- Light as a feather
- Smooth and responsive ride
- Protective cushioning
- Great for speedwork
- Suitable for long distances
- Performs consistently in the cold
- Extremely breathable
- High-quality, durable upper
- Grippy outsole
- A blister magnet for wide feet
- Thin tongue doesn’t stay in place
- Lace bites
Who should buy
We recommend the Hoka Rincon 3 as a great option for:
- Runners of all skill levels looking for a versatile and lightweight daily trainer
- Speed freaks looking to challenge their PRs or train for a race
- Fans of long distances who need a responsive and well-cushioned road shoe
- Casual runners looking for a shoe that can convert anything from jogs to sprints to walks
- Cold-climate runners who want a shoe that performs consistently no matter the weather
Who should NOT buy
Boasting a rather robust stack means that we didn’t get much ground feel during our test runs in the Rincon 3. For runners who prefer being more in touch with the road beneath, we recommend the similarly lightweight Brooks Hyperion as an alternative.
The toebox isn’t exceptionally narrow, but the stiffness of the jacquard mesh upper means that it doesn’t stretch very much. This combination means that this shoe will definitely be a blister magnet for those with wide feet. It will likely even pose a challenge to those with normal-width feet towards the end of long-distance runs when the feet tend to swell up. Luckily the Rincon 3 comes in a wide option or, alternatively, we recommend the Brooks Launch 10 as a roomier option that can also go the distance.
The Rincon 3’s upper looks worryingly solid and smooth, with almost no visible perforations to speak of. As such, we tempered our expectations as we started the smoke test. To our great surprise, the Rincon 3 quickly becomes a chimney; churning out smoke in a constant thick plume throughout the shoe. As a result, we give the shoe a well-earned perfect 5 out of 5 for breathability, making it a great training partner for runs on hot summer days.
Compare that to how the Adidas Runfalcon performed in the same test, proving to be more of a toaster than a shoe.
Inspecting a backlit cross-section of the Rincon 3’s upper, it’s incredible to see how translucent the toebox is compared to the rest of the shoe. This is especially impressive considering how uniform the material looks from a distance.
Our breathtaking microscope shot reveals that the upper is made of two layers of mesh. The dark layer on top consists of beautifully woven, evenly-spaced braids with lots of space for airflow. This layer features almost imperceptible streaks that open up to an even airier mesh underneath that heat can easily vent through. In hindsight, we shouldn’t have been so shocked by the shoe’s top-notch performance in our previous test.
Spinning at 5K RPM, we pressed our Dremel’s grinding element against the Rincon 3’s toebox with 3.2N of force. The tool immediately shreds into the upper mesh and makes confetti out of it. Not a promising sign.
However, upon assessing the damage in the aftermath of the four-second test, we were pleasantly surprised to find that we hadn’t wreaked as much havoc as anticipated. With a flimsy layer of mesh still insulating our toes from the elements, the Rincon 3 marginally outperforms many of the shoes that have contended with this test, earning it a 2 out of 5 for toebox durability.
For a truly abysmal performance, check out the ASICS GT 1000 12. It was left with a crater big enough to poke one of our piggies through.
Heel padding durability
We unleashed our Dremel against the heel counter next and were impressed by how much it resisted our merciless tool. Apart from a little bit of the lining being rolled aside at the onset, the test turned out rather anticlimactic. This above-average performance leads us to give the Rincon 3 a very respectable 4 out of 5 for heel padding durability.
We therefore have no reservations about going for sockless runs in this shoe as it will take a lot more than a little friction to beat this burly lining.
For contrast, have a look at the crater our Dremel left in the Hoka Gaviota 4’s heel counter
Giving us a durometer reading of 81.8 HC makes the Rincon 3’s outsole only slightly harder than our current lab average. Based on our findings so far in the lab so far, this implies a good balance between traction and durability, the latter of which will be tested next.
For a more in-depth look at outsole materials and their effects, check out this article that explores the matter using data we’ve uncovered over the course of testing more than a hundred running shoes.
|Rincon 3||81.8 HC|
Firing up the Dremel for its third and final appearance, this time spinning at 10K RPM, we applied it to the Rincon 3’s outsole. After a bit of a rocky start, our tool was eventually able to bite into the outsole and begin wreaking havoc, casting aside rather large chunks of rubber by the end of the twenty-second test.
Once the dust had settled, we used a tire gauge to assess the damage and found that we had shorn off 0.84 mm of material from the outsole. This is slightly better than our current lab average, which means that we expect the shoe’s outsole to easily last 400 miles before any major signs of wear and tear.
|Rincon 3||0.8 mm|
The Rincon 3’s outsole is right on par with our current average for road shoes at 3.4 mm thick according to our caliper. With the performance of its rubber in our previous test, this doesn’t give us much cause for concern regarding its durability.
