Ten Things You Didn’t Know About Hoka Running Shoes (2022)

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Since its birth in 2009, Hoka has become one of the most popular running shoe brands in the U.S. Known for its unprecedentedly thick midsoles that created the maximal-cushioning trend, the brand has continued to push the envelope of shoe design over the past decade. Its kicks have been worn by elite athletes in major marathons, Ironman triathlons, the world’s toughest ultra-distance trail races, and the Olympics—and can also be found on the feet of runners and walkers of all ages and abilities throughout the world. Here are 10 facts you might not know about the brand.

1. Hoka Was Born in France

Although the company is now based in Goleta, California, and its name comes from New Zealand (more on that later), Hoka was founded in the French Alps. Started by French adventure athletes and product developers Nico Mermoud, Jean-Luc Diard, and Christophe Aubonnet near Chamonix, France, Hoka unveiled its first shoes in the U.S. market in 2010 while operating on a self-funded shoestring budget. Deckers Outdoor Corporation purchased the company in 2013 but it still maintains an advanced product development office in Annecy, France.

(Video) Best HOKA Shoes For Beginners | Where To Start With HOKA Running Shoes!

2. Hokas Were First Designed for Running Down Steep Mountains

In the beginning, the company’s developers set out to make modern trail running shoes for rugged mountain races in the Alps, Pyrenees, and Dolomites. The thickly cushioned, widebody design concept was based on the oversized technology that had been successfully used in powder skis, mountain bike wheels, and tennis rackets. A bigger sweet spot, Mermoud surmised, would apply similarly in running. Early in their development process, Mermoud, Diard, and Aubonnet considered making a downhill-only, slip-on overshoe of sorts, one that could be carried in a pack on uphill sections and attached for long, rugged downhills. But once they created a lightweight working prototype, they knew they weren’t making a technical accessory but a real running shoe.

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3. The Brand’s Real Name is Hoka One One

Hoka One One is a phrase from the language of New Zealand’s indigenous Maori that loosely translates as “to fly over the earth.” The founders say they used a New Zealand name out of admiration for that country’s rich adventure racing heritage. “Hoka” is a verb meaning to soar or to fly, while “One One” (pronounced “Own-ay Own-ay”) is a noun meaning Earth-like. The name lies behind the brand’s tagline, “Time to Fly,” and its advertising and marketing, including the latest brand video, “Pursuit.” In 2021, Hoka quietly dropped the “One One” from its website, social media accounts, and marketing materials to simplify the name, although, according to the brand, they officially remain Hoka One One.

4. Hoka Emerged From the Minimalist Movement

At the time when Hoka’s shoes debuted, minimalist running shoes were all the rage. Hoka went the opposite direction, but not entirely. While their “maximalist” models had high-stack, thickly cushioned midsoles, in contrast to the close-to-the-ground “barefoot” models of the day, they shared some of the key design tenets of the minimalist movement. Despite their thickness, they were extremely lightweight, they had low heel-toe offsets, and their “rocker’ profile kept toes in a natural position and promoted a forward-balanced gait pattern.

5. Boulder Was the First Place You Could Buy Hokas in the U.S.

The brand owes some of its initial success to Mark Plaatjes and Johnny Halberstadt, the original owners of Boulder Running Company (BRC). At a trade show in December 2009, Mermoud asked Plaatjes, a physical therapist and the 1993 world marathon champion, to do a brief test run in a Hoka prototype. Plaatjes immediately liked the concept. Mermoud told him Hoka had 1,000 pairs about to be shipped from a Chinese factory, and, based on that short trial, Plaatjes said BRC would buy as many as the store could get, which wound up being 770 pairs—the majority of Hoka’s initial production run. “Clearly it was something new and different, but it made sense,” Plaatjes recalls.

