As an experienced running shoe reviewer, I am 100% committed to helping readers of Trail & Kale find the best footwear for their specific needs and budgets. In this post I share my expertise on one of the most innovative and performance-driven brands in the running shoe industry: HOKA ONE ONE, or as they prefer to be known nowadays, just simply HOKA.
In this Best HOKA Shoes For Walking Buyer’s Guide, I’ll provide an introduction to the brand and discuss the various factors to consider when selecting the perfect HOKA walking shoe, as well as listing my favorite ones in ranked order accompanied with my review summaries, taken from my in-depth review of each shoe, yes I’ve reviewed them all.
HOKA is a French brand (now headquartered in Goleta, CA) that was established in 2009, with the aim of designing running shoes that provide the ideal balance of cushioning, support, and a responsive ride (whether you’re walking or running).
More HOKA buying guides:
One of the key reasons I recommend HOKA shoes for walking is their exceptional cushioning, a relatively low average drop from heel to toe, and innovative design that promotes a more natural walking form, proper biomechanics, an efficient cadence, and more importantly, efficiency with reduced fatigue for miles and miles of walking.
This combination results in reduced impact on the joints, allowing walkers to enjoy longer walks and recover more quickly afterwards.
HOKA shoes are also widely regarded for their durability and versatility, making them a worthwhile investment for any walker or runner.
Finding HOKA’s best shoes for walking that are well suited to your requirements, foot shape, and budget can be a daunting task, given the numerous options available – and that is exactly why I wanted to create this guide, because I know that I have the exact experience and knowledge to help simplify this task for you.
I’ve meticulously tested every one of their shoes so it made sense that my next HOKA post be this one, sharing all that information in a concise list of HOKA sneaker options in ranked order based on how they performed for walking.
To take a closer look at each shoe recommendation, be sure to click through to my full review (the links are at the top of each summarized review in my list below).
If you’re also interested in learning about the Best HOKA Running Shoes, I’ve written a buyer’s guide for them too.
In this guide, I share summarized reviews of standout models in the HOKA running shoe lineup, highlighting their best features for walking with, and also minor drawbacks worth considering – because no shoe is perfect and even if there’s only one downside to a shoe, that may well be the very reason for you to choose an alternative instead.
Whether you are a long-time HOKA enthusiast or a newcomer to the brand, this comprehensive guide will help you make an informed decision when choosing your next pair of HOKA shoes for shoes.
The best HOKA walking shoe, if you’re short on time
In case you’re short on time; here are my top recommendations at a glance, for the best overall HOKA shoe for walking, trail hikes, and hybrid walks (read on for my reviews and full list of HOKA shoes):
- BEST OVERALL HOKA WALKING SHOE is the Clifton 9; it also happens to be one my favorite HOKA running shoes for putting in valuable training miles when running.
- BEST FOR WALKING ON TRAILS is the Speedgoat 5.
- BEST HYBRID FOR ROAD & TRAIL SURFACES is the Challenger ATR 7.
Scroll down to read each HOKA shoe review to work out which HOKAs are the best choice for you, and to learn more about the brand’s proprietary technologies and terms, jump to the bottom of the guide where I explain them all in layman’s terms, as well as all the reasons that HOKA shoes are so good for walking.
Table of Contents
The best HOKA shoes for walking: lightweight and cushion for walking or standing all day
1. HOKA Clifton 9 ($145)
“Best Overall HOKA walking shoe”
Read my in-depth HOKA Clifton 9 review to learn more.
The HOKA Clifton 9 walking shoes strike an ideal balance between cushioning and stability, making them my pick for a diverse range of people, from those enjoying a casual stroll to power walkers aiming for extra miles.
Like most HOKA walking shoes, the Clifton 9’s compression molded EVA foam midsole delivers superb cushioning without losing the firm platform that is essential for an enjoyable walking experience, and it’s noticeably improved from the Clifton 8.
When I compare them to another outstanding comfort-oriented shoe, it would definitely be the On Cloudsurfer 7, one of my all-time favorite On running shoes that are also great for long days on your feet whether walking or standing around.
