Our verdict

The Hoka Restore TC felt a lot like a dawn blanket on a cold winter morning - it is THAT cosy. As a recovery shoe, it has fulfilled its duties to the max! From the moment we slipped it on (which was very easy, by the way), the Restore TC treated us to pure comfort with its knit upper and thick-foamed cushioning. The shoe helped our feet rest in every way by also providing generous space in the toebox. It looks and feels like a crossover between a Hoka running shoe and a Crocs slipper. A perfect knock-around for taking a break from the world.

Pros

  • Super easy on-and-off
  • Soft, bottomless cushioning
  • Cosy, sock-like in-shoe feel
  • Very wide platform
  • Rocker sole creates smooth transitions
  • Great traction on smooth floors
  • Fantastic upper durability
  • Accommodating toebox
  • Sustainable materials

Cons

  • Not breathable
  • Exposed foam wears fast outdoors
  • A bit heavier than average

Audience verdict

79
Decent!

Who should buy

We think that the Hoka Restore TC hits the nail on the head for people who need:

  • an extra comfortable pair for day-to-day use
  • a shoe for active recovery from sports
  • a slip-on kick with a super quick and easy on-and-off

Hoka Restore TC review

Who should NOT buy

And if you want an equally cushioned and cosy slip-on but in a lighter and sleeker package, we highly recommend the GO WALK 6 and the GO WALK Flex from Skechers.

If you want to experience the benefits of the Hoka Restore TC but feel uncertain about its visual aspect, try the Nike Motiva instead. It is a dedicated walking shoe from Nike that puts comfort first without losing a sleek look. It's not a slip-on shoe though.

Hoka Restore TC lab test

Breathability

The knit upper of the Hoka Restore TC feels a lot like a soft sweater around the foot. And unfortunately, it offers just as little breathability.

Filling up the shoe's upper with smoke in our breathability test, we observed that none of it passed through the fabric! Unlike the smoking mesh upper on the right, the Restore TC's knit failed to breathe.

Our transparency test also proved that this Hoka shoe has no ventilation holes to aerate the interiors. Even when we looked at the fabric up close through a microscope, we saw no pores that could help the airflow.

Hoka Restore TC Breathability microscope

It's just a plushy sweater through and through.

Hoka Restore TC Breathability upper microscope test

On a scale from 1 to 5, where 5 would be the most breathable, we gave the Hoka Restore TC the lowest score of 1. It is not an option for hot summer days.

Test results
Restore TC 1
Average 2.7
Compared to 28 walking shoes
Number of shoes
1
Breathability
5

Durability

Toebox durability

The Hoka Restore TC's upper may fall short of breathability, but it makes up for it with exceptional wear resistance.

It may seem like a delicate knit fabric but try tearing it apart and you will need more effort than you think. Add to that a wide protective toe cap and you have a recipe for a long-lasting shoe!

Putting the shoe's jacquard knit to our Dremel test for 12 seconds, we were amazed at how barely noticeable the damage was. For comparison, here is a glaring hole that the very same test left on the On Cloudrift!

Hoka Restore TC Toebox durability comparison

Rating the shoe's toebox durability on a 1 to 5 scale, the Hoka earns a solid 4.

Test results
Restore TC 4
Average 3.1
Compared to 22 walking shoes
Number of shoes
1
Toebox durability
5

Heel padding durability

As a slip-on shoe, the Restore TC is ready for a lot of friction at the back of the heel collar. That's why Hoka reinforced the inner side of the shoe's heel with an additional textile layer.

It really helped the shoe to stand up to our 4-second Dremel test. Looking at the damage left by the tool's sandpaper tip, we rated its heel lining durability as 3 out of 5. One point better than average!

Sure, this part of the shoe is more prone to wearing out but at least it's sturdier compared to other walking shoes.

Hoka Restore TC Heel padding durability comparison
Test results
Restore TC 3
Average 2.1
Compared to 21 walking shoes
Number of shoes
1
Heel padding durability
5

Outsole hardness

The Hoka Restore TC has no rubber outsole which puts the exposed midsole at risk of faster abrasion.

Even though the foam has some firmness to it, our durometer returned a pretty low reading of 62.9 HC. It indicates that the shoe's midsole is 20% softer than the average rubber outsole and consequently, less durable.

Hoka Restore TC Outsole hardness
Test results
Restore TC 62.9 HC
Average 75.7 HC
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.
Compared to 28 walking shoes
Number of shoes
50.1 HC
Outsole hardness
92.0 HC

Outsole durability

With our Dremel set to the relentless speed of 10K RPM, we drilled the bottom of the shoe for 22 seconds. It is our standard condition for testing outsole durability, no exceptions.

As you can see from the video above, our tool burned right through the foam as if it were made of butter.

It was not a huge surprise when our tread gauge showed a whopping 6.0 mm of damage in the foam. It is even deeper than the dents we got in soft Skechers shoes (3 mm on average)!

Hoka Restore TC Outsole durability test
Test results
Restore TC 5.9 mm
Average 1.6 mm
Compared to 21 walking shoes
Number of shoes
0.0 mm
Outsole wear
2.0 mm

Outsole thickness

If you want a long and happy life for your pair of Hoka Restore TCs, we recommend limiting its use to less abrasive surfaces. It's better to avoid asphalt, cobblestone, rocky trails, and the like.