(Video) WHICH HOKA SHOE IS BEST FOR YOU? | Full HOKA ONE ONE Lineup Review

6. Hoka Was the Second Brand to Introduce a “Supershoe”

Diard says he started developing the concept of a high-stack road-racing model with a carbon-fiber plate embedded in a bouncy midsole at Hoka’s Annecy office in 2014, but Nike got to the finish line first, launching their Vaporfly 4% in 2017. Hoka introduced the Evo Carbon Rocket in late 2018. Lower and firmer than the Vaporfly, the shoe had its own unique ride, and was plenty fast: Cam Levins wore a prototype when he shattered Canada’s national record in his marathon debut that fall, and Scott Fauble wore them to place seventh in the 2019 Boston Marathon in 2:09:09, a time that ranks him in the top-10 among the U.S. all-time marathon list.

RELATED: Finally, Women’s Running Shoes Are Being Made for Women’s Feet

7. Hoka Makes More Than Max-Cushioned Running Shoes

While the brand made its initial splash and remains known primarily for their high-stack profile, its leadership insists the company has always been about innovation, not just thick midsoles. As such, it has continued to produce ground-breaking models for all types of running, including its Speed EVO R racing spikes with an asymmetrical design built for making left turns around the track, and its new Tecton X trail running shoes with dual carbon-fiber plates that enhance propulsion and stability on uneven terrain. However, the brand’s most uniquely innovative shoe might be the gargantuan TenNine model, which has a cartoonishly large midsole that extends several inches off the back of the heel. It was designed as a concept shoe meant for downhill running on trails—and it’s quite good at that—but it’s unsurprisingly a bit cumbersome running anywhere else. Technology and design elements of the shoe have trickled down to the rest of their running and hiking line, however, in less-extreme manifestations that preserve the benefits without compromising the ride.

Ten Things You Didn’t Know About Hoka Running Shoes (1)

8. You Can Go Fast for a Long Time on the Trails in Hokas

The first U.S. athlete sponsored by Hoka was Utah ultrarunner Karl “Speedgoat” Meltzer, the winningest 100-mile runner of all-time, with 40 victories to his credit (including a record five Hardrock 100 wins). With Meltzer’s input, Hoka released the original Speedgoat model in 2015, a trail shoe with high-stack cushioning and a Vibram rubber outsole designed for tackling rugged mountain terrain. Since the launch of his signature shoe, the 54-year-old Meltzer has won nine more 100-milers, including last December’s Beast of the East wearing a pair of Speedgoat 5s ($155).

9. You Can Go Fast for a Long Time on the Roads in Hokas

In May of 2019, Hoka held a special time-trial event in Sacramento, California to promote the launch of their new Carbon X ultra racing shoe, aiming to break a world record. Although the event lacked the flash and grandeur of Nike’s Breaking2, Hoka succeeded: Arizona ultrarunner Jim Walmsley set a new 50-mile world best time of 4 hours, 50 minutes, 8 seconds. His effort—averaging roughly 5:48 mile pace for 50 miles—broke the 1983 record of South African Bruce Fordyce by 13 seconds.

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At the U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon in Atlanta on February 29, 2020, Aliphine Tuliamuk won the women’s race in 2:27:23, wearing a pair of just-released Hoka Rocket X shoes. Her NAZ Elite teammates Stephanie Bruce (6th, 2:29:11) and Kellyn Taylor (8th, 2:29:55) wore the same model, making Hoka tied for the most prevalent brand among the top ten finishers. The other seven spots were claimed by runners wearing shoes made by Nike (3), Saucony (2), Brooks, and Asics.

RELATED: The Best Trail Running Shoes for Spring and Summer 2022

10. Thanks to Hoka, maximalism is now mainstream.

While Hoka shoes have made it to the highest ranks of running, they can also be commonly seen on the sidewalks of Manhattan, on the feet of nurses and other professionals on their feet all day, as well as in just about any airport in America. The brand’s cushy, comfortable, colorful models have also started to make a buzz among those living the jet-set lifestyle. Pop singer Britney Spears has been down with the brand for at least five years, and earlier this year posted a snap on Instagram showing her wearing a pair of HOKA Bondi 7 sneakers. Reese Witherspoon, Pippa Middleton, Katie Holmes, Winnie Harlow, Kylie Jenner, Heidi Montag, and Gwenyth Paltrow are among the many other celebrities who have been spotted sporting HOKAS in the past several years.

