Today, I’m happy to be answering a very important question: “Are Hoka shoes good for walking?”
Hoka came to be in a moment of insight on a mountain top. The founders set out to solve a simple problem, to improve the experience of running down that mountain.
They succeeded and the Ultra Marathon world rejoiced.
Then they came down to roads and sooner became one of the best road running shoes.
Are Hoka Shoes Good For Walking?
So, what makes Hoka shoes really good for walking?
- Hoka shoes have an oversized midsole.
- The midsole offers maximum cushion, maximum comfort, and squishiness (like walking on clouds or a thick layer of gel)
- The midsole has great energy return (transfers energy back to your legs)
- The outsole’s early-stage meta-rocker geometry offers a great ride and effortless toe-off.
- Hokas put a pep in your step.
- Hokas have a great fit and offer the needed support.
- Hokas are very versatile and can be great for walking, running, and lifestyle.
- Hokas are lightweight for such big-looking shoes.
- Help you walk and stand longer and straighter for long periods.
- Correct your strides and realign your body.
- Give your toes enough space to wiggle and splay.
- Give you a roomier fit for custom orthotics.
- Give you added height if you are feeling short.
Hokas are great for Plantar Fasciitis because they provide the arch support and cushion for your heels and Plantar Fascia.
These shoes are extremely comfortable and offer great shock absorption. This takes the shock away and the ride becomes easy on your knees especially if you’re walking on hard surfaces.
These help alleviate discomfort from shin splints and bad backs.
Why is the Hoka Bondi great for walking?
The midsole is a full-length compression molded EVA, which is the thickest sole out of all of the Hoka styles.
This oversized squishy midsole is going to really shock absorb with each step that you take on the walk with your dog or when you’re out and about.
It has an early stage meta rocker which is great for any type of forefoot pressure. It provides that rocking motion which helps create a smoother ride and leads you into your next step effortlessly.
The bevel heel design allows for a smooth transition and increased durability.
The Bondi feels pretty good in the arch too and you won’t feel it like it’s poking you.
The Bondi has this indent for the arch support. So, if you have Plantar Fasciitis or overpronation, this shoe is really going to help support that arch and keep it up so that way it takes the pressure off the heel and really just helps guide your foot through each step as you should be using your foot.
Also, if just the shoe is not enough, the Bondi has a removable footbed so that you can put your own arch support inside whether it’s a custom orthotic or an over-the-counter one.
The last thing about the Bondi that I want to go over is the upper. The mesh upper has no extra seams and no extra stitches at all in the forefoot area.
It’s a nice blanket fresh cover, which is great for bunions, sensitive toes, and hammertoes. It’s just nice and soft and it really moves with your foot.
So, the Bondi has got the comfort of a sock on top and the support of a nice strong shoe on the bottom.
The upper is open engineered mesh which allows for breathability for those warmer days.
Then on the back, the memory foam collar cradles the ankle in plush comfort. There’s an internal heel counter that offers additional support and a locked-in fit when you put the shoe on.
To give the upper additional midfoot support and structure, Hoka reinforced that area with some TPU overlays.
The rubber outsole allows the shoe to be lightweight while also adding increased durability. It feels very comfortable, very cushiony, and super cushy in the heel.
As you walk in the Bondi, you can really feel the plushness. It’s definitely a wider shoe. So, if you have a wide foot, I think you’ll love it.
You can use the Bondi when you’re out and about walking all day. You can also use it when you’re at work and you want an all-black shoe.
The Bondi feels light on your feet even though it’s a lot of shoe.
Hoka Mach 4
This is a neutral model from Hoka’s Fly product category and is intended for use on the road. The Mach 4 is an excellent go-to option for those looking for a lightweight and responsive walking experience.
Previous Hoka Mach iterations were sleeper shoes, but they were overshadowed by shoes like the Clifton, Rincon, or Carbon X series from Hoka.
They were fun but never really exciting. The Mach 4 attempts to change that with…
- Its new redesign,
- A stretchy mesh upper,
- A solid wider platform,
- A slightly extended heel reminiscent of the Clifton Edge,
- A soft yet punchy midsole
- A rubberized outsole foam layer for lightweight ground contact.
All seems to be the perfect combination for long walking days or easy efforts where distance is the focus.
The Hoka Mach version 4 is an interestingly bold addition to what has been a fairly mediocre lineage of versions, but with so many other shoe offerings from Hoka themselves, does the Mach 4 stand out enough?
Let’s find out…
Of course, the Mach 4 is a running shoe, but for the sake of this article, I’m going to discuss what makes it good for walking as well.
Who is the Mach 4 for?
The Mach 4 is positioned as an everyday shoe designed for logging long miles. It’s a great option to use for daily training or for those who want to deliver a dose of speed in their training regimen.
It is also a great option for those looking for a lightweight and responsive model to use in the fitness space.
You’re really going to enjoy what’s underfoot in the Mach 4. The midsole is super soft and it has a little bit of resiliency to it too so you’re going to get some of that responsiveness.
It’s both soft and comfortable and great for long-distance walks. However, it also has just enough snappiness to it to separate it from a shoe like the Rincon or even the Clifton.
The Mach 4 is soft while not being too soft that you lose all sorts of ability to pick up the pace and speed.
As far as how this shoe feels underfoot with its cushioning, it has the flexibility, it has the simplicity, and it just does a lot of things right and is a really comfortable shoe, which is fantastic for going long distances or as a daily walking shoe.
Like other models in Hoka’s Fly category, the Mach 4 features a Profly midsole. This means that it offers a dual-density midsole experience.
The shoe features a soft lightweight foam closer to the foot and a rubberized foam closer to the ground. This creates a light, fast, and responsive ride experience.
One thing you’re going to really like about the Mach 4 that sort of separates it from the Mach 3 and Mach 2 is its wider stance.
