Regular running, walking, or a combination of the two is an effective way to ensure your physical, emotional, and mental well-being. Running can ensure you stay fit and complement most athletic activities like swimming or biking (skip straight to the best Hoka shoes for beginners).
Whether you want to start running recreationally, for fun, or training for a marathon, the right pair of shoes can influence how you experience the activity and how likely you’ll run again.
While there’s no shortage of options for running shoes, Hoka shoes have been making waves in the running shoe industry thanks to their innovative features and signature technology aimed at improving running efficiency and overall experience. If you’re just starting your running journey or are looking for a new pair of trainers, you can never go wrong with Hoka shoes.
But what are the best Hoka shoes for beginners?
The best Hoka shoes for beginners should be sturdy and comfortable, with enough stability to protect your feet and provide the support they need to carry your weight and the impact of your strides. They feature a flexible sole, adequate cushioning, soft upper, and breathable mesh for maximum comfort.
Hoka has an extensive product line, and choosing the best Hoka shoes for beginners can be overwhelming. This guide will explore some of our editor’s top picks of the best Hoka shoes for beginners to help you choose a pair that ensures you enjoy logging those miles
Jump right into the Frequently Asked Questions
Our team of testers has been wearing Hoka’s at work, for walking, everesting, hiking, and many more occasions. Hoka shoes are versatile when it comes to where you can wear them.
Hoka Shoes for Beginners Table of Contents
- Top Recommended Hoka Shoes for Beginners
- How to Choose the Best Hoka Shoes for Beginners
- Frequently Asked Questions
Top Recommended Hoka Shoes for Beginners
- Hoka Clifton 8 – Overall Best Hoka Shoes for Beginners
- Hoka Bondi 8 – Best Comfort Hoka Shoes for Beginners
- Hoka Arahi 6 – Best Supportive Hoka Shoes for Beginners
- Hoka Speedgoat 5 – Best Technical Trail Hoka Shoes for Beginners
- Hoka Carbon X 3 – Best Marathon Hoka Shoes for Beginners
- Hoka Rincon 3 – Best Lightweight Hoka Shoes for Beginners
- Hoka Mach 5 – Best Daily Training Hoka Shoes for Beginners
- Hoka Kawana – Best Versatility Hoka Shoes for Beginners
1. Hoka Clifton 8 – Overall Best Hoka Shoes for Beginners
Heel-to-toe drop: 5 mm
What we like: Comfortable, lightweight, stable, versatile, energy return, heel pad
What we don’t like: Not suitable for speed
The Hoka Clifton 8 is an all-around classic and the best way to experience a Hoka shoe’s benefits. The Clifton 8 offers stability, comfort, plushness, a smooth ride, and soft landings, making it a versatile daily trainer at a competitive price. It’s a multipurpose shoe that provides a stable and smooth ride, whether walking, running, training or trekking.
If you want to experience a maximalist shoe with plenty of cushioning, the Hoka Clifton 8 is an excellent choice. It features a superb weight-to-cushioning ratio, so you don’t have to worry about the shoes feeling clunky or holding you back despite the extra cushioning. They clock in at 7.6 ounces for women and 8.8 ounces for men.
With a full-length, lighter, EVA compression-molded midsole and an early-stage meta-rocker, the Clifton 8 gives you a smooth ride with each stride and eases you through transitions. An extended Achilles pull tab ensures easy entry, while an extended heel crash pad provides a soft landing.
The Hoka Clifton 8 has a springy pop and energy return that can save you energy over long distances, keeping your feet and legs feeling great mile after mile. Thanks to the flat-waisted geometry, you’ll remain stable even when dodging obstacles or jumping over curbs. The Clifton 8 will keep your feet cozy and sturdy, but it’s not suitable for speed.
2. Hoka Bondi 8 – Best Comfort Hoka Shoes for Beginners
Heel-to-toe drop: 4 mm
What we like: Plush cushioning, rear crash pad, stable, memory foam, broad base
What we don’t like: Tight midfoot
Most people who have tried the Hoka Bondi 8 describe the experience as similar to running on clouds or a day spa on your feet. They’re the best comfort Hoka shoes for beginners looking for a supremely cushioned ride, thanks to the added foam and high stack, sturdy design.
