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Hoka Road Running Line up review

The Hoka road running shoes lineup consists of 13 models. In this article, you will learn about their differences and be able to select the best one for you. To better understand the review, I recommend watching my video about running shoe classification, as the color coding of models will be based on it.

The first model is the Clifton 9. It offers great stability with additional side walls and a comparably wide base. It has excellent cushioning, thanks to a generous stack height of EVA foam. The upper is comfortable, and it provides a reasonable amount of lockdown. Transition feels natural in these shoes, thanks to the early-stage Meta rocker. They are well-balanced shoes that could serve as race day shoes for beginners and everyday shoes for experienced runners. However, if you're seeking something faster or more stable, there are more compelling models available.

Next up is the Bondi 8. It provides an increased amount of cushioning and comfort, thanks to its elevated stack height and additional padding in the heel collar and tongue. These features make the shoes well-suited for heavier runners or those with a higher demand for safety. However, these improvements do come with a downside: the added weight makes the shoes heavier and less friendly to speed.

Next, we have the Rincon 3, which showcases the opposite direction of development. This model features a decreased stack height, fewer lockdown elements and padding on the upper. These changes make the shoes lighter and faster, appealing to those prioritizing speed and agility. However, the reduced comfort and cushioning may be less forgiving for beginners.

The Arahi 7 is quite similar to the Clifton, but it incorporates a special technology called the J-Frame. This feature creates reinforcement on the inner side of the shoes, which effectively manages excessive overpronation. This solution significantly enhances stability and provides ample support for beginners with problematic legs. However, the added reinforcement does increase the weight of the shoe, making it less suitable for speed sessions.

Next up is the Gaviota 5, Hoka's most protective shoe offering. It boasts an increased stack height, a greater amount of padding, enhanced lockdown, and utilizes a J-frame to provide superior support during daily training sessions. This combination of technologies makes it the ideal choice for those seeking maximum protection. However, the additional features result in increased weight and bulkiness, which may not be suitable for those prioritizing speed and agility.

Moving on to faster models, the Mach 6 is a great example of enhancements geared towards increased pace. It incorporates a more bouncy Hyper Critical foam, which aids in achieving higher speeds during your training sessions. However, this adjustment may not be as suitable for beginners, as the stability of such shoes is reduced.

If you're seeking an even faster model, then the Mach X is the perfect choice for you. It boasts even bouncier Peba foam and a plastic plate, which, while not the most rigid, still provides a noticeable swing effect. To ensure a swift takeoff during transitions, the shoes feature a visible bevel in the front. These enhancements make the shoes exceptionally fast and enjoyable to run in; however, they may sacrifice stability and comfort to achieve such speed.

There is an option with swing for big runners – Skyward X. This model boasts an increased stack height, a Peba midsole, and a carbon plate. While it may seem like these shoes belong to the speed segment, they are not. These shoes are built to handle heavier weights and provide significant stability, all while enhancing running efficiency for the runner. However, one drawback of this design is the increased weight of the shoes.

The speed segment begins with the lightest model, the CIELO ROAD. This model features the lightest upper and a minimal stack height made of bouncy Peba foam. This design allows for exceptional speed, but it's worth noting that the level of comfort and cushioning in these shoes is minimal.

The fastest model in the Hoka range is the ROCKET X2. It incorporates a carbon plate, high stack height and very responsive foam. This combination activates the most efficient swing effect. The upper features the absence of additional elements, which significantly reduces the weight of the shoes. However, it's important to note that the lockdown and stability in these shoes are quite low, making them suitable only for very experienced runners.

The next model, the CIELO X1, is likely even faster. It boasts a larger stack height, more aggressive geometry, and an even more propulsive combination. These features are expected to enhance running efficiency significantly. However, fully unlocking the potential of these shoes can be quite challenging. While they are undeniably more fun than any other model, there's some uncertainty about whether they are truly the fastest option available.

The next model worth mentioning is the Kawana 2, which features a special geometry with an increased midsole part on the heel. Interestingly, even Hoka suggests this model more for cross-training than running, so it's worth keeping it a bit aside.

On the other hand, the Solimar is a budget version made from slightly less bouncy or breathable materials. Despite this, it's still a very capable model with an attractive price point as a bonus.

So, this is the final scheme for Hoka. Every time I create such a scheme, someone asks me about trail models. Trail running shoes will be covered in a separate video, please be patient.