Summary

We spent 8.2 hours reading reviews from experts and users. In summary, this is what runners think:

7 reasons to buy

  • Many runners commented that the Hoka One One Tracer 2 was suitably lightweight.
  • Most testers stated that the upper unit hugged the foot like a glove, giving a secure yet agreeable coverage.
  • The underfoot foam unit was lauded for offering responsive cushioning.
  • Several purchasers noted that the sole unit didn’t have an excessive thickness, which apparently caused this shoe to look more appealing.
  • According to a few people, the toe-box was noticeably spacious compared to the tight one in the previous model.
  • The overall performance and versatility of the Tracer 2 were appreciated by
  • ‘Comfortable’ was a word that was frequently used to describe the experience with this shoe.

2 reasons not to buy

  • The cushioning felt stiff, according to a tester. He thought that it didn’t accommodate the natural bending of his foot.
  • It was uncomfortably tight, a runner complained. It caused him to return the shoe.

Bottom line

The Hoka One One Tracer 2 received positive feedback from most of those who have tested it. They liked this Hoka One One road running shoe’s performance, its versatility, and the effectiveness of its components. But there were those who had opposite experiences. For them, it did not live up to their expectation. Despite the complaints, the Tracer 2 was still a terrific neutral running companion for the majority.

Facts

Terrain: Road
Arch support: Neutral
Weight: Men: 7.7oz | Women: 6.7oz
Heel to toe drop: Men: 4mm | Women: 4mm
Pronation: Neutral Pronation
Arch type: High arch
Material: Vegan
Strike Pattern: Forefoot strike
Distance: Competition
Heel height: Men: 22mm | Women: 21mm
Forefoot height: Men: 18mm | Women: 17mm
Release date: Jul 2017
Brand: Hoka One One
Type: Low drop
Width: Men: Normal | Women: Normal
Price: $130
Colorways: Blue, Purple, Red, Yellow
Size
Small True to size Large
See more facts

Rankings

A top rated Road running shoe
Better rated than the previous version Hoka One One Tracer

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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94 / 100 based on 2 expert reviews

  • 93 / 100 | Mark Clements

    A speedy racing shoe: The Hoka One One Tracer 2

    More photos

    I am a 41-year-old neutral runner with a mid-foot strike, about 165 pounds and 6’ 1” tall. I race all distances, from 5ks to Marathons, and spend at least half of my year training for an upcoming marathon.

    Cushioned for the Older Runners...

    My older brother is a firm believer and promoter of “Hoka Nation” and has been after me to give them a try.

    He swears that as we get older (he’s in his mid-40’s) we need a more cushioned shoe if we plan to run marathons, especially in our struggle to race a Boston Qualifying standard. His theory is that, as we put in more and more miles on the road, we wear our bodies down, which makes it necessary to run with more cushioning under our feet.

    I could not disagree with him, so, as I approached the peak of my marathon training, I purchased a pair of the Hoka One One Tracer 2.

    My intention for this shoe was to use it for 2 runs per week: my Monday track workouts, and my Thursday interval workouts. I also intended to run a half marathon race in them, in order to test their performance abilities.

    Here, you can see a screenshot of my training log for the Hoka Tracer 2: 

     

    Out of the Box

    The Tracer 2s were pretty stiff out of the box, not very plush around the foot, and definitely not very flexible.

    They did appear to have extreme cushioning underfoot, but less toward the forefoot.

     

     

    The softness of the foam is somewhere between the New Balance Fresh Foam and Altra Escalante; that is, there is a little give to the touch, but not much.

    The shoelaces were clownish yellow and extremely long! I ended up removing the long yellow laces and replaced them with shorter black laces.

    Other than that, they felt comfortable enough. The shoe is very lightweight, so I knew I would be reaping some benefits in speed where I lost some benefits of added plushness in the upper.

    The toe box was spacious enough for me, though narrower than I was accustomed to in Altra shoes.

     

     

     

    On the Road

    I ran a few easy runs at first to try and break them in a bit before I tested them out on speed workouts. Immediately I noticed that the Tracer 2 really encourages a mid-foot landing and fore-foot push off.

