Shoe Review: HOKA Gaviota 4

A side view of the women's HOKA Gaviota 4.

The HOKA Gaviota 4 brings plush cushioning and reliable support to the road, helping you run efficiently from start to finish.

The HOKA Gaviota was first introduced in 2018 as the brand’s premium, max-cushion stability shoe. The latest version of the Gaviota features a redesigned upper while still offering the same supportive J-frame technology and thick midsole cushioning as last year’s model.

Fleet Feet reviewers tested the HOKA Gaviota 4 during daily training runs to see how it fits, feels and performs. Here’s what you can expect from the latest version of the HOKA Gaviota.

Tech Specs

HOKA Gaviota 4

Weight

9.3 oz (W), 11.4 oz (M)

Drop

5 mm

Category

Stability

Surface

Road, track

HOKA Gaviota 4 Offers Dynamic Stability

The HOKA Gaviota 4.

The HOKA Gaviota 4 sits on a plush bed of foam cushioning, offering plenty of support and impact protection during landings and takeoffs. HOKA uses their signature J-frame technology in the midsole – a J-shaped hook of foam that wraps around the heel and lines the medial side of the shoe. The foam in the J-frame is firmer than in the rest of the sole, creating support and durability for runners who overpronate.

Reviewers appreciated the support and noted that the Gaviota 4 feels very similar to the Gaviota 3.

“I like the tall stack of cushion underfoot. The feeling of the foam is soft, but it’s stable as opposed to smushy. The result is a ride that’s soft and protective but highly stable,” Kate says.

The HOKA Gaviota 4 uses HOKA’s signature meta-rocker shape, helping you transition from heel to toe quickly and efficiently. A wide base and cradle-shaped interior means your foot sits inside the cushion rather than on top of it, adding to the stable, supportive feel.

“These shoes feel just how they look like they’ll feel – tons of firm cushioning for an extra supportive ride,” Caroline says.

Smooth, Plush Upper Tops Off HOKA Gaviota 4

A pair of women's HOKA Gaviota 4.

The major update to the HOKA Gaviota 4 is the redesigned upper. The ventilated mesh upper is lighter and more supportive than in previous versions of this shoe.

HOKA added more padding and plushness to the heel collar and tongue, making for a luxuriously soft step-in feel.

“The Gaviota 4 is cushy and thick all around. The upper and tongue both seem to be going for a pillowy aesthetic and feel. They comfortably envelope my foot,” Alex says.

Reviewers enjoyed the soft, comfortable feel of the upper, but some felt that the shoe runs big.

“Unfortunately these shoes didn’t fit me very well. I tied them pretty tight and did the marathon loop, but I still felt my feet sliding around and the fit just didn’t feel locked in,” Caroline says.

But other reviewers noticed the opposite.

“The upper is not particularly roomy. It’s not too small, per se, but I could do with a little more volume in the forefoot,” Kate says.

Because everyone’s feet are different, it’s always best to visit your local Fleet Feet for an expert shoe fitting and try on a few pairs.

One thing our reviewers could agree on is that the HOKA Gaviota 4 feels extra smooth and supportive.

“Overall, the Gaviota 4 is just what you’d expect from a high cushion, high support stability shoe. Nice, firm cushioning and a stable, supportive ride,” Caroline says.

HOKA Gaviota 4 vs Gaviota 3

The women's HOKA Gaviota 4 is propped against a wall.


Tech Specs

HOKA Gaviota 4

HOKA Gaviota 3

Weight

9.3 oz (W), 11.4 oz (M)

9.3 oz (W), 11.3 oz (M)

Drop

5 mm

5 mm

Category

Stability

Stability

Surface

Road, track

Road, track

On paper, the HOKA Gaviota 4 and 3 look the same, save for an extra .1 ounce in the men’s shoe. Reviewers who’ve tried both noticed that the shoes felt remarkably similar.

“If you liked the previous version, these seem nearly identical,” Kate says.

The biggest update is the newly redesigned upper in the HOKA Gaviota 4, offering a lightweight, supportive fit. HOKA also added more padding in the heel collar and the tongue, adding to the maximally plush feeling.

The HOKA Gaviota 4 also utilizes a single-sided tongue gusset, meaning the tongue sewn into the upper on one side, designed to hold everything in place.

If you liked the previous version of the HOKA Gaviota, you’ll likely enjoy this version, too.

Final Thoughts

The HOKA Gaviota 4 is a great choice for runners seeking maximum cushioning and stability.

But because it’s more cushioned and supportive than the HOKA Arahi, reviewers noticed it doesn’t offer the same responsiveness and versatility as the Arahi.

“I haven’t tried to run particularly fast in this shoe. It feels like the type that calls to me for more relaxed runs,” Kate says.

What it lacks in responsiveness, it makes up for in comfort, cushion and support. “I can feel the additional support in the shoe, but it manages this without feeling overly stiff, most notably in the heel. I put these shoes on and actually forgot about them, which to me is a good sign of a good fitting shoe,” says Nate.

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