HOKA Gaviota 5 versus Saucony Guide 17

The HOKA Gaviota 5 and Saucony Guide 17.

The HOKA Gaviota 5 and the Saucony Guide 17 are two of the best selling stability running shoes, and it’s easy to see why. Both shoes offer tall stacks of comfortable cushioning and innovative stability features to support your stride.

In recent years, stability shoes have evolved towards offering more holistic support for runners, and the Gaviota 5 and Guide 17 are two great examples of this trend. However, there are still several key differences between the Gaviota 5 and the Guide 17.

Let’s break it down so you can choose which shoe is right for you.

Buy the HOKA Gaviota 5 if…

  • You’re willing to pay more for premium-feeling materials
  • You have high-volume feet
  • You prefer a touch of softness

Buy the Saucony Guide 17 if…

  • You value a lighter weight in your running shoes
  • You have low-volume feet
  • You enjoy a structured underfoot feel
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HOKA Gaviota 5 vs Saucony Guide 17: Tech Specs

Tech Specs

HOKA Gaviota 5

Saucony Guide 17


9.1 oz (W), 10.9 oz (M)

8.1 oz (W), 9.4 oz (M)

Stack height (heel/forefoot)

34 mm/28 mm (W),

36 mm/30 mm (M)

35 mm/29 mm

Heel-to-toe drop

6 mm

6 mm










HOKA Gaviota 5 vs Saucony Guide 17: Fit & Materials

The Saucony Guide 17.

The HOKA Gaviota 5 and Saucony Guide 17 both use soft, smooth uppers to provide locked down fits. However, we noticed that the Gaviota 5 feels much more padded around the heel and ankle, evoking a more luxurious feel.

“While the Guide’s upper was soft and accommodating, it didn’t have a premium feel to it,” says Heather. “It felt very ‘base-level’ to me.”

The Gaviota is offered at a higher price point, and the premium-feeling material is likely part of the reason why.

“I love the heel collar in the Gaviota 5,” says Mandy. “It looks, fits and feels perfect. The little extra padding cradles my heel, while the pull tab makes these a breeze to put on.”

While we reveled in the luxurious feel of the Gaviota 5, we noticed it felt a bit roomy for some.

“The first time that I put the Gaviota 5 on, I double checked to see if I had the right size, or if I accidentally got a men's shoe in pretty pastel hues,” Kate says. “It seems both long and wide, and I had to really cinch down the laces and also use the extra eyelet to make these shoes feel secure. Despite the roomy fit, I was able to run in them comfortably once I really cinched down the laces.”

If you have high-volume feet (feet that take up lots of space within the shoe), you’ll likely enjoy the fit of the Gaviota 5. If you have low-volume feet, you’ll probably prefer the fit of the Guide 17.

I really enjoyed the contoured fit of the Guide 17. It wraps perfectly around my low-volume feet, leaving me with a locked down heel and midfoot but enough wiggle room in the toe box.

If you aren’t sure about the volume of your feet, your best bet will be to head into your local Fleet Feet to try on the shoe in-person. Fleet Feet outfitters use 3D fit id® foot scanning technology to gather information about your feet and the support they need by taking precise measurements of your foot length, width and arch height, so you can learn a lot about your feet while you’re there.

HOKA Gaviota 5 vs Saucony Guide 17: Midsole & Outsole

The HOKA Gaviota 5.

Both the HOKA Gaviota 5 and the Saucony Guide 17 have almost the same stack height, with the Gaviota at 34 millimeters in the heel for the women and 36 millimeters for the men, and the Guide at 35 millimeters. Both shoes have a 6-millimeter heel-to-toe drop, too.

The similarities don’t stop there–both shoes offer innovative stability technology. The HOKA Gaviota 5 uses their proprietary H-frame technology, an H-shaped frame that sits inside of the midsole to provide a stable platform. The H-shape works to provide support on both the medial and lateral sides of the shoe, so you’ll feel supported no matter how your feet move. This is a departure from the J-shaped frame used in previous versions of the Gaviota.

“The Gaviota 5 felt smooth throughout the entirety of each of my runs, walks and jaunts,” says Mandy. “The H-frame stability mechanism prevented the midsole from feeling too soft for me. I felt cushion and comfort with every step.”

The Guide 17 also uses a brand new design which Saucony calls their Center Path Technology. Saucony’s Center Path Technology is made up of three key components. First, a wide, broad platform offers a stable base for landings. Second, high sidewalls encompass your foot so you’re sitting inside the cushioning rather than on top of it. Third, an asymmetrical profile provides reinforcement by placing additional foam on the medial side of the shoe. This ensures the durability of the shoe for runners who overpronate (the excessive inward rolling of a runner’s foot upon landing).

“In the Guide 17, I could feel the guidance underfoot,” says Heather. “The shoe lived up to its name as I felt that it was guiding my foot from foot strike to toe-off, unlike what a traditional posted shoe would do.”

We found the Gaviota and Guide to feel equally stable across a variety of distances, the main difference in the ride of the shoes came down to softness versus firmness. The Gaviota provides a touch more softness in the midsole than the Guide. In my opinion, both shoes felt softer than their predecessors.

The Saucony Guide 17.

HOKA Gaviota 5 vs Saucony Guide 17: Which is right for you?

Both the HOKA Gaviota 5 and the Saucony Guide 17 offer reliable support. Your preferred shoe will likely come down to your individual preferences regarding fit and ride.

The Gaviota 5 offers a luxurious upper that adds a premium feeling to the shoe, which sets it apart from the Guide 17. It also feels a touch softer and fits a bit roomier than the Guide. If you enjoy plushness all over and lots of extra wiggle room, you may prefer the Gaviota.

The Guide comes in at a full ounce lighter than the Gaviota. If weight savings are important to you, you’ll probably prefer the Guide. It’s also better suited for runners with lower volume feet who enjoy a stiffer platform for landings and toe-offs.

Still not sure? Head to your local Fleet Feet for a free outfitting experience. Our friendly Outfitters are well-trained to learn about your needs, scan your feet, and help you find your perfect fit.

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