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Road • March 13, 2020

HOKA ONE ONE Rincon 2 Performance Review

hoka one one rincon 2 feature

What You Need To Know

  • Weighs 7.7 oz. for a US M9.0 (same as last year)
  • Same EVA midsole (5 mm drop) and outsole design as the original Rincon
  • Releases August 1 for $115
  • Like the old adage goes: If it ain’t broke, throw a slightly new upper on it

ROBBE: The only people who love when their favorite artist totally changes its sound and puts out a wildly new album are Radiohead and Kanye fans. Because they’re annoying and pretentious (disclaimer: I fall into both of those fanboy camps).

While HOKA released its Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy of a shoe last week with the HOKA TenNine, they also managed to get us a chart-topping single that virtually replicates their summer hit from last year.

That’s right, the HOKA Rincon 2 is as much as a deviation from the original as the story arc of American Idol.

I’m honestly tempted to just link to last year’s review of the Rincon 1, stop writing, and go back to watching Love is Blind.

But my love for you is blind, so I’ll continue.

For those new to the Rincon, here’s the rundown:

It’s a lightweight and well-cushioned trainer that can basically do everything you ask it to. It’s like a faster version of the HOKA Clifton. Here’s how it compares to the original Rincon:

  • Weight is identical (7.7 oz. for a US M9.0). Stack height/drop is identical 29 mm to 24 mm (5 mm drop).
  • Midsole and outsole are identical (full-compression EVA).
  • Heel pull tab is identical.
  • Upper is slightly different.
  • Laces have two stripes instead of one stripe. Risky stuff.

Pretty much the same. Which isn’t a bad thing. When your fans want to hear Creep, you play Creep.

hoka one one rincon 2 side

The Good

ROBBE: All I heard last July was how much of a banger this shoe was (it’s light! It’s fast! It does everything!). Basically, it was an Instant Pot of a shoe with an air fryer sidecar for extra crispy wings. I personally didn’t review the first version. I wasn’t at all angry about it– after all, I had an adidas Solar Drive to review, like some shoe beggar dredging a DSW dumpster.

Is the Rincon hype true? In some ways. For me, the midsole is solid– not too plush or soft, but enough cushion to give a comfortable ride over long miles. It offers some slight responsiveness, but it’s not as responsive as my favorite HOKA, the severely underrated Hupana Flow. I’m a huge fan of that shoe’s RMAT midsole and it has a much better ground feel, but that’s my preference for shoes in general.

I can’t tell if this new upper is breathable because it’s been in the 40F to 60F range the last week, but it is comfortable. HOKA calls it an engineered sandwich upper, which makes me think of a scientifically-perfected turkey club (i.e. one you don’t have to disassemble before eating). It’s thicker than the original Rincon upper, which you could literally see through. The overall fit of the upper is what you’d generally expect from HOKA. It’s not super plush, but it does the job (keeping the foot secure) while keeping the weight low.

The meta-rocker geometry allows the shoe to roll nicely through the stride and helps keep the legs fresh. I had no complaints after any of my runs.

ROBBE’S 200-MILE UPDATE: After wearing those through 200 miles of GRIT, Believe in the Run’s summer distance project, I can update my thoughts. The Rincon literally saved my life and training after spraining an ankle during the first week of GRIT. The wide and stable platform, combined with the slab of cushion, allowed me to hobble through a couple weeks of running while my ankle came back around. I kept wearing it, every day, anywhere from 8-14 miles a day.

I really came to love the ride of this shoe. It felt fast, light, and responsive, and allows you to just lay down a ton of miles on it. Turns out the upper is pretty breathable after all– a lot of my runs were in the 90s with high humidity and it felt pretty good overall. It ain’t all roses though, as you’ll find out in a little bit.

THOMAS: Now that you have wandered through the Alice in Wonderland of Robbe’s mind, I’ll try to keep it simple for you. I was at a loss of how to go about this review because it is Déjà vu, I feel like I am getting punked. I’m just waiting for Ashton Kucher to pop out from behind some bushes and hand me the real update.

This is the good section, so I’ll tell you the good. If you liked the original Rincon, you will feel the same about the 2. Solid cushioning that is more flexible than the Rincon’s big brother (the Clifton) provides a plush platform for the shoe. The wide base of the shoe keeps the Rincon 2 feeling stable. The upper fits extremely well; pro tip– stay with the size you had in the original. If you didn’t try the original, HOKA made the Rincon 2 fit true to size.

The Rincon 2 is a smooth transitioning shoe that is on the lighter side for a daily trainer. My 10.5 weigh 8.36 oz. or 237 grams. For a daily grinder that can pick up the pace, the Rincon 2 is in the weight sweet spot. Miles sorta cruise in this one.

MEAGHAN: If you’ve read any of my reviews, you probably know that I’m a HOKA fan. The Rincon 2 is basically Clifton’s lighter, speedier little sister. So, spoiler alert– I dig it. 

