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The Most Comfortable Shoes for Backpacking?

Hoka is a brand that has gained a lot of attention in recent years for its unique approach to footwear design. Hokas are known for their thick soles and maximalist cushioning, which have been embraced by backpackers, runners, and hikers alike. But are Hokas a good choice for backpacking? Overall, yes, but there are pros and cons, like all footwear we review.

Pros of Hokas for Backpacking:

  1. Cushioning: One of the main benefits of Hokas is their generous cushioning. It makes the shoes feel extremely comfortable even when on your feet all day.

  2. Comfort: Hokas are also known for their comfortable fit and soft landing with every step.

  3. Traction: Many Hokas also have good traction while also not having uncomfortably shaped lugs.

Cons of Hokas for Backpacking:

  1. Weight: One of the main drawbacks of Hokas is their weight. The thick midsole and generous cushioning can add a lot of extra weight.

  2. Breathability: Hokas are not known for their breathability. The thick cushioning can trap heat and moisture, which can make your feet feel hot and sweaty.

  3. Stability: Some backpackers may find Hokas to be too unstable. The thick midsole can make the shoes feel a bit wobbly.

Hoka Shoe Options

Hoka Torrent the best backpacking shoe

The Hoka Torrent is a lightweight and fast shoe that’s perfect for runners who want to tackle technical trails quickly. It has a breathable upper that helps keep your feet cool and dry and a sticky rubber outsole that provides excellent grip on wet and rocky terrain. The Torrent is an excellent choice for runners who want a shoe that can easily handle steep climbs and descents.

Hoka Challenger ATR are one of the best backpacking shoes

The Hoka Challenger ATR is another versatile trail shoe that’s suitable for a wide range of terrain. It features a durable outsole that provides excellent traction and a cushioned midsole for shock absorption. The Challenger ATR is an excellent choice for trails that are not too technical but still have some challenging terrain.

The Hoka Speedgoat is one of the best shoes for backpacking

The Hoka Speedgoat is a versatile trail shoe that’s suitable for a wide range of terrain. Its Vibram outsole provides excellent traction on both wet and dry surfaces, while the cushioned midsole helps absorb shock and reduce fatigue. The Speedgoat is an excellent choice for technical trails with lots of rocks, roots, and other obstacles.

Hoka Mafate backpacking shoe for trails

The Hoka Mafate is a rugged and durable trail shoe that’s perfect for long-distance hiking and ultra-marathons. It features a Vibram Megagrip outsole that provides excellent traction on wet and dry surfaces and a thick midsole for cushioning and shock absorption. The Mafate is excellent for steep, rocky, and technical trails.

Hoka Stinson ATR for backpacking

The Hoka Stinson ATR is a cushioned trail shoe that is designed for long-distance hikes and runs. The shoe features a thick midsole with a plush cushioning system that helps absorb shock and reduce fatigue. The Stinson ATR also has a durable outsole with multidirectional lugs that provide excellent traction on a variety of terrain types.


The Hoka Kaha is a high-top hiking boot that is designed for rugged terrain and long-distance hikes. The boot features a waterproof upper and a Vibram Megagrip outsole, providing excellent traction on wet and slippery terrain. The Kaha also has a cushioned midsole that helps reduce fatigue and a sturdy construction that provides ankle support and protection.


The Hoka Anacapa Mid is a versatile backpacking and hiking shoe with good stability and comfort. The mid-cut design offers ankle support without sacrificing flexibility. It features a durable, breathable mesh upper and a cushioned midsole with Meta-Rocker technology. The outsole is Vibram Megagrip rubber.


The Hoka Zenal is a versatile trail shoe. The shoe features excellent ventilation and is great for those who get “hot feet.” The midsole is made from Hoka’s EVA foam and absorbs shock well. The outsole features a sticky rubber compound with great traction on technical terrain.


The Hoka Speedgoat 5 Mid is the popular speed goat model but with a mid-cut height. The shoe has great traction and maximal cushion that makes it a solid choice for a backpacker or thru-hiker looking for an ankle-height shoe that will do great in the show and rugged terrain.



  1. Top Pick: Hoka Torrent 3

  2. Most Popular: Altra Lone Peak 7

  3. Close Second: Salomon Sense Ride 5

  4. Best Traditional Hiking Shoe: Merrell Moab 3

Overall, Hokas can be a great choice for backpackers who are looking for a comfortable, cushioned shoe with excellent traction. However, they may not be the best choice for everyone. If you’re a lightweight backpacker looking to shave off ounces or need a lot of support or stability in your footwear, Hokas may not be the best choice. But if you’re looking for a shoe that can help reduce the impact on your joints, provide excellent traction, and keep your feet comfortable over long distances, Hokas may be just what you need.

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