Fitness

Hoka Vs ASICS | Maximal Vs Traditional Running Shoes

Comparing Hoka vs ASICS running shoes could largely be described as a difference in fit and feel, along with some company philosophy if you care about those things. But of course we know that Hoka came on the scene due to their maximal shoes…and that’s interesting all on its own!

Both brands provide high quality shoes and offer a variety of models to suit different needs like overpronation, cushioning, and trail running.

Hoka One One first became popular with Ultrarunners and has since moved in the to main stream of running. I myself have run in a number of models and previously compared Hoka styles.

Hoka Vs ASICS Key Differences

Asics and Hoka offer similar features and models for all kinds of runners, from the new runner to Ultramarathoner to the flat-footed or high-arched.

Largely we’re looking at how a maximal shoes compares to a traditional running shoe.

I break down the differences in more detail below, but here’s a quick overview:

Hoka Running Shoes

  • Maximal shoe – has the larger sole for stability and smooth ride
  • Usually more cushioned
  • Some state they run narrow, but compared to other brands like Nike I disagree
  • Does have some casual shoes, gym shoes and recovery sandals

ASICS Running Shoes

  • More narrow fit, especially in the heel and midsole
  • Famous for its GEL technology, which provides shock absorption
  • Seems focused on shoes to prevent injury
  • Designs a variety of shoes for many different sports

I’ve worn both brands and will add some personal thoughts, along with links to detailed reviews.

ASICS vs HOKA ONE ONE Feature Comparison

Both brands have been around for a very long time and are leaders in running shoe design. They both offer various technologies to aid with comfort, support, stability, and cushion. Where they differ most are in the fit.

The following breaks down each shoe based on the components buyers need to consider when purchasing a running shoe.

It’s gonna get a little TECHY…so you can just skip on down to the specific model comparison if you want, but personally if I’m shelling out $150 for shoes, I kinda want to know why.

Durability 

The lifespan of shoes from both companies is fairly comparable.

  • ASICS recommends swapping out for new shoes every 450 to 500 miles.
  • HOKA is often reported to last longer. I don’t know if this is more trail runners and thus less hard surfaces which extends the life of the shoe or simply their maximal design.

Determining when to replace running shoes, of course, all depends on your gait, weight, and whether you run mostly on trail or road.

Fit

ASICS shoes have a more snug fit, particularly in the heel and midfoot. An external heel clutch delivers targeted fit and support, while the Gel technology allows for foot movement in various directions as the foot transitions, reducing heel strike.

While ASICS also features a shoe fit guide, it takes a little sleuthing to find (you’re welcome).

HOKA shoes run true to size from my testing. Some models are definitely a little more narrow than others, as with most brands. In fact, they have been working on increasing the toebox in newer models.

They also have a shoe finder quiz to help you get in to the right model.

Cushioning

ASICS uses Flytefoam technology that provides bounceback and responsiveness with each step. It gives a bit less energy return than say Brooks shoes, but the two technologies are fairly similar.

The company has been using their famous Gel technology for more than 30 years. It works well to absorb the shock with each step.

HOKA likes to say they provide marshmallow softness. More technically PROFLY.

I’m going to admit that I was really skeptical of HOKA at the start because I assumed all that cushion would make it heavy. It turned out I was wrong and instead have been running in them since of their very first shoes.

  • They have 3 levels of cushion, which is important because plush isn’t what you want on all runs
  • Cushion that provides both a good landing and plenty of stability for push off
  • Hubble Heel – their newest shoes with a longer heel which is supposed to improve heel to toe transition

Hoka Big Heel

Stability

ASICS shoes provide stability through a dual density midsole system called Duomax, which enhances support and stability. That, along with the external heel clutch allow the foot to continue its natural movement while running.

HOKA was designed entirely with stability in mind.

It was a core foundation of their shoes because it allows runners to move quicker with less risk of injury. This is why they created a wide stable platform.

In fact, they call their heel system the “bucket seat”, like the seat of a race car. It cushions the heel and foot without posts or guide rails — this means the midsole remains more cushioned.

comparing shoe models

Overview of heel to toe drop and type of cushion in most shoe brands.

Affordability

The prices between the two brands are fairly comparable. ASICS prices range between $110 to $160, while HOKA’s start at a slightly higher price at $120 to $250.

The most popular models for ASICS are around $150 and for HOKA also around $150. Specialty items with more features (like carbon plates) will increase price.

You’ll notice that every brand offers a range and this is indeed due to a difference in technology and where they sell the shoe. They know that the big box store can sell the shoe with less in it, while the local running store needs to be best for dedicated runners.