The Hoka Bondi 8 is a beast in comfort whether you’re running, walking, or spending long hours on your feet. It features softer, lighter foam and a higher bed of soft, plush cushion to absorb impacts and ensure a smooth ride. You get a seamless and easy-rolling ride with the rear crash pad ensuring you stay balanced through heel-strike to forefoot transitions.
Although it’s not too springy, the Hoka Bondi 8 has enough bounce to make your ride enjoyable, especially when walking or on slow days. Best of all, the shoes are soft but not too soft. This ensures they remain stable, while the broad base keeps you from feeling tippy despite the high-stack build.
The upper and collar feature memory foam that cradles your ankles in plush and soft comfort without compromising breathability. The heel counter is also generously padded and maintains a good level of rigidity. The Bondi 8 is one of the best Hoka for beginners with narrow feet, but you can feel constricted at the midfoot if you have wide or medium feet.
3. Hoka Arahi 6 – Best Supportive Hoka Shoes for Beginners
Heel-to-toe drop: 5 mm
What we like: Stabilizing J-frame, lightweight, comfortable, protective cushioning
What we don’t like: The grip can be unreliable
The Hoka Arahi 6 is focused on support and is an ideal choice if you overpronate. Unlike other stability shoes that add extra weight or stiffness to provide additional support, the Arahi 6 uses a stabilizing J-frame midsole designed to combat overpronation.
The Arahi 6 are the best Hoka shoes for beginners who need extra support and stability when walking or running. They provide a broad, stable platform for your feet and are remarkably light and comfortable. The shoes even feature a Seal of Acceptance from the American Podiatric Medical Association that recognizes products beneficial to foot health.
A compression molded foam midsole, and early-stage meta-rocker support your feet while providing excellent propulsion. The Arahi 6 doesn’t overcorrect your gait but provides a gentle nudge toward the correct stride without feeling annoying or invasive.
The Hoka Arahi 6 features balanced, protective cushioning and offers a smooth, supportive ride on long or short distances. It maintains a responsive toe-off when you want to go faster, but the grip may not be reliable for fast runs or turning at high speeds.
4. Hoka Speedgoat 5 – Best Technical Trail Hoka Shoes for Beginners
Heel-to-toe drop: 4 mm
What we like: Grippy, cushioned, stable, protective, durable, breathable, light
What we don’t like: They can feel tight on wide feet
If you want to conquer the great outdoors, the Hoka Speedgoat 5 is an excellent choice. They’re the best technical trail Hoka shoes for beginners, thanks to their insane grip, support, and durability. Described as a workhorse for technical trails, the Speedgoat 5 ticks all the right boxes for an excellent trail shoe.
The Hoka Speedgoat 5 inspires confidence on any terrain and features a protective toe cap that keeps you safe from rocks, roots, and trail debris. The Vibram mega grip with traction lugs enhances grip on loose off-trail surfaces, moderate mud, and frozen surfaces, so you don’t have to worry about slipping.
A late-stage meta-rocker ensures a smooth ride on the trail, while the double-layer mesh upper keeps your feet safe and well-ventilated. The Hoka Speedgoat 5 is bouncier with exceptional energy return, seamless toe-offs, and smooth heel-to-toe transitions.
You’ll enjoy the stability of the Hoka Speedgoat 5 and its unwavering support when side-hilling or cornering fast. Thanks to the comprehensive platform and indestructible outsole, you’ll not feel tippy on any terrain. The upper is more flexible and forgiving with high mileage, but the shoes can feel tight if you have wide feet.
5. Hoka Carbon X 3 – Best Marathon Hoka Shoes for Beginners
Heel-to-toe drop: 5 mm
What we like: Propulsive, supportive, grippy, stable, breathable, lightweight
What we don’t like: They can feel wide on narrow feet
If you want to cover long miles and keep your feet supported from the first to the last mile, the Hoka Carbon X 3 is your best bet. Its carbon fiber plate, designed to provide a propulsive, efficient stride with zero strain on your legs or feet, makes it one of the best marathon Hoka shoes for beginners.
A rubberized EVA provides a grippy, responsive layer of foam in the midsole and outsole, while the energized foam midsole provides optimal cushioning in a lightweight package. The midsole is forgiving, and the carbon plate isn’t very stiff, providing adequate responsiveness without being harsh on your feet.
