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Best of Road Running Shoes • January 2, 2024

Best Hoka Running Shoes Right Now (2024)

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What You Need To Know


We break down the top Hoka running shoes right now


From racing to tempo to slow days to trails, we got you covered


Any questions? Drop it in the comments. Otherwise, let’s get you educated.

When we talk about max-cushioned running shoes, there’s only one brand that comes to mind. Well, I guess everyone has their own take on max-cushion, but there’s definitely one that stands just a bit higher than the rest. That’s right; we’re talking about Hoka. The One One is a thing of the past; it’s just Hoka now — kinda like Beyonce or Confucius.

Our history with the brand goes back almost to the time of Confucius, or at least to the beginnings of the max-cushion era. Early models of the Clifton became our marathon and long run go-to’s, especially after we realized you really could have more stack than a Saucony Kinvara had to offer. Hoka’s prowess is just as legendary on the trails, with the Speedgoat standing as one of our favorite shoes of all time, even without a carbon plate or super foam. The only thing you won’t find on this list is a minimalist shoe — we’re talkin’ all stack, all the time. These are the best Hoka running shoes you can buy right now.

As always, our picks come from our own experiences. We get tons of shoes through the door here at Believe in the Run, and our road and trail teams put them all through their paces. If we don’t love a shoe, we’ll tell you about it, but you might also find that what doesn’t work for us works perfectly for you. We try to take thoughts from our running friends and the community into account, but our own miles carry the most weight. Don’t worry; we only recommend shoes that you can currently buy in order to keep you from heading out on a wild goose chase for a shoe from five years ago.

Key Terms In This Review


Hoka’s midsole geometry, which combines a low heel-toe drop and rounded shape


Hoka’s dual-layer midsole structure for carbon-plated shoes like the Rocket X 2


Hoka’s high-performance upper, found on trail shoes like the Tecton X 2


Hoka’s non-plated, stacked midsole, found on shoes like the Mach


Hoka’s classic midsole foam, found on shoes like the Clifton, Bondi, and Arahi

Best Hoka Running Shoes Right Now

hoka cielo x1 - curb feature

Hoka Cielo X1


Watch The Review
Best For

Having the most fun while running


9.3 oz. (264 g) for a US M10,

7.4 oz. (210 g) for a US W8

Stack Height/Drop

39 mm in heel, 32 mm in forefoot (7 mm drop)

We could tell you that this shoe costs too much for $275. And we’d understand why you’d balk at that price. But we could also tell you how the Hoka Cielo X1 may be the most fun running shoe we’ve ever tried. When you combine a couple slabs of Peba foam (softer on the top, firmer on the bottom), an aggressive winged carbon fiber plate, and a rockered geometry, you get a propulsive and trampoline-like ride that is unique in every way.

Hoka says this is a race day shoe; we’ll agree to disagree. It’s a bit heavy to take it from zero to 60. But if you can get it going, it keeps going, mile after mile, for as long as you want to take it. It’s also surprisingly stable and rolls through the stride with hardly any effort. We’ve already put over a hundred miles on this shoe (watch our update) and we don’t see ourselves stopping anytime soon.

If you have the money, go and get it– you won’t regret it.

Shop The Shoe

hoka cielo x1 - shop
Shop Hoka Cielo X1 Solar Flare
Hoka cielo x1 womens
Hoka Cielo X1 Evening Sky
Hoka Mach 6 womens upper

Hoka Mach 6


Watch The Review
Best For

Lightweight trainer, tempo shoe


8.2 oz. (232 g) for a US M10,

6.7 oz. (189 g) for a US W8

Stack Height/Drop

37 mm in heel, 32 mm in forefoot (5 mm drop)

The last couple versions of the Mach have had a special place in our hearts. Out of the box, the shoe is lightweight and bouncy, making it the perfect companion for uptempo miles. It’s pure, unadulterated fun on the run. Hoka has improved on the existing formula with the Mach 6, giving an upgrade to the midsole with a supercritical EVA. A Durabrasion rubber outsole provides a bit more durability, which was always an issue in the past. The end result is a smooth riding shoe in a simplistic package– it’s not going to change the world, but it will give you everything you need from a running shoe and it will do it at a reasonable price point.

