My first run in with Hoka was about three years ago when they released their maximalist trail running shoe, The Mafate. Being a technical trail runner I was intrigued by the idea but skeptical about the performance on technical terrain. I loved the comfort of the shoe but the lack of trail feel was a bit challenging for me and I hadn’t tried a Hoka since. Hoka has made lot’s of progress in their product development over the last few years so I was excited to try out the Hupana’s.
The Hupana is a new shoe for 2017 and is marketed as a neutral mid-weight shoe for road running and lifestyle wear. I’ve spent about 3 weeks running with the Hupana on road and treadmill. I also took them to China and Hong Kong for a week and they ended up being my walking shoes during the trip. Below are my thoughts on the Hoka One One Hupana.
Hoka One One Hupana Upper
The Hupana is made using a reinforced knit upper. I found the upper to be ultra-breathable which is great for treadmill runs or warm days. Since the shoe is so breathable it does not offer any water resistance. When using these to go see the Buddha on Victoria Peak in Hong Kong it was raining. These shoes acted like little sponges and my feet got wet very quickly. I’d definitely plan on using these shoes for dry days. Another benefit of the knit upper is the flexibility of the material. Once you get in the shoe, the upper material hugs your foot like a slipper which gives a nice locked in feel without too much constriction. The lacing is standard with no pros/cons to mention. The tongue is fixed in place by the laces and offers minimal padding which I prefer.
Hoka One One Hupana Lower
So the coolest thing about this shoe is that there’s no outsole. The Hoka One One Hupana consists of a single piece of white RMAT. RMAT is Hoka’s technology that is now on its third generation so it’s proven. RMAT is a blended rubber EVA. This material creates a soft but responsive ride and excellent durability. After 3 weeks and about 60 miles, I’ve seen little wear on the RMAT. I was also a bit skeptical about not having an outsole especially since the material gives you the impression it will not have traction. I found the traction to be excellent both on the treadmill and on the road.
Hoka One One Hupana Fit & Ride
I generally wear a 9.5 and go bigger or smaller depending on the brand. I did not use a shoe fitting app and went with a 9.5. The shoe as whole fits but has a little extra room in the toe box. Hoka has the True Fit app embedded in their site. Had I used it it would’ve put me at a 9. In hindsight, I wish I used the app and tried out the 9s. I did not see any degradation in performance as a result of having the 9.5s. In fact, I found the heel cup to lock my foot in place and I did not slosh around in the shoe at all. I did see some reviews that said the toe box was too narrow. I have a wider foot and found the toe box to be fine for me. In summary, these shoes fit great and I’ve had zero hot spots or discomfort.
My true test of any shoe is out of the box comfort. I’ve had shoes (I won’t mention brands) that hurt my feet and/or knees and need to be “broken in”. If I have pain with a shoe out of the box it gets returned. The Hoka One One Hupana was comfortable right out of the box. Within my first few strides I could feel the responsiveness of the RMAT mid-sole. The responsiveness results in a playful run that really drives you to push it a a little harder. The responsiveness coupled with the light-weight of the shoe (8.2 oz) makes for an enjoyable experience mile after mile.
Hoka One One Final Thoughts
The Hoka One One Hupana is a great light-weight trainer that I would recommend to anyone looking for a road running shoe. With the exception of the minor fit difference I really can’t find a flaw in this shoe. I plan on putting a few hundred miles in these shoes and expect that they will perform. At $115 they are right on par with comparable road running shoes. You can pick up a pair directly from Hoka http://www.hokaoneone.com. With Hoka’s no questions asked 30 day trial you may as well give them a try!