Our verdict

The Hoka Mafate Three2 is a rare blend of two shoes—the Mafate 2 and 3, combining its midsole and upper. We found that this unique mix offers a maximalist, cushioned experience suitable for occasional trail running and regular walking. However, we think its significant weight, steep price, and snug fit may not appeal to serious trail runners seeking a lighter, more agile shoe.

Pros

  • Unique mix of two shoes
  • Serves as casual retro footwear
  • Accurate heel-to-toe drop
  • Exceptional Vibram outsole
  • Outstanding durability
  • Maximal cushioning
  • Excellent stability
  • Breathable

Cons

  • Lacks reflective elements
  • Quite heavy
  • Only for narrow feet

Audience verdict

87
Great!

Who should buy

After our batch of tests, we believe the Hoka Mafate Three2 is a solid choice for:

  • Those seeking a durable, retro-inspired shoe for walks and easy trail runs.
  • Runners who prioritise comfort, grip and durability, despite the extra weight and higher price.
  • Individuals with narrow feet looking for a snug, ultra-comfy fit with ample padding and effective ventilation.

Hoka Mafate Three2

Who should NOT buy

We've found the Hoka Mafate Three2 carries some deal-breaking features. Its substantial weight could turn away many runners, so for those seeking a similar cushioned ride with a low drop, we recommend the Mafate Speed 4—overall, a lighter and more agile choice for running.

Moreover, we believe this shoe is too narrow for most, limiting its appeal. If you're looking for a roomier trail shoe with a low-drop configuration, we suggest checking out the Altra Lone Peak 8, which offers a more accommodating fit and a 0-mm offset.

Hoka Mafate Three2 parts

Breathability

In the lab, we often speculate about a shoe's breathability before testing (just for fun), and with the Three2, it felt like hitting the jackpot was just as unpredictable. We decided the only way to know was to dive into the tests.

We started with the smoke test—a pleasant surprise that demonstrated optimal ventilation, scoring the Three2 a 4 out of 5. This was an encouraging start, no more guessing needed.

Next, we examined the sliced shoe under the light, revealing an unusual combination of paper-thin mesh and incredibly thick reinforcements. This unique structure efficiently expels hot air, keeping the shoe breathable.

Hoka Mafate Three2 microscope

Using our microscope, we discovered that Hoka used a mesh that mixes different yarns, hinting at potentially impressive results in our upcoming durability test with the Dremel.

Hoka Mafate Three2 micro 2

Finally, we assessed the upper by hand.

We can confirm it's exceptionally padded—easily one of the cushiest uppers we've encountered recently in the lab!

Test results
Mafate Three2 4
Average 3.3
Compared to 76 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Breathability
5

Durability

Toebox durability

The toe cap is excellently shielded with hot melt overlays, so we were quite optimistic about our Dremel test performance on this shoe.

After the Dremel completed its task in the toe guard, we found minimal damage and were thrilled to give this shoe a perfect score of 5/5.

Hoka Mafate Three2 Toebox durability
Test results
Mafate Three2 5
Average 3.1
Compared to 56 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Toebox durability
5

Heel padding durability

We then shifted our focus to the heel counter area for another Dremel test, using the exact same settings at 3.2N and 5K RPM.

The results were decent, scoring a 3/5, though not spectacular. You can't have it all—when a shoe prioritizes pillow-like comfort in the heel, durability often takes a backseat.

Hoka Mafate Three2 Heel padding durability
Test results
Mafate Three2 3
Average 2.9
Compared to 54 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Heel padding durability
5

Outsole hardness

Moving to the outsole, we were excited to find that the Three2 features one of the best rubbers on the market—Vibram Megagrip.

Hoka Mafate Three2 Vibram

Did you know that Vibram is named after Vitale Bramani, who founded the company?

In our initial test, we recorded an 85.6 HC for the Italian rubber, a perfectly average result that aims to strike a balance between durability and grip. 

Hoka Mafate Three2 Outsole hardness
Test results
Mafate Three2 85.6 HC
Average 85.3 HC
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.
Compared to 99 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
72.5 HC
Outsole hardness
95.0 HC

Outsole durability

The balanced results from our initial test suggested good durability, so we decided to up the ante. Our third and most intense Dremel test ramped up both speed and duration to really challenge the rubber.

After completing our tests, we found a mere 0.9-mm indentation in the Vibram rubber, which left us satisfied with its performance.

Hoka Mafate Three2 Outsole durability
Test results
Mafate Three2 0.9 mm
Average 0.9 mm
Compared to 49 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
0.0 mm
Outsole wear
2.0 mm

Outsole thickness

The outsole may not be very thick, but we believe it's the right design for this shoe, given its substantial lugs—which we'll discuss later—and satisfactory durability.

Hoka Mafate Three2 Outsole thickness
Test results
Mafate Three2 1.5 mm
Average 2.4 mm
Compared to 99 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
0.9 mm
Outsole thickness
6.5 mm

Weight

The Mafate Three2 has a bulky appearance—and indeed, it is quite hefty.

Weighing in at 11.7 oz or 332g, this hybrid shoe is clearly not designed for those who prefer a lightweight ride.