The early-stage meta-rocker on the Hoka Carbon X 3 makes it effortless to roll forward seamlessly. The shoes feature a low-profile cushion bed that keeps your feet closer to the ground and use a firmer material that provides an efficient push-off with every stride.
They’re stable and steady on gravel, dirt, wet and dry surfaces, and crushed rock. The engineered knit upper on the Hoka Carbon X 3 ensures breathable, lightweight performance, and your feet will remain cool and dry even under warm weather. The shoes are well suited for those who want a smooth and easy ride for long runs but can feel a bit wide if you have narrow feet.
6. Hoka Rincon 3 – Best Lightweight Hoka Shoes for Beginners
Heel-to-toe drop: 5 mm
What we like: Soft, light, protective, stable, durable, grippy, breathable
What we don’t like: They can run short
The Hoka Rincon 3 has the best cushioning-to-weight ratio, making them the best lightweight Hoka shoes for beginners. The Rincon 3 is famous thanks to its lightweight and softness and only weighs 6.2 ounces for women and 7.4 ounces for men.
If you want a shoe that’s good for running or walking and clocking long distances, the Hoka Rincon 3 is an ideal choice. The compression-molded EVA midsole does a great job absorbing impacts over long miles while maintaining a soft feeling underfoot. The shoes remain stable despite the high stack height, and you’ll not have to worry about rolling your ankles or turning tight corners.
Enhanced rubber coverage improves durability with light zonal rubber added to the forefoot and heel. You’ll not have any traction issues with the Hoka Rincon 3, whether at the beach or on wet pavement. You can run and walk with confidence and even feel the grip on the Rincon 3 when pushing off.
The vented mesh upper is designed for lightweight breathability, while the tongue on the Hoka Rincon 3 is thin and perforated to keep your feet well-ventilated. You can enjoy light speed on hot days or stroll comfortably on the beach with the Rincon 3, but they can run small if you’re in between sizes.
7. Hoka Mach 5 – Best Daily Training Hoka Shoes for Beginners
Heel-to-toe drop: 5 mm
What we like: Lightweight, bouncy, comfortable, energetic, stable, protective
What we don’t like: Slippery in wet conditions
The Hoka Mach 5 is built for performance. It’s bouncy, lightweight, and comfortable, making it one of the best daily training Hoka shoes for beginners. It features a stacked, dual-layer ProFly midsole that makes the shoe more energetic and bouncier than ever.
The cushioning on the Hoka Mach 5 delivers a snappy ride, and you can easily glide with the rockered design at every step. It’s very comfortable and buffers your strides to protect your feet. The highly stacked design offers sufficient impact protection on landings.
The early-stage meta-rocker geometry of the Hoka Mach 5 makes every step smooth and offers you a little more oomph in ride and performance. The shoes are soft and feel homely on your feet, but they’re not too soft that they compromise stability. The articulated heel collar flares out for increased stability when cornering.
The rubberized EVA outsole provides durable traction but can get slippery in wet conditions. The toe box is roomy, and your midfoot stays locked in to ensure a solid lockdown. The Hoka Mach 5 features a creel mesh upper with an average level of ventilation for ultralight, breathable comfort.
8. Hoka Kawana – Best Versatility Hoka Shoes for Beginners
Heel-to-toe drop: 5 mm
What we like: Versatile, comfortable, stable, balanced, protective, durable
What we don’t like: Requires breaking-in
The Hoka Kawana pushes the boundaries of Hoka geometries and foams. They’re suitable for various activities, from daily short runs to CrossFit sessions and gym workouts, making them the best versatility Hoka shoes for beginners and experienced runners alike.
The Hoka Kawana can suit heel strikers and anyone who needs more stability on their runs. Made from merging running shoes with fitness sneakers, the Kawana provides enough cushioning and comfort to help you cover long miles while maintaining stability and durability for jumps and lateral movements.
The compression-molded EVA foam delivers a lively, responsive experience and a solid rebound without packing out. Featuring a swallow-tail heel geometry and extended crash pad, the Hoka Kawana provides an incredibly well-balanced ride and reduces impacts for smoother heel strikes.
