We spent 7.5 hours reading reviews from experts and users. In summary, this is what runners think:

6 reasons to buy

  • Debris-proof mesh offers breathable support and a secure fit.
  • The upper is reinforced with TPU components, as well as a robust toe cap and foot-conforming tongue for protection and comfort.
  • Runners felt they were adequately cradled by the cushioning system of this shoe.
  • The midsole is 1.4 times thicker than most running shoes and it’s filled with a dense material that cushions the foot well.
  • Reviewers appreciated the rocker design, which encouraged a better stride.
  • The rubber outsole has gripping lugs that hold onto many types of surfaces based on a handful of reviews.

2 reasons not to buy

  • There were runners who noticed the shoe wear easily after a few uses.
  • The Kailua has an expensive price.

Bottom line

The Kailua from Hoka One One is a robust trail shoe for those who want plush support for the underside of the foot, as well as breathable and secure coverage. It’s a solid option for off-road exercises and training.


Terrain: Trail
Arch support: Neutral
Weight: Men: 4.6oz | Women: 10.9oz
Heel to toe drop: Men: 5mm | Women: 5mm
Pronation: Neutral Pronation
Arch type: High arch
Material: Vegan
Strike Pattern: Midfoot strike
Distance: Competition
Heel height: Women: 26mm
Forefoot height: Women: 21mm
Brand: Hoka One One
Type: Low drop
Width: Men: Normal | Women: Normal
Price: $130
Colorways: Pink
Small True to size Large
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Expert Reviews

Experts are runners, who post reviews at youtube, directly at RunRepeat or at their own websites. Each expert is categorized from level 1 to level 5 based on expertise. See stats on expert reviews and how we calculate scores here.

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88 / 100 based on 2 expert reviews

  • 86 / 100 | Gearist | | Level 5 expert

    Shoes with a big drop are most agitating to my recovering foot and I was impressed with the flat feel of the shoe that likely contributed to the comfort of running in the Kailua post-injury.

  • 96 / 100 | Runblogger | | Level 1 expert

    I really like the Kailua Tarmac and it has become my “go to shoe” for my road workouts. This shoe has all the things I like about Hoka shoes in a performance package: cushioning, stability, and it protects my knees.

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  • Hoka produces a trail racing shoe in the Kailua. As with most Hoka shoes, this is not the typical racing option runners go for. However, it has lesser cushioning than most Hoka shoes, having only 1.5x more midsole foam than the regular 2x of Hoka road warriors. Together with the quite snug fit, the firmer sole, and lower stack height, runners can have a solid shoe that delivers speed in the Hoka way.
  • To get that racing shoe kind of feeling, Hoka also made the forefoot more flexible than most of its shoes. With the “rockered” sole in full effect, the more flexible forefoot creates a quicker and more effective toe off. Thus, speed is enhanced in this shoe.
  • Finally, the Kailua brings something essential when it comes to performance shoes that are built for the competition. This has a lesser weight than most Hoka shoes with a really good platform for fast-paced runs.

Unlike most Hoka trainers, the Kailua is quite snug from the heel to the forefoot with adequate room for the toes to splay. The wraparound fit gives it runners a really nice feeling of security and foothold to pick up their pace with every run. Hoka retails the shoe under the medium width. The Hoka One One Kailua is exclusive for women's; it is available in sizes 4 to 11.

A full-contact outsole made of Lightweight High-Abrasion Rubber provides sufficient traction for runners to take their runs from the road to the trail. It is made of long-lasting compound for more durability as well. The outsole also shows moderately-aggressive lugs for versatile grip on different terrains.

Although the Hoka Kailua does not carry the same volume in cushioning, the midsole is massive enough for the “Bucket Seat” system to work. The foot, as it sinks into the oversized cushioning, is effectively guided for more stability and effective heel to forefoot movements. Providing decent midsole durability and responsiveness is a high-grade injection-molded EVA that runs from the back to the front. Meanwhile, for a more minimalist feel, trail runners might want to consider the Merrell Trail Glove 5, which is also race-ready.

Hoka’s signature Meta-Rocker construction gives the shoe a rolling motion and moves the runner from landing to takeoff with more ease and effectiveness.

The seamless upper supports an AirMesh that is very breathable while bonded TPU overlays provide just enough support and structure. A reinforced toe cap gives it enhanced protection against toe bruising when running on light trails. Hoka made the ankle and the tongue very well-padded for exceptional comfort.


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.