Best HOKA Running Shoes 2023

Shoes Reviews & Buyer’s Guide | Fleet Feet

By The Fleet Feet Editors Updated on
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HOKA running shoes are known for their oversized midsoles and smooth rides, making them ideal for a wide variety of running and training.

The best HOKA running shoes share the same roots, but designers tune each model for specific attributes. Originally built to help carry momentum forward, the new generation of HOKA does that and so much more.

Here are the best HOKA running shoes for every type of run:

What It's Best For

Shoe Model

Best for Everyday Training

HOKA Clifton 9

Best for Cushioning

HOKA Bondi 8

Best for Distance

HOKA Kawana

Best for Road Racing

HOKA Rocket X 2

Best for Trails

HOKA Speedgoat 5

Best for Stability

HOKA Arahi 6

Best for Speedwork

HOKA Mach 5

Best for Commuting

HOKA Transport

[This article is part of the Fleet Feet Buyer's Guide for The Best Running Shoes 2023. Find all the best running shoes from the top brands for all situations.]

Best HOKA Running Shoes for Everyday Training

HOKA Clifton 9

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The HOKA Clifton 9 maintains its spot as the best HOKA shoe for everyday training thanks to its combination of big cushioning and featherlight weight.

HOKA made a few small updates to the newest Clifton. It features a new midsole foam that is lighter and more energetic than before, so designers increased the stack height to add even more cushioning to this shoe. They also tweaked the upper to give you an even better fit.

“The cushioning in the HOKA Clifton offers such a distinct sensation,” reviewer Kate says in our HOKA Clifton 9 review. “It’s lightweight with a soft step-in feel, but the cushion doesn’t stay compressed. It’s firm enough to provide a stable platform to push off from, yet still provide ample protection from the pounding of the road.”

Even with a few changes, though, the Clifton 9 remains a smooth-riding and lightweight running shoe that packs a generous bed of protective cushioning. So whether you're running a mile or a marathon, the Clifton is up for the challenge.

Read more in our HOKA Clifton 9 review.

Best HOKA Running Shoes for Cushioning

HOKA Bondi 8

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The HOKA Bondi 8 isn't just the most cushioned running shoe in HOKA's formidable lineup—it's also one of the best-cushioned running shoes of all time.

HOKA built the Bondi 8 to prioritize softness above all else, to give you the ultimate in comfort. The newest version of the shoe has an impressive stack height of ultralight and resilient foam that keeps each step soft and bouncy.

Its seemingly endless cushion gives the Bondi 8 an extremely plush and cloud-like feel that won't bottom out. Plus, the early-stage Meta-Rocker shape with an extended heel geometry provides easy landings and quick, smooth transitions.

HOKA designed a plush memory foam collar and cushioned tongue to act like a travel pillow for your ankle and provide long-distance comfort. From heel to toe, the Bondi 8 is one of the cushiest running shoes you'll find.

Read more in our HOKA Bondi 8 review.

Best for Distance

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The HOKA Kawana gives you a responsive, lively and smooth ride, perfect for those long runs. Departing from HOKA’s signature marshmallow-soft cushion, this shoe features a new semi-firm midsole for a more responsive ride and a solid rebound that doesn’t feel too soft underneath your feet, which is great for running many miles. This shoe fits nicely in between the light and airy Clifton and maximally cushioned Bondi.

The Kawana features an early-stage meta-rocker design and a modern swallow-tail geometry that allows for smoother heel strikes. In our HOKA Kawana review, one tester noted “the Kawana seems to assist in the transition, but you don’t feel the distinct rolling sensation. Instead, there’s a feeling of complete ground contact on the run, and I like it.”

The breathable jacquard mesh upper provides a moderately snug and comfortable feel. Plus, this shoe has an extended heel tab to make it easier to put on and off as well as prevent any Achilles irritation.