Toe-off transitions are smooth thanks to the early-stage meta-rocker, while the anatomical Achilles construction ensures maximal comfort and support. The Hoka Kawana is built to last, but it can feel a bit firm straight out of the box, so you may need to break it in with a few runs.
How to Choose the Best Hoka Shoes for Beginners
Related: Best Hoka Shoes for Walking
Buying the best Hoka for beginners can seem daunting, especially if you’ve never owned a similar pair. The pair should be a perfect fit from the start and complement your foot movement style. Here are a few factors to consider to ensure you find a shoe that fits and feels good:
Figuring out how you intend to use the shoes can help you pick out the best Hoka shoes for beginners. Do you plan to hit the trails, the road, or gravel paths or do you simply need cross-training shoes?
Road running shoes should be light and flexible with flatter, smoother soles for continuous contact with paved surfaces. Trail shoes should have outsoles with more prominent lugs to ensure an excellent grip on uneven terrain and can sometimes have fortifications or plates underfoot to protect your feet from obstacles.
Cushioning will affect how you experience the shoes and this can be influenced by foam firmness and thickness.The cushioning material helps absorb impacts as your feet strike the ground. The best Hoka shoes for beginners feature adequate cushioning for a soft and comfortable feel.
Some offer more padding than others for extra comfort and shock absorbency, and it all comes down to personal preference. Extra cushioning can be ideal if you need recovery shoes or something that can help you endure long distances while protecting your feet. Try out different shoes and see how they feel to make an informed decision.
Level of Support Needed
The support needed will depend on how your foot hits the ground when you walk or run. The best Hoka running shoes for beginners support different types of pronation, or how your foot rolls when it strikes the ground, and you’ll want to choose shoes with features that support your pronation level.
Neutral shoes are suitable if you have basic or normal pronation. Consider stability shoes with structured support if you overpronate or motion control shoes in extreme cases. Different features and technologies, like the J-frame in Hoka shoes, help reduce excessive movement and nudge your feet toward the correct stride.
Getting shoes that fit is perhaps one of the most important considerations when choosing the best Hoka shoes for beginners. Nothing beats how your feet feel inside the shoes, so ensure you try them out to get a good fit.
Some tips to keep in mind include the following:
- Get your feet measured every time you try new shoes because your foot size changes gradually.
- Try on new shoes at the end of the day since your feet will be swollen and large to help you avoid ill-fitting shoes.
- Aim for shoes with a little room at the toebox where you can freely wiggle your toes. The shoes should be snug but not tight.
- Ensure you wear the socks, insoles, or orthotics you plan to use with the shoes when trying them out, as they can affect how the shoe fits.
Learn more about the best Hoka shoes for beginners (video)
Frequently Asked Questions
Do You Need Running Shoes for Running Workouts?
Although you can run in any shoes, the best Hoka running shoes for beginners ensure you have the right tools at the beginning of your journey to prevent injuries and pain in your feet, ankles, and knees.
How Long Do the Best Hoka for Beginners Last?
Generally, the best Hoka running shoes for beginners can last up to 500 miles before you replace them. However, this is only a guideline, and your shoes may last longer or shorter depending on maintenance and daily use on hard surfaces.
Can I Use Running Shoes for Walking?
Yes. Some of the best Hoka running shoes for beginners are also suitable for walking, but you also choose walking-specific ones to get the most out of your walking workout.
Can Hoka Shoes Help with Foot Issues?
Yes. Some of the best Hoka shoes for beginners have a seal of acceptance from the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) for promoting foot health.
Which Hokas are Popular for Beginner Runners?
The Clifton 8 is one of the most popular and best Hoka running shoes for beginners, thanks to their reliable design, comfort, stability, and cushioning.
Running or walking is one of the best physical activities for people of all ages, and you can start at any time because it doesn’t need any special equipment, only a reliable pair of shoes. Some of the best Hoka shoes for beginners to help kickstart your journey include the Hoka Clifton 8, Hoka Bondi 8, Hoka Arahi 6, Hoka Speedgoat 5, Hoka Carbon X 3, Hoka Rincon 3, Hoka Mach 5 and Hoka Kawana.
Ensure you consider the intended use, cushioning, level of support needed, and fit when choosing the best Hoka shoes for beginners.
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask them in the comments.
Picture in this post is from Believe in the run
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