Hoka Restore TC Outsole thickness
Test results
Restore TC 0.0 mm
Average 2.6 mm
Compared to 28 walking shoes
Number of shoes
0.0 mm
Outsole thickness
5.9 mm

Weight

With a ton of cushioning underfoot and a flared wing-like collar at the back, it is no surprise that the Hoka Restore TC comes with an extra heft.

Hoka Restore TC shoe weight

It's not a heavy shoe per se but it feels substantial on foot. Weighing it in a men's US size 9, our scale showed 11.0 oz (313g). It is over an ounce heavier than the average walking shoe.

Hoka Restore TC Weight
Test results
Restore TC 11.04 oz (313g)
Average 9.81 oz (278g)
Compared to 28 walking shoes
Number of shoes
6.17 oz (175g)
Weight
14.25 oz (404g)

Cushioning

Heel stack

As a true Hoka shoe, the Restore TC offers a ton of cushioning.

Measuring its stack height in the heel, our caliper showed 32.7 mm. Even though it is nearly the same as the average, the cushioning feels even more abundant in person.

Hoka Restore TC Heel stack

Spending an entire day on feet felt like a breeze in the Restore TC. There is plenty of impact protection, especially if you walk on hard surfaces a lot.

Test results
Restore TC 32.7 mm
Average 32.7 mm
Compared to 28 walking shoes
Number of shoes
11.2 mm
Heel stack
45.7 mm

Forefoot stack

A generous helping of foam in the forefoot makes the Restore TC feel more cushioned than other walking shoes.

Measuring its thickness with a caliper returned 25.2 mm which is a few millimeters taller than average. It mutes out the ground feel quite a bit.

Hoka Restore TC Forefoot stack
Test results
Restore TC 25.2 mm
Average 21.9 mm
Compared to 28 walking shoes
Number of shoes
5.5 mm
Forefoot stack
31.2 mm

Drop

The difference in stack heights gives us a heel-to-toe drop of 7.5 mm. It is a bit lower than average but not as low as the 5-mm drop claimed by Hoka.

Hoka Restore TC Drop

For most folks, however, it won't make any difference on foot. The slight heel elevation above the toes hits a sweet spot between support and a more natural foot positioning.

Test results
Restore TC 7.5 mm
Average 10.9 mm
Compared to 28 walking shoes
Number of shoes
5.7 mm
Drop
21.4 mm

Midsole softness

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

Looking inside the half-cut midsole of the Hoka Restore TC, we found that its cushioning comprises the softer insole and the firmer carrier foam.

Together they create a sense of controlled plushness that feels cozy and not wobbly at all.

Measuring the softness of the firmer carrier foam with a durometer, we got 30.0 HA. It is indeed firmer than the insole by 46%!

Hoka Restore TC Midsole softness
Test results
Restore TC 30.0 HA
Average 25.2 HA
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.
Compared to 28 walking shoes
Number of shoes
7.8 HA
Midsole softness (soft to firm)
32.9 HA

Secondary foam softness

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

Pressing our durometer against the shoe's insole confirmed its amazing plushness.

Hoka Restore TC Secondary foam softness

With a reading of 20.5 HA, it is over 60% softer than the average cushioning foam!

Test results
Restore TC 20.5 HA
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.

Insole thickness

Instead of being an additional component, the insole of the Hoka Restore TC functions as the shoe's primary cushioning.

With an impressive thickness of 16.9 mm, it is an elephant in the shoe!

Hoka Restore TC Insole thickness
Test results
Restore TC 16.9 mm
Average 6.2 mm
Compared to 28 walking shoes
Number of shoes
3.5 mm
Insole thickness
16.9 mm

Stability

Lateral stability test

Checking the shoe's side-to-side support and stability, we can tell that it sits somewhere in the middle of the range.

Its wider-than-average platform and raised sidewalls will make the shoe stable enough for most people. But on the downside, the Restore TC lacks the arch support and stability elements needed to support a moderate-to-severe overpronation.

If you have flat feet and your ankles roll inwards excessively, we recommend looking into Skechers Arch Fit instead.

Torsional rigidity

Like we said, most people will find the Hoka Restore TC quite supportive for their day-to-day walks. The shoe has enough torsional rigidity to keep the foot in place.

Assessing it in our manual test, we rated the stiffness with an average score of 3 out of 5. The chunky platform with raised sidewalls makes it more rigid than the typical walking shoe.

Test results
Restore TC 3
Average 2.8
Compared to 28 walking shoes
Number of shoes
1
Torsional rigidity
5

Heel counter stiffness

Despite its sizeable appearance, the heel counter of the Restore TC is not very rigid.

We could squeeze and fold it pretty effortlessly in our manual test. Thus, we gave it a rather low score of 2 on a 1-5 stiffness scale.

But it doesn't allow heel slippage and that's a huge bonus.

