The 7 Best Hoka Shoes for Walking (Tested & Reviewed for 2023)
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Are you even a Hot Girl Walker if you don't have a pair of these???
A semi-weird statement is incoming, but just stay with me: I wish someone gave me the 411 on what walking really entails. Like, a cute lil two-piece athleisure set and day-to-day sneakers are absolutely not suitable for real deal exercise (though, they are perfect for the ‘gram—I see you, #HotGirlWalkers).
If you're tryna be in these walking streets and sidewalks for real-for real, what you *actually* need are some good ol' walking shoes. And trust me, your baby toe and arches will be sighing with relief once you snag a pair. But TBH, a lot of exercise kicks are ugly as hell, and a bunch even look like something my grandpa would be proud to throw on. What if I told you, though, that there’s a brand that doesn’t sacrifice comfort for aesthetics? Enter: Hoka.
The fitness apparel company first launched back in 2009 but has recently gone viral for its notable Y2K-esque chunky sneakers. All of the celebs are wearing them, from Blake Lively to everyone’s favorite British boy Harry Styles. Celebrity approval aside, Hokas have a huge cult following because the shoes are lightweight, comfy, durable, and have that extra thick cushioning you likely know them for. Plus, they come in so many colorways that pairing them to your walking ensemble won't be a problem at all. A consolation to all the exercise girlies who mismatch their workout 'fits (hi!) because they can never color coordinate their shoes 😭.
The downside to having so many options? You might get a little analysis paralysis while scrolling on Hoka's website. But that’s where I come in. I did alllll the hard work for you and curated this list of the best Hoka shoes for walking, whether that’s for regular pavement pounders or hikers. Down below, you’ll see some tips and tricks for selecting the best Hokas for whatever outdoor walking activity is calling you.
Standing on your feet all day HURTS. I still cringe thinking about the blisters and bruises after my 8-hour shifts at the local grocery store in college. But! The Hoka Clifton 8s saved the day. Designed for your regular daily habits, these sneakers feel like nothing on your feet, and are made from a super breathable mesh—aka no sweaty feet for you.
Review Highlight: “I currently work as a nursing assistant, but will be starting a new grad nurse residency in August,” one tester writes. “I usually wear Ultraboost, which is great, but everyone RAVES about Hoka. They are so lightweight, it feels like you’re not wearing anything. I could have sized up to a 7, but my regular 6.5 fit fine. I’m excited to wear these for my 12-hour shifts. Such a popular shoe for everyone that’s on their feet a lot.”
The upgrade to the Clifton 8, these sneakers rank No. 1 thanks to their super cushy interior and durable outside. There's a foam midsole too, so you shouldn’t have any soreness or aches after wearing them.
Review Highlight: “I love the Hoka brand, and these new shoes lived up to the mark,” writes one reviewer. “These Clifton 9s are much firmer and foamier than my Clifton 8s. I love that they don’t look bulky on my feet. They are true to fit. I did not get the wide fit. I love them so much that I want another pair in a neat color.”
Baby walkers, intermediate runners, and professionals all need to wear these fan-favorite running shoes. These Bondi 8s have tons of built-in features to give you comfort, stability, and balance when walking and running. I mean, what more could you ask for?
Review Highlight: One tester writes, “My triathlon friend recommended these for my daughter ... to help with her low to flat feet. She absolutely loved them, so I bought a pair for her mom and she wished I had got these a decade ago. They are awesome!”
The Hoka Transports are dubbed the “commuter-friendly” kicks because they'll get you to the office without you regretting your shoe choice first thing in the morning. Though they’re designed for your daily tos and fros, the Transports have range—they're durable and comfy enough to wear for long days at the airport, daily walks up hills, and even hiking on rocky terrains.
Review Highlights: A tester writes, “Amazing shoes! They are so comfortable and these specifically are stylish for a run or just out and about. Also, LOVE the fact that they are slip-ons!”
