Comparing Hoka vs ASICS running shoes could largely be described as a difference in fit and feel, along with some company philosophy if you care about those things. But of course we know that Hoka came on the scene due to their maximal shoes and that’s interesting all on its own!
Especially because in the last few years, more brands are jumping on this trend to add more cushion to their shoes without adding weight! Now maybe it’s not so different to have that big stack height.
Both brands provide high quality shoes and offer a variety of models to suit different needs like overpronation, cushioning, and trail running.
Hoka One One first became popular with Ultrarunners and has since moved in the to main stream of running. I myself have run in a number of models and previously compared all running shoe Hoka styles. Meanwhile, in over 20 years of running I’ve also been through a lot of Asics!
Hoka Vs ASICS Key Differences
Asics and Hoka offer similar features and models for all kinds of runners, from the new runner to Ultramarathoner to the flat-footed or high-arched.
Largely we’re looking at how a maximal shoes compares to a traditional running shoe.
I break down the differences in more detail below, but here’s a quick overview:
Hoka Running Shoes
- Maximal shoe – has the larger sole for stability and smooth ride
- Usually more cushioned
- Some state they run narrow, but compared to other brands like Nike I disagree
- Does have some casual shoes, gym shoes and recovery sandals
ASICS Running Shoes
- More narrow fit, especially in the heel and midsole
- Famous for its GEL technology, which provides shock absorption
- Seems focused on shoes to prevent injury
- Designs a variety of shoes for many different sports
I’ve worn both brands and will add some personal thoughts, along with links to detailed reviews.
ASICS vs HOKA ONE ONE Feature Comparison
Both brands have been around for a very long time and are leaders in running shoe design. They both offer various technologies to aid with comfort, support, stability, and cushion. Where they differ most are in the fit.
The following breaks down each shoe based on the components buyers need to consider when purchasing a running shoe.
It’s gonna get a little TECHY…so you can just skip on down to the specific model comparison if you want, but personally if I’m shelling out $150 for shoes, I kinda want to know why.
The lifespan of shoes from both companies is fairly comparable.
- ASICS recommends swapping out for new shoes every 450 to 500 miles.
- HOKA is often reported to last longer. I don’t know if this is more trail runners and thus less hard surfaces which extends the life of the shoe or simply their maximal design.
Determining when to replace running shoes, of course, all depends on your gait, weight, and whether you run mostly on trail or road.
ASICS shoes have a more snug fit, particularly in the heel and midfoot. An external heel clutch delivers targeted fit and support, while the Gel technology allows for foot movement in various directions as the foot transitions, reducing heel strike.
While ASICS also features a shoe fit guide, it takes a little sleuthing to find (you’re welcome).
HOKA shoes run true to size from my testing. Some models are definitely a little more narrow than others, as with most brands. In fact, they have been working on increasing the toebox in newer models.
They also have a shoe finder quiz to help you get in to the right model.
👉Checkout this guide on How to Lace Running Shoes, you’ll be amazed at how you can make most shoes fit better!
ASICS uses Flytefoam technology that provides bounceback and responsiveness with each step. It gives a bit less energy return than say Brooks shoes, but the two technologies are fairly similar.
The company has been using their famous Gel technology for more than 30 years. It works well to absorb the shock with each step.
HOKA likes to say they provide marshmallow softness. More technically PROFLY.
I’m going to admit that I was really skeptical of HOKA at the start because I assumed all that cushion would make it heavy. It turned out I was wrong and instead have been running in them since of their very first shoes.
- They have 3 levels of cushion, which is important because plush isn’t what you want on all runs
- Cushion that provides both a good landing and plenty of stability for push off
- Hubble Heel – their newest shoes with a longer heel which is supposed to improve heel to toe transition
ASICS shoes provide stability through a dual density midsole system called Duomax, which enhances support and stability. That, along with the external heel clutch allow the foot to continue its natural movement while running.
HOKA was designed entirely with stability in mind.
It was a core foundation of their shoes because it allows runners to move quicker with less risk of injury. This is why they created a wide stable platform.
In fact, they call their heel system the “bucket seat”, like the seat of a race car. It cushions the heel and foot without posts or guide rails — this means the midsole remains more cushioned.
Overview of heel to toe drop and type of cushion in most shoe brands.
The prices between the two brands are fairly comparable. ASICS prices range between $110 to $160, while HOKA’s start at a slightly higher price at $120 to $250.
