Hoka or Altra Finding Your Soul Mate for Running Success

Greetings, everyone, I am here to offer guidance on choosing the ideal HOKA or Altra shoe model that fits your feet comfortably. In this article, I will compare various HOKA and Altra shoe models to aid in your decision-making process.

Since 2014 I first started carrying both brands, I have witnessed the evolution of these shoes and have enjoyed comparing the different versions. I receive numerous inquiries about HOKA and Altra because they have disrupted the industry uniquely, distinguishing themselves from traditional brands that have been around for a long time.

I don’t mean to criticize their brand, but sometimes when I compare a new version of Asics Nimbus to one that’s ten years old, I notice a lot of similarities. It’s interesting to see how some brands stick to the same old ways of doing things.

On the other hand, it’s refreshing to see brands like HOKA and Altra that have completely reimagined the traditional approach to shoe design.

Hoka One One Vs Altra

Unboxing of Hoka one one and Altra Shoes

I often receive inquiries regarding these two brands, and their distinctions are quite noticeable. Altra is well-known for its rounded, foot-shape toe box, While Hoka is renowned for its ample, plush cushioning.

Heel drop

HOKA shoes have a drop of four to five millimeters and include a curved feature called the meta rocker platform, which functions like a rocking chair for your feet. These shoes are designed to transition your stride from heel to toe smoothly.

In contrast,

Altra shoes feature a zero-drop platform that promotes a more natural posture and gait closer to how humans intend to run. The zero-drop platform provides a more natural sensation when running.

Wearing Altra shoes can provide a unique experience of feeling the ground and allowing your toes to have better balance. On the other hand, HOKA shoes have their distinct technologies, such as the meta rocker platform, which naturally guides your foot from heel to toe.

Despite the differences, you can observe a consistent philosophy and technology throughout each shoe’s line. Some fundamental features remain consistent across different models.

Mid-cushioned Neutral Shoe

Let’s begin with a mid-cushioned neutral shoe as it showcases the significant differences between two shoes that are technically classified as the same. This is the Hoka Clifton 8 and the Altra Escalante 3. Both are mid-cushion neutral shoes and are designed for everyday use. Despite being priced at $140, these two shoes are vastly different.

Hoka Clifton 8 and Altra Escalante 3

Hoka Clifton 8 and Altra Escalante 3 in table

The Altra Escalante 3 would be the right shoe for someone wearing the Hoka Clifton and looking to try an Altra shoe. The two shoes are very different despite having the same purpose of being an everyday trainer for neutral runners.

The Altra shoe features a foot-shaped toe box, a denser, more responsive midsole with zero drops, and a small stack height. The Hoka Clifton has a five-millimeter drop, a billowy and cozy feel, and a tall stack height.

These shoes have stability and are often requested by customers with mild pronation issues. Whether you have an overpronation or supination issue, these shoes are commonly recommended to address these concerns.

Stability Shoes

HOKA Arahis and Altra Provision

A man Wearing HOKA Arahis and Altra Provision Shoes

The Altra Provision and HOKA Arahis are light stability shoes that we frequently recommend with mild pronation issues, regardless of whether they overpronate or supinate. Both shoes are mid-cushioned and designed for everyday running, making them suitable for distances like half-marathons or daily wear. They are priced the same at $140.

Each of these shoes has its unique approach to addressing pronation. The Altra Provision has a stability feature closer to the heel, which may cause pressure on your foot’s back. This shoe is ideal for those whose arch sits further back.

The HOKA Arahi has a j-frame design, which provides pronation support throughout the entire foot. If you tend to overpronate from the middle of your foot to the medial side, this shoe can offer more stability than the Altra Provision, which has stability closer to the heel.

Infographic chart of Hoka one one vs Altra shoes

Max Cushion Neutral Shoes

Next, look at the max cushion neutral shoes, which are the most cushioned from each brand. These shoes are designed to provide the ultimate comfort and are priced at around $160 to $165. Both shoes are in the neutral category and offer a similar level of cushioning.

Altra Torin 6 and Hoka Bondi 8

A GIF of Altra Torin 6 and the Hoka Bondi 8

Altra Torin 6 and the Hoka Bondi 8 are the most heavily cushioned shoes from their respective manufacturers, priced at around $160 to $165. These shoes are ideal for runners who prefer a plush feel, those who are training for a marathon, or those who are heavier and put more wear and tear on their shoes.

These max-cushioned neutral shoes suit you if you have a neutral foot type and are not heavily pronated. However, if you have significant pronation issues, there may be a better fit for you. If you have normal to high arches and tend to wear your shoes down the middle and prioritize cushioning and comfort, these shoes may be a perfect choice.

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Altra Paradigm and Gaviota 4

Altra Paradigm and Gaviota 4

Another shoe Altra Paradigm has a raised medial side and guide rail technology on the lateral side, designed to prevent your foot from rolling inward or outward.

The stability of this shoe is greater than that of the Provision. If you didn’t find the Altra Provision stable enough, this is where you would switch to. Similarly, if you are a Bondi runner and want to provide yourself with more protection and find that your tread line is more on one side or the other, this shoe is a good option.

The Gaviota 4 might be a good option if you need more arch support. Alternatively, if you typically wear the Gaviota but want to try something different, consider checking out the Bondi or an Altra shoe like the Paradigm. These shoes provide excellent stability and cushioning, making you feel secure and comfortable while running. I’ve seen great success with both models.

The above shoes are great choices for those who want a max cushioned feel with better arch support. They are suitable for people who roll their feet inwards or outwards, as well as those who are neutral but prefer a snug fit around the heel. The shoes provide a hugging feel around the heel, similar to a horseshoe, which keeps the heel in place.

This explanation has helped you understand the distinctions between these shoes within each brand and across brands. Feel free to ask if you have any inquiries about the shoe hierarchy, disagree with the above selection, or prefer any other model.

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