Hoka One One Hiking Shoes
In this article, we’re going to break down how Hoka One One’s hiking shoe technology improves your experience. Then we’ll help you identify the best hiking shoe for you based on your hiking plans, and your level of experience.
How Hoka One One hiking technology improves your performance
Hoka One One Kaha GTX -- Hoka One One’s premium, multi-day backpacking shoe
The Kaha GTX is Hoka One One’s most supportive and most durable expedition shoe.
It’s a higher-cut model for support, which means it covers your ankles. And the upper is made with solid leather to make the shoe durable. They also added a layer of Gore-Tex to the upper to keep your feet dry through creeks, puddles, or rain.
The thick leather upper is great for keeping moisture out, but it also keeps air out. So if you’re looking for a breathable shoe, the Kaha probably also wouldn’t be for you. Or if you’re just planning on going for day hikes, you’d probably want a lighter, faster model.
But if you’re looking for ultimate protection for overnight backpacking trips, the Kaha is your shoe.
What you’ll notice:
- Premium Cushioning
It also has a 33mm stack height which is a ton of cushioning. The shoes are not only supporting your weight but all your equipment as well.
- Unbelievably light (for a hiking shoe).
The Kaha is surprisingly light for a premium hiking boot. It might seem heavy for a trail shoe at 17oz , but if you’re familiar with hiking boots, you know that’s nothing to yawn at.
Hoka One One Toa -- Hoka One One’s light, speedy, day trekker
The Toa was designed to be Hoka One One’s lightweight, breathable hiking shoe.
To keep the weight down they modified the cushioning, making the Toa more responsive. It springs you into your next step.
And the Toa’s collar is sort of in between a trail shoe and a hiking boot. Giving you more stability, without hindering your mobility. It’s got a nice mixture of letting you move freely while still keeping you safe.
So the Toa’s design offers some ankle support. But if you’ll be traversing seriously rocky terrain, you may want a higher-cut model like the Kaha.
What you’ll notice:
At only 14oz the Toa is almost a trail running shoe. It’s essentially a trail shoe that comes with a higher-cut collar to keep you from rolling your ankle.
- Breathable, quick-drying upper.
Hoka IOne One gave the Toa a mesh upper material which obviously doesn’t keep water out as well as leather. However, while the Toa will get wet quicker than a full-grain leather model, because it’s less dense, it also dries quicker.
So it is technically waterproof under light conditions. But if you know your feet will inevitably get wet, a faster drying shoe might be a preferred option.
Hoka One One Arkali -- Versatile, vertical hiking & climbing shoe
Arkali is Polynesian for “mountain goat”.
The name of this shoe gives you a hint at what it's built for: Everything mountain. The Arkali is part trail shoe, part hiking boot, and part rock climber.
It’s softer under the heel, which allows you to run in it like a typical trail shoe. It’s got a soft breathable upper that’s designed to dump out water and heat (though it won’t stop them from coming in). But then the forefoot of the shoe is built firm, so you can head off-trail and go rock climbing in it.
The Arkali really is a complete mountain adventure hiking shoe.
If you’re looking for a super-light, speedy shoe, this probably won’t be your best fit. But if you want a shoe built for trail running, vertical hiking, and even rock climbing, the Arkali was built for you.
What you’ll notice:
- Cushioned heel.
The Arkali has a soft heel, almost like a typical trail running shoe. This is for flatter surfaces where you feel like opening up and running faster.
- Stiff forefoot.
The front of the shoe is built sturdy for when you want to dig in and traverse the side of a mountain.
How do I choose the best Hoka One One hiking shoe for me?
You’ll want to choose your hiking shoe based on a couple of key factors:
For a shorter hike on easy terrain, a lighter flexible shoe would be good. Harder terrain or much longer hikes requires a shoe with more support and stability.
Some trails will have creeks or puddles that you may have to cross. Or maybe you’ll be hiking in the rain. You’ll want to choose a shoe that is waterproof or at least water-resistant.
A longer or difficult hike will require you to pack extra gear. You’ll need a shoe with more support and stability to carry that extra weight.
- Your level of hiking experience
If you’re a beginner or you’re looking to trek on moderate to difficult terrain you’ll want a shoe with ankle support.
Now let’s factor all of these together, and break down the best hiking shoe for you, by category.
Casual day hikes
Hoka One One Toa
For a casual hike, without any deep mud or serious rock climbing, you’ll want a light, breathable hiking shoe.