Hoka Arahi 6s are the perf grab-and-go shoes. You basically can slip them on as easy as a sock, and they nearly feel like one too, since they have less cushion and padding than other sneakers on this list. But just because they're lighter, doesn't mean they skim on the comfort.
Review Highlights: “I pronate, so I love the stability and the cushioning in this shoe,” writes one reviewer. “This is my second pair and I can't imagine going back to what I used to wear. Highly recommend.”
Okay, think of the Ora Recovery 2s as the UGG slipper version of sneakers—that’s just how comfy these are. An elastic band at the ankle for extra grip make these kicks the most supportive Hoka shoe on this list. No need to imagine walking on clouds when the Oras will let you find out!
Review Highlights: A reviewer writes, “My husband has had a pair of Ora recovery shoes for some time, and I finally was jealous enough to get myself a pair. They are so so comfy. As soon I slipped them on, I knew I'd be wearing these all the time. These are one of the comfiest casual shoes in my closet, and as a healthcare worker on my feet all day, it is nice to have an option that isn't a literal sneaker.”
I love a good rain boot, but they truly don't cut it for walking long distances, and especially not when I'm tryna get my power walk on. Which is why I switched my chunky Chelsea boots for the Hoka Bondi L GTXs. They’re made with waterproof leather and are well-insulated, meaning your feet stay dry and warm during those rainy day walks. Plus, they have great traction on the soles, so you don't have to worry about any slips or falls while you're out in the ~elements~.
Review Highlight: “Wearing them now in chilly sometimes damp UK,” a reviewer notes. “Have been excellent on a variety of walking surfaces, including wet cobblestones and moderate dirt/grass trails. They are warm, so wouldn't wear them in hot weather. Perfect for winter, late fall, and early spring.”
Hoka shoes are known for their ultra-plush interiors, durable exteriors, and unique styles. They tend to find the perfect balance between maximum cushion and lightweight feel, making them an optimal walking and running shoe, as well as a good pain relieving option. In fact, most podiatrists recommend the brand for folks suffering from foot conditions and runners who want to protect their feet. The American Podiatric Medical Association has also given some Hoka shoes a seal of approval for their efficiency in protecting foot health. So, basically, you can't go wrong!
Hokas are all the rave right now, and honestly, I get it. They’re cute and super functional for a variety of needs. But speaking of, remember that all Hokas are designed for a specific purpose. It’s why each pair belongs to a certain category, from “everyday wear” to “running” to "terrain."
So, ~footwear tech~ is an entire thing, and Hoka puts it to great use, especially in their variety of materials. Some Hokas are constructed with breathable mesh that'll stop foot sweat, others have water-resistant leather that keep your feet dry. And certain soles are made extra sturdy for rocky terrains, while others are more plush for max comfort. Take a look at the material of the shoes before shopping—it’ll help you determine when and where you can walk in them.
The main goal behind a good walking or running shoe is its support, but the levels of comfort can be subjective. Think through what type of foot you have: Are your feet pronated? Do you need an extra cushion for your ankles? Is arch support a must? That'll ensure all your needs are met.
Also, don’t be afraid to do a couple of test walks! The best way to know if a shoe fits is by taking it out for a stroll in one of your regular activities. A shoe can sound comfortable, but really, it’s your experience with it that matters.
We here at Cosmo like to keep comfort in mind, especially for a life on the go (which we know a thing or two about). So we narrowed down the best Hoka shoes for walking based off of user reviews and tests that had that same priority. We made sure to give you the most stylish options that also have a ton of practical utility. Because who said you had to sacrifice form for function? Definitely not us.
Mel Curry (she/her) is the current assistant editor at Cosmopolitan, where she covers everything from lifestyle to politics. You can often find her watching The Real Housewives of Atlanta or discovering local coffee roasters. Before joining Cosmo, she was an editorial assistant at Hearst Magazines, writing for Women’s Health, Elle, and more. Follow her on Instagram and the bird app aka Twitter.
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