FAQs

What is so special about HOKA? ›

It's not only highly cushioned but also lightweight and breathable, making it a comfortable option for long-distance runs. Other notable features include a compression-molded midsole, inner heel support, and Hoka's Meta-Rocker technology, which is designed to propel you forward and encourage a more natural stride.

Why do podiatrists like HOKA? ›

Dr. Jacqueline Sutera, a New York City-based podiatrist said that they provide comfort, support and shock absorption, which makes them a good choice for frequent walkers or anyone whose job requires them to stand for the majority of the day.

What is different about HOKA? ›

The difference on Hoka One One shoes

What makes Hoka sneakers special? It's a thick, curved sole that helps propel the foot. The shoe offers better cushioning, while remaining light. The stability of the shoe is known to limit the risk of injury.

What does Hoka shoes stand for? ›

Literally Hoka One One (pronounced Hoka O-nay O-nay) means "fly over the earth." But that's not what I'm talking about. I'm asking what Hoka means to the running shoe landscape. This shoe is a Big Bertha driver. It's a Prince racket.

Why do Hokas hurt my feet? ›

One that is cushioned and give enough bounce to take the edge off. However, a new study on the Hoka Conquest shoe – one of the most cushioned shoes on the market – recently discovered that this cushioning and forced bounce might actually be contributing to running injuries and pain.

Why are Hokas so bulky? ›

Why are these running shoes so chunky? HOKA has built its shoes to withstand heavy pounding and volume. While they have chunky cushioning that extends the length of the shoe, it's not just focused in the heel—which means that mid-foot and fore-foot strikers will equally benefit from a HOKA shoe.

Are Hokas actually good for your feet? ›

Many podiatrists recommend Hoka shoes for walking, and, the American Podiatric Medical Association has even given some of the brand's styles its Seal of Acceptance. This means the shoes have been found to be beneficial to foot health.

Which HOKA is best for knee pain? ›

For those looking for soft, cloud-like comfort underfoot, the HOKA Bondi is a fabulous option. As the most cushioned shoe in HOKA's lineup, the Bondi is perfect for relieving feet and knees from the discomfort of age, long days of work, and the impact of walking or jogging on the joints.

Are Hoka shoes good for seniors? ›

With thick cushioning, we recommend the Hoka Bondi 7 shoe for seniors who prioritize comfort and shock absorption. Its full-length midsole offers a plush yet supportive feel. The shoe also features a soft memory foam collar, which adds to the overall comfort and helps provide a snug, secure fit.

Is HOKA owned by Nike? ›

Hoka was purchased on April 1, 2013 by Deckers Brands, the parent company for UGG, Teva and other footwear brands.

Do Hokas wear out fast? ›

They were not worn every day, maybe every other day for an hour or two. They should not wear out this quickly, but in my experience, all Hokas do wear out this quickly. The sole material also compresses pretty fast, making them much less cushy in just a few months.

What do the numbers on the side of a HOKA shoe mean? ›

THE SHOE. The ZINAL is floaty light with a weight of 242g for the standard UK8/EU42 size. It's neutral, responsive and has a 5mm drop. The side of the shoe boasts some statistics – S32x19|V490|W242. These stats refer to: Spring Measurement, Volume and Weight.

Is HOKA a Chinese company? ›

Hoka was born in France.

Deckers Outdoor Corporation purchased the company in 2013 but it still maintains an advanced product development office in Annecy, France.

How is HOKA One pronounced? ›

The correct way to pronounce HOKA ONE ONE is “Ho-Kah Own-ay Own-ay.” The founders of the company have explained it's a Māori phrase that means “to fly over the earth.” Meanwhile, ASICS is an acronym for the Latin phrase anima sana in corpore sano which translates as “a healthy soul in a healthy body.” 5.

Is HOKA good for plantar fasciitis? ›

Hoka is a good choice for people with plantar fasciitis. The thick stack of foam absorbs impact while still being firm enough to provide support, and the wide base encourages a natural stride while you're walking or running.