The Hoka One One Toa is a great casual trekker. It has moderate ankle support, though not enough for difficult terrain. And it has more responsive cushioning that absorbs shock and springs you into your next step.
Hoka One One Challenger Low
Or if you’d like plusher cushioning, you’d probably prefer the Hoka One One Challenger Low. The “Low” means it has a low-cut ankle, essentially making this model a trail running shoe.
Because of the low cut, it doesn’t have much ankle support, but the cushioning makes your landings softer. And while it has a leather, waterproof upper, just know that this means it’ll be less breathable than a shoe like the Toa.
Hoka One One Hopara
If your outdoor trek may also include some rafting or canoeing, you’ll likely want a shoe that’s ready to get wet.
The Hoka One One Hopara is a hiking sandal, designed to let water in, and then drain it right back out again. Its cushioning is more on the responsive side than the plush side so it’s nice and springy. This is a great shoe for wet hiking adventures.
Hoka One One Arkali
For a combo of hiking, trail running, and even rock climbing, you’ll want a versatile hiking shoe. The Hoka One One Arkali is built for exactly that.
It’s got moderate ankle support and is great for steep terrain. And it’s got a soft upper for flexibility, but a stiff forefoot structure for rock climbing.
Hoka One One Challenger Mid
If you’d like a more cushioned, adventurous shoe, then you’d probably like the Hoka One One Challenger Mid. It’s similar to the Challenger Low but has a higher cut, meaning it’s got more ankle support.
It’s not going to let as much air through as the Arkali, and obviously the Hopara, so your feet might get warmer. However, if you’re hiking in the rain, or through puddles, it’ll keep your feet dry.
Longer treks & backpacking trips
Hoka One One Kaha
If you'll be doing some serious backpacking, you’ll want a hiking shoe with plenty of stability. The Kaha is Hoka One One’s premium hiking shoe. It’s the most stable and the most durable model in their lineup.
Hoka One One Stinson Mid GTX
Or if you’d prefer loftier cushioning for even longer hikes, you’d probably enjoy the Stinson Mid GTX.
It’s got the most cushioning out of any Hoka One One shoe. A feature you’ll appreciate while carrying a hefty backpack for hours at a time. Like the Kaha, it also has a higher cut for ankle support, making it great for more difficult terrain.
Hoka One One Toa
If you’re a more experienced backpacker who’s looking for a more flexible feel, and aren’t worried about rolling an ankle, you’d love the Hoka One One Toa. It’s got a springier cushioning, as opposed to plush cushioning.
Unlike the Kaha and Stinson, which are both waterproof, the Toa is light and more breathable. Some sources label the Toa as waterproof, though it’s probably more water-resistant. It also has a slightly lower cut, meaning less ankle support, but more freedom of motion.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I wear trail running shoes for hiking?
It will depend on the type of hiking you’re doing.
If you’re going for a day hike, and don’t plan on doing a ton of climbing, a trail running shoe will probably hold up fine. If your trail shoe has good lugs, even better.
Just know that a trail running shoe isn’t built to support your ankles the way a thicker hiking shoe does. They’re also not built to withstand the elements like a hiking shoe.
So, if possible, it’s best to have a separate shoe for each task.
How often should I replace my Hoka One One hiking shoes?
Generally speaking, you should be able to get about 350-500 miles out of most hiking shoes.
But here are a couple of indicators that’ll let you know it’s time for a new pair:
- If the tread or lugs are becoming so worn they don’t grip as well as they used to
- If the upper isn’t holding your foot in place as firmly as before
- If you notice recurring aches or pains in your joints, that you didn’t previously feel. This could be a sign that the tech inside the shoe is no longer doing its job
I need help deciding: Which would be the best hiking shoe for a beginner?
Hoka One One Toa -- This a great starter shoe for day hiking. It’s on the lighter side of the hiking shoe spectrum. Hiking shoes are typically heavy, so the Toa is a nice intermedium to help you get used to the extra weight.
And its cushion is on the springy side, as opposed to the pillowy side. This is nice if you plan on going a little faster.
Stinson Mid GTX -- If you’re planning on overnight camping trips, this means you’ll be carrying a heavy backpack. For this, you’d probably prefer a heavily cushioned shoe like the Stinson Mid GTX. It has a higher cut for better stability, especially over longer hikes.
And it’s Hoka One One’s most heavily cushioned hiking shoe, so your feet will be comfy for a longer trek. The Stinson is also made of Nubuck leather, which will keep your feet dry in case you encounter any rain or creeks.