8 Best Hoka Shoes for Walking, Tested by Fitness Trainers

8 Best Hoka Shoes for Walking, Tested by Fitness Trainers

Most Responsive Hoka Walking Shoe

Hoka Clifton 9

Clifton 9

Most Responsive Hoka Walking Shoe

Hoka Clifton 9

Credit: courtesy of retailer
Pros
  • Available in wide sizes
  • Gore-tex outsole available
  • Very responsive
  • Plush cushioning
Cons
  • Soft cushioning wears out around 300 miles

If you are looking for a shoe that provides a decent amount of cushion and keeps you feeling light and bouncy on your feet, the ninth iteration of Hoka’s renowned Clifton might be your match. “With the Clifton, it’s all about being able to crank out the miles day after day so we want to design for the ideal mix of cushioning and weight,” Rebekah Broe, Hoka’s Director of Product for Performance Footwear, previously shared with Men’s Health.

This shoe is one of the most popular offerings from the brand for walkers and runners of every level, offering a ton of flexibility and a lightweight feel. I find the Clifton 9 to be a reliable pick when I know I am going to log at least 10,000 steps for the day.

Brett Williams, NASM, MH Senior Fitness Editor, recently wore these for a treadmill workout and found himself marveling at how well the cushion softened the impact of his strides, even as the session went long. “I hate running indoors, but it wasn’t so bad wearing these.”

Most Stylish Hoka Walking Shoe

Hoka Clifton L Suede

Clifton L Suede

Most Stylish Hoka Walking Shoe

Hoka Clifton L Suede

Pros
  • Comfortable and stylish
Cons
  • Suede lifestyle version is not as durable as the Clifton 9s.

This casual lifestyle trainer is based on the Clifton 3, and features a fashionable suede upper. It’s an eye-catching shoe thanks to its dressy yet comfortable aesthetic, and features cushioning that is firmer than its Clifton 9 counterpart.

I usually go with this more stylish version of my beloved Cliftons when I am running to appointments or meeting up with friends. Keep in mind that this shoe is very much designed for downtime, so these may not be the best choice to bring to a walk with the intent of exercise.

“These are my go-to dress up sneakers,” explains Williams. “They’re just as comfortable as the standard version of the shoe, and I get compliments every time I wear them out.”

Most Cushioned Hoka Walking Shoe

Hoka Bondi 8

Bondi 8

Most Cushioned Hoka Walking Shoe

Hoka Bondi 8

Pros
  • Promotes foot health
  • Ortholite liner
  • Available in regular, wide, and x-wide

There’s a reason why this model is consistently recognized by podiatrists, and that’s because foot health matters. Behind the Clifton 9, it’s also one of the brand’s most popular running shoes.

“Compared to the Clifton, the Bondi has a foam that is the same durometer (hardness), but is a bit more dense which gives it a different, controlled ride,” Broe previously explained. I prefer the Clifton for running, but love to wear these as a walking shoe for getting around the city (I’m a New Yorker, so you can expect to hit a lot of steps). I’ve found that the Bondi 8 is the most plush and gentle ride of all the Hokas I’ve tested.

“This is a shoe I reach for when I want major cushion and plush strides,” explains Williams. “I generally find them a bit bigger and heavier than I’d like for a run, but they’re perfect for a long walk.”

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Best Stability Hoka Walking Shoe

Hoka Gaviota 5

Gaviota 5

Best Stability Hoka Walking Shoe

Hoka Gaviota 5

Pros
  • Available in regular and wide
  • Great for overpronation
  • Durable
Cons
  • Not ideal for neutral feet

Stability is the name of the game here, thanks to Hoka’s H-Frame technology. It’s a dual layer midsole that’s firmer on both sides of the shoe to help support your feet laterally. Compared to traditional stability shoes that feature added support on one side only, the Gaviota offers more universal support for those who struggle with excessive inward or outward rolling of the foot.

When testing this shoe, I immediately observed a more accommodating toe box, a smoother roll through the foot, and an overall lighter feel than previous iterations. While I don’t consistently wear a stability shoe for walking or running, the Hoka Gaviota is amongst the top of every list when it comes to my clients who wear stability trainers.