Hoka Mafate Three2 Weight
Test results
Mafate Three2 11.71 oz (332g)
Average 10.34 oz (293g)
Compared to 99 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
7.51 oz (213g)
Weight
13.37 oz (379g)

Cushioning

Heel stack

The tank-like appearance of the Mafate Three2 stems partly from its substantial stack height, which is distinctly designed for a maximalist approach.

We measured it precisely at 35.6 mm.

Hoka Mafate Three2 Heel stack
Test results
Mafate Three2 35.6 mm
Average 32.2 mm
Compared to 99 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
16.1 mm
Heel stack
42.4 mm

Forefoot stack

The forefoot is also notably tall, exceeding the 30-mm mark at 31.7 mm.

This ensures tons of foam underfoot, whether you strike the ground with your forefoot, midfoot, or heel, covering all bases for cushioning.

Hoka Mafate Three2 Forefoot stack
Test results
Mafate Three2 31.7 mm
Average 24.4 mm
Compared to 99 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
15.2 mm
Forefoot stack
33.9 mm

Drop

Hoka advertises a 4-mm drop, and we were delighted to measure an actual drop of 3.9 mm. Typically, we see over 50% discrepancies in Hoka shoes, so discovering such precise accuracy with only a 0.1 mm deviation in the lab was amazing!

This minimal drop suggests the shoe is especially suitable for midfoot and forefoot strikers, or anyone who prefers running in low-drop shoes. Additionally, it serves as an excellent transitional option for those aiming to eventually switch to zero-drop footwear.

Hoka Mafate Three2 Drop
Test results
Mafate Three2 3.9 mm
Average 7.8 mm
Compared to 98 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
-0.1 mm
Drop
17.3 mm

Insole thickness

The insole is surprisingly thin at just 3.1 mm. We understand this design choice, considering the substantial amount of foam in the midsole—a thicker insole would simply be overkill.

Hoka Mafate Three2 Insole thickness
Test results
Mafate Three2 3.1 mm
Average 4.7 mm
Compared to 99 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
2.7 mm
Insole thickness
9.8 mm

Midsole softness

Note: a low durometer measurement equals a soft material, whereas a high measurement means it's firm.

From the outside, the Mafate Three2 appears to feature only one type of foam. However, slicing the shoe in half reveals the real story—we discovered two distinctly different EVA-based foams in the midsole.

Hoka Mafate Three2 foam

The primary, darker foam sits beneath the insole and registers a very soft 14.0 HA on our Shore A Durometer. This layer provides the substantial softness that characterizes the shoe's feel while running.

Hoka Mafate Three2 Midsole softness
Test results
Mafate Three2 14.0 HA
Average 23.2 HA
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.
Compared to 75 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
9.4 HA
Midsole softness (soft to firm)
39.0 HA

Secondary foam softness

Note: a low durometer measurement equals a soft material, whereas a high measurement means it's firm.

Beneath the primary foam lies a secondary layer that's more than twice as firm as the main foam, with a hardness of 31.0 HA, enhancing both stability and durability.

This is crucial because the shoe lacks a rock plate, relying instead on the combination of lugs, outsole, and midsole for protection.

Hoka Mafate Three2 Secondary foam softness
Test results
Mafate Three2 31.0 HA
Average 26.8 HA
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.

Difference in midsole softness in cold

Given that the midsole it's made from CMEVA (Compression Molded EVA) foam, we didn't expect outstanding performance under cold conditions, though we held out some hope.

Regrettably, after spending 20 minutes in the freezer, the Three2 became 38.4% firmer—a typical response for EVA-based foams, yet still disappointing for those needing reliable performance in colder climates.

Hoka Mafate Three2 Difference in midsole softness in cold
Test results
Mafate Three2 38.4%
Average 26.7%
Compared to 75 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
0%
Difference in midsole softness in cold
100%

Stability

Lateral stability test

The Mafate Three2 is designed without any specific stability features, but it has large sidewalls that guide the foot and prevent lateral collapse, making it suitable for neutral runners or those with very mild stability needs.

Torsional rigidity

In our torsional rigidity test, we awarded the Mafate Three2 a 5/5, a rating typically seen in carbon-plated shoes like the Nike Ultrafly. Attempting to bend and twist this shoe simply requires extraordinary strength!

For those who prefer a natural, flexible ride, be aware that the Mafate Three2 offers the opposite. If that's a dealbreaker and you prefer a shoe with a thin midsole that bends like a yogi, the Trail Grove 7 from Merrell would be an ideal choice.

Test results
Mafate Three2 5
Average 3.5
Compared to 93 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Torsional rigidity
5

Heel counter stiffness

The heel counter is somewhat more flexible compared to the overall rigidity of the shoe, offering a more permissive and comfortable feel with a rating of 3/5, similar to that of a daily trainer.

Test results
Mafate Three2 3
Average 3.2
Compared to 91 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Heel counter stiffness
5

Midsole width in the forefoot

The Mafate Three2 appears bulky and cumbersome, yet it's surprisingly narrower than it looks. We measured its forefoot width at 114.4 mm.