Shop The Shoe

Hoka Mach 6- Men
Shop Hoka Mach 6 Men
Shop Hoka Mach 6 Women

Hoka Clifton 9


Watch The Review
Best For

Everyday cruising


9.1 oz. (258 g) for a US M9,

7.3 oz. (205 g) for a US W8

Stack Height/Drop

Men: 32 mm in heel, 27 mm in forefoot (5 mm drop)

Women: 29 mm in heel, 24 mm in forefoot (5 mm drop)

From the new hotness to the old reliable, our next pick is the Hoka Clifton 9. It’s simply impossible to leave the Clifton off our list of the best Hoka running shoes because this is where it all began. Meg’s run in every version since the original, and she’s confidently declared that this is the best of them all — even if it doesn’t reinvent the max-cushion wheel.

In many ways, the Clifton 9 is just a refined version of the Clifton 8, which was a polished Clifton 7. It’s riding on a familiar EVA formula that’s just a little softer than before, and the meta-rocker keeps things simple and smooth. There’s nothing particularly fancy with the Hoka Clifton 9, but sometimes you just need a well-padded shoe with a modest weight and subtle design to carry you through the day. Thomas also had some praise for the new outsole rubber, which gripped nicely on Baltimore’s slick streets and sidewalks.

Even Jarrett got in on the Clifton 9 party — wide-footed runners, rejoice. You might not even need the 2E version if you only have a slightly wide foot, as our team felt like there was just a little extra room in the upper across the board. A few lacing tricks should right the ship, which will get you back to cruising. Oh, and Hoka has never had a shortage of colorways for the Clifton, so you can bet on some bright new shades as the months go on.

By the way, if you want something a bit more weather-resistant, Hoka also offers the Clifton in a GTX configuration for puddle jumping.

Shop The Shoe

hoka clifton 9 - shop men
Shop Hoka Clifton 9 Men
hoka clifton 9 - shop women
Shop Hoka Clifton 9 Women
hoka bondi 8 cover

Hoka Bondi 8


Watch The Review
Best For

Recovery runs with extra cush


10.8 oz. (307 g.) for a US M9,

8.9 oz. (252 g.) for a US W7.5

Stack Height/Drop

39 mm in heel, 35 in forefoot (4 mm drop)

There’s thick, and then there’s thicc. Then, there’s the Hoka Bondi 8 — the thiccest of them all. It’s always had an absolute mountain of foam underfoot, which is what kept us coming back for recovery run after recovery run. The mountain is still there, and, if anything, it’s gotten bigger. The Bondi 8 rides on one big ol’ platform of EVA foam, but it’s not actually as soft as the ghosts of Bondi’s past — much to Thomas’s excitement.

Fear not, as the slightly firmer foam isn’t anywhere near the feeling of running on a brick. You’re still on a nicely cushioned midsole, and Hoka’s meta-rocker (take a shot every time we mention it, we dare you) is as smooth as ever. It would be fair to expect a shoe of this luxury to tip the scales beyond 10 oz, but the Bondi doesn’t. In fact, it lost a few fractions of an ounce, with Meg’s pair squeaking in at just under the 9 oz. mark, not too shabby.

As always, there are tons of colorways to choose from, and Hoka seems to bring out a new one every time the seasons change even a little bit. While we’re in love with the underfoot feel, you might want to try the Bondi 8 before you buy — the upper seems to have lost a bit of volume, so it might not be a perfect fit if you’re teetering on the brink of a wide size.

Oh, and there’s a little more Bondi love coming at the end of the list.