However, the zonal coverage of the outsole means that the Rincon 3 has lots of exposed foam at the bottom of the shoe. So while the outsole should last, we can’t confidently say the same for the integrity of the midsole over time.
|Rincon 3||3.4 mm|
For a shoe with a healthy stack, it’s quite off-putting how light the Rincon 3 feels when picking it up for the first time. At only 7.35 oz (208g) according to our scale, the Rincon 3 isn’t just lighter than the average road shoe, it rivals many racing shoes on the market! This gives the shoe a barely-there sensation underfoot that makes it extremely conducive to torching the tarmac for speedy sessions.
|Rincon 3||7.34 oz (208g)|
|Average||9.42 oz (267g)|
Using our caliper, we measured the Rincon 3’s stack to be 31.8 mm thick at the heel. This marks a discrepancy with Hoka’s officially stated 29 mm. While this isn’t quite as thick as our current lab average, it still provides heel stickers with plenty of protective foam underfoot to ensure well-cushioned landings over any distance.
|Rincon 3||31.8 mm|
The forefoot stack measurement of 24 mm provided by Hoka proves to be only slightly more accurate, with our caliper turning up a stack height of 25.6 mm. This is higher than our current lab average and means that forefoot strikers will also enjoy an ample amount of foam underfoot to dampen their landings.
|Rincon 3||25.6 mm|
While advertised as sporting a 5 mm offset, the difference in our accurate stack measurements leaves the shoe with an actual drop height of 6.6 mm. However, this inaccuracy is quite small (compared to others we’ve found) and still classifies the Rincon 3 as a mid-drop shoe, so only highly-attuned runners will notice this discrepancy. This heel drop is quite versatile and will suit the needs of a wide variety of runners whether heel or midfoot/forefoot strikers.
|Rincon 3||6.2 mm|
We measured the Rincon 3’s insole at only 2 mm thick which is much more meager than our current lab average. Adding another millimeter or so would have been greatly appreciated as a complement to the midsole cushioning. However, this is easily remedied by replacing the insole with a more substantial one.
|Rincon 3||2.0 mm|
The Rincon 3’s midsole gives us a durometer reading of 23.4 HA, which is right on par with our current lab average.
While it does initially feel a little firmer than that underfoot (possibly as a result of the hard rubber outsole) the shoe’s cushioning does a great job of softening the impact of our landings during our test runs.
While the Rincon 3’s midsole feels reactive, it doesn’t provide the energetic bounce that characterizes the foams found in most modern speed trainers. Rather, its curved meta-rocker design is the Rincon 3’s subtle ace in the hole.
By having the midsole curve upwards significantly so far up toward the toes, the shoe facilitates quick and smooth transitions onto our forefoot. This helps to improve our cadence and encourages us to run faster
|Rincon 3||23.4 HA|
Difference in midsole softness in cold
We placed the Rincon 3 in our freezer to observe the effects of cold conditions on the midsole. After twenty minutes, we pressed our durometer against the midsole once more and this time got a reading of 28.4 HA. This is softer than the average shoe under similar conditions and means that the Rincon 3 should still provide a protective, albeit somewhat firm, level of cushioning even during the most frigid runs.
Becoming only 21.4% firmer in the cold, the Rincon 3’s midsole is more consistent than the average road shoe. As such, we don’t expect the shoe to feel too different underfoot as the seasons change.
Lateral stability test
The Rincon 3 feels remarkably well-planted when shifting our weight from side to side in the shoe. While it’s not as supportive as dedicated stability shoes, the Rincon 3 should be stable enough for runners with slight overpronation in their stride.
We could barely get the Rincon 3 to budge as we tried to bend and twist the shoe in our hands. This leads us to give the shoe a maximum score of 5 out of 5 for torsional rigidity, putting the shoe on par with stiff, carbon-plated shoes. This level of rigidity keeps the shoe’s base as level as possible, thus ensuring that we have an extremely stable landing surface during our test runs.
Heel counter stiffness
The heel counter, conversely, was rather easy to manipulate as we probed and squeezed on it during our manual assessment. This leads us to give the Rincon 3 a heel counter stiffness score of 2 out of 5. This is a good level for a daily trainer as it comfortably holds the rearfoot in place without putting pressure on our heel or tendons. The generous padding in the well-shaped heel cup also serves to securely hold our foot in place without the heel counter having to be so stiff.