Hoka Mafate Three2 Midsole width in the forefoot
Test results
Mafate Three2 114.4 mm
Average 111.9 mm
Compared to 99 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
102.1 mm
Midsole width in the forefoot
126.0 mm

Midsole width in the heel

We took a second measurement at the heel, which measured 95.7 mm—noticeably wider than most trail shoes.

This dimension also suggests that the shoe is quite suitable for running on flat or easy terrains. However, it may feel somewhat clunky on more complex, technical trails.

Hoka Mafate Three2 Midsole width in the heel
Test results
Mafate Three2 95.7 mm
Average 89.6 mm
Compared to 99 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
77.2 mm
Midsole width in the heel
109.3 mm

Flexibility

Stiffness

In our 90-degree test, registering at 32.2N, we found that the Three2 maintains a very balanced level of stiffness—it's not overly stiff like a carbon-plated shoe despite being very rigid.

This flexibility is ideal for a shoe designed for versatility, being suitable not only for running but also for walking and casual wear.

Test results
Mafate Three2 32.2N
Average 28.6N
We use an average of four tests. The video shows one of those tests.
Compared to 99 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
10.5N
Stiffness
54.5N

Difference in stiffness in cold

To assess how the shoe's stiffness might vary in cold conditions, we chilled it in the freezer for 20 minutes before testing again.

Using the force gauge for the second time, we observed a stiffness increase of 28.5%, which is reasonably acceptable under such temperature changes.

Test results
Mafate Three2 28.5%
Average 35.7%
Compared to 96 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
0%
Difference in stiffness in cold
102%

Grip / Traction

Lug depth

The 4.0-mm lugs on the Mafate Three2 are designed to perform well in various conditions, whether the terrain is dry or wet, loose or firm. However, they may not excel in any particular scenario.

Hoka Mafate Three2 lugs

The lugs are patterned differently and oriented forwards or backwards depending on their position, enhancing their versatility.

Hoka Mafate Three2 Lug depth
Test results
Mafate Three2 4.0 mm
Average 3.5 mm
Compared to 99 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
1.7 mm
Lug depth
5.8 mm

Size and fit

Toebox width at the widest part

The shoe appears big and bulky, yet surprisingly, it doesn't offer much room inside. We initially noticed this just by trying it on, but decided to quantify our findings.

Hoka Mafate Three2 upper

When we measured the widest part of the upper with digital calipers, we recorded a snug 96.7 mm. This confirms the tight fit despite the shoe's large exterior.

Hoka Mafate Three2 Toebox width at the widest part
Test results
Mafate Three2 96.7 mm
Average 98.7 mm
Compared to 99 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
92.0 mm
Toebox width at the widest part
104.9 mm

Toebox width at the big toe

We took a second measurement in the big toe area, where the tight fit became even more apparent.

Hoka Mafate Three2 toebox

Measuring just 73.7 mm, this shoe provides the classic Hoka fit, which may feel uncomfortable for those with wide or square-shaped feet.

Hoka Mafate Three2 Toebox width at the big toe
Test results
Mafate Three2 73.7 mm
Average 78.9 mm
Compared to 61 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
70.5 mm
Toebox width at the big toe
92.1 mm

Tongue: gusset type

The tongue is semi-gusseted, a fitting choice for this snug design. However, trail runners encountering small debris in their favourite paths might have preferred a fully-gusseted tongue.

Hoka Mafate Three2 Tongue: gusset type
Test results
Mafate Three2 Both sides (semi)

Comfort

Tongue padding

Let's be clear—the tongue is exceptionally well-padded, featuring two thick, pillow-like slabs of foam that cushion the instep and feel incredibly comfortable.

Hoka Mafate Three2 tongue

Instead of a traditional lacing system, the Three2 features a Salomon-like quick lace system that allows you to pull to adjust. It also includes a convenient strap to prevent any unwanted movement from the lacing system.

Does this 11.0-mm thick tongue come with a weight penalty? Absolutely, but the trade-off is likely worthwhile for many, especially for those who use this shoe occasionally for running but primarily for everyday, casual wear.

Hoka Mafate Three2 Tongue padding
Test results
Mafate Three2 11.0 mm
Average 6.4 mm
Compared to 99 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
1.5 mm
Tongue padding
12.2 mm

Heel tab

The heel of the Three2 includes a horizontal finger-loop heel tab, which significantly aids in sliding your feet into the shoe.

Hoka Mafate Three2 Heel tab
Test results
Mafate Three2 Finger loop

Removable insole

You can remove the insole and replace it with an alternative; however, there's a catch. The interior space of the shoe is quite limited, so keep in mind that opting for a thicker insole than the original may result in a more cramped fit.

Hoka Mafate Three2 Removable insole
Test results
Mafate Three2 Yes

Misc

Reflective elements

Regrettably, we discovered that the Mafate Three2 lacks any reflective elements.

This oversight is particularly disappointing given its £190 price tag and the fact that it's designed for adventurous outings.

Hoka Mafate Three2 Reflective elements
Test results
Mafate Three2 No