When I say stability, I don’t mean that it has a denser foam on the instep or it’s going to help with pronation issues. It’s none of that.
It’s just literally a wider platform that provides more stability on the road surface, and as you begin to wear in the shoe, that does extend a little bit more.
Again, it is a stable shoe, it feels good when going long, and it’s not collapsing laterally or medially. It just provides a nice stable platform underfoot.
So, for those long efforts where your muscles and fatigue begin to take control of your step, the Mach keeps you in line and it does a really good job just providing you with that little additional confidence underfoot.
The Mach 4 upper is made from an engineered mesh which delivers breathable comfort over the foot. It features a refined collar shape and an intuitive pull tab to alleviate pressure on the Achilles.
The fit is true to size and the upper is a bit more accommodating. So, if you do have wider feet, it could potentially work for you.
This is actually something I didn’t expect to say with the Mach 4. It’s holding up surprisingly well and the midsole is not flattening out by any means.
The upper isn’t breaking down despite being a singular piece of mesh. The outsole is holding up really well and it’s doing really well.
Hoka Mach 4 vs Mach 3
Compared to the Mach 3, the Mach 4 offers an increased stack height of 5 millimeters in both the men’s and women’s models. This means you will find additional cushioning in the Mach 4 compared to the prior version.
The Profly midsole has also changed from the Mach 3 to the Mach 4. The Mach 3 featured a heel-toe Profly experience with a softer foam in the heel and a more responsive foam in the forefoot.
In the Mach 4, you will find a top-bottom Profly experience with a softer foam closer to the foot and a more responsive foam closer to the ground.
That being said, it’s not all unicorn dreams and malt shakes. There’s one thing that I dislike about the Mach 4.
The laces are freakishly long and stretchy. They do have give and they do have length, and unfortunately, you end up with a lot of lace overhanging the shoe.
It’s a completely nitpicky sort of dislike, but the laces are just crazy long.
So, in conclusion, the Mach 4 is softer and bouncier than its previous iteration and features a blend of foams in its midsole.
It is definitely going to be one of your new favorite walking shoes.
If you’re just looking to log long miles and if you’re getting some big mileage goals like the 10.000 steps a day, the Mach 4 is going to do a great job of getting you the distance without interfering with the specificity of running shoes.
It’s just an overall soft cushioned ride that’s good for long miles.
Hoka Gaviota 3
The Gaviota series has always been known as Hoka’s most plush stability offering and the Gaviota 3 is no different.
It comes along with the Arahi which is also another stability offering by Hoka.
But the Arahi is a little more flexible and has an early-stage meta rocker as opposed to the late-stage meta rocker that comes in the Gaviota.
The Gaviota has been revamped from top to bottom and the difference comes in where the shoe pivots.
In early-stage meta rockers, the pivot point is just before where the metatarsal heads hit in the shoe. For the late-stage shoes, the pivot point comes after that point, which means it pivots you into the toe-off.
Right out of the box, you’re going to love the nice clean look of the Gaviota 3. But this simple upper look belies the actual technology that’s going on in the shoe.
On the midsole, we’ve got a new design with two millimeters more of foam. This means it’s just going to continue to offer an ultra-highly cushioned underfoot experience.
Of course, the Gaviota has the signature Hoka look with the maximal midsole, and that comes with a lot of comfort.
The thing I noticed about this shoe is that it is definitely a wide base all throughout with more of a straight cut in the midfoot than a lot of shoes.
However, it doesn’t take many miles where the weight is pretty noticeable. But if this is a shoe that you want for everyday walks or even long walks if you can handle a heavier shoe, this is something definitely to look into.
The EVA midsole is thick, plush, and comfortable, but it isn’t squishy. It supports your foot and is nice and responsive.
The darker blue material is actually where the foam is reinforced. You can see it’s not only on the outside heel where everybody tends to hit first and put all their pressure, but it’s also extended right to the inside.
On the outsole, we’re going to see strategic rubber to create durability and traction. Then, of course, you’ve got this J-Frame design which is right along the heel going from the medial side of the shoe into the lateral.
This is what’s going to create all the stability in the shoe and this really does have high-level stability.
So, if you are a maximum overpronator, this is going to be your shoe. It’s just going to give you that extra kickstand to really hold that foot straight.
The Gaviota offers great grip and you’ll have no problems running in snow and rain and it handles those wet surfaces well.
On the upper, we’ve got a premium engineered mesh. It’s soft, and very supportive. It’s going to keep your foot wrapped and secure in place.
This moderately breathable upper has a decent heel counter in the heel and then an internal counter like a lot of shoes have.
What’s new to the Gaviota 3 is that there is a hard plastic cap that runs along the back of the heel. Below that, the heel juts out quite a bit further past the end of the shoe.
There is this wide loop that’s easy to grip so you won’t have to fumble around and try to get your finger through it to pull the shoe on.
The tongue is gusseted meaning it comes and attaches to the medial side and also the lateral side of the shoe.
One thing that’s lacking in this upper is that it does not have very much reflective capacity for low-light running.
The depth on this shoe is great. If you have bunions or hammertoes or just a fuller foot, you really fit into this shoe so nicely.
It has a removable footbed, which is perfect if you have a custom-molded orthotic or find something over the counter that’s more custom for your foot type and your arch type.
The shoe almost walks for you. So, if you have Plantar Fasciitis, Metatarsalgia, Morton’s Neuromas, bunions, this is great.
Overall, the Hoka One One Gaviota 3 is going to be your max stability max cushion shoe. You’ve got the stability, the cushion, and comfort all in one shoe.
This wraps it up for today’s question. So, if someone else asks you “are Hoka shoes good for walking?” Now you have the answer.
Keep walking and see you on the next one.