Hoka Transport Review: Dog Mom Approved
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11.2 oz. (317 g) for a US M9 / 9.1 oz. (257 g) for a US W7
Heel and forefoot heights unavailable, 5 mm drop
Everyday commuting, with a little running as needed
Adjustable lacing toggle, recycled materials throughout, grippy Vibram outsole
🟢 Great Vibram grip
🟢 Dirt-resistant upper
🔴 Not actually for running
CARYN: When I got my first dog several years ago, I was stoked to fully embrace the dog mom life. However, it wasn’t until I tried to take said dog on a two-mile walk in a pair of $6 rubber flip-flops that I realized “dog walking shoes” are a vital part of the lifestyle. After covering my blistered toes in band-aids, I went to work trying to expand my sneaker collection, looking for the unicorn of the shoe world that is both functional and decent looking.
In 2014, there wasn’t much to be found in the way of cute, supportive footwear, but fast forward nearly a decade, and well, we’ve got options, folks. I’m not sure if it was the pandemic or if people have just gotten wiser about foot health (likely the former), but sneakers have become the shoe of choice for many, not just those of us regularly logging miles on the run. The Transport is Hoka’s first proper attempt at this type of functional lifestyle shoe, but with a sea of options, does it have a place in the dog-walking shoe rotation? It was only fitting that Gus, my new lab puppy, and I went on a mission to find out.
LINDSAY: Let’s get something out of the way up front: this shoe is not intended for miles on miles of running. It certainly has its place, though. It’s a daily commuter shoe. Say what? As runners, we’re intently focused on wearing the appropriate shoes for our workouts, but how often do we think about what is supporting the precious commodity that is our feet during all other hours of the day? Aside from the Oofos we all slip on after a cool down or shower; there really is a need to bridge the gap between training shoes and aesthetic wear.
Hoka has always been trusted for comfortable, durable shoes. So when they dropped the Transport, it immediately garnered some interest from the many loyal wearers of the brand. I can’t say I’ve owned too many Hoka shoes, but I’ve been fortunate enough to try a few with Believe in the Run, and I’ve never met one I didn’t like. I’m happy to report that includes the Transport.
CARYN: Hoka describes this shoe as an intersection of lifestyle and performance designed with the city-dweller in mind. While more of a semi-city-dweller (the outskirts of Baltimore, if you will), this shoe certainly delivers. I took this shoe all over the place, but it most notably served as my shoe of choice for multiple miles of dog walks each day, including off-leash adventures on trails and through the woods. Because the mid-Atlantic offers the ultimate winter-weather diversity (70 degrees one day, snowing the next), the Vibram outsole experienced it all. I enjoyed that the 3mm lugs weren’t so intrusive that I couldn’t easily walk on pavement, but they provided some additional traction on slippery or trail surfaces.
The upper survived plenty of mud and was pretty easy to wipe clean. The Hoka Transport’s cushion felt like a magical sweet spot between a Clifton and an Arahi. The slight firmness allowed me to wear the Transport comfortably all day. As someone with an average to slightly wide foot, I found the toe box spacious and the shoe true-to-size, if not a little roomy. I’m used to Hoka running a bit narrow, so this was a pleasant surprise.
Maybe it’s just my status as an elder millennial, but I love the bungee cord lacing on this shoe. You can easily tuck any extra elastic into the lacing system, which makes the shoe look sleek on foot. Lastly, this shoe is designed with sustainability in mind, something I’ve paid significantly more attention to over the last few years. The EVA midsole is made with 30% sugarcane, the Vibram outsole has 90% oil-free ingredients, and the Cordura upper is made from 100% rPET (recycled plastic).
LINDSAY: I didn’t get to take the Hoka Transport out on multiple terrains, but fortunately, Caryn did, so reread her two cents on that. I stuck to the city streets, mostly while walking my dog and during a few long shifts at the clinic.
The Hoka Transport fits true-to-size with excellent toe room. The Cordura upper is sleek and feels quite durable. It’s supposed to be scuff resistant, too. I don’t have any scuffs on my pair after some use, but I didn’t take a blade to it for testing or anything like that—a nice touch, though, especially for the lighter colorways.
Speaking of colorways, there are four: off-white, black, purple, and teal, with some funky color names that I’m not going to pretend anyone will know by listing them. Other than the black-on-black (see “The Bad”), I love the colorways. Not too flashy but also not dull or giving off too much of a “sneaker” feel. Dads know what I mean. Leave the flashy part up to the 360 reflective detailing.
