Are you struggling to decide between Brooks and Hoka running shoes? Both brands are known for producing high-quality, premium shoes that cater to different needs and preferences.
Brooks has a long history in the running shoe industry, with a commitment to developing innovative and comfortable shoes that energize and cushion athletes with every stride.
Hoka, on the other hand, is a relatively newer brand that has gained popularity with its unique, oversized outsole design and minimalist approach to running shoes.
Choosing between the two can be challenging, but by considering factors such as shoe construction, cushioning, fit, and price, you can find the best pair of shoes to suit your individual needs and preferences.
Quick Summary on Brooks vs Hoka Running Shoes
- Determine your needs: Consider what you need in a running shoe, such as cushioning, support, stability, or a specific type of terrain. Both Brooks and Hoka offer a range of shoe models that cater to different needs, so it’s important to know what you’re looking for.
- Try on both brands: It’s important to try on and test out both Brooks and Hoka shoes to determine which one feels the most comfortable and supportive. Pay attention to the fit, feel, and overall comfort of the shoes.
- Consider the construction: Brooks shoes are generally constructed under a more traditional model, while Hoka shoes have a more modern construction with an oversized outsole and meta-rocker technology. Consider which construction method is most suitable for your running style and preferences.
- Consider the price: Both Brooks and Hoka shoes come at a range of price points, so it’s important to consider your budget when making a decision. Keep in mind that higher prices don’t necessarily equate to better quality, and it’s important to find a balance between price and performance.
- Seek expert advice: If you’re still unsure which brand is right for you, consider seeking the advice of a running specialist or footwear expert. They can help you find the right shoes for your feet and running style.
Dating back to 1914, when it started as a ballet slippers and bathing shoes company, Brooks has come a long way to become one of the world’s prominent shoe brands. Brooks evolved from a small garage in Venice, CA, to its modern headquarters in Seattle, WA.
Since the release of their first running shoe, the Villanova, in 1972, Brooks began its genuine commitment to developing premium-quality shoes that energize and cushion athletes with every stride.
Brooks is famed for playing a critical role in the evolution of running shoes. With its innovation and cutting-edge shoe designs, Brooks has positioned itself as a go-to brand for runners looking for a better and more comfortable running experience.
Fun Fact: Brooks controls all its shoe development processes from initial design to finished product.
Here are some of the more popular Brooks running shoes, as rated by us:
Hoka One One is a French-based company that came into the scene in 2009. A brainchild of Nicolas Mermoud and Jean-Luc Diard, Hoka One One drew runners’ attention with its uniquely designed shoes that featured an oversized outsole for enhanced cushioning.
With a minimalist design that encourages smoother and more efficient runs, Hoka has become a popular choice for runners and the general population.
In 2013, Hoka One One was fully acquired by Deckers Outdoor Corporation, which owns other shoe brands such as Teva and UGG. Today, Hoka sponsors various professional runners and professional training groups.
Fun Fact: Its name was coined from the Maori Language, which when translated means “fly over the earth.”
And here are some popular Hoka One One running shoes you can set your eyes on:
Features to Consider When Choosing the Best Running Shoes: Brooks vs. Hoka
Now that we know a brief history of the two brands, let’s get into the finer details that make each brand stand out.
It is difficult to say which shoe construction is better overall, as both Brooks and Hoka offer high-quality shoes with different construction methods that may be suitable for different types of runners and different needs.
Brooks running shoes are generally constructed under a more traditional model, with a heel-to-toe drop of about 10mm-12mm and a lack of rocker geometry. This construction may be preferred by runners who prefer a more traditional feel and support.
On the other hand, Hoka shoes are constructed with a more modern method that incorporates pronounced meta-rocker technology, which is designed to roll the foot forward in a natural motion.
Hoka’s shoes are also equipped with an oversized outsole for enhanced cushioning. This construction may be preferred by runners who are looking for a more cushioned and modern feel.
For running shoes, the upper material molds the shoe shape and contributes to its overall fit. Both Brooks and Hoka come with a similar “open mesh” upper part that features Boa dials and metal eyelets overlays.
However, Brooks features a much thicker upper and has a larger toe box. So, when you buy a pair of running shoes from Brooks, you won’t have to worry about your feet getting crammed in a toe box.
By Contrast, Hoka running shoes are known to have a minimal upper material. This translates into a slightly smaller toe box. The brand is trying to address this issue in its latest releases.
While Brooks comes with a much thicker upper for extra comfort, it isn’t easy to clean.