Shop The Shoe

Hoka Bondi 8- men shop
Shop Hoka Bondi Men
Hoka Bondi 8-women shop
Shop Hoka Bondi Women
hoka tecton x 2

Hoka Tecton X 2


Best For

Trail-ready racin’


8.8 oz. (252 g.) for a US M9,

7.4 oz. (211 g.) for a US W8

Stack Height/Drop

Men: 32 mm in heel, 27 mm in forefoot (5 mm drop)

Women: 30 mm in heel, 25 mm in forefoot (5 mm drop)

Alright, alright, so we don’t have the finishing touches on our Hoka Tecton X 2 review quite yet, but we promise it’ll be worth the wait. The trail crew has been pretty much raving behind the scenes, cramming enough miles into Hoka’s new trail racing shoes that we can’t tie them down behind a keyboard. We’ll let you know once we finally wrangle them in to write, but in the meantime, here’s a taste of what makes the Tecton tick.

First and foremost, the Tecton X 2 isn’t a full-blown reboot of what made the original Tecton X so great. Instead, it’s all about maximizing weight savings, swapping the previous upper for a new Matryx material, which is super breathable and inherently hydrophobic. After all, water is for drinking, not for carrying in your shoes. Hoka’s Tecton X 2 also comes with a revamped lacing structure, which doesn’t start quite as close to your toes. So far, we’ve found that the change makes the shoe much more comfortable through the toe while holding onto excellent lockdown in the midfoot.

Now that we’ve hit on the main changes, it’s high time to remind you what makes the Tecton X 2 so cool. This Hoka running shoe doesn’t have one carbon fiber plate in its ProFly-X platform… it has two. The two long, thin plates run in parallel, which means you can still get that sweet, sweet pop if you land on one side of your foot or the other. Just be careful when running on slopes — you don’t want to get launched off to the side.

Shop The Shoe

hoka tecton x 2 men
Shop Hoka Tecton X 2 Men
hoka tecton x 2 women
Shop Hoka Tecton X 2 Women
hoka mach x - feature photo

Hoka Mach X


Watch The Review
Best For

Long, easy efforts


9.4 oz. (266 g) for a US M10,

8.0 oz. (226 g) for a US W8

Stack Height/Drop

Men: 39 mm in heel, 34 mm in forefoot (5 mm drop)

Women: 37 mm in heel, 32 mm in forefoot (5 mm drop)

Well, if there was ever going to be a Hoka to get the super trainer treatment, it was going to be the Mach. As expected, here it is. Our relationship with the Mach X evolved like most other super trainers — it started with hope, then a little bit of confusion, before finally rolling into acceptance. Simply put, we just have to learn that super trainers aren’t always meant to go fast.

While Hoka’s use of X in the name usually denotes a carbon fiber plate, this time, it’s a nice slice of Pebax, which we honestly prefer for a trainer that we can use day in and day out. That plate is slapped between two layers of PEBA foam, which means it’s a bit bouncier than Hoka’s usual CMEVA approach. The Jacquard mesh upper is light and breathable, even if Thomas didn’t really love the chosen colorway.

Ultimately, Hoka could have used just about any foam with the smooth meta rocker and we would have been cool with it. The Mach X just rolls from one step to the next, with Caryn busting out for an 18-miler on day one. Oh, and you can practically ignore Sam’s review — he’s since come to love the Mach X, just like the rest of us learned to love the Superblast from Asics.

Shop The Shoe

hoka mach x - shop women
Shop Hoka Mach Men
hoka mach x - shop women
Shop Hoka Mach X Women
blue teal and yellow hoka rocket x 2 on a wet sidewalk

Hoka Rocket X 2


Watch The Review
Best For

Rockin’ on race day


8.3 oz. (236 g) for a US M10,

6.7 oz. (190 g) for a US W8

Stack Height/Drop

36 mm in heel, 31 in forefoot (5 mm drop)

Here it is, the Hoka racing shoe we’ve been waiting for. It’s been a few years since Hoka dropped the original Rocket X, a carbon-plated running shoe that didn’t quite know what it wanted to be. The OG was closer to a racing flat, pairing a low (for Hoka) stack with a relatively firm foam that didn’t feel great across a marathon distance. Then, Hoka followed it up with some underwhelming not-quite-race-ready options that couldn’t keep up with the Alphaflys and Metaspeeds of the world.