    The design of the outsole, namely, a thicker cushion on the heel and mid-foot, and thinning cushioning as the shoe goes forward to the toes, urged me to push off with explosive power in the faster intervals.

    Another note on the road: Since the shoe is so lightweight, I noticed that it felt as if it became part of my foot, which allowed me to run with greater assurance on uneven surfaces.

    I did not have one instance of a twisted ankle or foot while running in these shoes.

     

    On the Track

    Everything that is great about the Tracer 2 on the road is exponentially amplified on the track.

    Aside from a racing flat, this is an absolutely perfect shoe for Track Mondays. I found the Tracer 2 to be extremely responsive on the track. The contour of the outsole is perfectly designed for speed.

    The upper is lightweight and breathable, almost unnoticeable.

    In The Race

    As part of my training for the upcoming Dallas Marathon, I ran the McKinney Half Marathon in the Hoka Tracer 2.

    I am considering running the full Marathon in these shoes, so I wanted to get a good idea of how they would perform. The race was hot and humid, and though I did not set a personal record, I did win my division with a time of 1:30:45.

    I was moderately pleased with the performance of the shoes. The breathable upper allowed all the moisture in the wet and humid race to escape unnoticed.

    While they are great at faster paces, I found myself fatigued during the latter half of the race, the thick heel seemed to get in my way. While I understand it was related to my failing running form as I became exhausted, the shoe felt a bit cumbersome.

    Again, I would prefer less of an obtrusive cushion in the heel, less of a heel-to-toe drop, and an overall smaller shoe, at least during races.

     

    Pros

    • Great outsole shape for better running form 
    • Lightweight and breathable for top performance
    • Supreme cushioning compared to other racing shoes
    • Great color option in red

    Cons

    • Gigantically long clown shoelaces
    • Too much cushioning foam for slower paces

    Conclusion

    I have not decided whether or not I will race the full marathon in the Hoka One One Tracer 2. I’m not sure I will be happy with the feeling during the later miles of the marathon as my legs fatigue.

    The cushioning is definitely supreme, especially in correlation with its overall weight. I am definitely pleased with the shoe’s performance in speed. The toe-off is powerful due to the contour of the outsole.

    That being said, I am afraid the shoe would become cumbersome in the latter miles of a full marathon.

    I am not fully persuaded to jump on the Hoka bandwagon.

    Nonetheless, I gave the Tracer 2 a high score for it's supreme cushioning in a lightweight racing shoe & for its exceptional design meant to enhance toe-off speed.

    This expert has been verified by RunRepeat. Reviews are neutral, unbiased and based on extensive testing.

  • 95 / 100 | Magen Brailey

    Road Racing Tracer 2 by Hoka One One

    More photos

    The color palette of this specific shoe, “Citrus Cyan”, is not my favorite Hoka color combination. It is available in another color called “Sea Angel Blue” that I find much more appealing.

     

     

    The midsole and cushion along the sides are thinner compared to other Hoka models, such as the Clifton and the Bondi, giving it a less bulky look and feel.

    Durability

    This shoe has held up magnificently over the past 400+ miles that I have tested it.

    When first receiving the shoe, I expected the soft-looking sole to wear down quickly, especially if it was ever taken off the road. Yet, it has held up very well.

    The sole consists of two parts. One is the more durable rubber, placed strategically in the spots that wear the most. The other part is the characteristic Hoka soft foam, which is set in all the right places.

    The image below shows the wear on the shoe after 400+ miles.

     

     

    During runs, the cushioned feeling never dissipated throughout the shoe. It has held up for every distance including long runs of up to 18 miles. And, I never felt like the shoe was breaking down from its cushioned performance.

    The outer mesh has not shown any signs of tears or holes and looks practically brand new. There is also a convenient loop on the backs of the shoes that helps when slipping the shoe on and off.

    One of the only drawbacks I noticed was that the colors of the shoe bled after I ran with it in the rain. The dye from the laces appears to have bled into the shoe's upper part, as shown in the image below.

     

    Comfort

    The Tracer 2 offers a large amount of cushion packed into a lighter weight shoe. It has the Hoka plush cloud-like cushion that I crave on longer runs.

    This shoe has a quite narrow feeling from the heel through the midfoot and up to the toe box. This is beneficial for someone like me who has a narrow foot but might be something to keep in mind for others who prefer a wider shoe.