Hoka boasts midsoles that are heavily padded with a unique foam material. Although different shoe models come with midsoles that differ in midsole thicknesses, Hoka is renowned for offering ample cushioning. This is quite beneficial for individuals who participate in high-impact activities, such as long-distance running.
Hoka’s midsole is very soft and supple. There is a unique theory that this company narrows the upper to accommodate the midsole’s extra width for increased shock absorption and cushioning.
While Brooks also features soft, cushioned midsoles, they’re not as plush as those in Hoka. Their midsoles are made of BioMoGo DNA or post-consumer recycled rubber. These materials compress and release upon impact to provide runners with the flexibility and comfort they need.
Brooks aims to balance responsiveness with cushioning. Brooks running shoes feature guide rails that help maintain proper alignment for more comfortable runs.
Despite the differences in cushioning, Brooks and Hoka shine in different areas. Hoka is best suited for long-distance running due to its extra cushioning and stability. However, Brooks is a great alternative when running for shorter distances due to its balance of cushioning and responsiveness.
But we have to agree that Hoka is superior when it comes to cushioning and shock absorption.
Both Brooks and Hoka come with very different designs when it comes to the outsole. However, both have a wider outsole for extended contact with the ground.
Brooks features a more webbed outsole to spread the weight throughout the shoes evenly. On the other hand, Hoka focuses on providing a stable platform with its large outsole lugs at the middle and forefoot.
Brooks comes with completely rubber outsoles strengthened with a thermoplastic EVA sheath at the front to protect your foot against objects such as branches and rocks.
In contrast, Hoka is renowned for its springy foam. Hence its outsoles are made of rubberized foam that is highly responsive to fast movements. Due to their rocker bottom, they boast an oversized outsole for better traction and improved stability.
While Brooks features trail shoe models with TrailTak rubber outsoles, Hoka shoes are generally suited for uneven terrain and wet and muddy conditions.
If you haven’t made your choice based on shoe construction, here are other considerations to help you make your decision.
Brooks running shoes are reliable and will give you an average of 400-500 miles depending on where you’re running. This is because of how liberal the company is with the outsole rubber. They use an adequate amount of rubber in the outsole leading to improved traction, stability, and longevity.
On the other hand, Hoka running shoes can also give you up to 400 miles. However, this will depend on whether you’re using a shoe model for its intended terrain. Since Hoka shoes’ midsoles are left exposed, this tends to accelerate their wear and tear. For this reason, reaching the 400-mark mile can be daunting.
While both brands offer a pretty commendable lifespan, Brooks has a proven track record of delivering long-lasting and reliable shoe models.
Overall Fit and Comfort
If you’ve tried several running shoes and have not yet found the right fit, you should try Brook or Hoka.
Brooks’ shoes offer a wide toe box, extra layered upper, and comfortable midsole. They offer a snugger fit, a lightweight feel and boast an excellent heel cup that enhances stability without being intrusive.
Brooks is well renowned for its running shoes as well as regular walking shoes. They are also excellent for cyclers and swimmers due to their wide-toe box.
Hoka running shoes are famous for their rocker technology that reduces the pressure on your foot as you take every stride. Their high-volume heel cup, tons of cushioning, and ventilation make them an ideal choice for long-distance runs and well-suited for heavy runners.
Besides what we have discussed, other valuable features can help you choose between Brooks and Hoka.
Brooks provides customers with a 90-day trial to test out the shoes and return them if they are not satisfied. It is also environmentally friendly since it reduces the emission of greenhouse gases by up to 7% annually.
On the other side, Hoka takes pride in its recognition by the American Podiatric Medical Association as a top-quality, efficient and safe brand that creates shoes that guarantee proper foot health. Its shoes also come with sturdy and solid outsoles that are durable yet lightweight.
It is difficult to say definitively which brand is better overall, as both Brooks and Hoka offer high-quality running shoes that are suitable for different types of runners and different needs. Ultimately, the best choice for you will depend on your personal preferences, running style, and specific needs.
Some people may prefer the traditional construction and feel of Brooks shoes, while others may prefer the more modern design and cushioning of Hoka shoes. It is important to try on and test out both brands to determine which one works best for you.
It is also a good idea to consider seeking the advice of a running specialist or footwear expert who can help you find the right shoes for your feet and running style.
Marko Rakic is a trail runner and fitness enthusiast from Sydney, Australia. He is the lead writer for The Ultimate Primate and believes the best way to live a happy life is through constantly challenging yourself.