Now, the Rocket X 2 has arrived. It takes everything that fell flat on the first Rocket X and throws it out the window. There’s more stack (36 mm in the heel, 31 mm in the forefoot), a brand-new Peba midsole, and an aggressive meta-rocker that rolls straight through your stride. We all had great runs in the shoe, with Robbe and Thomas rocking it through some 800m repeats and smiling all the way to the bank. Even Meg had some smiles for the Rocket X 2, though some of that might have been from testing out the shoe in sunny San Luis Obispo while it was still rainy and cold here in Baltimore.

No matter the scenery you’re working with, Robbe probably had the highest praise of all. He’s been a Metaspeed Edge+ believer for over a year, and he proudly proclaimed that the Rocket X 2 takes everything good about that shoe and turns it up a notch. Not half bad, if you ask us. Honestly, our only nit to pick with the shoe is that we could use a little more heel structure. Yes, it’s a race day pick, so weight is of prime importance, but we like a bit of support in the back.

Shop The Shoe

hoka rocket x 2 - shop men women
Shop Hoka Rocket X 2 Unisex
hoka cielo road - white shoe

Hoka Cielo Road


Watch The Review
Best For

5K or 10K racing, tempo work


7.1 oz. (201 g) for a US M9 (unisex)

Stack Height/Drop

33 mm in heel, 30 in forefoot (3 mm drop)

Ya know what? Maybe we’re finally moving past the days of a plate for plate’s sake. Hoka could have easily put some form of carbon fiber shank into its 5K racer just to bump up the price, but we’re pretty glad it didn’t. The result is a Cielo Road that you can honestly use for almost anything. It’s lightweight, low-stack, and has plenty of pop underfoot. Hoka’s Cielo Road uses the same Peba foam that features on the Rocket X 2, just with a much lower stack that makes it a little bit more flexible.

Overall, this might be one of the best alternatives to the Adidas Takumi Sen line that you can buy. It’s not only a little bit cheaper, but it actually fits true to size rather than throwing a curveball at you. Granted, there’s not a ton of structure through the heel, but that’s a pretty common flaw when it comes to lightweight speed shoes. Oh, and be careful if you wear white socks with the green colorway — we wound up with some color bleeding from one to the other.

Honestly, the Cielo Road should probably be a blueprint of what’s to come from Hoka. It gets so much right and works at so many paces while not being prohibitively expensive. It’s speedy and stylish and is perhaps one of the few Hokas that won’t become your mom’s favorite walking shoe — sorry, Mom.

Shop The Shoe

hoka cielo road - shop unisex
Shop Hoka Cielo Road Unisex
hoka speedgoat 5 side

Hoka Speedgoat 5


Best For

All of the trail miles you can imagine


10.3 oz. (291 g.) for a US M9,

8.5 oz. (242 g.) for a US W7.5

Stack Height/Drop

36.5 mm in heel, 32.5 in forefoot (4 mm drop)

There’s only one way to describe Hoka’s signature trail running shoe. It’s the GOAT. Literally, it has goat in the name. We’re obviously talking about the Speedgoat 5, which is about as good of a gateway into life on the trails as you could ask for. The Speedgoat 5 combines both the comfort to go long with the teeth to tackle technical terrain, and it shines across the board. Our trail reviewers have run in every version, including multiple pairs of the Speedgoat 4 and Speedgoat Evo, and they’ve agreed that the fifth one rules them all.

Hoka kept the midsole largely the same for its latest Speedgoat, which is what helps to keep it in our good graces. The slightly softer EVA formula makes a comfortable ride even more comfortable, and the meta-rocker is perfect for double-digit days — be they hours or miles. What really sold us on the update, however, is the reworked jacquard upper, which is far more accommodating and breathable than before. It’s stretchy enough to adapt to your foot, and we had no problems with the material expanding as our feet swelled on long adventures.

Maybe the best part of the Speedgoat 5 is that there’s a version for everyone. Hoka has the Speedgoat 5 GTX for wet days, the Speedgoat 5 GTX Ice for, you guessed it, icy days, and the Speedgoat 5 Mid GTX for wet days when you want extra ankle support. Live by the goat, die by the goat.