The most popular models for ASICS are around $150 and for HOKA also around $150. Specialty items with more features (like carbon plates) will increase price.
You’ll notice that every brand offers a range and this is indeed due to a difference in technology and where they sell the shoe. They know that the big box store can sell the shoe with less in it, while the local running store needs to be best for dedicated runners.
HOKA Vs ASICS Models
Now that you know more about each brand, let’s look at their top models in each of the main categories. There’s no winner declared here because all are great shoes, it’s just about which one is best for your foot.
With each of these, they are the top models so numbers are constantly changing as they make a little upgrade and it becomes the Glycerin 27 or the Bondi 7.
Stability Running Shoe
The GEL Kayano is now in its 29th iteration and known as one of the best stability shoes on the market. Great for overpronators seeking stability, the GEL Kayano is an ideal shoe for marathons.
The heel and footbed are designed to provide maximum comfort and stability, which is great for longer distances. The uppers are lightweight, breathable, and durable, making them a great choice for running in any weather. The outsole provides good grip and traction on a variety of surfaces.
Overall, these are a great running shoe and I highly recommend them to anyone looking for a comfortable and supportive running shoe. There’s a reason this shoe is one of their top sellers.
- 10 mm drop
- 9.5 oz women’s, 10.5 oz men’s
- Available Amazon, Zappos, nearly every running store
Read my in- depth review of the Kayano!
The Gaviota 4 is the highest level stability shoe offered by HOKA, right along side that plush cushioning feel from the Bondi! All of that combined does make it their heaviest shoe.
The Gaviota is a maximum cushioning running shoe that provides a smooth, cushioned ride with some stability for long distances. This shoe is best for runners who need extra cushioning for their feet, especially for those who suffer from joint pain or who are looking for a shoe that will help them to recover after a long race.
- 5mm drop
- 9.3oz women’s, 11.3oz men’s
Many have said they like this for an all day shoe as well because it’s providing that support and cushion to keep the feet and legs happy. Probably one of the shoes I recommend first for many looking to help with overpronating on long runs.
Neutral Running Shoe
This shoe will appeal to most runners looking for a neutral fit. The inclusion of ASICS technologies like the Flytefoam and the GEL offers cushioned support with a responsive fit. Whether you’re a casual runner or a hard core marathoner, this shoe is a great choice for a daily trainer.
I like the lower drop on this shoe for the majority of runners and find it’s right in the middle for cushion. Not too much to lose your step, but enough to still feel good.
If you’re looking for similar performance with a lighter environmental footprint, take a look at the GEL Nimbus Lite.
- 8 mm drop
- 9.2 oz women’s, 10.5 oz men’s
- Available Amazon, Zappos, nearly every running store
Read my full review of the Nimbus!
The Clifton was their first model and I actually got to run in version 1, 2, 6, 7,8 and 9! It’s their trademark shoe and a great one for any runner who wants cushion and to test out a maximal shoe.
This is what I would call an entry to Hoka running. You’ll get used to the higher stack height, while enjoying the benefits of a normally cushioned very lightweight shoe that also has a bit of stability.
It’s cushioned without being too soft, so it’s still responsive. I’ve listed this as one of my best marathon running shoes.
- 5mm drop
- 7.6oz women’s, 8.8oz men’s
Once you get past the fact that they look big, you’ll quickly notice they feel lighter than many other styles. And every ounce counts for me when I’m hitting 20+ mile long runs. I also appreciate that the wider base naturally supports the foot a bit more.
Cushioned Running Shoe
The Asics GEL Cumulus is an excellent choice for runners who are looking for a comfortable, lightweight running shoe. The cushioning in the heel and forefoot provides a great deal of support and shock absorption, making it great for long runs and trail running.
The upper is breathable and lightweight, and the lacing system is secure and easy to use. The rubber outsole is durable and provides excellent grip on wet or dry surfaces.
They don’t consider this their most cushioned shoe, that distinction now goes to the new Superblast. I’ve only stuck with the Cumulus here because it’s still such an incredibly popular shoe and the Superblast is a unisex and maximal shoe which doesn’t always fit everyone as well.
- 8mm heel drop
- 8.8 oz women’s, 10.1 oz men’s
If you want to feel like your feet are running on actual pillows…this is it.
The most cushioned shoe ever that I’ve tried in over 26,000 miles of running. It’s a heavenly shoe for recovery days. And I’m a fan of the low heel drop, those are becoming harder to find. But I’ve found rotating that in helps with IT Band issues.
