The Hoka Pokey: That’s What It’s All About

hoka evo If you’ve never worn Hoka One Ones before, be warned: they’re weird. And I’m not just talking about the way they look; they feel funny, too. You might as well be wearing a hovercraft strapped to each foot: you’re cushioned, you’re taller, and you’re also lighter, super comfortable, and extra confident—you feel like you can run over just about anything in your path and get away unscathed.

And in Hoka’s Stinson Evo Trail shoes, you can, pretty much. Although these shoes have tons of cushion, it’s not like you’re sinking into several inches of foam midsole or that the shoe is so cushy it’s not responsive. Instead, the foot bed (which only has a 6mm drop) is rather firm – so although the shoe will accommodate rocks below it, it’s not going to contour to your foot above it and make you feel like you’re sinking haphazardly into the sole. Mid-to-long-distance trail runners (especially heel strikers) who want comfort, cushioning, and quick recovery (less impact = less soreness) should consider this shoe.

The Stinson Evo Trails also offer fantastic stability. The shoes have a lot of surface area contact with the ground, which means more control and traction. You don’t have to worry about wobbling on rocks—just power right over them. The large and small lugs keep you upright on pretty much any terrain, including steep descents, grassy slopes, or rocky singletrack.

At less than 11 ounces, the Hokas are also light going uphill. In addition to the light sole, the upper is simple, breathable, and also super durable (I consistently wear out shoes in the left big-toe joint, but after months of substantial use, my Hokas are still intact). The toe box should accommodate most feet widths, but if you need a little more room in the shoe, swap out the insole with a thinner one (included).


The Hokas run a big large; consider buying a half-size smaller than you normally wear in running shoes. The shoes also come with thin, quick release elastic laces. People either love or hate these laces (I find that I can never get them tight enough, and the extra length is annoying), so good thing the shoes come with standard laces, just in case you’re a hater.

If you’re looking for a shoe to spice up your trail running, the Hoka Stinson Evo Trails might be a good bet. Because, in addition to being a comfortable, dependable running shoe, they’re fun and playful. And that’s what running’s all about, right?

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  • Whitney Spivey

    Whitney Spivey is based in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where she is a freelance writer and editor. She is a three-time New Mexico state snowshoe racing champion, and she placed eighth at Nationals in 2014.

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