History of Hoka One One running shoes
What sets Hoka One One apart from other brands, is that their product had always been running shoes. Unlike the other shoe manufacturers who started their industry by making hiking shoes, trail equipment, or activewear, Hoka One One had always set their goal as producing running shoes. Specifically, Hoka One One running shoes for gravity sports.
The brand’s founders, Jean-Luc Diard and Nicolas Mermoud, had begun in 2009 with their idea of designing a running shoe that would enable a faster and more efficient movement on trails, particularly downhill slopes, while still offering maximum cushion and retaining minimal weight. They were keen on this concept primarily because they were from the French Alps, which meant they were involved in many types of gravity sports, including trail running.
Interestingly, Jean-Luc and Nicolas were both parts of another running shoe manufacturer, and initially only made their own design for their personal use. However, as other people noticed and took an interest in their creation, they made the decision to venture into their own line of running shoes: with thicker, softer soles compared to typical running gear. Thus, in 2010, Hoka One One was born. The name is after a Maori phrase that means “fly over the earth,” and they felt it was fitting because their products are aimed to make downhill running faster.
Popular Hoka One One running shoe models
Although Hoka running shoes first started as trail running gear that is meant for the trails, they have since expanded to include running shoes for the road as well. Today, here are some of the popular Hoka One One running shoe models:
Introduced in 2014, the Clifton is a well-cushioned Hoka One One running shoe that has become popular with athletes all over the world for its soft and smooth platform and its lightweight structure. With its fifth iteration, the Clifton has continued to serve as a running shoe with a stable base yet the right amount of squishiness.
The Bondi series includes a line of Hoka One One running shoes that are designed to traverse the roads with its balanced and seamless ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) midsole. This shoe is marketed towards a wide range of runners, from the injury-prone to the elite expert. In its sixth version, the Bondi promises a consistent and ride that provides comfort all throughout.
Also a road-running shoe, the Tracer is a Hoka One One running shoe that aims to perform in competitions, with its light and fast design. This Hoka One running shoe is built with the brand’s signature PROFLY™ midsole, which makes it nimble, responsive, and dynamic. The Tracer offers protection and performance edge during quick paces.
The Speedgoat is a trail running shoe with a design inspired by Karl Meltzer, the record-holder for the most 100-mile race wins. This Hoka One One running shoe promises a lightweight package that is built to handle all kinds of trail surfaces, thanks to its durable, aggressive outsole and Vibram® lugs. During its second version, the Speedgoat services the ultra-marathoner, as it features a more extensive sole unit and improved overall fit for a guaranteed soft ride with lots of protection.
Another Hoka running shoe for the outdoors is the Challenger ATR, which is known for its versatility, as it is a shoe that can be taken from the road to the trail. The Challenger ATR is constructed with a unique midsole geometry that guarantees a smooth ride and a fast pace on various surfaces. The fifth iteration of the Challenger ATR has a redesigned upper for enhanced lockdown and lateral and medial security.
The Mafate is a Hoka One One trail running shoe meant for overpronators as it offers additional arch support that performs excellently on long-distance runs. This Hoka One One running shoe has an alternative version for neutral runners, called the Mafate Speed, which provides more flexibility and cushioning, thus making it perfect for high-arched feet.
Another Hoka One One running shoe that is marketed as a versatile footwear, the Stinson ATR is built for the long haul. With its aim to implement an easy run on a variety of terrain, the Stinson ATR features a maximalist structure that is packed with the necessary technology for a seamless stride and optimum performance.
Notable technologies of Hoka One One running shoes
The various techniques that are unique to Hoka One One running shoes are efficient, reliable, and guarantee to help provide the user with a fantastic running experience. These features are also improved continuously to ensure their optimal utility. Here are some of the essential proprietary technologies of Hoka One One running shoes:
Arguably the most popular feature among the Hoka shoe technologies is the Meta-Rocker. The Meta-Rocker refers to the design, or, more specifically, the geometry of the midsole. Hoka One running shoes with the Meta-Rocker technology have a low heel-toe midsole differential and is sculpted in such a way that it produces a fulcrum effect during movement—similar to a rocking chair.
With the Meta-Rocker, the runner’s natural form is supported, and an efficient, smooth transition is promoted. The design comes in two varieties: the early-stage Meta-Rocker, wherein the transition zone is placed behind the metatarsals, encouraging a faster heel-to-toe movement. Meanwhile, the Hoka One running shoes with the late-stage Meta-Rocker sets the transition zone in front of the metatarsals, enabling more stable forefoot support.
Active Foot Frame
Another midsole feature of Hoka One One running shoes is the Active Foot Frame. This technology comes in the form of an oversized, marshmallow-like unit, and works by accommodating the foot deeper in the midsole rather than on top of it. This technique results in a more stable ride, as well as improved underfoot support. Both of these benefits result in better endurance for long-distance runs.
The Active Foot Frame also protects the Hoka One One running shoe at its edges, preventing debris and any consequential damages from occurring.
When it comes to outsoles, Hoka One One running shoes also have their proprietary materials, and one of these is the RMAT. This fairly new tech is a combination of rubber and ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) foam. The result is a unique material that has a higher elasticity, greater durability, and enhanced grip; these properties equip the Hoka One running shoe with more strength. Therefore, the runner’s performance goes higher.
