What started out as an attempt to make downhill trail running faster, smoother and more enjoyable led to a reinvention of the running shoe. All you need to do is look at a shoe from Hoka One One to know it’s a different beast—the significantly increased cushioning and the efficiency-boosting rockered soles are eye-catching.
Now the company is expanding into hiking footwear. Three styles of boot—collectively falling under the banner of the Sky series—are being launched in Australia. All three have either Vibram soles or lugs, and all are lightweight.
The Toa is a mid-cut day-trekker with a plush rubberised EVA midsole. Inspired by Hoka’s running shoes, it’s fast and light and designed for speed hiking. Despite weighing just 425g, it’s an all-conditions boot, too; a waterproof eVent membrane will keep its wearer’s tootsies dry. RRP $329.95.
The Kaha is a higher-cut, multiday trekking boot. Leather-uppered, it’s the most robust and heaviest-duty of the Sky series. The Kaha adds support around the lower leg, along with a more-cushioned midsole to reduce impact on long or mountainous adventures with a heavy pack. Despite the support and the leather upper, the Kaha still barely scrapes over 500g. Like the Toa, it’s waterproof too, courtesy of an eVent bootie. RRP $419.95.
The third boot in the Sky stable is the Arkali. It’s an
almost category-defying boot, bringing together (to paraphrase Hoka One One’s
description) the stability of a hiker, the agility of a trailrunner, and the
tough performance of a climbing shoe. Unlike the Toa and the Kaha, it’s
non-waterproof; that does, however, keep it highly breathable. Designed for everything
from unexpected backcountry outings to high output mountainous fastpacking, the
Arkali’s name, appropriately enough, means ‘mountain goat’ in Polynesian. It
weighs a svelte 432g. RRP $379.95.
See www.hokaoneone.com.au for stockists.