Hoka vs Brooks – Which Brand is Right for You?

Natalie Cecconi
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Hoka One One

The Ultimate Endurance shoes

Hoka One One is a relatively new exciting brand in the running world. The two former workers of Salomon founded the company back in 2009 to design and create shoes allowing running faster downhill. The shoes are named after the Māori language phrase loosely meaning "fly over the earth."

The company has become very popular for its innovative, progressive shoes for running and racing.

Hoka shoes are designed to provide extra cushioning and protection for your feet (for both men and women) when you’re pounding the pavement.

Of all their shoes, though, the most popular is the Hoka One One Clifton running shoe.


From their humble beginnings in a small garage in Venice, CA, to their current headquarters in Seattle, WA, this running brand has proudly and consistently employed great design in every step forward. In its 75 year history, Brooks has built a brand admired by the world for classic running shoes, exceptional arch support, and revolutionary advancements in midsole design.

Brooks has improved everything from the material used on their midsoles to designing their shoes to provide a better, more comfortable running experience.

With their innovations in the running world, they have become the go-to brand for serious runners across the globe and continue to produce quality shoes with a classic look.

Brook’s Excellence means total control of their shoes from initial design to the finished product on your feet. They don’t have to rely on any cheap contract labor like many of the other major manufacturers.

In other words, they don’t cut corners. They are a 3rd generation family-run business driven by the quality and love of what they do – shoes.

Most Brooks running shoes are available in a wide range of widths.

Their innovative use of technologies has influenced many designers in the industry, making their shoes a top choice among runners across the world.

Shoe Construction

In terms of construction, Hokas and Brooks running shoes are very similar. Both brands make a variety of models with different features and designs. The shoe materials and construction are designed to support the natural contours of the foot.

Instead of being built on a traditional heel-toe sole, the shoes are built using a flared heel or cork technology.

A traditional heel-toe sole is known to cause some shock transfer while running because there is nothing to absorb the impacts.

Hokas and Brooks instead use a wide forefoot sole and a slightly angled heel.
This absorbs shocks and impacts well and cuts down on the impact on your knees and other joints.

The flat design for the soles also makes them ideal for walking and other forms of activities besides running.


Let’s start with the upper part of these two shoes. Both brands feature traditional lacing and a seamless upper, which is the norm for running shoes these days.

A seamless upper means one piece of material molded into a shoe shape; it removes the need for stitching panels together. This adds a lot of comfort along with reducing weight. The seamless upper design offers a softer feel when you put your foot in the shoe.

Brooks is known for having a larger toe box. You shouldn’t have to worry anymore about your feet being crammed in a toe box with a pair of Brooks shoes. But with a Hoka One One, you may face a problem with the toe box if you have a wider foot, as it is traditionally known for having a slightly smaller toe box.

Both are constructed with similar “open mesh” foot-hugging upper, with Boa dials and metal eyelets. They also use overlapping elastic bands in the front of the shoe.

The Brooks has a traditional design with many overlays and a traditional lacing system, while Hoka is much simpler and easier to clean. They also feature highly durable overlays and Boa dials.


Hoka’s midsole consists of a unique foam material. It provides ample cushioning for high-impact activities, especially during long-distance runs. The unique material provides better traction in slippery conditions. This is one of the most significant differences between Hoka One One and other running shoes.

Hoka’s midsole material is very forgiving and supple. That’s why Hoka shoes are one of the most comfortable shoes on the market.

With Brooks, their midsole is made from either post-consumer recycled rubber or BioMoGo DNA. These materials are lightweight and are designed to compress upon impact, providing cushioning. The midsole’s shape is designed to hold and support the foot properly, allowing the user to extend their stride comfortably.

Both Hoka and Brooks have cushioned midsoles, but Hoka One One is better in comfort than Brooks. Hoka shines during long-distance running due to its ample cushioning and stable effect. However, suppose you’re looking for a running shoe similar to Hoka but better suited for shorter distances with a little less cushion and shock absorption. In that case, Brooks running shoes could be a good alternative.


Both Hoka and Brooks shoes have excellent durability.

Hoka One One has rubberized foam outsoles that are responsive to fast movements. Hoka is also known for having oversize outsoles due to the rocker bottom. Hoka outsoles are firmer (they use more carbon rubber underfoot) and are more rigid. Hoka shoe outsole tears up and comes apart far less than the Brooks shoe. And that is ultimately how you get a shoe that can last a long time.

Typically, Brooks trail running shoes feature a TrailTak rubber outsole that helps give you traction in both wet and dry conditions with a “sticky” like feeling. They are made of a completely pure rubber outsole. If you’re running on the trail, you’ll also find a ballistic rock shield made of a thermoplastic EVA sheath that helps to protect your forefoot against objects like rocks and branches.

