It’s hard to believe that this is my first review of a Hoka shoe given how popular the lineup of Hoka trail shoes has been over the past few years. The first few early models of Hokas I tried on just didn’t seem stable enough for my intended use. The tall stack heights combined with soft cushioning had me feeling fearful of turning an ankle. My opinions have changed dramatically in the last year, due to the number of miles I’ve logged in the Speedgoat 2/3 and the EVO Mafate. The EVO Mafate has turned out to be my favorite and most used trail shoe over the past few months, and I’ll be sharing my detailed experience in this review.
The Hoka EVO Mafate is a max cushion trail shoe with 34mm of cushion in the heel and 30mm of cushion in the forefoot. Although the midsole is plush, it maintains impressive stability and responsiveness on rugged trails. For the outsole of the EVO Mafate, Hoka combines Vibram MegaGrip with a thoughtful lug pattern that will handle any trail conditions you’re likely to encounter.
Size, Weight, and Fit
The Hoka EVO Mafate fits true to size for my size 12 US foot, and comes in right around 12 ounces (10.4oz for 9 US). When you see a picture of the EVO Mafate, it’d be easy to assume that the shoe will feel heavy and clunky underfoot. My experience has been the exact opposite. This shoe disappears on my feet and is a real joy to wear on tough and steep runs and hikes.
The Hoka EVO Mafate has been a workhorse for me and has made me a Hoka convert. The energy savings on-trail and recovery claims, post-run, are very real from my experience. The Kevlar laced MATRYX upper sheds water, dries quickly, and is very durable. The only downside is that the materials can feel a little rough until broken in. The EVA and R-Bound midsole feels great underfoot, but still provides the stability required for more technical terrain. The Vibram MegaGrip outsole works on just about any trail you can imagine, and has kept me on my feet on some really slick trail outings. If you’re looking for a max cushion shoe with a stable, but forging ride, make sure to give the EVO Mafates a try. At $170, they don’t come cheap. The durability and performance make up for the steep asking price though, so I give them my full recommendation.
Hoka Speedgoat 3
If you’re looking for a max cushion shoe that is similar to the EVO Mafate, but has a softer underfoot ride, the Speedgoat 3 is a great option. It has the same great Vibram MegaGrip outsole, a slightly narrower fit, and a more comfortable upper.
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Author: Drew Robinson