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Hoka One One have been making running shoes for years and are well respected in the game, but have they successfully made the transition to hiking footwear? We test the Sky Kaha to find out

hoka sky kaha
Best for...
Summer use on moderately difficult trails
Overall Score
Grippy Vibram outsole and maximal cushioning
Fit is a bit imprecise for hiking more technical trails

The Kaha is a lightweight boot which takes Hoka's basic DNA from trail running tech and beefs it up. You get maximal cushioning (which is a look you have to be brave to wear) mid ankle support, a Vibram Megagrip outsole and eVent waterproof booties. We love maximal cushioning but understand if you don't, there's plenty of debate about the pros and cons, both scientific and anecdotal but our particular love for the genre comes from a knee injury which cushioning helps to reduce pain from - not that I'm saying it will work for you. This soft layer of cushioning protects you from the regular impact of hiking in the hills, but some say that the soft foam doesn't provide enough stability for rough terrain. We haven't had any problems taking the Kaha into moderately rough and at times steep terrain in the Brecon Beacons.

The midsole provides a good amount of support and of course cushioning while still maintaining a responsive feel. The sole feels neutral so there isn't much roll to help you along the way, but this suits the boots just fine. On the outsole you'll find 5mm lugs in a variety of patterns depending on area of sole, the lugs are they quite densely packed, which trades off a bit of mud shedding ability for better grip on slicker surfaces. In fact wet rock grip is pretty decent overall thanks to the lug pattern and Vibram Megagrip compound, which is well known for being one of the grippier Vibram rubbers on slick surfaces. This is obviously beneficial for walking in the mountains where you're likely to encounter a fair amount of rock along with grass, gravel and, depending on the weather and area, a bit of mud/bog.

If boot spaciousness was rated on a scale of 1-10 we would give these a 5 for 'medium' spaciousness, they should suit most foot shapes. I can just about cinch everything up tight enough to hold my low volume feet in firmly, but as with many shoes and boots I benefit from using aftermarket insoles to boost my feet up and fill the shoe out. Because of the slightly imprecise fit and feel of the upper, things can get sloppy if you're traversing on a steep hill and you get a bit of toe banging on steep descents but neither are serious enough to be deal breakers.

The price is pretty up there for a lightweight three season boot but if you want to try something different or are coming from the running world and use maximal shoes already, then the Sky Kaha boots are well worth a look.

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