement, as well as airflow into the foot-chamber. The soft and smooth nature of this fabric also prevents skin irritation, blisters, and welts.
To maintain a clean and unobtrusive look, welded synthetic overlays are used for the upper. They provide structural robustness to the frame of the shoe, while also delivering a secure fit to the runner.