Hoka One One Huaka Review [& a Giveaway!!]

Minimal shoes were all the rage for a while. And now it seems like maximum cushion is the hip thing. Do you know what this means? Nothing but good things for us runners… there are more options on the market! We’re all different people and have different needs. Even an individual can have different needs depending on what kind of running they’re doing. This has been the case for a long time with trail shoes, racing flats, etc.

I’ve been running in pretty minimal shoes and zero drop shoes for a while. But everyone I know that has tried super-cushioning raves about it. Most of them are trail runners, but road runners have been chiming in too. So when I was given the opportunity to try a pair of shoes from Hoka One One I was down for a little experimentation. BTW – you pronounce it Ho-kah Oh-nay Oh-nay… not like the number one.


I love running on trails, but I don’t get to do it as often as I would like so in order to test these shoes I wanted to run on roads like I normally do. I looked through their road models and elected to go with the Huaka, a lightweight shoe with a 2mm heel-to-toe differential (I’ve been running in zero-drop for about 3 years now). I also chose the purple color from the three available options because I like purple and it was the only option that didn’t say “Hoka” really big on the side… which, honestly, I thought looked kind of goofy.

A maximalist racing flat? That might be the best way to sum up the Huaka, a lightweight speed merchant with a highly cushioned midsole and an energetic ride. Although it’s high off the ground like other Hoka shoes, it has the lowest heel-toe offset of any Hoka model and a rockered profile, allowing for a natural, efficient and very smooth ride.
– Brian Metzler, Competitor.com

I loved the bright colors and how light the shoe felt (7.5 oz). The shoe comes with regular shoelaces as an option, but it came pre-laced with a “race lace system” so I went with those… since that is a feature of the shoe… for my testing. The tongue on the shoes is very thin, not much cushion there, but it is comfortable. I found the collar around my ankles was a little stiff. And I felt taller wearing the shoes!


My husband told me they looked like those fraudulent shaping shoes, which I gotta kind of agree with him to a certain extent. They do look kind of goofy. But we don’t buy our running shoes (solely) for the looks.

Running in them was definitely different. I didn’t feel this magical “Look at me, I’m floating on clouds!” moment. In fact, it took 3 runs in the shoes for my cadence to even be back to normal, the first couple runs my cadence was slower than usual (170 vs. 185) and I felt a little more awkward. I’m using to being lower to the ground. But after completing about 21 miles in them over the week I got my stride back in line. Other than that, I’m not sure I noticed anything really different about running in the shoes that made them feel super special. Also, sometimes when I was turning corners in them I felt the stiff collar kind of hit my ankle in an uncomfortable way.


All said, they probably won’t become my regular running shoes. But I’m not going to write them off completely. It would be interesting to take them out for a short recovery run after a hard effort to see how that feels. I’m still debating if I’ll wear them for a downhill race in a few weeks or if I’d be better off sticking with the more familiar.

Here’s your chance to try a pair of Hoka One One for yourself. I’m giving away a pair of shoes! Any pair of Hokas you want. If you win, you get to look at the shoes and pick the model you feel would suit you best. Ways to enter:

  • Follow me and/or Hoka One One on Twitter
  • Like me and/or Hoka One One on Facebook
  • Tweet about the giveaway
  • Comment on this blog post (Earns you the most points)

You do need to enter via the Rafflecopter widget, it just makes it way easier for me to manage entries! Entry period ends August 31. I will pick a winner within 3 days of the closing and will contact the winner via email. If the winner does not respond within two weeks, a new winner will be selected.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck! And as it says inside the shoes… Keep Running!


  1. Currently using Brooks. Ran in Saucony for years, but then they seemed make them more narrow (or my feet expanded, which might be the case lol). Currently shopping for the next pair. Hope to hit the running store this week!

  2. Right now I am running in my first pair of Asics but I ran in New Balance for years. However, I am currently training for my first 1/2 marathon and that means that I needed on that one hold up for a longer run. So I really would love to try another new type to see what is out there.

  3. I’m running in Brooks Ghosts for most of my runs, but think that Hokas are/can be valuable for recovery and long runs.

  4. I don’t run a lot, but when I do, I just wear my regular athletic shoes I wear to the gym. I have never had an opportunity to run in shoes specially designed for running.

  5. I’m no my 5th pair of Mizuno Wave Creations – love ’em – but always willing to try something new.

  6. I currently run in sauconys on the road, but I really want to try Hoka trail shoes. I’ve had so much trouble finding something that works for me in a trail shoe!

  7. I have been running in Brooks Trance 9 for the last several years. I bought a huge stockpile of the shoes right before they went out of style, but now I’m wondering if it’s time to try something new.

  8. I currently run in Asics Exalt. Asics have been my brand for the past 5 years. Before that, it was Mizuno Wave Creation.

  9. I used to trail run in Teva water shoes, and they were ok, but I felt everything, and it wasn’t a very good shoe for that. I picked up a pair of HOKA’s last week, and I don’t even want to take them off to go to bed, they’re that great. Thanks for the giveaway!

  10. I have a pair of Hokas that I wear for long distance runs and races. I got them for my first 50-miler, which was mostly on pavement, and I really do think that the extra cushion helped me considerably as the miles added up.

    I still wear less structured shoes and Newtons for shorter distances, because I like having less sole in the way when I run fast, but I will definitely continue to wear the Hokas whenever I transition back into training for marathons and ultras.

  11. I’m in Brooks Pure Grit now, but have always been intrigued by Hoka’s and hope to make the switch soon.

  12. Jill,
    I’ve been on cloud 9 since winning the drawing! I received my Bondi 3’s in the mail today and can’t wait to give them a try!

    Thanks for running great contests,

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