Shop The Shoe

hoka speedgoat 5 - shop wide men
Shop Hoka Speedgoat Men
hoka speedgoat 5 - shop wide women
Shop Hoka Speedgoat Women
hoka transport cover

Hoka Transport


Best For

Wearing to work, to the gym, or anywhere else, really


11.2 oz. (317 g) for a US M9,

9.1 oz. (257 g) for a US W7

Stack Height/Drop

Stack height unavailable (5 mm drop)

Our next pick is a pretty unique one as far as the best Hoka running shoes go — it’s not really for running. Instead, the Transport is positioned as a commuter shoe, one that you could wear literally anywhere and not feel out of place. The Vibram outsole means that it can handle some hiking, the toggle laces mean you can tighten and go in seconds, and the Cordura upper can take a beating with a smile on its face.

You don’t really need me to tell you all of this, though, as our dog mom reviewers came to exactly the same conclusion. Both Lindsay and Caryn quickly jumped on board with Hoka’s comfortable, flexible game plan, and both realized that the Transport is a perfect shoe for those early morning and late-night trips with their pups. After all, a toggle lace never comes untied. Caryn also tabbed the comfort level as somewhere between the Arahi and the Clifton, which is good company for a brand-new silhouette to keep.

The Transport even has something of a green thumb, rocking EVA foam made of 30% sugarcane. Vibram’s EcoStep Natural rubber uses 90% oil-free ingredients and 100% natural pigments, too. We just have a bone to pick with whoever decided that the Eggnog colorway with the natural gum sole would only come in women’s sizes. Come on, Hoka.

Shop The Shoe

Shop Hoka Transport Men
Shop Hoka Transport Women

Hoka Challenger ATR 7


Best For

Road-to-trail adventures


8.9 oz. (252 g) for a US M9,

7.7 oz. (218 g.) for a US W7

Stack Height/Drop

31 mm in heel, 36 mm in forefoot (5 mm drop)

One of the biggest trends in running right now is the explosion of road-to-trail shoes. These semi-rugged, semi-refined shoes offer a perfect way to get from your front door to the local rail trail or try your hand at some lightly technical terrain. The Challenger is Hoka’s entry to the scene, and it’s been around a bit longer than most of the competition. We’re now on the Hoka Challenger ATR 7, and there are plenty of reasons to think that it’s a lucky number.

In our review, Taylor tabbed the Challenger as the Clifton of the trails, and he’s pretty much spot-on. The two shoes share similar stack heights and drops, but the Challenger adds a little more grip to the equation. It’s a shoe that both Alex and Taylor find themselves keeping in their cars, just in case a chance for a few miles pops up. After all, the meta-rocker shape and medium-density EVA foam are perfectly comfortable on most terrain, as long as you’re not hunting for a mountain to climb.

While the underfoot feel is pretty great all around, the Challenger ATR 7’s heel is its money-maker. The counter is well-cushioned and plenty stable, and Hoka’s elf ear shape keeps the pressure off of the Achilles. No, it won’t keep all of the debris out, but you’re probably not meant to be that aggressive with the Challenger anyway. Oh, and do you want us to praise the colorways again? Cause we’ll do it. They’re great.

Shop The Shoe

hoka challenger 7 - men shop left
Shop Hoka Challenger Men
hoka challenger 7 - women shop left
Shop Hoka Challenger Women

How We Make Our Picks

All of our recommendations come directly from our feet to your screen. We test countless running shoes here at Believe in the Run, and we let our reviews guide our decisions. However, we also consider other reviews and our BITR community, as not every runner has the same experiences. We also aim to stick with shoes that are currently available so you can give our recommendations a try.

Want to learn more about how our review process works? Check out this guide.


Have something to say? Leave a Comment

  1. Joao Vieira says:

    I řun daily with Clifton 9 and I have done a half marathon on them.

    I am training now for my first marathon .

    Do you think I can run the marathon with the Clifton 9 or I should race with a carbon plate like the RockeT for evemple?

    Thank you so much

    1. Robbe says:

      You’ll be fine with the Clifton for your first marathon, and you should probably stick to what you know for now. But the Rocket X 2 would be fun for your next one!

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