Read more: Best Stability Running Shoes

Best Hoka Walking Shoe for Travel

Hoka Transport

Transport

Best Hoka Walking Shoe for Travel

Hoka Transport

Pros
  • Comes with quick-toggle laces
  • Durable lifestyle shoe
  • Great aesthetic
Cons
  • Not as cushioned as other options
  • Prone to heel cup slippage

The Transport might just be one of my favorites as a casual lifestyle option. It’s a great lifestyle shoe that looks sporty, and provides a slight spring in each step. If you’re the type of person that is always rushing to catch their train or bus (like myself), this could be a top contender.

The beautiful silhouette of this shoe is top-notch and appealing for those that are looking for a dressy shoe. It features a quick-toggle lace for easy access and an abrasion-resistant textile upper that provides extra durability. The Transport is nearly perfect as an urban lifestyle and travel shoe, but I have experienced some minor heel slippage when the laces aren’t fastened tight enough.

Read more: Most Comfortable Sneakers

Best Post-Workout Shoe

Hoka Ora Recovery Shoe 2

Ora Recovery Shoe 2

Best Post-Workout Shoe

Hoka Ora Recovery Shoe 2

Pros
  • Great option for a light stroll
  • Memory foam for enhanced comfort
Cons
  • Not the best for long days on your feet

Wearing the Ora Recovery 2 after a workout or tough runs feels like heaven on your feet. It features a memory foam heel, which keeps the shape of your foot for customized comfort and support during your leisurelywalks.

I like how liberating these feel on my feet due to how light and breathable they are, especially for days that I don’t feel like wearing heavier sneakers. After a tough run or workout, I find myself slipping right into these to help take the pressure off my dogs. Chuck these on to walk home from the gym or a race and you’ll feel like you’re on Cloud 9.

Read more: Best Recovery Shoes

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Best for Heel Strikers

Hoka Arahi 7

Arahi 7

Best for Heel Strikers

Hoka Arahi 7

Pros
  • Available in regular and wide
  • Balanced cushioning
  • Lightweight
  • Offers great support
Cons
  • Not great for wet conditions
  • Minimal energy return

The Arahi is another great stability shoe with balanced cushioning, however, it runs on the narrow side. This shoe features the brand’s proprietary J-Frame technology i.e. a firm midsole that runs from the inside of the shoe and hooks around the heel to support your forefoot. While this also helps with overpronation, there is a nice rocker for those that tend to land on their heels when they walk.

I find that this is a nice choice for those long days because of the lightness of this shoe, though it is slightly less cushioned than the Gaviota (Hoka’s other popular stability shoe). These are on the firm side and can give off a “planted” feeling, which could be a nice option for those that have to stand for long periods of time.

This sneaker also comes in wide sizes, but because this shoe runs narrow, I recommend the wide sizes for those who typically opt for standard sizes.

Most Affordable Shoes

Hoka Solimar

Solimar

Most Affordable Shoes

Hoka Solimar

Pros
  • Versatile
  • Ligthweight
  • Cheaper than other Hoka models
  • Available in wide sizes
Cons
  • Not the best option for extremely long days or high step count

This no-frills shoe is technically a cross trainer, however it features an added rubber tread that provides great traction for uneven terrain and wet conditions. If you are the type of person to walk to the gym and to train in whatever you’re wearing, the versatility of the Solimar makes it a great choice.

I found these to be feather-light on my feet, and an overall well rounded option for days that might require me to run (or, walk?) between activities without a spare pair of trainers. Plus, this do-it-all shoe is one of the most affordable models the brand offers.

What to Look for When Shopping for a Hoka Walking Shoe

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There are a lot of ‘best’ options, we know. So here are some tips that you can follow to select the right pair of Hoka walking shoes for you:

Know your walking style: Hoka shoes are designed for different types of terrain, such as road, trail, etc. The key factor in choosing the right walking shoes is your purpose. Identify whether you need plush comfort for long hours on your feet, a stylish travel shoe, or a grippy, durable outsole for rocky terrain.

Know your foot type: Before selecting any running shoes (or any shoes in general), you should know your foot type. If you have flat feet or high arches, you may want to check out the Gaviota and Arahi. These shoes are specifically engineered with features like medial posts, supportive midsoles, and structured designs to counteract feet from rolling inward–a hallmark of overpronation.

However, Hoka running shoes are not the top choice for those requiring greater support and stability, according to Dr. Mark Mendeszoon. He explains that they tend to work better for people with higher arches or with a neutral foot, rather than those with flat feet. For those with flat feet, Dr. Mendeszoon recommends Brooks, which feature supportive GuideRail technology specifically designed to help with motion control and prevent excessive inward or outward rolling of the foot.