The upper is designed with a thin, breathable “sandwich” mesh. No fancy stuff, just a pretty basic upper that fits well. A little roomier through the midfoot and toe box than some other HOKA models I’ve tried, my (wide) feet were pretty happy with them. The lightly padded tongue and collar provide just enough comfort without adding any extra weight. My W7.5 came in at 6.3 oz. Pretty good for all that cush. 

Even with its plush softness, the Rincon 2 feels light and fast out on the road.  The early-stage Meta-Rocker creates a smooth ride and adds some pop to toe-off. There’s also a nice little pull-tab in the back. Can’t forget about that guy.


hoka one one rincon 2 heel


Shop HOKA Rincon


The Bad

ROBBE: I know a lot of shoes these days have exposed midsoles to cut down on weight, and I’m totally fine with it. That is, if they hold up. A great example of this is the Nike Epic React. People were freaking out about that midsole exposure, but it turned out to be very durable.

The Rincon 2 is questionable. After only 20 miles, there was some major wear on the exposed areas (which is most of the midsole). So much so that both Slayer and the Z-Boyz called, and they each want their shredding back. No shock, this was also an issue with the first shoe.

I have a general issue with this shoe being called the Rincon 2, because it’s more like the 1.25. I get that in-between years have minor updates, so hopefully we’ll see some really cool stuff for 2021. That said, I do appreciate them not breaking something that wasn’t broken, so I guess it all evens out.

ROBBE’S 200-MILE UPDATE: As I mentioned in my initial segment, the exposed midsole gets shredded. Now, cosmetically it looks terrible, but it doesn’t really lose a ton of material. That said, the midsole bears some questioning. I’ve heard it from others, and I didn’t believe them, but it was undoubtedly apparent to me– the midsole dies about 120 miles in. The bounce, the responsiveness, all the good stuff we love about the Rincon, just turns to vapor around the 120 mark. It just feels like a compressed midsole at that point. Still a light and fast shoe, but not that magic feeling you’re always looking for in a midsole.

You know how I know I wasn’t imagining this? I laced up an On shoe for a second run of the day, and it actually felt like I was running on clouds. Now, I didn’t let the midsole “rest,” which may have played a part. I was doing doubles almost every day in the shoe. Either way, there’s no question it flattened out.

THOMAS: I still prefer the Clifton over the Rincon even though it is an ounce heavier. After a few miles, the Rincon 2’s midsole flattens out for me and loses some of its responsive feel. The exposed foam on the outsole grinds away quickly. While certainly more cosmetic than actually affecting the performance of the shoe, it is worth mentioning. After 20 miles, the lateral edge of my shoe already looks chewed up, but comparing it to the original Rincon (which I wore for 70+ miles), it wasn’t that much worse. I mean, they’re the exact same midsole, so it makes sense.

MEAGHAN: As Robbe and Thomas already noted, there is some apparent wear on the exposed EVA. I’ve seen this type of wear on other Clifton models, and it’s usually more of an aesthetic issue without much effect on performance. I’ll have to wait and see how this one turns out, but chances are, I’ll get plenty of miles out of them.

Shop HOKA Rincon


hoka one one rincon 2 outsole

HOKA ONE ONE Rincon 2 Conclusion

ROBBE: Overall, this is a really solid shoe, and it won’t break the bank at $115. I do love that HOKA didn’t go hog-wild on the changes and kept it pretty similar to the original. It doesn’t give us much to work with in terms of a review, but too many companies destroy what the people love in an attempt to stay fresh (see: HOKA Clifton 2-5).

If you were a fan of last year’s model, go for it. Or, just snag another pair from last year at a cheaper price. You won’t be disappointed either way.

THOMAS: The Rincon 2 is a good shoe. HOKA does a nice job of offering shoes with slight tweaks to fit consumer demands. This ends up making it tough to navigate the lineup as a novice. The Rincon 2 is a lighter weight daily trainer that is softer than the Elevon 2, lighter than the Clifton 6, more flexible than the Carbon X. The R2 is comparable to the Nike Epic React, Reebok Floatride, Skechers GOrun 7+, and the New Balance Beacon.

MEAGHAN: The Rincon 2 did not disappoint. With signature HOKA cushioning and a little more pop than the Clifton, this shoe will work for just about any run. Now that the Boston Marathon has moved to September, I’ll be putting plenty of miles on these guys in the upcoming months. 

You can pick up the HOKA ONE ONE Rincon 2 on August 1 at Running Warehouse for $115 (or pick up the original!) by using the shop link below.

Shop HOKA Rincon

hoka one one rincon 2 to

hoka one one rincon 2 toe


Have something to say? Leave a Comment

  1. Stephanie says:

    Did anyone feel like the new upper provided a hair more stability in locking down the foot than the previous model?

  2. RodgerT says:

    I liked the Rincon a lot and used it for Marine Corps 50k last year. For the first 200 miles it was great.
    After that the midsole was pounded out in the middle but not on the edges and I started getting blister on the edges of the balls of my feet.

  3. Ed says:

    Same midsole/outsole as the Rincon 1s, which are still cush for me after 275 mi. I think the cosmetic wear messes with your head

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