The latest iteration Clifton 9’s upper is very breathable and comfortable, and also provides a generous amount of cushioning around your feet which also makes it great one of the best HOKA shoes for standing, walking or jogging – they make running feel easy, so imagine what they do for walking! 🙂
The 5mm drop in conjunction with the articulated heel design ensures a very comfortable ride, whether you’re out for a short stroll or a lengthy trek. Despite its cushioned features, the Clifton 9 remains impressively lightweight too, a detail I thoroughly enjoyed during my test runs and walks along our local cycle path.
Another perk is the gusseted tongue, which stays in place while walking and contributes to the overall comfort. Priced reasonably at $145, it is accessible to a vast range of walking enthusiasts too.
This HOKA shoe offers an unbeatable combination of comfort, stability, and value, making it my top choice for both new and experienced walkers, and for general everyday wear. In my opinion, they’re also the best HOKA shoes for long distance walking, and a favorite among those seeking a premium lighter shoe for walking.
If you’re seeking an alternative cushioned, supportive shoe to the Clifton 9 but from a different brand, I highly recommend checking out the On Cloudsurfer. It’s my go-to shoe for logging those base miles and remains one of my favorite On running shoes too.
2. HOKA Bondi 8 ($165)
The HOKA Bondi 8, known for being one of the most hardworking shoes in HOKA’s roster and famed for its high levels of cushioning for an enhanced walk, takes a remarkable stride forward this season with re-engineered, softer, lighter foams, and an innovative extended heel geometry.
The revised rear crash pad boasts a billowed effect, delivering a really soft and balanced walk from heel strike through to forefoot transition so those with heavier builds are really going to love walking in these.
This upgrade further enriches the smooth and stable walking experience, making it an even more appealing option if you’re someone who enjoys walking with the maximum cushioning.
The Bondi 8 shoes provide a really smooth walk that many have grown to love from the Bondi range over the years. In addition, this highly cushioned shoe is reasonably priced, making them an attractive choice if you’re after a comfy and dependable walking shoe that won’t strain your budget.
They are however, slightly on the heavier side when compared to the Clifton 9, for instance, which might be a concern if you prioritize a lightweight feel.
While they may not be the lightest or widest shoes on the market, the overall performance and value make the Bondi 8 a solid option for many walkers seeking a high level of support to go the distance.
3. HOKA Arahi 7 ($145)
The HOKA Arahi 7 delivers a mix of maximum cushioning and minimal weight in a stability shoe, making it an ideal choice for walking.
This light shoe comes with the stabilizing J-Frame technology for an enjoyable support experience which is perfect for those long walks or standing on your feet all day!
It also has a breathable mesh upper with zoned ventilation for both comfort and durability.
The Arahi 7 is a lightweight, cushioned stability shoe suitable for a wide range of walkers, and while it may offer a touch less stability than some competing shoes and feature a slightly heavier mesh upper, the overall performance and comfort make it a top choice for those seeking a supportive and comfortable walking experience at an excellent price.
The best HOKA hiking shoes for the trails
1. HOKA Speedgoat 5 ($155)
“Best For Trail”
Read my in-depth HOKA Speedgoat 5 review to learn more.
The HOKA Speedgoat 5 walking shoes are crafted for technical trails and any distance, and the latest model does so with less weight and enhanced traction than ever before – they’re ideal for hiking on all types of trails.
The Speedgoat 5 has rightly earned itself a Trail & Kale Editor’s Choice Award for its excellence in performance and comfort, and in my opinion, it’s the best HOKA trail running shoe, and for hiking on trails.
It has been overhauled from the outsole to laces, boasting Vibram Megagrip (which I absolutely love) with deep Traction Lugs for improved grip on loose terrain.
They truly excel when descending, offering a secure and stable ride on technical downhill trails. As for the comfort when you slip them on, it’s classic HOKA – it feels like stepping onto a cloud.
The HOKA Speedgoat 5 is an outstanding, technically proficient, cushioned, comfortable shoe option for hikers looking for lightweight comfort and remarkable traction on the trails, all without breaking the bank. For these reasons, they top my list of Best HOKA hiking shoes for the trails.