Brooks has a more typical webbed outsole that evenly spreads the weight (helps with significant pronation or supination).

Hoka and Brooks both also have wider outsole contact with the ground. This ensures that you have a good grip, especially on wet surfaces. Since each outsole is made up of many different components, Brooks and Hoka have very different designs.

Both designs are suitable, but each will be better for specific applications.
The Hoka shoe is better suited for moving on uneven terrain and in wet, muddy conditions.

Other Considerations

Keeping your feet happy is of utmost importance, as the level of comfort you get will determine the number of miles you’re willing to throw down on your shoe. If you have wide feet, consider a shoe with more room in the toe box to prevent the toes from jamming into the front of the shoe. If your heels are a bit higher than your toes on the shoe, this could kill the shoe for you – I’ve learned the hard way.

Regardless of what the shoe looks like, what it’s made out of, or anything else you may be drawn to, it is the fit, ride, and feel that will make it a winner for you.

You can find many different shoe models from each brand. The prices also vary.
Before you get your feet wet in a new brand, consider working your way up the ladder by starting with the more economical and less technical shoes and progressively moving upward to higher quality and more technical shoes that suit your needs. And of course, pick a few models that will work for you – you can never have too many shoes!


Hoka One One offers ridiculously comfortable running shoes, unmatched by any competitor. Their minimalistic and lightweight design makes them a champion among all-around trail runners. But when it comes to durability, Hoka shoes must be between 400-500miles. Beyond that, they tend to wear out quickly, resulting in a short shoe lifespan. It is possible to get more miles out of Hokas, but they start losing their plushness after the 400-mile mark for most, but they double nicely as a walking shoe.

When looking at Brook’s shoes, you are usually going to get closer to 400-500 miles out of most of these because of how liberal this company is with its outsole rubber.

The greater amount of rubber in the outsole leads to a longer lifespan and better traction on soft and wet surfaces. Brook will keep you feeling grounded and powerful with a secure grip in a variety of conditions.

Both Hoka and Brooks shoes will offer a pretty comparable lifespan, but Brooks is better known on average for having some long-lasting and reliable shoe models.


Some prefer more cushioning (i.e., comfort), while others prefer a more stable feel (i.e., support). Cushioned running shoes are perfect for those who enjoy long runs and look for a soft and comfortable ride. Typically, the midsoles of Hoka shoes are softer and more flexible.

Hoka is well known for its Full Compression EVA midsole foam. They provide plenty of shock absorption for a smooth ride and make your feet feel great. The majority of descents on a treadmill and going up and down that annoying hill are more manageable when you have more cushioning offered by Hoka shoes. Every shoe by Hoka has a marshmallow type of soft feel but with a hint of speed and stability.

The shoe models generally vary in thickness according to need, but they are all super light and cushioned midsoles that will provide great shock absorption, comfort, and support.

Brooks is very popular for its DNA Loft foam, which delivers plush and luxurious cushioning while maintaining responsiveness and durability.
Both Hoka One One and Brooks bring some innovative cushioning technologies to the table. It comes down to a personal preference and what you look for in the ride.

If you enjoy a lower stack height, then Hoka offers some good options, while if you are looking for something packaged in a higher heel-to-toe offset, then go with Brooks.

Overall Fit and Comfort

The two brands come in different widths and injury-specific models. Their fit and feel can be pretty different even if they’re considered the exact width of the shoe.

Hoka One One shoes offer a mid-width toe box, high-volume heel cup, and tons of cushioning. They are well-ventilated shoes that are great for high-mileage runners with standard feet. Their lightweight makes them low-drop shoes, but they’re not great for serious speedwork – the extra weight (over the lighter but higher-drop racing flats) can slow you down.

Brooks running shoes offer a wide toe box and a comfortable feel. They’re known for their excellent heel cup that adds stability without being intrusive. Brooks shoes are also great for cyclers and swimmers because their wide-toe box is ideal for all levels of aquatic activities.

The bottom line is that both shoes offer some excellent options if you are looking for comfort, and that has a lot to do with the cushioning systems from each brand, so let’s take a look at those. Your ideal pick depends on the type of running you do, your foot type, and what you need from your running shoe.

The first step in finding your perfect running shoe is knowing the right activity style you will start with.


The prices between the two brands are relatively comparable. Brooks prices range between $100 to $160 with an average price of a pair of shoes is $130, while a comparable shoe by HOKA has a slightly higher price, you are around $120 to $250, with an average of $150.

The most popular models for Brooks are around $150, and for HOKA, also around $150. Specialty items with more features have slightly higher prices.

While an average shoe by Hoka One One might cost you an extra $20, the comfort they offer is worth the price.

Since Brooks shoes tend to last longer than Hoka One One shoes on the road, it’s a better buy to purchase Brooks shoes if you want the most bang for your buck.