Midsole width in the forefoot
We measured the Rincon 3’s midsole to be 113.2 mm wide at the forefoot, which is right on par with our current lab average. This means that we had an adequately broad surface to ensure stable landings and toe-offs during our test runs.
|Rincon 3||113.2 mm|
Midsole width in the heel
We found the midsole to be wider than average at the heel, measuring 95.7 mm wide according to our caliper.
This means that heel strikers have a nice and wide landing surface that should keep them feeling surefooted even when accelerating or taking speedy corners.
|Rincon 3||95.7 mm|
To assess the shoe’s flexibility, we secured the Rincon 3 to our workbench and measured the amount of force needed to bend it 90 degrees. Requiring only 19.1N to torque the shoe to the appropriate point makes the Rincon 3 much more flexible than the average road shoe. This gives the shoe a forgiving ride that easily bends along with our foot rather than resisting and battering it during our stride. As a result, our feet remained feeling fresh even after punishing high-paced sessions.
While the Rincon 3 is certainly a reactive and energy-efficient shoe, this level of flexibility doesn’t provide the propulsive energy return that stiffer shoes tend to have. For a more modern feeling speed trainer that can shoulder some of the burden of speedwork, we recommend the explosively fast Saucony Endorphin Speed 3 with its somewhat stiff nylon plate, or the rigid and race-ready speed demon armed with a carbon plate; the ASICS Metaspeed Edge+.
Difference in stiffness in cold
We repeated our flex test after leaving the Rincon 3 in the freezer for twenty minutes and found that 23.2N of force was required to bend the cold shoe to the same point. This is still remarkably flexible compared to the average road shoe under similar conditions. In fact, it’s more flexible than average at room temperature too! As such, the Rincon 3 should feel just as easy on the foot during frosty and difficult winter sessions as it does in the summertime when living is easy.
Becoming only 21.5% stiffer in the cold makes the Rincon 3 much more consistent than the average road shoe between warm and cold. In practical terms, this means that the shoe should deliver a ride that feels comfortable and smooth all year round.
Grip / Traction
We experienced great traction during our test runs in the Rincon 3. The subtle tread on the outsole really allowed us to bite into the asphalt and kept us surefooted at high speeds. Even wet surfaces weren’t cause for much concern in this shoe.
Size and fit
Toebox width at the widest part
Using our caliper, we measured the Rincon 3’s toebox to be 97.2 mm wide at its widest point, which is right on par with our current lab average. While not ideal for wide-footed runners, this should suit runners with narrow to normal-width feet just fine. However, as briefly mentioned earlier, the unforgiving jacquard mesh means that the foot doesn’t have much room to go in the event of swelling, making hotspots during long-distance runs a distinct likelihood for most runners.
|Rincon 3||97.2 mm|
Toebox width at the big toe
Moving up to the area around the big toe, we found that the Rincon 3 doesn’t taper as much as the average road shoe. At 78.4 mm wide according to our caliper, the toebox is slightly roomier than average at that part of the shoe. This means that we had enough space for our toes to splay out comfortably during our test runs.
|Rincon 3||78.4 mm|
Tongue: gusset type
The Rincon 3‘s non-gusseted tongue turns out to be one of the shoe’s key downfalls. It kept sliding over to one side during our test runs sometimes, even slipping below the lace line at times and exposing our instep to lace bite.
The omission of a gusset is a common weight-saving measure used by manufacturers but, on a daily trainer that’s already lighter than many racing flats, we think the addition of a semi-gusset of sorts would have greatly improved the Rincon 3’s comfort without jeopardizing the shoe’s feathery nature.
At 2.9 mm thick according to our caliper, the Rincon 3’s tongue is much less padded than the average road shoe. This scant padding also doesn’t help with keeping the tongue in place nor protecting us from lace bite during our test runs.
The Brooks Hyperion is another lightweight, speedy daily trainer with a slightly beefier tongue that we recommend to those who prefer more comfort around the instep. It’s semi-gusseted to boot, so slippage wasn’t an issue either.
|Rincon 3||2.9 mm|
A skinny string forms a roomy and convenient finger loop on the Rincon 3’s heel counter and maintains the shoe’s lightweight yet functional motif. While it seems like it might be quite flimsy, we’re happy to report that we haven’t snapped either of them after taking the shoes on and off plenty of times over the course of testing it.
|Rincon 3||Finger loop|
The Rincon 3’s insole isn’t glued in so it’s easy to replace with custom orthotics where necessary.
With no reflective elements to be found on the shoe, we recommend that runners looking to burn the midnight oil stick to well-lit routes and/or use additional high-vis gear.