Are Avia Shoes Good for Running?


Running enthusiasts know the importance of the right footwear and how it could help take your running performance to a whole new level.

In the world of athletic shoes, Avia has carved out a niche for itself, offering a range of running shoes designed to meet the demands of runners looking for budget-friendly shoes.

To truly understand whether Avia shoes are the optimal choice for your next run, we’ll focus on the Avia Hightails and delve into how they performed on the road.

Let’s see whether these shoes live up to the expectations of runners seeking comfort, support, and durability.


Are Avia Shoes Good for Running?

The discussion started when a Tiktoker said how expensive her beloved Hoka shoes are and how the Avia Hightails dupes are a serious alternative to Hokas. This is what she said:

(…) I saw someone posted a video about Hoka dupes. I like how Hokas look. I think they’re cute, but I would just never pay that much for them. She found a dupe called the Avia Hightail Sneaker on sale for $20 at Walmart.

(…) I had to order them and try them out. (…) The shoe came in a plastic bag. They’re not bad and they’re kind of cute. They fit really well and they’re super comfortable. (…)

They were really comfortable after wearing them to the gym for an hour and a half. I had no issues, working out, running, stair climbing, lifting weights – nothing.

I found them really supportive honestly. I think these are a definite win and I definitely think you guys should get some for $20 if you’ve been wanting Hokas.


Now, let me give you my take on the Avia Hightails from a true runner’s perspective…

During the 1990s and early 2000s, Avia made a significant impact in the world of running footwear. They introduced pioneering features like the carbon fiber heel in their lightweight tongue-less Arc 3000, setting them apart from competitors. Personally, I was drawn to their racing flat, the Mantis, which offered a blend of performance and comfort.

One of Avia’s standout innovations was their levered midsole/outsoles, which provided a unique ‘spread’ on heel strike. This design not only offered a trampoline effect, now known as energy return, but also distinguished Avia from other brands using sheet EVA materials.

While many shoes of that era lacked energy return and quickly lost their cushioning, Avia’s offerings remained remarkable for their durability and performance.

But despite their early success, Avia’s failure to continue innovating in the market was disappointing. Nevertheless, their legacy in the running community remains, reminding us of their contributions to the evolution of running footwear technology.


Avia Hightails

When you stumble upon a shoe like the Avia Hightail, priced so attractively for an everyday trainer, you can’t help but wonder: what’s the catch? Well, let’s dissect the factors that contribute to its affordability.

First off, it’s evident that there’s minimal research and development behind these shoes. It’s like the factory took a page out of Hoka’s Clifton model and built something similar around it. They’re essentially piggybacking off someone else’s innovation, skipping the whole R&D process.


And speaking of shortcuts, there’s probably no wear testing involved either. It’s doubtful that Avia had athletes pounding the pavement in these shoes, providing feedback for improvements. It’s a case of ‘what you see is what you get’ with these budget-friendly kicks.

Then there’s the marketing aspect – or lack thereof. You won’t find a prominent Avia logo on the side because, let’s face it, they’re not aiming for brand recognition here. At a glance, you might mistake these for a pair of Hoka Cliftons, and that’s not by accident.


Now, let’s talk about the upper. Surprisingly, it’s not half bad. The engineered mesh of the Hightail feels decent, with a plush collar and tongue providing a comfortable step-in feel. Sure, it gets a bit warm, especially in the summer heat, but overall, it’s passable.

But here’s where the similarities to the Hoka Clifton end. The midsole leaves much to be desired – the EVA foam feels outdated, lacking the responsive bounce you’d expect from a higher-end shoe. It’s firmer and less lively, making for a somewhat lackluster ride.


Moving on to the outsole, it’s not the grippiest, but it’s durable enough to withstand some mileage. I managed to log 18 miles in these shoes, though I did develop a blister on the inside of my foot along the way.

So, what’s the verdict? The Avia Hightail is undeniably a super cheap running shoe. It might suffice for light walking or occasional jogging sessions, but it’s certainly not built for serious training. However, if you’re on an extreme budget or in a pinch, these could serve as a temporary solution.

At the end of the day, it’s all about managing expectations. If you’re using these shoes casually and not expecting top-tier performance, they’re not half bad. Plus, they weigh the same as the Hoka Clifton 8 – a fun fact for the budget-conscious runner in all of us.

About Eric Barber

Eric Barber is a happy father of two little angels, a husband, and a runner. He eats, sleeps, and dreams anything foot related: running shoes, walking shoes, sneakers, you name it. It all started when Eric was a shoe store specialist watching and fitting people's feet day in and day out.

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