Test results
Restore TC 2
Average 2.3
Compared to 28 walking shoes
Number of shoes
1
Heel counter stiffness
5

Midsole width in the forefoot

As befits a Hoka shoe, the Restore TC comes with very broad sole dimensions.

In the widest part of the forefoot, our caliper measured 116.0 mm which is about 5 mm wider than average.

Hoka Restore TC Midsole width in the forefoot
Test results
Restore TC 116.0 mm
Average 111.7 mm
Compared to 28 walking shoes
Number of shoes
98.8 mm
Midsole width in the forefoot
124.1 mm

Midsole width in the heel

In the heel, the Restore TC beats all of the previous records showing an impressive 104 mm in the widest part! Expect to feel extra surefooted with such a broad contact area.

Hoka Restore TC Midsole width in the heel
Test results
Restore TC 104.0 mm
Average 90.2 mm
Compared to 28 walking shoes
Number of shoes
75.6 mm
Midsole width in the heel
104.0 mm

Flexibility

Stiffness

There is very little flexibility in the shoe's forefoot, mainly due to its massive platform.

Using a force gauge, we measured that it takes as much as 24.3N to bend the shoe to a 90-degree angle. Although not the stiffest, it requires 15% more force to bend compared to an average walking shoe.

But walking in the Hoka Restore TC feels comfortable nevertheless. The shoe relies on a rockered shape to roll the feet from heels to toes.

More and more walking shoes resort to the rocker shape to create smoother and easier heel-to-toe transitions.

Test results
Restore TC 24.3N
Average 20.9N
We use an average of four tests. The video shows one of those tests.
Compared to 28 walking shoes
Number of shoes
1.1N
Stiffness
52.7N

Grip / Traction

Despite the absence of a rubber outsole, this Hoka shoe doesn't fall short of grip on most urban surfaces.

Hoka Restore TC outsole

Its exposed foam is softer than rubber and offers tackier contact with the floor.

Size and fit

Internal length

The Hoka Restore TC fits us like a glove in our regular men's US size 9. We didn't feel the need to size up or down.

Hoka Restore TC Internal length

Measuring the shoe's internal length also showed 266.0 mm which corresponds to the US size 9.

It is also important to note that the shoe is unisex and doesn't come in half sizes.

Test results
Restore TC 266.0 mm

Toebox width at the widest part

As a recovery shoe, the purpose of the Restore TC is to allow your feet to rest as much as possible. That's why it features a wide, rounded, and anatomically correct toebox shape.

Hoka Restore TC fit

Measuring it in the widest part of the forefoot, our caliper returned 110.9 mm which is over 10 mm wider than average!

Hoka Restore TC Toebox width at the widest part
Test results
Restore TC 110.9 mm
Average 99.1 mm
Compared to 28 walking shoes
Number of shoes
89.5 mm
Toebox width at the widest part
110.9 mm

Toebox width at the big toe

Near the big toe, the shoe's toebox remains exceptionally wide. Our caliper shows a record reading of 94.3 mm which is the widest we've measured by far.

Hoka Restore TC Toebox width at the big toe
Test results
Restore TC 94.3 mm
Average 78.3 mm
Compared to 23 walking shoes
Number of shoes
73.7 mm
Toebox width at the big toe
94.3 mm

Tongue: gusset type

The Hoka Restore TC features a sock-like bootie that envelopes the foot in a snug but cozy manner. According to the brand, it is even suitable for sockless wear.

Personally, we found it to be okay to wear barefoot but wouldn't recommend it. If the weather gets warm enough to make your feet sweat, the shoe's lack of breathability will cause unpleasant odor and even hot spots.

Hoka Restore TC Tongue: gusset type
Test results
Restore TC Sock like

Comfort

Tongue padding

The Restore TC's upper is pretty thin, showing only 2.5 mm of material thickness on top of the instep. But you don't really need more padding as the shoe has no laces either.

Hoka Restore TC Tongue padding
Test results
Restore TC 2.5 mm
Average 5.0 mm
Compared to 28 walking shoes
Number of shoes
0.3 mm
Tongue padding
11.5 mm

Heel tab

One of the shoe's main highlights is how fast and convenient it is to get on and off.

Its extended wing-like heel collar is very handy and works almost like a shoehorn. Sliding into the Restore TC takes mere seconds and requires only one hand.

Hoka Restore TC Heel tab
Test results
Restore TC Extended heel collar

Removable insole

The shoe's insole is removable but we wouldn't recommend replacing it with your own.

Considering its extreme thickness and the fact that it works as the shoe's primary cushioning, it would be tricky to find a replacement.

Hoka Restore TC Removable insole
Test results
Restore TC Yes

Misc

Reflective elements

There are no reflective elements on the Hoka Restore TC.

Hoka Restore TC Reflective elements
Test results
Restore TC No

Sustainability

In an attempt to make its products more sustainable, Hoka designed the Restore TC with recycled and environmentally friendly materials including:

  • 73% dope-dyed polyester in the upper (dope-dying uses fewer chemicals and reduces water consumption)
  • 83% dope-dyed polyester in the inner bootie
  • 30% sugarcane-based EVA insole
  • 100% recycled polyester strobel board

Hoka Restore TC sustainability