Can HOKAs Replace My Go-To Sneaks?

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I’ve been searching for a pair of “one and done” sneakers. Sneakers that meet ALL the needs…a pair that works for long exercise walks on the trail, intense reggaeton dance classes in the studio, a bit of gym time for physical therapy, and rushing around the city on super-hard sidewalks. 

BUT…I want this one-and-done sneaker to not scream athletic shoe. I love the look of bold-colored running shoes that a lot of you guys rock with EVERYTHING, but that’s definitely not my personal style. Even for exercising, I lean toward all the non-sporty looks.

Which, by the way, reminds me of an important note…I’m NOT a runner. Unless I’m dancing, I’m more of a moderate, “don’t like to get TOO out of breath, don’t like to sweat TOO, TOO much” exerciser. So if you’re looking for a technical running review of HOKA sneakers or even a hardcore exerciser’s review, you’re in the wrong place, and this is NOT your video review.

If you’re interested in how HOKA shoes look with various outfits, some talk about how cushiony they are, and if they’re cute enough to replace my current go-to sneaks for moderate exercise and everyday casual wear…then this IS your video review

The Search For Sneakers That Do ‘All The Things’: A HOKA Shoes Review

So…back to business. Are there athletic sneakers (that don’t look like athletic sneakers) out there that meet both my activity needs and style desires? Comfortable and supportive athletic sneakers that have an on-trend, stylish look, so it can double for casual, everyday sneakers as well? 

It’s a bold ask, I know. Let’s look at my current favorite sneakers first.

Current Go-To Sneaks: Brooks, On Cloudswift & Madewell Sneakers

Currently, I mostly wear Brooks Adrenalines for exercise walks, On Cloudswifts for dance classes and gym/physical-therapy outings, and Madewell Kickoff Trainers out and about with “real” clothes. Warning: My feet LOVE Madewell Kickoff Trainers for an everyday, “on the town, running errands” pair of sneaks, but they’re heavy…definitely not good for any type of exercise or workouts.

My feet LOVE Madewell Kickoff Trainers for everyday sneakers, but they're heavy...definitely not good for any type of exercise or workouts.

On Clouds | joggers (M) | tank (S)

L: Brooks Adrenalines | leggings (6) | sports bra (M) | sweatshirt wrap (S)
R: Madewell Trainers | jeans (29) | sweater (S) | sweater-blazer (XS)

Three different pairs of sneakers by my front door is too many, though, when you factor in that my black boots, tan boots, cozy house shoes, and cold-weather boots are all living there as well.

Are HOKA Sneakers The One-&-Done Shoes I’ve Been Looking For?

Is HOKA my new magic sneaker brand? Everyone loves HOKA’s extreme comfort, so I knew these shoes would likely be great for my exercise and activity needs. I was hoping they would also help make my exercise-clothing combos feel a bit more current and modern. AND I thought they might have just enough of that on-trend, bold, chunky vibe to work seamlessly with my jeans-and-sweater uniform as well. 

So, are HOKA sneakers comfortable and supportive enough — in addition to being cute and stylish enough — to replace my Brooks, Adrenalines AND Madewells? In this video review, I take a look at the HOKA Clifton, the HOKA Stinson and the HOKA Kawana styles to see if I’ll be replacing my three-sneaker system with just one pair of these HOKA sneakers — and if any of them make the cut for my new one-and-done perfect sneakers. Keep scrolling for side-by-side comparison photos.

1. HOKA Clifton Vs. On Cloudswift

HOKA Cliftons are definitely very comfy, lightweight, and have a similar feel to my On Cloud sneakers with a cushiony, but not overly soft, footbed. The look of the Cliftons is bulkier/chunkier than my On Clouds, and in the black, they feel a little too heavy in appearance for my personal style. I think I would like the white/cream better. More details in the video on the fit and feel of the HOKA Cliftons.

HOKA Cliftons are definitely comfy, lightweight, & have a similar feel to my On Cloud sneakers w/ a cushiony, but not overly soft, footbed.

Hoka Clifton | On Clouds | joggers (M) | tank (S)

2. HOKA Stinsons Vs. Madewell Kickoff Trainers

The HOKA Stinson sneakers are SO fun to wear! SUPER-cushiony and bouncy, with plenty of support for my picky feet. I like the feel and look of them, but I don’t think they quite cut it as a replacement for my Madewell Kickoff Trainers that I wear with jeans. I would definitely consider these, though, for my exercise walking shoes when I need a replacement for my Brooks. More details on the fit and feel in the video.

The HOKA Stinson sneakers are SO fun to wear! SUPER-cushiony + bouncy, with plenty of support for my picky feet.

Hoka Stinsons | Madewell Kickoff Trainers | jeans (29) | sweater (S) | sweater-blazer (XS) | bag | similar bag

3. Hoka Kawana Vs. Brooks Adrenalines

The HOKA Kawanas (more sizes here and here) feel great on. The happy medium between the Cliftons and the Stinsons. More cushion than the Cliftons, are lightweight, and have a nice secure structure that my feet appreciate. A similar feel to my Brooks Adrenaline sneakers that I wear for long exercise walks. Style-wise…more versatile and chic than my sporty-looking Brooks, but still not exactly what I was looking for in a one-and-done sneak. More details in the video.

The HOKA Kawana sneakers feel great on. The happy medium between the Cliftons & the Stinsons.

Hoka Kawanas (more sizes here & here) | Brooks Adrenalines | leggings (6) | longline sports bra (M) | sweatshirt wrap (S)


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Any suggestions on what other brands might meet my requirements for one-and-done sneakers? A supportive, cushiony athletic sneaker that somehow doesn’t look at all athletic or sporty?

I’m leaning toward trying the On Cloudswift shoes in white. I also love the look of these Nike Air Max 97s in cream, but the women’s fit doesn’t have the cream color. Or…I go back to my trusty New Balance 574s, which I wore for years and years and got bored with — but maybe it’s time to revisit.

Let me know what you guys think…you know I always love hearing from you.

-Linzi

Are HOKAs the best sneakers to replace my 3-pair system? I'm reviewing the Clifton, Stinson & Kawana to see if 1 can do All The Things (& be cute + comfy.)
Are HOKAs the best sneakers to replace my 3-pair system? I'm reviewing the Clifton, Stinson & Kawana to see if 1 can do All The Things (& be cute + comfy.)