Look for proper fit:

The proper fit is critical when it comes to running shoes. It should feel snug but not tight. Make sure there is enough room in the toe box for your toes to wiggle. If your feet are on the wider side, look for a model that’s available in wide (there are plenty).

Level of cushioning

: Hoka is known for its cushioned shoes, but different models have different levels of cushioning. If you’re looking for light and bouncy cushioning, check out the Clifton 9. If you’re looking for denser cushioning and a more controlled ride, you might like the Bondi 8.

Consider the weight:

Each model has a different weight. Lightweight shoes are better for travel or hot weather walks, while heavier shoes provide more support and cushioning for those who need it.

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Why Choose Hoka Walking Shoes?

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Hokas are great for people who have a higher arch or neutral foot type and seek cushioning, according to Dr. Mendeszoon. Amongst other characteristics like comfort and support, the stacked cushioning is what podiatrists say make Hokas stand out the most from competitors.

If you choose to pick up a pair of Hoka running shoes, expect to find thicker and softer cushioning than most traditional running shoes on the market. This design is intended to reduce the impact on joints and muscles during running, making it a popular choice among walkers, too.

You’ll also notice that most Hokas feature a meta-rocker, which may be called an ‘early-stage meta-rocker’ or a ‘late-stage meta-rocker’. An early-stage meta-rocker refers to the cushioning that is purposefully placed behind your forefoot, which tends to encourage quicker transitions and foot turnover. A late-stage meta-rocker means the cushioning is placed after the forefoot, which leads to the shoe being more stable.

Can I Wear Hoka Walking Shoes Everyday?

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According to Dr. Mendeszoon, Hokas are an excellent choice for everyday walking shoes in terms of comfort and foot health. However, the long-term durability can vary depending on specific models and the way you use them.

The lighter materials in Hoka’s highly cushioned midsole tend to compress and wear out faster than those in less cushioned shoes. While this compression enhances comfort and responsiveness, key features of Hoka, it does impact long-term durability. The more the midsole compresses, the quicker it wears down, and the more frequent a replacement will be needed.

Hoka incorporates a variety of upper materials in its shoes, which also influence their lifespan. For instance, the Clifton 9’s knit upper is more breathable, but tends to lose its shape and support over time. On the other hand, the Bondi 8 features a synthetic fiber upper, which offers better durability based on my experience.

How We Selected the Best Hoka Walking Shoes

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Over the past few years, we’ve been researching and testing new fitness shoe models from a wide range of brands. Men’s Health‘s fitness editors and contributing writers including Eric Sung, C.S.C.S.; Fitness Director Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S.; Senior Fitness Editor Brett Williams, NASM; and Fitness and Commerce Editor Talene Appleton, NASM, collaborated on the top Hoka walking shoes to evaluate more than a dozen models. In our assessment, we focused on factors including support, cushioning, durability, and fit. We also considered price point, as some Hoka walking shoes provide a better overall value than others.

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Why You Can Trust Us

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At Men’s Health, we take great pride in providing our readers with reliable and trustworthy product recommendations. We believe that our readers deserve the best, which is why we always make sure to conduct thorough research and testing before making any recommendations. Our writers and editors are experts in their own right, using their informed opinions to select products and ensuring that our content is of the highest quality.

Our product recommendations are purely editorial, and while we may receive free products to test and review, we only recommend the products we are most impressed by. We never let retailers or public relations contacts dictate our content or product coverage. Which is why you can trust us to provide you with reliable and unbiased product recommendations.

Read More About Our Favorite Shoes

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Lettermark

Eric Sung, CSCS, is a New York City–based trainer and a member of MH’s Strength in Diversity Initiative.He specializes in athletic training and recently completed his first triathlon. 

Headshot of Talene Appleton, NASM-CPT

Talene Appleton is a fitness and food writer and editor, certified personal trainer (NASM-CPT), and former professional dancer based in New York City. Passionate about both exercise and cuisine, she merges her fitness, nutrition and culinary expertise with the goal of motivating others to embrace balanced healthy living. Her work has appeared in Men’s Health, General Surgery News, The Food Institute, The Nessie, and more.

Headshot of Brett Williams, NASM

Brett Williams, a senior editor at Men’s Health, is a NASM-CPT certified trainer and former pro football player and tech reporter. You can find his work elsewhere at Mashable, Thrillist, and other outlets.

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