If you need more cushioning and a marshmallow-like feel, Hoka One One is a clear choice.

But once people start wearing Brooks shoes, they tend to be very loyal users. They are famous for both runners and walkers. It’s hard to beat Brooks’s consistency. People appreciate the fit, materials, and overall vibe of what Brooks stands for.

In the end, whether you get a Brooks shoe or a Hoka shoe probably depends on the type of runner that you are. Hoka One One is for master runners who tend to run long distances, while Brooks is for stability seekers who prefer the looks and comfort of traditional shoes.

Best Selling Brooks Running Shoes

Brooks heritage plus some innovative patents have made some of the best running shoes. Here are some of the top-selling models.

1. Brooks Ghost 13

Brooks Ghost 13

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  • BioMoGo DNA and DNA LOFT cushioning
  • Responsive and durable
  • Soft and secure fit
  • Engineered Air Mesh
  • Smooth and stable ride
  • Breathable shoes


  • No reasonable arch support
  • Seems to wear out quickly

The Ghost 13 is for runners looking for a reliable shoe that's soft and smooth. The Ghost 13 offers improved transitions for zero distractions so you can focus more on what matters most: your run. This Brooks Ghost 13 is a certified PDAC A5500 Diabetic shoe and has been granted the APMA Seal of Acceptance.

2. Brooks Adrenaline GTS 20

Our rating: 9 / 10

Brooks Adrenaline GTS 20

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  • Provides the right amount of stability and support for overpronation
  • Provides high energizing cushioning
  • Ideal for road running, cross-training, the gym, or wherever you might want to take them
  • The DNA LOFT Crash Pad cushions each footfall and works with BioMoGo DNA to adapt to your every stride
  • A new streamlined, engineered mesh upper with 3D Fit Print offers the structure and proven fit the Adrenaline is known for without excess bulk.


  • A light shoe, lacks comfort
  • Wears out quickly

Brooks Adrenaline GTS 20 is for runners who need a perfect blend of support, cushion, flexibility, and reliability. The modernized, streamlined design satisfies runners who crave a low-profile look.

3. Brooks Glycerin 18

Our rating: 9 / 10

Brooks Glycerin 18

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  • Provides neutral support while offering the maximum amount of cushioning
  • Increased DNA LOFT super-soft cushioning
  • The engineered mesh upper enhances the fit
  • The plush transition zone makes every move from heel to toe feel incredibly soft and smooth
  • Ideal for road running, cross-training, the gym, or wherever you might want to take them


  • Not genuinee high arched shoes
  • Not as comfortable and snuggly as Glycerin 16

The Glycerin 18 is perfect for runners who think there's no such thing as too much cushioning. The upper enhances comfort by perfectly balancing stretch and structure.

Best Selling Hoka Running Shoes

If you’re a casual runner and your problem is finding a shoe that will take too much weight off your knees, Hoka One One running shoes can be a good option.

4. Hoka One One Bondi 6

Our rating: 9 / 10

Hoka One One Bondi 6

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  • Game-changing, most cushioned shoe in HOKA ONE ONE's road-shoe lineup
  • Offers a smooth, balanced ride
  • Full EVA midsole
  • Comfortable and breathable upper
  • Great fit


  • Did not help Plantar Fasciitis
  • The toe box is too narrow even in wide

The Hoka Bondi 6 is designed for running on dry pavement and has a slimmer fit than the Brooks Cascadia. They are lighter and offer more cushioning, ideal for city running, racing, and speed workouts.

5. Hoka One One Clifton 7

Our rating: 9 / 10

Hoka One One Clifton 7

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  • Intuitive heel tab affords easy entry
  • Full-compression EVA foam midsole
  • Early-stage Meta-Rocker offers a smooth ride
  • Strategic high-abrasion rubber zones reduce weight
  • Flat-waisted geometry provides inherent stability
  • Breathable, engineered mesh upper


  • Wears out fast
  • A little pricey

The Clifton 7 is meant to be worn for road running but can also be used for everyday wear. The Clifton 7 is a lightweight shoe with a 4mm heel-to-toe drop. It should be ordered in a half size up from your standard shoe size for a perfect fit.

6. Hoka One One Arahi 4

Our rating: 9 / 10

Hoka One One Arahi 4

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  • Firmer EVA J-Frame™ offers lightweight support
  • Flat-waisted geometry provides inherent stability
  • Early-stage Meta-Rocker delivers a smooth ride
  • Durable, zonal rubber outsole
  • Updated upper offers structural support


  • Not for wide feet
  • Wear out very fast

The Arahi 4 provides a ride that is smooth and supportive but still prioritizes performance. Featuring the patent-pending J-Frame stability technology, the Arahi 4 offers support and agility throughout your run. Complete with an all-new upper, the Arahi 4 is light and sleek on every mile.