Important for most runners to know a shoe this cushioned isn’t ideal for all runs. You can easily start to sink in to your low back and lose a little speed without that spring off the ground.
- 4mm drop
- 8.9oz women’s, 10.7oz men’s
Carbon Fiber Plate Shoes
Are they cool new technology, yes. Do they last as long as your other shoes, nope.
So if you want to test these out use them for speed work and then race day!
A cushioned shoe with a carbon fiber plate?! I couldn’t wrap my head around the idea of the two combined, but then I went for a run. And true to their word, they have made a shoe for the everyday runner who wants to enjoy carbon fiber.
“We asked ourselves why every carbon-plated shoe on the market had to be created with an eye on only the elite runner. Everyone deserves to fly and everyone can level up.
What better way to pose the idea than on a super plush HOKA platform with forgiving geometry plus a carbon plate? The Bondi X was born!”
I’d say on a race with a slight downhill these are winners for that extra speed while getting in the cushion to save the quads and knees. Obviously the trade of for cushion is weight.
- 5 mm heel drop is lower than most carbon fiber shoes
- 9 oz women’s, 11 oz men’s
Ok the Rocket X has also just been released and I’m intrigued by it for sure.
ASICS is trying to catch up in this area and released a few shoes all at once which many folks can’t quit tell apart. The Edge is going to be the shoe with less cushion, less weight and better for those racing sub 3, etc.
This is a maximum cushioned carbon fiber plate for the marathon runner in you. It’s going to give you both that feeling of comfort over the miles along with the pop that’s often lost in a highly cushioned shoe.
- Unisex in the SKY+
- 5 mm heel drop
- 5.8 oz women’s SKY, 7.2 oz SKY+
Watch my detailed video on how Carbon Fiber Shoes work.
More About ASICS
Founded in 1949, by Kihachiro Onitsuka in Japan, ASICS is an acronym for the Latin expression “Anima Sana in Corpore Sano” (“healthy mind in a healthy body”).
The company released a basketball shoe in 1950, followed by running shoes in 1953. Among those running shoe products included the Onitsuka Tiger, still a popular shoe today, though mainly used as a casual shoe as opposed to a marathon shoe.
Today, ASICS designs a wide variety of shoes including: running, tennis, volleyball, wrestling, and golf.
Fun fact: Nike was founded to sell the Onitsuka Tiger shoes in the US. After visiting Japan in 1963, Phil Knight was impressed by the high quality and reasonable prices and asked the company to represent the brand in the US. Anyone else read his book and find all of this fascinating?!
Your gait and feet will likely change over time and you may need to change shoes.
This is also why I recommend rotating through several pairs of shoes at once.
And remember, just because these are two of the most well known brands on the market, there are still plenty of other shoe brands to select from if neither ASICS nor HOKA has the right shoe for you.
Keep in mind that shoe design can change, even with the same model, so always assess how the shoe fits every time you replace a pair.
More about HOKA ONE ONE
Let’s start with how do you pronounce Hoka One One? “Ho-Kah O-nay O-nay” which is a Māori phrase that means “to fly over the earth.”
But they’re kind of like Madonna and just need one name: Hoka.
Founded by two mountain trail runners in the Swiss Alps, Nicolas Mermoud and Jean-Luc Diard, former Salomon employees, had an epiphany during their training that lead to the foundation of a new shoe and new company in 2009.
This makes them a mere baby in the world of running shoes, as many of the brands from Brooks to ASICS have been around 100+ years now. Pictured here is their first prototype.
At first they simply wanted a shoe that would allow them to run downhill faster and thus win!
Quickly they realized there was something more here with a smooth, super light, cushioned and stable shoe. Their maximal design took many of by surprise in a time where Zero Drop and Barefoot running were the in thing.
In 202o, the company was purchased by Deckers (owners of UGG and Teva). Hopefully that just means more marketing to keep the shoes going and not a change to what their doing right.
For more help selecting the right shoe for you, don’t worry, I’ve got you:
- Nike Vs New Balance running shoes
- Best Trail Running Shoes
- Top 5 Marathon Running Shoes
- Best Running Shoes
- Saucony vs Brooks
Other ways to connect with Amanda
Instagram Daily Fun: RunToTheFinish
Facebook Community Chatter: RunToTheFinish