HOKA Vs ASICS Models

Now that you know more about each brand, let’s look at their top models in each of the main categories. There’s no winner declared here because all are great shoes, it’s just about which one is best for your foot.

With each of these, they are the top models so numbers are constantly changing as they make a little upgrade and it becomes the Glycerin 27 or the Bondi 7.

Stability Running Shoe

ASICS GEL Kayano

The GEL Kayano is now in its 27th iteration and known as one of the best stability shoes on the market. Great for overpronators seeking stability, the GEL Kayano is an ideal shoe for marathons.

Read my in- depth review of the Kayano!

HOKA Gaviota

As noted all Hokas are designed with more stability than many brands, but these are considered maximum stability. But they provide stability without feeling rigid, a probably many runners have with other shoes.

It’s still cushioned, only 5mm heel toe drop and 10oz.

Neutral Running Shoe

ASICS GEL Nimbus

This shoe will appeal to most runners looking for a neutral fit. The inclusion of ASICS technologies like the Flytefoam and the GEL offers cushioned support with a responsive fit. Whether you’re a casual runner or a hard core marathoner, this shoe is a great choice.

If you’re looking for similar performance with a lighter environmental footprint, take a look at the GEL Nimbus Lite.

Read my full review of the Nimbus!ASICs shoes

Hoka Clifton

The Clifton was their first model and I actually got to run in version 1, 2 and 6! It’s their trademark shoe and a great one for any runner who wants cushion and to test out a maximal shoe.

At just 7 oz you’ll be shocked how much cushion in provides. It’s cushioned without being too soft, so it’s still responsive.

Cushioned Running Shoe

ASICS GEL Cumulus

The generous FlyteFoam provides ample cushion and the shape accommodates a wide array of foot shapes. Additional rubber on the outsole offers extra durability.

Hoka Bondi

If you want to feel like your feet are running on actual pillows…this is it. The most cushioned shoe I’ve tried in over 26,000 miles of running. It’s a heavenly shoe for recovery days.

Important for most runners to know a shoe this cushioned isn’t ideal for all runs. You can easily start to sink in to your low back and lose a little speed without that spring off the ground.Hoka Clifton review

More About ASICS 

Founded in 1949, by Kihachiro Onitsuka in Japan, ASICS is an acronym for the Latin expression “Anima Sana in Corpore Sano” (“healthy mind in a healthy body”).

The company released a basketball shoe in 1950, followed by running shoes in 1953. Among those running shoe products included the Onitsuka Tiger, still a popular shoe today, though mainly used as a casual shoe as opposed to a marathon shoe.

Today, ASICS designs a wide variety of shoes including: running, tennis, volleyball, wrestling, and golf.

Fun fact: Nike was founded to sell the Onitsuka Tiger shoes in the US. After visiting Japan in 1963, Phil Knight was impressed by the high quality and reasonable prices and asked the company to represent the brand in the US. Anyone else read his book and find all of this fascinating?!

Your gait and feet will likely change over time and you may need to change shoes.

This is also why I recommend rotating through several pairs of shoes at once.

And remember, just because these are two of the most well known brands on the market, there are still plenty of other shoe brands to select from if neither ASICS nor HOKA has the right shoe for you.

Keep in mind that shoe design can change, even with the same model, so always assess how the shoe fits every time you replace a pair.

More about HOKA ONE ONE

Let’s start with how do you pronounce Hoka One One? “Ho-Kah O-nay O-nay” which is a Māori phrase that means “to fly over the earth.”

But they’re kind of like Madonna and just need one name: Hoka.

Founded by two mountain trail runners in the Swiss Alps, Nicolas Mermoud and Jean-Luc Diard, former Salomon employees, had an epiphany during their training that lead to the foundation of a new shoe and new company in 2009.

This makes them a mere baby in the world of running shoes, as many of the brands from Brooks to ASICS have been around 100+ years now. Pictured here is their first prototype.Hoka Prototype

At first they simply wanted a shoe that would allow them to run downhill faster and thus win!

Quickly they realized there was something more here with a smooth, super light, cushioned and stable shoe. Their maximal design took many of by surprise in a time where Zero Drop and Barefoot running were the in thing.

In 202o, the company was purchased by Deckers (owners of UGG and Teva). Hopefully that just means more marketing to keep the shoes going and not a change to what their doing right.

For more help selecting the right shoe for you, don’t worry, I’ve got you:

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Hoka Vs ASICS | Maximal Vs Traditional Running Shoes is written by amanda for www.runtothefinish.com

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