     

     

    Never at any point of my runs did I feel like my feet were slipping or like I would develop a blister anywhere.

    I appreciated the level of cushioning along the shoes' sides underneath both sides of the ankle. It provided a new type of support and stability I have never noticed in another shoe.

    The Tracer 2 sports the rocker shape that allows a heel to toe transition that makes your running feel more flawless.

    I found that it made my calves feel unwelcomingly sore the first few runs. So, I needed to work my way up to mileage in them and alternate them with another pair of shoes for the first two weeks of use.

    Terrain

    I tested these shoes in practically every condition possible. The rubber diamond patterns on the soles prevented any slippage during rainy runs, even in wet grass.

     

     

    Hoka advertises these shoes as a road shoe, which is something I can attest to myself as I did not enjoy running on trails in this shoe.

    Since the Tracer is very cushioned and softer feeling, when I ran on gravel roads or trails with larger rocks, I felt every rock and pebble, which caused instability and some irritation or hot spots in my feet.

    Conclusion

    After the initial two weeks of breaking these shoes in, I quickly fell in love with them. They are my go-to shoe for practically every type of run, and I find that they work exceptionally well on faster pace workouts.

    I feel as though I can run more naturally and efficiently in these shoes. I would use these shoes for any distance race.

    The Hoka Tracer 2 is not comparable to any other shoe I have ever worn. It has a similar soft feeling as the Saucony Kinvara but with more structure and response, which is something I have found I need for longer runs and races.

    Likes

    • Cushioned and responsive
    • Great for any distance/workout
    • Durable
    • Slim and fast looking

    Dislikes

    • Few color variations
    • Color leaking/bleeding

    This expert has been verified by RunRepeat. Reviews are neutral, unbiased and based on extensive testing.

  • First look | Running Warehouse | Level 3 expert

  • First look | Canadian Running Magazine | Level 5 expert

Become an expert

  • The basic design of the Hoka One One Tracer 2 is mostly similar to its predecessor, the first of the series. The changes are subtle, but they were possible thanks to the feedback given by the consumers for the original Tracer model. Now, the toe box is expanded to accommodate sure toe-splay; the collar is much thicker to hold the heel more securely, and a heel tab has been added to facilitate easy on-and-off.
  • The midsole unit of this shoe still has the same technologies as its antecedent. The purpose of these features is to provide a comfortable underfoot experience throughout the running session. Rubber shields the rest of the foam platform from wear and tear.

The Hoka One One Tracer 2 has a standard running shoe length. It accommodates the regular sizing preferences of runners. Regarding width, the choices are D – Medium for men and B – Medium for women. Its semi-curved shape mimics the natural curve of the human foot.

Similar to the well known Hoka One One Arahi 2, this shoe uses High-Abrasion Lightweight Rubber which is strategically placed in the high-wear areas of the outsole to protect the foam platform from the potentially abrasive nature of the roads. It also delivers traction.

The RMAT component is made using a blend of rubber and EVA. Placed just before the anti-abrasion rubber, it serves to add a bit more cushioning and surface grip.

The Pro2Lite +10 is a foam unit that has a unique construction. It’s firmer in the forefoot section so that it could facilitate a more propelled toe-off and softer in the back area to enable a spongy and springy ride.

The Early Stage Meta-Rocker Geometry is a design that principally arcs the underside of the midsole. Its purpose is to make the transitions from the heel to the toe more agreeable and much speedier.

A Molded Ortholite Sockliner is placed right above the primary foam system. It adds a bit more cushioning. It also cushions the curves of the underfoot, thereby giving support to areas that aren’t usually given notice.

Engineered Mesh is the main fabric of the Hoka One One Tracer 2. It looks like cloth and its properties are like cloth: it’s soft, flexible and lightweight. Ventilation pores allow air to enter the foot-chamber, cooling the foot and keeping it dry.

The 3D Puff Print Frame is an overlay system that adds structure to the upper and provides secure lockdown for the foot. It’s made out of a thin material that doesn’t affect the weight of the shoe. It even has patterns that make it look more contemporary and appealing.

Comparison

Author
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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.

jens@runrepeat.com