How many miles can you run in Hokas? ›

The typical lifespan for a pair of running shoes falls in the 250-500 mile range, which in itself is very broad. Some people may find they get less than 200 and others more than 700.

Are Hokas good for arch support? ›

Hokas are great for Plantar Fasciitis because they provide the arch support and cushion for your heels and Plantar Fascia.

Which HOKA shoe has the most cushioning? ›

The Bondi is Hoka's most cushioned road shoe with a downright beefy midsole. The latest version of the Bondi keeps the formula that has won this shoe such a devoted following: maximum cushioning for an ultra-plush ride. The midsole foam is lighter and even softer than the Bondi 7.

Are HOKA sneakers good for arthritic feet? ›

Best for Toe Arthritis: Hoka One One Bondi 7

People with toe arthritis will appreciate the rocker-bottom sole, which helps take pressure off the big toe, as well as the shoe's toe box—which is roomy while still being supportive.

How do you clean a HOKA? ›

General cleaning and care guidelines for HOKA footwear are to hand wash with cold water using a mild soap or detergent, and allow them to dry naturally away from direct heat or sunlight.

Why do people love HOKA? ›

There are many reasons why runners prefer to buy HOKA shoes. HOKA shoes use light weight materials, wide rocker midsoles, and additional cushioning to create a smoother run. These features also help to preserve your momentum while you're running, making HOKA shoes ideal for any terrain.

Is the Hoka Bondi 7 good for plantar fasciitis? ›

Best for a thick and wide sole: Hoka One One Bondi 7

People with plantar fasciitis may find these shoes help relieve pain while providing plenty of support. The company says that the low heel-toe drop of 4 millimeters (mm) in the shoes and the wider toe box provides extra stability.

Are Hoka shoes good for heel pain? ›

HOKA Gaviota

The Gaviota by HOKA is one of their premium stability running shoes. With superior cushioning, perfect for aiding with heel pain. And HOKA J-Frame™ technology, you will be provided with support and protection while guiding your foot but without the use of rigid and unforgiving materials.

Are Hokas good for joints? ›

Best Cushioned Support – HOKA Bondi 7

Runners looking for the ideal combination of cushion and support can look no further than the HOKA Bondi 7. HOKA shoes tend to offer a thick layer of EVA foam that attenuates the shock of landing, preventing the stress from rattling your joints and causing knee pain.

Are Hoka shoes good for torn meniscus? ›

"I'm able to run 7 mile runs, several times a week, even with a torn meniscus in this shoe, and without knee pain," reported a final reviewer. If you're ready to conquer knee pain and reclaim your walking routine, check out the Hoka One One Gaviota 3 sneaker at Hoka, Nordstrom or Zappos. You won't be sorry.

Can wrong running shoes hurt knees? ›

Can Running Shoes Affect Your Knees? Yes. Wearing worn out running shoes with little cushioning can cause knee problems, as can wearing the wrong type of shoes for your foot. If you're having knee pain, consider replacing your shoes or consulting a physical therapist to work toward pain-free running.

Is it OK to use running shoes for walking? ›

The short answer: yes. Running shoes and walking shoes have similar qualities that make them ideal for being active. While running shoes are designed to be durable for the rigorous demands of running, they are excellent as walking shoes, too.

Are HOKA good for pronation? ›

The HOKA Arahi 6 is a great shoe for overpronators because it uses HOKA's J-Frame stability technology. Some stability shoes use a long medial post to create stability, which means shoemakers insert a firmer, more durable piece of foam or plastic in the arch of the midsole to help the shoe wear evenly.

What's the difference between a running shoe and a walking shoe? ›

Running shoes will have a stiffer sole; walking shoes have more flex and blend. Heels. Running shoes have thick heel wedges to provide more cushion. A thick heel when walking can actually cause tendinitis or shin splints, and can even cause a walker wearing a running shoe to trip.

Does Skechers own HOKA? ›

Deckers Outdoor Corporation, the parent company of such popular footwear brands as UGG and Teva, has fully acquired the upstart running brand Hoka One One.

Who is the CEO of Hoka shoes? ›

In doing so, we inadvertently reinvented the running shoe.” -HOKA Co-Founders Jean-Luc Diard and Nicolas Mermoud.