And if you have wider than average feet and require a roomy toe box, you’ll be pleased to hear that it’s also available in a wide toe box (EE) version.
The best HOKA walking shoes for road and trail surfaces
1. HOKA Challenger ATR 7 ($160)
“Best hybrid for road and trail surfaces”
Read my in-depth HOKA Challenger ATR 7 review to learn more.
The HOKA Challenger ATR 7 is a versatile shoe that masterfully merges road and trail performance, and the latest version comes with fresh design tweaks, including a simplified mesh upper, soft new foam, and a higher stack height for a cushier feel.
The midsole is impressively cushioned and responsive, making it feel akin to a road walking shoe, which is why they perform remarkably both on and off the trails – it also makes walking to trailheads a more pleasurable experience.
The extended heel pull provides Achilles support and makes the shoe easy to slip on, while the durable engineered mesh upper and outsole ensure long-lasting performance.
The lacing system is efficient, and the padded tongue enhances the overall comfort. Plus, the geometry and colorways of these hybrid walking shoes ensure you stand out on the trails – in the best way possible!
The only minor drawback is that the outsole traction, while very good, could be more aggressive for steep inclines and declines.
However, this could compromise its performance on roads, so it might be the best possible balance for a hybrid shoe. If traction is crucial for you on the trails, consider the Mafate Speed or Speedgoat instead.
Overall, the Challenger ATR 7 is the one shoe to that does it all, for walkers seeking a shoe that seamlessly transitions between road and trail. Its comfort, durability, and style make it a top pick for those wanting the best of both worlds.
How to choose the best HOKA walking shoe for YOUR needs
Picking the perfect pair of walking shoes can sometimes feel like an uphill battle but fear not, this guide will help you make an informed decision on the right shoes, tailored to your needs.
What should you look for in a walking shoe?
When it comes to footwear, it’s all about comfort, support, style, performance, and durability. Your walking shoe should provide ample cushioning, and support (foot and ankle) for those long strolls or when standing all day.
Pay particular attention to features such as the foam midsole (cushioning and rocker geometry), breathable mesh upper to help regulate internal temperature, and the heel support to reduce the chances of rolling an ankle and stave off foot fatigue when walking alot.
Why Are HOKA Shoes So Good For Walking?
In the world of walking shoes, HOKA has quickly risen to prominence, establishing itself as a go-to brand for those seeking the best combination of comfort, support, and style.
If you’re asking why HOKA shoes are so good for walking, the answer lies in the brand’s innovative designs, that bring quality, comfort, and ultimately a smooth walking experience through their proprietary midsole foams, rocker geometry, and support – yes, they’re actually good for your feet.
Comfort with maximum midsole cushion, and breathable upper materials
One of the standout features of HOKA shoes is their superior comfort (right out the box), which can largely be attributed to the use of midsole cushioning. When you’re walking, whether it’s a short stroll or a day-long trek, the last thing you want is discomfort in your feet and knees.
HOKA’s use of plush EVA foam in their midsoles ensures that every step you take is cushioned, reducing the impact on your joints and ensuring all-day comfort.
HOKA walking shoes are also designed with breathable upper materials. The importance of breathability in a walking shoe cannot be overstated, especially on hot summer days.
A shoe that allows for adequate airflow helps to keep your feet dry and comfortable, reducing the risk of blisters, foot discomfort, and unwanted odors.
They aid smooth biomechanics thanks to their rocker geometries and ProFly midsole foams
What really sets HOKA apart from other footwear brands, in my extensive experience of reviewing shoes for many years, is their unique and innovative approach to shoe design.
By implementing what they call ‘rocker geometries’ (learn more about this, and other HOKA technologies below), HOKA shoes promote a smoother walking gait and natural foot transitions.
This technology helps to evenly distribute impact forces, mitigating stress on specific areas of your foot and potentially reducing fatigue.
HOKA’s ProFly midsole also adds another level of comfort and support. ProFly is a dual-density midsole foam that’s softer in the heel for a cushioned landing and firmer in the forefoot for propulsion.
