A good pair of sneakers can take you far — literally. That’s why we’re always searching for the most comfortable and supportive options to carry you through runs, walks, casual outings and just about every activity in between. And we couldn’t help but notice one brand that has been making waves in the shoe industry and popping up everywhere from the gym to the office.
Hoka One One's chunky sneakers have been extremely popular in recent years, winding up on the feet of celebrities and seemingly everyone we come into contact with. And, as it turns out, they're not just a hip shoe to show off around town — they're a favorite of podiatrists, too. So we consulted two top experts to get all the details on what makes the shoes such a good pick.
Here's everything you need to know about the trendy sneaker, plus the trending and expert-loved styles to shop.
What is Hoka One One?
Hoka One One (pronounced ho-kah oh-nay oh-nay) was founded in 2009 by two trail-running enthusiasts, Nicolas Mermoud and Jean-Luc Diard. While the ultra-cushioned shoes were originally designed with runners in mind, they now have options to suit almost any activity, from hiking to training.
But they're not just great for workouts. Dr. Jacqueline Sutera, a New York City-based podiatrist said that they provide comfort, support and shock absorption, which makes them a good choice for frequent walkers or anyone whose job requires them to stand for the majority of the day. "I personally own Hoka sneakers and do also recommend them to patients often," she said.
Dr. Miguel Cunha, podiatrist and founder of Gotham Footcare, said that Hoka One One is one of his favorite sneaker brands and added that he also frequently recommends the shoes to patients — especially those with wide feet. When compared to other popular sneakers, Hoka's shoes have a wider toe box, which allows for a more comfortable fit for those with a broader forefoot and can minimize the risk of developing uncomfortable conditions, like bunions or ingrown toenails, he added.
"The Hoka One One sneaker also has superior cushioning with a specially engineered EVA foam that is soft and surprisingly lightweight," Cunha said. Meaning that you'll feel the comfort with each step that you take.
Plus, many of the brand's most popular pairs come in plenty of fun colors and patterns, as well as solid neutrals that will go with anything in your closet.
Best Hoka One One running shoes
Hoka recently launched its bestselling Clifton 8 running shoe in a handful of new pastel colors: off-white Eggnog, Smoke Green, Lilac Marble and a blue Summer Song shade. The monochromatic limited-edition styles are already a hit with shoppers — the Eggnog and blue shades are almost completely sold out (there are still wide options available) and sizes of the others seem to be going fast! So we suggest adding a pair to your cart while you still can.
The Clifton 8's predecessor, the Clifton 7, was listed as an excellent choice for runners who are looking for a softer and lighter shoe, according to Cunha. "They are designed with a plush collar that reduces pressure placed on the back of the foot, providing increased comfort and support," he said.
The brand sent us a pair of the Kawana sneaker to try. We found it to be a versatile pick that's we found to be perfect for both indoor and outdoor running, as well as everyday wear with a foam material that is designed to provide a high level of support and responsiveness with every step.
Over the last year, I had heard multiple friends and family members of all activity levels — from repeat marathon runners to occasional walkers — rave about how comfortable Hoka's shoes are. So, I was excited to try them out.
Considering that the shoes are pretty bulky (they really are the ultimate dad shoes), the first time that I put them on, I was shocked by how lightweight they felt. While the ultra-chunky bottoms may not make them feel like the most fashionable choice, they do add some serious comfort. The Kawana sneakers have a thick cushioned foam bottom and a meta-rocker design, which is designed to make every step feel soft, smooth and bouncy, according to the brand.
After longer runs, I've noticed that my knees will typically hurt for a few hours or sometimes even days. But for the last few months, I've been running solely in these shoes and haven't noticed those usual post-run pains, which I think is likely thanks to the added cushioning and support.
But they're not just for running, I've worn them for walks, HIIT workouts and even a couple of games of tennis, and found that they're a comfortable choice for nearly any activity.
Earlier this year, Hoka released an upgraded version of one of its most popular styles, the Bondi 8. According to the brand, the "ultra-cushioned" sneaker is "one of the hardest working shoes in the HOKA lineup." It features lighter foam and an updated heel geometry to provide a softer and more balanced step. The company says that the new shoes are ideal for both everyday walking and running. They also feature a breathable mesh upper and a soft memory foam collar, which is said to provide cushioning for your Achilles and prevent blisters from forming.
The previous iteration of the Bondi shoe, the Bondi 7, also came recommended by Sutera. "I love that it has a wide, thick footbed for stability and maximum cushion for comfort."
This embroidered version of the brand's Bondi L sneakers has been popping up on TikTok in the last few months. Available in black and white, the shoes feature colorful stitched details along the side and on the logo. Along with the chic design, the sneakers are made to provide just the right amount of support, and the brand says that they feature a soft, cushioned design for comfort.
Another bestselling option, the Gaviota 3 is an ultra-comfortable sneaker that features a thick, cushioned foam base and a breathable mesh material on top. "Love the support and stability it gives me," one reviewer wrote. "I'm not a runner, but wanted to start walking. It's so lightweight and comfortable. Love the way it feels on my feet. Makes me want to get out and exercise!"