The Hoka One One Huaka provided an unsurpassed cushion to weight ratio that maintains Hoka One One’s position as the brand I recommend for runners with poor form or those with chronic injuries who cannot stay away from the road. This new light-weight performance shoe is for the neutral runner looking to improve their personal records by blending the speed of a race day shoe and the cushioning of a trainer.
Comfort The deep heel cup locked the rear foot and the expansive midsole material gave a walk on clouds feeling. The outer was so insanely thin it felt nonexistent and allowed for extreme breathability.
Fit Pre-production samples came a half size small, which will reportedly not be an issue at production. The Hoka One One Huaka’s ultra lightweight upper was comfortable but it did not cater to my narrow mid foot when using the speed race lace system. During long runs the dorsal aspect of my foot felt constricted and irritated yet when loosened I felt a loss of stability. This is easily fixed with use of the provided standard laces.
Stability The full contact ground design offered a ray of medial support with 3 mid bulk relief zones for force disbursement. Despite a massive 27mm stack height there was no sense of unbalance or hesitation running on unstable surface and during long downhill strides.
Speed At 9.0 oz (M 9.5) the Hoka One One Huaka is extremely light. The RMAT midsole gave a pillow-like feeling without any effect on turnover. Heel strikers will love the early rocker bottom with only 2mm offset as it will not steal speed. Mid-foot runners loved the rapid transition. I was surprised that a shoe with much cushion could be so fast.
Responsiveness The maximal design with rocker bottom provided an efficient ride as expected in the Hoka line. Advertised 2mm drop tested actual -1mm in the lab. As if this were not enough, a weight reduction was achieved by blending EVA, rubber and compounds to create a new full length RMAT midsole offering forceful rebound into flight phase.
Value At $150 the Hoka One One Huaka is not cheap yet for the speed and cushioning it is accomplished. The Huaka is lighter, faster and more efficient than the Mizuno Wave Sayonara, Pearl Isumi EM2, New Balance 980 and the Brooks Ghost 7. High abrasion rubber is lacking over the mid metatarsal heads which lead to premature forefoot ware at 50 miles. Early delimitation of the upper is to be adjusted for full production.
Durability The Huaka showed well above average durability overall in our 2014 lab test. We saw only a 1mm collapse in the ramp angle after 150-mile test (from a -1mm ramp angle under bodyweight to a -2 ranp angle under bodyweight after 150 miles). We saw perceptible changes in the softness of the outsole after 150 miles, although the outsole wear was good.
We still are a bit concerned, though, about the -2mm drop on this shoe after 150-miles. This was the only shoe in our test that showed a negative heel drop, and we simply do not know how this will affect runner’s biomechanics over the long run.
Hoka One One Huaka midsole pressure map: The blue areas are low pressure zones and the red areas are high pressure zones.