The result is a shoe that helps you maintain proper form, even when you’ve been on your feet for hours. This is one reason why they make for such great ultra running shoes, and why I personally choose to do most of my running in HOKA shoes (road and trail).
Support for walking or standing all day
HOKAs are great shoes for standing and walking all day, so whether you’re looking a good pair of walking shoes for hikes, jogging, or spending long workdays on your feet, HOKA’s innovative shoe designs provide the support and comfort your feet need.
From well-cushioned heels and wide midsoles that protect against impact, to robust arch support that helps prevent foot fatigue, HOKA walking shoes are engineered to support your feet in all the right places.
They offer many color options to suit most style choices
And finally, one of my other favorite things about HOKA is that they don’t compromise on style, recognizing that everyone’s tastes are different.
They offer a wide range of colors and designs to suit your personal style, whether you prefer something sleek and neutral or bold and colorful, you’ll find a HOKA shoe that aligns with your fashion sense, I’m always a fan of bold and colorful! 🙂
With this combination of support, comfort and style, it’s clear why HOKA shoes are a popular choice for walking, and why their popularity is rising so quickly at the moment.
Whether you plan to traverse city streets or hit the trails, HOKA shoes provide the support, cushioning, and breathability you need for an enjoyable walking experience.
While there are many good walking shoes on the market, few can match the blend of features that HOKA brings to the table. When you choose HOKA, you’re investing in a shoe that’s thoughtfully designed, built to last, and aimed at keeping your feet comfortable and well-supported throughout your walks.
Understanding key HOKA technologies and terminology
As an experienced runner and passionate reviewer of running shoes, I’ve spent over a decade exploring the ins and outs of different footwear technologies.
While I’m not a certified running coach, I probably have more real-world running experience than most coaches – and because I’m so passionate about running and have a curious mind, I like to constantly ask questions and learn the science behind the sport – this also applies to walking, something else I like to do a lot of.
I’m also a big believer in valuing experience over certificates when it comes to expertise and knowledge in a topic.
HOKA, a brand I hold in high regard because of all their great running shoes that scored so highly in my reviews, has developed several unique features and terms that set its shoes apart from the competition.
One such technology is ProFly, which significantly contributes to the brand’s success in the running community, and in my HOKA shoe reviews. Let’s dive deeper into this and other key HOKA technologies and terminology.
HOKA ProFly midsole technology: Delivering a responsive, cushioned ride
HOKA’s ProFly midsole technology is designed to provide runners and walkers with a highly responsive and cushioned ride.
This dual-density midsole features softer foam in the heel for superior shock absorption upon impact, blended with a firmer one in the forefoot to increase propulsion during toe-off.
As a result, you experience a smooth and efficient running/walking experience, whether you’re walking long distances or focusing on speedy walks.
HOKA goes one step further in their carbon-plated running shoes with their ProFly X midsole, a combination of dual-density foam and that propulsive carbon plate – exquisite! 🙂
Early-stage Meta-Rocker: Enhancing the natural running gait
Another great feature in many HOKA shoes is the Early-Stage Meta-Rocker, a geometric design that promotes a smooth, rolling motion during the walking gait cycle.
By combining a low heel-to-toe drop with a unique rocker shape, HOKA encourages a more efficient, natural running and walking form.
I’ve personally found this technology to be incredibly beneficial, especially during longer runs when maintaining proper form is crucial.
Active Foot Frame: Providing lightweight stability and support
For walkers seeking additional stability without sacrificing comfort, the Active Foot Frame technology is HOKA’s answer.
The Active Foot Frame cradles your foot and secures your heel in place so that your foot can become part of the shoe, instead of just resting on top.
People describe it as feeling like their feet are being hugged by the shoe. The result is the ultimate support and confidence—regardless of what’s underfoot.
I know that choosing the best HOKA walking shoe from the HOKA lineup can feel overwhelming (as there’s so many) but now you should be armed with all the information you need to ensure you get the right ones for you.
I really hope you enjoyed reading this guide to the best HOKA shoes for walking, and that I was able to help you find the perfect ones for you. Thanks for reading and please feel free to ask me anything HOKA related in the comments below, I love to nerd out about HOKA shoes. 🙂