Best HOKA Running Shoes for Speed

HOKA Rocket X 2

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The HOKA Rocket X2 is the fastest running shoe in HOKA's lineup thanks to ultralight foam, a propulsive geometry and a carbon-fiber plate.

HOKA completely redesigned this shoe to make you as fast as possible. A brand new PEBA foam midsole is super lightweight and responsive to keep your legs as fresh as possible for that race day kick. Sandwiched in between two layers of foam is a scooped carbon-fiber plate to give you enhanced propulsion. Our runners loved the new foam and how fast they could run in our HOKA Rocket X2 review.

The technical mesh upper is lightweight and breathable, while a gusseted tongue and internal midfoot cage keep you on top of all of that bouncy foam.

*The HOKA ONE ONE Rocket X 2 is a unisex shoe. Men’s sizes are listed; women should subtract 1.5 from the listed sizes to find the right fit.

Best HOKA Running Shoes for Trails

HOKA Speedgoat 5

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Want that signature HOKA cushion for the trails? Meet the HOKA Speedgoat 5.

The Speedgoat 5—named after professional ultrarunner Karl “Speedgoat” Meltzer—is an ultra-cushioned trail running shoe built to keep you comfortable over the long haul.

HOKA cushioned the Speedgoat with its signature stack of EVA foam that is lighter than ever before. They mated it to an outsole with Vibram Megagrip and a Traction Lug system for enhanced grip in all conditions. A layer of rubber lugs gives you grip on uphills and downhills, and a durable, double jacquard mesh upper gives you stability and comfort on unpredictable terrain.

Testers loved how dependable this trail running shoe is year after year. There’s nothing crazy about the shoe, it just works every single time.

Read more in our HOKA Speedgoat 5 review.

Best HOKA Running Shoes for Overpronators

HOKA Arahi 6

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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. HOKA’s J-Frame, though, extends this more dense foam around the back of the shoe.

The hook of foam runs from the medial side, around the heel and to the lateral side of the shoe to give you stability from all angles. Even with its built-in stability, though, the shoe keeps things light. In fact, the updates to the Arahi 6 made the shoe even lighter with the women’s version only weighing 7.6 oz, and the men’s weighing 9.3 oz. Fleet Feet testers loved the unique combination of support and softness in a lightweight package in the HOKA Arahi 6 review.

Looking for an even more cushioned stability shoe? Check out what our HOKA Gaviota 4 review.

Best HOKA Running Shoes for Speedwork

HOKA Mach 5

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When you’re running fast, you want a shoe that won’t slow you down—the HOKA Mach 5 is sure to keep up.

HOKA built their lightweight Mach 5 for speed. The Profly+ midsole and early-stage Meta-Rocker construction are designed to deliver smooth transitions and quick toe-offs to propel you forward on race day or during speedwork.

The streamlined upper was updated to provide more ventilation and gives your foot the support it needs to drive you toward your next PR.

HOKA Transport

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Whether you are going for a hike or walking to work, the HOKA Transport will make the experience more comfortable. It has HOKA’s signature thick, soft midsole and Meta-Rocker geometry to make the trip fly by.

The shoe’s quick-toggle laces make it easy to slip off when you get to the office, and reflective elements give you extra visibility if you have to walk home after dark. Plus, the rugged outsole gives you extra traction for snowy or icy commutes and even lets you use these for weekend hikes.

The HOKA Transport is made for your active lifestyle.

How We Picked the Best HOKA Running Shoes

We used data from our fit id® outfitting process, interviews with designers and real-life wear testing to determine the best HOKA running shoes for most runs and the most runners.

You can shop with confidence at Fleet Feet: We offer free shipping on orders over $99, and you have 60 days to return any gear if you don’t like the way it looks, fits or feels. Plus, with our price-match guarantee, you can make sure you never pay too much for a new pair of running shoes.

Best Running Shoe Brands

HOKA makes some of the best running shoes in the business, but there are plenty of excellent shoes from other brands. See the best running shoe brands 2023 for more great shoes.