I Tested Two Pairs of Hoka Sneakers to See If They're as Comfortable & Supportive As They Claim to Be. My Bunioned Feet Say Hell Yes

Lookin’ cute and comfy at the same time

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Olivia Dubyak/Dasha Burobina for PureWow
  • Comfort: 20/20
  • Functionality: 19/20
  • Aesthetic: 19/20
  • Support: 20/20
  • Durability: 19/20

Total: 97/100

My feet are very picky when it comes to sneakers. I have narrow size eights with cute little bunions on the outside of each of my big toes, which make comfort and support a top priority for workout shoes. I’m someone who sticks to my go-to when I find a favorite brand or product, and it’s hard to convince me to try something new (which is probably why I’m rewatching Friends for the 80th time). But when I decided to run a half marathon this year, my bunions were getting a little more painful (yeah, I need to visit a podiatrist), so I wanted to find a sneaker that was going to feel like my feet were boxed in by cushiness and support. Enter, HOKA.

Meet the Expert:

Dr. Brad Schaeffer, DPM is a Board Certified Foot Surgeon with the ABFAS at his NYC podiatry office, Central Park SOLE.

How We Tested HOKA Sneakers

I’ve tried out several styles, which is why I feel confident in saying the brand as a whole produces some of the best shoes on the market for offering support and comfort without compromising athletic performance. While I’ve worn multiple styles, there are two that I have worn the most that I will repurchase: the Rincon 3 ($125) and the Bondi 8 ($165). My dad, a HOKA enthusiast, has been wearing the brand for years since he developed plantar fasciitis and has yet to find a brand that can support his feet the way the Bondi style does. “Even though it’s a thick looking shoe, the heel support for my plantar fasciitis is unmatched,” he tells me. I wore the shoes for half marathon training, daily walks with my dog, weightlifting and casual wear over the course of several months to put the durability to the test.


HOKA Rincon 3s Review


  • Made for running
  • Molded EVA sock liner
  • Compression foam molded midsole
  • Zonal rubber placement for weight distribution
  • Asymmetrical tongue

I wore this style for the duration of my half marathon training from January through April 2023. Because this was during the Colorado winter, I was looking for sneakers that were known to be durable through cold and snowy weather while keeping up with the sometimes-unpredictable terrain. I really liked that this model was ready to go as soon as I laced them up for the first time, no break-in time needed. “HOKA's offer a unique fit and comfort level that is beneficial for all types of working out/walking. They offer a wide-toe box which is necessary in order for feet to be in their most comfortable position and not cramped, cramped feet can lead to multiple foot issues such as bunions, plantar fasciitis and shin splints,” says Dr. Schaeffer. Right off the bat, I noticed the bounciness of the sneakers and the way they hug my foot curvatures in all the right places. I did notice my ankles get sore after the first few wears, but I expected a little adjustment time since I jumped right into running from being almost fully sedentary all winter.

Here was my mistake: not only did I wear these for my training, but I also ended up wearing them for just about every other physical activity that required sneakers, like hiking, weightlifting, walking and just daily wear. I was putting 20+ miles into these sneakers on a weekly basis, so that should’ve been the only activity I was wearing them for considering that’s plenty of wear. Add in the other activities, I felt like it made them break down a little more quickly. I still wear these exact pair for walking and daily wear, but the cushy support has dwindled a bit. I will add that the tread still has good traction and the fit is still sturdy, though, making them easily still wearable.

I got a second pair of the same shoes (yup, same color, too) and have been wearing them for about a month or so now daily walks and light weightlifting and they’re holding up beautifully with just as much cushioning and support since day one. My bunions are thankful.


HOKA Bondi 8s Review


  • Made for running, walking and comfort
  • Lightweight foam
  • Rubber placement for weight distribution
  • Pull-on heel tab
  • Mesh upper construction

These sneakers are the newest addition to my HOKA collection and have quickly become my absolute favorite for walking. The support is absolutely unreal. “I love HOKA shoes for their great offloading ability during each step. They have a unique way of supporting and propelling our gait-cycle with every step! When adding the Dr. Scholl's Running Insoles , this combo creates an absolute game changer to really help repel any potential discomfort,” says Dr. Schaeffer.

Yeah, they have a chunkier look to them, which isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I like it. And don’t worry, that extra height on the bottom of the shoes isn’t heavy at all. I got the shifting sand/eggnog color duo and I love the neutral, and if they get a little dirty you can’t tell against the earthy tone of the shoe.

These sneakers hug my narrow feet in a way that contours from my midfoot up to my bunions to give me such a nice supportive feeling that actually relieves any dull pain I usually have on a daily basis.

I wouldn’t recommend these sneakers for heavy weightlifting since they have so much cushion and height, they aren’t optimal for flat feet stability. These shoes are definitely made for walkin’ (and some occasional running).

Overall Thoughts

From the support and performance to the aesthetic of the shoes, I’m going to continue rebuying both of these shoes. The price point is pretty average for a good set of athletic sneakers, maybe a smidge on the high side, but they’re worth every penny. 

One thing you will notice, like with most tennis shoes with foam soles, because of the bending motion your foot makes when you walk or run, the outer layer of foam on the bottom of your shoe will show some creases that will likely be more visible on some colors more than others. Luckily, this doesn’t impact the performance of the shoes.

As with any performance shoe, fit is essential. “One of the most important things to look for in a running shoe is a correct fit. A running or workout shoe that doesn't fit properly can be uncomfortable, cause pain and create potential injury,” says Dr. Brad Schaeffer, DPM. You can use the HOKA fit expert chat feature on the site to get insights on which shoe and what size is going to be best for your feet. They’ll take into account your activities, shoe size, any foot issues you have to ensure you pick an optimal shoe for your feet.

If you’re looking for sneakers for athletic purposes or just regular wear, these check every important box, in my opinion.

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Olivia Dubyak is PureWow's Commerce Editor and textbook Capricorn. She studied journalism at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, but has gone from New York City to West Texas to Chicago to Northern Colorado since then experiencing new things to broaden her perspective as a writer. She writes across the board in fashion, beauty, wellness and home, focusing on product reviews and roundups that can elevate your everyday life. She's been writing in the commerce-sphere for nearly five years and loves trying new products, sharing her honest experiences to help you decide whether what you’re buying is worth it or not (yup, Augustinus Bader is a must-have).

PureWow is the best friend you never had when it comes to finding the best, most useful lifestyle products online. Founded in 2010, our company’s editors and writers have spent more than a decade shopping online, digging through sales and putting our home goods, beauty finds, wellness picks and more through the wringer—all to help you determine which ones are actually worth your hard-earned cash. From our PureWow100 series, which sees each and every item we test being ranked on a 100-point scale of awesomeness, to the painstakingly curated lists our fashion, beauty, cooking, home and family editors create as vertical experts, you can trust that our recommendations include some of the greatest items you’ll find on the internet. Whether you're looking for travel-size hair dryers you can take on-the-go or women’s walking shoes that won’t hurt your feet, we’ve got you covered.

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Commerce Editor

Olivia Dubyak is PureWow's Commerce Editor and textbook Capricorn. She studied journalism at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, but has gone from New York City to...