Where is HOKA shoe company located? ›

Manufacturer of running shoes based in Goleta, California. The shoes are specially designed for downhill running activity.

How do you tell when Hokas are worn out? ›

If you're starting to feel hip, knee, or back pain, it could be that your shoes are worn out and need to be replaced. Most shoes and footwear are made with a layer of compressed foam that, over time, gets soft. This happens with day-to-day use: the shock of movement causes that foam to get too soft.

How many months do Hoka shoes last? ›

Experts recommend you replace your running shoes every 500 to 750 kilometers. That's roughly every 300 to 500 miles, which equates to approximately four to six months for someone who runs 20 miles a week.

What does Hoka One One mean in Hawaiian? ›

The original name translated roughly to “fly over earth.” Pared down, “hoka” translates to “fly” or “soar.”

Do Hokas have toe spring? ›

Why is this needed in a Hoka shoe? Because the thick midsole has no flexibility and toe spring is needed to smooth out the ride. The sole is surprisingly firm (but still cushioned) for a Hoka shoe as I mentioned and this adds to the sensation of stability.

Are all Hokas a 5mm drop? ›

About Hoka Running Shoes:

Many Brooks, New Balance, and Asics shoes all have 10-11 mm drops. So yes, Hokas are a lot flatter than you think. This is because your foot sits further down in the shoe. Think of a Hoka shoe as a race car, and your foot sits in a bucket seat and closer to the ground.

Do Hoka shoes have removable insoles? ›

The good thing is Hoka insoles are removable. You should insert your custom orthotics into your Hoka shoes for better effect.

Is HOKA a Decker? ›

The highly competitive global sneaker wars have a new contestant to look out for after Deckers said its Hoka line of athletic shoes has grown into a $1 billion brand that's vying alongside other upstarts to take on struggling stalwarts Nike and Adidas.

How long have Hoka shoes been around? ›

Hoka One One was founded in France in 2009 by Nicolas Mermoud and Jean-Luc Diard who previously worked with outdoor brand Salomon.

What is Deckers HOKA? ›

Deckers Brands is a global leader in designing, marketing and distributing innovative footwear, apparel and accessories developed for both everyday casual lifestyle use and high performance activities. The Company's portfolio of brands includes UGG®, KOOLABURRA®, HOKA ONE ONE®, Teva®, and Sanuk®.

What sneaker brands are not made in China? ›

  • Adidas. – C+ Adidas and Nike have a dilemma on their hands. ...
  • Nike. – F. Nike is, of course, the poster child for an apparel company that has completely sold out to China. ...
  • Converse. – F. Converse sneakers are of course an iconic American product. ...
  • Skechers. – D. ...
  • Reebok , then , then. – B. ...
  • Crocs. – C. ...
  • Dr. Scholl's Shoes. ...
  • PUMA. – B.
20 Sept 2021

Who owns Brooks shoes? ›

We're a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, one of the top ten largest public companies in the world.

Where are Asics made? ›

To trim costs in labor-intensive shoemaking, Asics now handles about 40% of production in Vietnam, where wages had until recently been low. It also has factories in Indonesia and China.

What does the HOKA logo mean? ›

The logo in the "O" of HOKA ONE ONE is a bird, intended to show flying.

Why are HOKA shoes so popular? ›

Dr. Jacqueline Sutera, a New York City-based podiatrist said that they provide comfort, support and shock absorption, which makes them a good choice for frequent walkers or anyone whose job requires them to stand for the majority of the day.

What are HOKA shoes known for? ›

Founded in 2009 by two runners in France, Hoka One One is known for producing high quality running shoes that are consistently performative, durable, and comfortable. In particular, runners appreciate that each shoe is designed to cradle and cushion your feet.

How did HOKA get so popular? ›

It's gaining in popularity among younger shoppers, largely because it's inked partnerships with trendy, up-and-coming retailers like Engineered Garments and Outdoor Voices to get its products in front of millennials.

