We have a huge range of exceptional trail running shoes that each offer particular benefits for different runners and distances. We know that many runners think we have only 2 trail shoes, while others may be confused by the size of the range. There will always be some overlap in fit/function/runner but we hope this short easy guide will give you a better idea about which HOKA ONE ONE trail shoes might be a better option for you.
Model: Challenger ATR 4, v3.0 worn to destroy Tarawera course record by Jim Walmsley : Just Reviewed on Trailrunmag.com
Who is it for: Runners wanting a light shoe with just enough tread to handle most trail conditions. Best for 22km and 50km.
Fit: Surprisingly generous. The toughest, most breathable upper yet, lighter and wider where it counts.
Best terrain: Cleared trail, firetrail, gravel, mountain staircases and single track.
Main features: Light, drains well, roomy and suitable for mixed use road/trail.
Limitation: Just as many runners will love the light convenience of the Challenger, others will want something more cushioned or robust like Speedgoat 2 or Stinson 4.
Model: Speedgoat 2, worn by Kellie Emmerson with no shoe changes for 5th place at UTMB (highest ever placing by an Aussie!)
Who is it for: Runners wanting reliably sticky grip and abundant cushioning for whatever distance they’re doing next. Great for all paces. Best for 50km and 100km.
Fit: Standard but soft upper molds to the foot once broken in. Lockdown across the toes for agility on gnarly terrain means that runners with broader feet or going long will be happy if they go up a half size.
Best terrain: Everything trail. This shoe was designed for steep climbs and tricky descents, fast flowing valleys, and all conditions from dry and dusty to mud and ice.
Main features: Surprisingly light, a half centimeter more cushion than Challenger, full-length Vibram MEGAGRIP outsole, and a nimble stable ride for so much protection on trail. Multiple publications picked the Speedgoat 2 as their Trail Shoe of The Year 2017.
Limitation: Some runners will always want a more roomy fit, which they can find in the Challenger 4, Stinson 4 or Mafate Speed 2. However, many runners at our wear test sessions comment how nicely the Goat does fit and feel on foot.
Model: Mafate Speed 2, worn by Ben Duffus for 2nd place at Ultra-Trail Australia 100km, EVO edition worn for 1st at UTA and 3rd at UTMB by Tim Tollefson
Who is it for: The best option for runners specifically needing traditional STABILITY in their trail shoe. Best for 50km and 100km.
Fit: Generous throughout. While Mafate doesn’t have the huge toebox of Stinson 4, it is a bit roomier right through than most trail shoes, and the deep toebox allows the upper flexibility to spread on foot.
Best Terrain: Built for incredibly nasty long mountain running and even hiking, the light but thick midsole gives long-run protection and comfort across all terrain but will shine on rocky and technical trails.
Main Features: Deep sticky Vibram MEGAGRIP lugs, 3 layers of protection underfoot, the best trail option for runners who really need more stability on trail
Limitation: The chunky feel of the Mafate Speed 2 won’t suit everyone, with the Speedgoat 2 also offering Vibram grip but in a lighter and more agile package.
Model: Speed Instinct 2 v1.0 worn to victory at UTMB by Caroline Chaverot
Who is it for: Runners who want a lower profile model that feels more like a traditional racing shoe. Best for 22km and 50km.
Fit: Standard. The Instinct spreads moderately at the widest part of the foot, with a shallow toebox for a more responsive fit. Removing the stiff structures across the top of the foot has allowed more runners to enjoy this shoe.
Best terrain: Well groomed firetrail, gravel, stairs and single track.
Main features: The soft heel and firm forefoot are subtly balanced for cushioned descending and aggressive uphill running.
Limitation: Runners wanting bigger teeth or smoother protection should consider Challenger or Speedgoat instead.
Model: Stinson ATR 4, US Running Specialty Best Seller
Who is it for: Runners who need more forefoot room and never want to feel the ground again. Best for any distance if this sounds like you. See review in latest issue of Trail Run Mag Au/NZ.
Fit: Super roomy, HOKA’s biggest ever all-terrain or trail toebox
Best Terrain: This badboy is most at home on gravel, rubble, dirt, rock and road, but really excels on long punishing downhills.
Main Features: Big toebox, all the cushion in the world, and full length protective rubber outsole.
Limitation: If you want to be a vertical kilometre specialist try EVOJAWZ, or need insane mountain protection with all-weather certainty, try Mafate Speed 2. The Stinson 4 is not for jumping over candlesticks.
Model: EVOJAWZ – new 2018 release, prototype used by Jim Walmsley to smash 2017 Carrera Alto SkyRun
Who is it for: Runners who eat rocks for breakfast and run like gazelles, basically.
Fit: Standard, nice lockdown across midfoot for technical agility, low ankle collar
Best Terrain: Volcanic and steep, muddy and fast, nasty, nasty, nasty. Did somebody mention vertical kilometres and obstacle course racing?
Main Features: Ripstop upper and dirty fat Vibram teeth and HOKA’s thinnest trail midsole ever. It’s like a track spike for trailrunning.
Limitation: This shoe will suit very capable runners looking to go fast, or less capable runners who just want to look mean.
Note: Yes, we have actually put a load of mileage into all of these. Athlete feedback helped build these shoes, and as the runners who work for HOKA we use all of these shoes at different times for different purposes. We hope this guide helps you to find the right models for your running and wish you all the best on race day.