My favorite upper detail has to be the pull tab, though. Nothing makes me happier than being able to quickly slip on a pair of shoes to take my dog out when I’m half asleep in the morning.
The EVA midsole is on the firmer side yet comfortable and the Vibram outsole, while being hella sustainable, also has the grip of a stage 5 clinger. There’s also a bit of forefoot flaring, which adds to the stability factor.Shop Hoka Transport - Men Shop Hoka Transport - Women
CARYN: While key to the Transport’s durability and functionality, I initially found the upper to be a bit stiff. While it has broken in as I’ve put more miles on the shoe, it’s worth noting for those more familiar with the soft mesh you’d typically find on a Hoka. I also think the upper is perhaps a bit less breathable than other Hoka models out there. Seeing as it’s snowing as I’m writing this, it certainly isn’t a problem at the moment, but it could be a bummer in the summer.
Also, when I first tried this shoe on, a symphony of squeaks erupted as I walked across my laminate flooring. As soon as I went outside, this went away almost immediately and was less noticeable inside the more I wore the shoe. I was a bit triggered by the all-black colorway I received (I’ve sold a lot of leather Addiction Walkers in my day), but fortunately, this shoe does come in three other lovely colorways, including a very soothing off-white.
LINDSAY: I don’t think there’s a need to be too critical here. I mean, this shoe isn’t trying to be anything it isn’t. I’m not a massive fan of the black-on-black. I, myself, am the #1 fan of the color black, but this felt like I was ready to clock in for a shift at the local diner.
I enjoyed it outdoors immensely more than indoors, but it’s typically meant for outdoors anyways. Just something to keep in mind if you walk to work and then spend all day inside. It felt clunky with its 3mm outsole lugs while strutting through the eye clinic halls. I wouldn’t call this a light shoe either; it’s got some girth.
The toggle lacing was… interesting. I’ve been dealing with some extensor tendinitis, and the struggle to loosen the upper was a bit uncomfortable to wear for long periods of time. When you buy a pair, it comes with the standard lacing option as well, so not a deal breaker. If it weren’t for my sensitive little tendinitis (woe is me), I would have nothing bad to say about the toggle lacing because the slip-on factor is excellent.
The outsole was also a bit sticky on the tile flooring at first, but that went away quickly.Shop Hoka Transport - Men Shop Hoka Transport - Women
CARYN: Long story short, Hoka has created a slip-on shoe with great lock-down, support, and durability, which is both rare and rad. I enjoyed the feel of the shoe for all-day wear, especially the mid-level cushion and the quick-toggle, elastic lacing system. While I tested this shoe via lots of walks with Gus, it’s a great option for anyone who needs to be on their feet for a good part of the day but also wants a sustainable, nice-looking shoe. Turns out that matching style and function is a thing, after all.
LINDSAY: I would say this is my favorite non-running shoe, but I don’t have much to compare it to. Hoka has definitely set the bar high for the daily commuter world, and I’m excited to see what’s to come from this. Lately, brands all across the market have been focused on being all-inclusive, and it makes my heart happy to see that continue with a line of shoes specifically designed for the walker with the perfect balance of function and style.
With that said, if walking is your cup of tea and you are out there hustling the miles at a walking pace, then a reliable, supportive, and stylish shoe like the Hoka Transport for $140 would be a reasonable option. Especially if you walk or bike to work or if you’re an avid trail goer: this shoe is for you. If you don’t fall under any of those categories, it might be tough to justify the price point, but I’ll leave that up to you.
You can pick up the Hoka Transport for $140 using the shop links below.
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Caryn is a recovering ball sports athlete and native Baltimorean who used to cry before the timed mile in gym class. Discovered running somewhat reluctantly when her pants stopped fitting in college, now a big fan of the marathon– go figure! Pediatric ICU nurse and avid UVA sports fan. Can usually be found with her chocolate lab, Gus, looking for a good cup of coffee.
All-time favorite shoes: Saucony Endorphin Speed (any version), Nike React Infinity, Hoka CliftonMore from Caryn
Lindsay is an optometrist by day and runner by… all other hours. Originally from south Florida, Lindsay started running with Believe Run Club when she moved to Baltimore and the rest is history. When she’s not running or fixing eyeballs, you can find her exploring with her dog, Iris, or grabbing a beer with friends.
All-time favorite shoes: Asics Novablast, Saucony Endorphin line, Nike Vaporfly NEXT%More from Lindsay
Such an encouraging and inspiring article! fun to read