The EVA foam in the RMAT outsole also gives the Hoka One One running shoe with a responsive quality, thanks to its lightweight property that enables bounciness. Meanwhile, the rubber in the compound allows the outsole to be durable; it reduces the chances of wear and tear.
Usually accompanying the Active Foot Frame, the J-Frame is another support structure that delivers the necessary hold and protection, while also guiding the foot as it moves, particularly in stability running shoes. Dubbed the Dynamic Stability, the benefit given by the J-Frame system makes the Hoka One One running shoe effectively corrects overpronation.
Compared to other similar technologies, the J-Frame is made from ultra-comfortable materials, ensuring a lightweight yet firm efficiency. It is located in the medial side of the shoe that curves at the heel, forming a letter J, hence the name.
The PROFLY is a midsole component of some Hoka One One running shoes, which comes in the form of a dual-density foam: soft foam in the heel for cushioned landings, and firm foam in the forefoot for responsive toe-offs. Such a design allows for reduced pressure, especially when landing on hard and rough surfaces. It also enables light and bouncy strides, which contributes to smoother transitions and more logged miles.
What makes Hoka One One running shoes unique
While each and every brand strive to make their running shoes distinct and outstanding, Hoka One One running shoes have their particular way of ensuring brand recall and loyalty from consumers. These running shoes:
- Have a unique design. One of the most undeniably unique things about Hoka One One running shoes is the appearance. The brand is well-known for maximalist-style running shoes that have an oversized sole unit. This design appeals to runners who are after maximum cushioning and underfoot support. With the ultra-plush midsoles of Hoka One running shoes, durability and responsiveness are guaranteed.
- Have focused technologies. Because Hoka One One running shoes have midsole-focused designs, it should make sense that their proprietary shoe technologies are also concentrated on the same area. The materials developed by Hoka One One are intended to enhance the functionality of the sole unit.
- Have a growing popularity. Because the brand is relatively young compared to other running shoe manufacturers, Hoka One One gets an edge as being fresh and new, and typically more appealing to younger generations. Being new to the industry, Hoka One One gets many opportunities and ideas to market their products to consumers, therefore more likely to be noticed.
- Are reasonably priced. Although some consumers would be skeptical that Hoka One One running shoes are expensive, many others would find that these shoes are priced just right, considering their structure, features, and technologies. Also, some of the shoes produced by the brand are meant for a specific type of market, who are willing to spend as much as the shoes are priced.
Hoka One One at present
Despite being a relatively new participant in the running shoe industry, Hoka One One has successfully made its mark in the world of fitness enthusiasts and activewear consumers alike. In 2012, Hoka One One was acquired by Deckers Brands, and they now operate as a subsidiary of the group.
Currently, the brand continues to produce shoes that retain their signature structure of low weight-to-cushion ratio, maximalist sole unit, and unique-shaped midsoles that all contribute to an efficient gait cycle and forward propulsion. Their shoes also guarantee the cushioning that will protect legs and feet against the shock from running long distances. Hoka One One offers running shoes for men and women that have the perfect combination of maximum cushioning and lightweight structure.
With its uniquely functional design, Hoka One One running shoes have attracted athletes who are prone to injuries, as well as ultrarunners, who average in 200-mile races. Hoka One One running shoes also serve a variety of professional athletes as their sponsor. They also have sponsorship deals with professional training groups, the Northern Arizona Elite, and the New Jersey Track Club, to name a few.
Frequently asked questions
Does Hoka One One have minimalist running shoes?
Hoka One One running shoes are well-known for having high stack heights and low-drop midsoles. That said, the brand currently does not offer minimalist running shoes. Their lowest shoe, the Evo Jawz, is at a 21-mm heel height, with a 3-mm drop, still quite high and not considered a minimalist running shoe.
How are Hoka One One running shoes cleaned?
Because the componentry of Hoka One One running shoes is midsole-focused, it is important to pay attention when cleaning them. The massive structure of Hoka One One running shoes requires a particular care of handwashing them, as the force of a washing machine might damage its construction.
When handwashing, use mild soap or detergent, and cold water only. These keep the structure of the shoe intact and prevents it from getting damaged. It is also important to air dry the shoe, away from sunlight or other sources of direct heat.
What other products does Hoka One One offer?
Aside from running shoes, Hoka One One also has other products that are marketed towards sports and fitness enthusiasts. Some of these are different types of footwear, including fitness shoes, hiking shoes, walking shoes, and recovery sandals. The brand also sells activewear, such as shirts, tank tops, jackets, tights, sweatpants, and shorts.
Hoka One One also carries accessories that may be used with their running shoes. These include socks, race vests, waist packs, and caps. Other types of gear that are sold by the brand are drinking bottles.
15 best Hoka One One running shoes
- Hoka One One Clifton 1
- Hoka One One Torrent
- Hoka One One Tracer 2
- Hoka One One Clifton 5
- Hoka One One Hupana
- Hoka One One Gaviota
- Hoka One One Bondi 6
- Hoka One One Clifton 5 Knit
- Hoka One One Arahi 2
- Hoka One One Speedgoat 2
- Hoka One One Tor Ultra Hi WP
- Hoka One One Bondi 5
- Hoka One One Hupana 2
- Hoka One One Cavu
- Hoka One One Arahi
A score from 1 to 100 that summarizes opinions from users and experts. The average CoreScore is 78. More...