Is HOKA owned by Nike? ›

Hoka was purchased on April 1, 2013 by Deckers Brands, the parent company for UGG, Teva and other footwear brands.

How is HOKA One pronounced? ›

The correct way to pronounce HOKA ONE ONE is “Ho-Kah Own-ay Own-ay.” The founders of the company have explained it's a Māori phrase that means “to fly over the earth.” Meanwhile, ASICS is an acronym for the Latin phrase anima sana in corpore sano which translates as “a healthy soul in a healthy body.” 5.

Is HOKA good for plantar fasciitis? ›

Hoka is a good choice for people with plantar fasciitis. The thick stack of foam absorbs impact while still being firm enough to provide support, and the wide base encourages a natural stride while you're walking or running.

Which HOKA shoe has the most cushioning? ›

The Bondi is Hoka's most cushioned road shoe with a downright beefy midsole. The latest version of the Bondi keeps the formula that has won this shoe such a devoted following: maximum cushioning for an ultra-plush ride. The midsole foam is lighter and even softer than the Bondi 7.

Which HOKA is best for knee pain? ›

For those looking for soft, cloud-like comfort underfoot, the HOKA Bondi is a fabulous option. As the most cushioned shoe in HOKA's lineup, the Bondi is perfect for relieving feet and knees from the discomfort of age, long days of work, and the impact of walking or jogging on the joints.

Can I wash Hoka shoes? ›

General cleaning and care guidelines for HOKA footwear are to hand wash with cold water using a mild soap or detergent, and allow them to dry naturally away from direct heat or sunlight.

Does Skechers own HOKA? ›

Deckers Outdoor Corporation, the parent company of such popular footwear brands as UGG and Teva, has fully acquired the upstart running brand Hoka One One.

Is HOKA a Chinese company? ›

Hoka was born in France.

Deckers Outdoor Corporation purchased the company in 2013 but it still maintains an advanced product development office in Annecy, France.

Do Hokas run big or small? ›

Does the Hoka Mafate run true to size? The men's version runs true to size. The women's version runs large. You may want to get a half size smaller than the standard running shoe length.

What nationality is HOKA? ›

Hoka One One was founded in France in 2009 by Nicolas Mermoud and Jean-Luc Diard who previously worked with outdoor brand Salomon.

Who is the founder of HOKA? ›

-HOKA Co-Founders Jean-Luc Diard and Nicolas Mermoud. Watch “The Rundown” to meet our founders and see how they parlayed a spark of inspiration into the creation of HOKA.

Where do Hokas ship from? ›

Orders placed on www.hoka.com are despatched from our warehouse in the Netherlands.

Are Hoka shoes good for seniors? ›

With thick cushioning, we recommend the Hoka Bondi 7 shoe for seniors who prioritize comfort and shock absorption. Its full-length midsole offers a plush yet supportive feel. The shoe also features a soft memory foam collar, which adds to the overall comfort and helps provide a snug, secure fit.

Do Hokas need to be broken in? ›

But in terms of performance, you do need to wear and run in your shoes before they completely break in. The Hoka Bondi, for example, feels comfortable right out of the box, but the midsole requires some time before it performs the way it's intended to.

How do I permanently get rid of plantar fasciitis? ›

Lifestyle and home remedies
  1. Maintain a healthy weight. Extra weight can put extra stress on your plantar fascia.
  2. Choose supportive shoes. Buy shoes with a low to moderate heel, thick soles, good arch support and extra cushioning. ...
  3. Don't wear worn-out athletic shoes. ...
  4. Change your sport. ...
  5. Apply ice. ...
  6. Stretch your arches.
20 Jan 2022

Videos

1. The patented reason to buy Hoka One One Running Shoes
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2. Hoka Arahi 2 Running shoe review from someone who doesn't know what decade it is.
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3. HOKA CLIFTON 8 - FULL REVIEW // Can This Shoe Do Everything?
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4. Hoax or Hoka? Why do Hoka Shoes Look Like This?
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5. Hoka One One Ten Nine - Is This For Real?
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6. Hoka One One Clifton 7 Review at 100 Miles | The best daily running shoe of 2020? | eddbud review
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