The idea for HOKA’s maximalist running shoes started in the French Alps where the brand’s founders dreamed of premium cushioning and a ride that carried momentum. But one thing makes HOKA shoes stand out from (and above) other running shoes: the midsole.
The midsole on HOKA running shoes takes many forms. The most-cushioned HOKA shoes, like the HOKA Bondi and HOKA Clifton, pack tons of cushy foam underfoot for a supremely soft ride.
Those midsoles are also carved into what HOKA calls a Meta-Rocker shape. The Meta-Rocker is a rounded shape that acts like a rocking chair to promote a runner's natural gait and create an efficient, smooth transition. There are two types of Meta-Rockers:
- Early-Stage Meta-Rocker. The early-stage Meta-Rocker is placed just behind the foot's metatarsal heads—closer to the middle of the foot—to create a smoother ride and promote a faster transition to toe-off.
- Late-Stage Meta-Rocker. The late-stage Meta-Rocker is placed just in front of the metatarsal heads—nearer your toes—which helps provide more stable forefoot support.
The big midsole initially set HOKA shoes apart, but advancements in foam technology, stability and shape now make HOKA shoes ideal for any runner or walker.