Our verdict

Versatility is a crucial quality for any daily trainer, and the Rincon 3 has it in spades. We experienced a fun and reliable workhorse for any occasion with this shoe's protective and delightfully responsive midsole combined with its feathery light disposition. Whether taking it easy on recovery days, putting the pedal to the metal for some speedwork, or gobbling up the miles on long-haul efforts; this lean, mean, running machine never let us down.

Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • A blister magnet for wide feet
  • Thin tongue doesn’t stay in place
  • Lace bites

Audience verdict

86
Good!
  • Top 5% most popular running shoes

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

Hoka Rincon 3 fawSEW

Who should NOT buy

The Rincon 3’s midsole doesn’t feel quite as plush underfoot as it looks, so runners who prefer a speedy yet supple ride should consider the Hoka Mach X or the ASICS Novablast 3 instead.

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. 

Hoka Rincon 3e2fewv

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.

Breathability

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.

Hoka Rincon 3cjcgkv

Hoka Rincon 3 Breathability
Test results
Rincon 3 5
Average 3.8
Compared to 189 running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Breathability
5

Durability

Toebox durability

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.

Hoka Rincon 3 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. 

Test results
Rincon 3 2
Average 2.2
Compared to 123 running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Toebox durability
5

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.

Hoka Rincon 3 Heel padding durability

For contrast, have a look at the crater our Dremel left in the Hoka Gaviota 4’s heel counter

Test results
Rincon 3 4
Average 3
Compared to 119 running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Heel padding durability
5

Outsole hardness

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. 

Hoka Rincon 3fnuiwaregilr

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.

Test results
Rincon 3 81.8 HC
Average 80.3 HC
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.
Compared to 241 running shoes
Number of shoes
55.5 HC
Outsole hardness
92.8 HC

Outsole durability

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. 

Hoka Rincon 3 Outsole durability
Test results
Rincon 3 0.8 mm
Average 0.9 mm
Compared to 101 running shoes
Number of shoes
0.0 mm
Outsole wear
2.0 mm

Outsole thickness

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. 

Hoka Rincon 3reiufqehje

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.

Hoka Rincon 3 Outsole thickness
Test results
Rincon 3 3.4 mm
Average 3.2 mm
Compared to 261 running shoes
Number of shoes
0.0 mm
Outsole thickness
6.6 mm

Weight

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.

Hoka Rincon 3 Weight
Test results
Rincon 3 7.34 oz (208g)
Average 9.42 oz (267g)
Compared to 261 running shoes
Number of shoes
5.26 oz (149g)
Weight
12.56 oz (356g)

Cushioning

Heel stack

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. 

Hoka Rincon 3 Heel stack
Test results
Rincon 3 31.8 mm
Average 33.5 mm
Compared to 260 running shoes
Number of shoes
7.6 mm
Heel stack
42.7 mm

Forefoot stack

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.  

Hoka Rincon 3 Forefoot stack
Test results
Rincon 3 25.6 mm
Average 24.7 mm
Compared to 260 running shoes
Number of shoes
7.6 mm
Forefoot stack
34.8 mm

Drop

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. 

Hoka Rincon 3 Drop
Test results
Rincon 3 6.2 mm
Average 8.8 mm
Compared to 260 running shoes
Number of shoes
-0.8 mm
Drop
16.1 mm

Insole thickness

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.

Hoka Rincon 3 Insole thickness
Test results
Rincon 3 2.0 mm
Average 4.4 mm
Compared to 256 running shoes
Number of shoes
1.5 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.

The Rincon 3’s midsole gives us a durometer reading of 23.4 HA, which is right on par with our current lab average.

Hoka Rincon 3ierbqbvkb

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.

Hoka Rincon 3jerbiueqilaqer

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

Test results
Rincon 3 23.4 HA
Average 23.6 HA
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.
Compared to 242 running shoes
Number of shoes
6.5 HA
Midsole softness (soft to firm)
52.5 HA

Midsole softness in cold

Note: a low durometer measurement equals a soft material, whereas a high measurement means it's firm.
Hoka Rincon 3 Midsole softness in cold

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. 

Hoka Rincon 3 Midsole softness in cold
Test results
Rincon 3 21.4%
Average 26.3%
Compared to 241 running shoes
Number of shoes
0%
Difference in midsole softness in cold
125%

Stability

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. 

For overpronating runners who do need added stability features, we recommend the ASICS Gel Kayano 30 or the speedy Saucony Tempus as good alternatives.

Torsional rigidity

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. 

Test results
Rincon 3 5
Average 3.2
Compared to 238 running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Torsional rigidity
5

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. 

Test results
Rincon 3 2
Average 2.7
Compared to 222 running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Heel counter stiffness
5

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. 

Hoka Rincon 3 Midsole width in the forefoot
Test results
Rincon 3 113.2 mm
Average 113.4 mm
Compared to 261 running shoes
Number of shoes
100.5 mm
Midsole width in the forefoot
126.5 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. 

Hoka Rincon 3uhlbevqobkvrenl

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.

Test results
Rincon 3 95.7 mm
Average 90.3 mm
Compared to 261 running shoes
Number of shoes
74.9 mm
Midsole width in the heel
106.6 mm

Flexibility

Stiffness

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+.

Test results
Rincon 3 19.1N
Average 29.0N
We use an average of four tests. The video shows one of those tests.
Compared to 244 running shoes
Number of shoes
2.2N
Stiffness
94.4N

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. 

Test results
Rincon 3 21.5%
Average 38.8%
Compared to 244 running shoes
Number of shoes
0%
Difference in stiffness in cold
148%

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.

Hoka Rincon 3lbievqbuveew

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. 

Hoka Rincon 3 Toebox width at the widest part
Test results
Rincon 3 97.2 mm
Average 98.2 mm
Compared to 262 running shoes
Number of shoes
89.5 mm
Toebox width at the widest part
109.1 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. 

Hoka Rincon 3 Toebox width at the big toe
Test results
Rincon 3 78.4 mm
Average 77.8 mm
Compared to 134 running shoes
Number of shoes
67.6 mm
Toebox width at the big toe
90.4 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.

Hoka Rincon 3uiuqqvejvqejk

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.

Test results
Rincon 3 None

Comfort

Tongue padding

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. 

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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.

Hoka Rincon 3 Tongue padding
Test results
Rincon 3 2.9 mm
Average 5.7 mm
Compared to 258 running shoes
Number of shoes
0.5 mm
Tongue padding
14.2 mm

Heel tab

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. 

Hoka Rincon 3 Heel tab
Test results
Rincon 3 Finger loop

Removable insole

The Rincon 3’s insole isn’t glued in so it’s easy to replace with custom orthotics where necessary. 

Hoka Rincon 3 Removable insole
Test results
Rincon 3 Yes

Misc

Reflective elements

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. 

Hoka Rincon 3 Reflective elements
Test results
Rincon 3 No