Hoka One One continue to produce excellent lightweight and comfortable hiking boots.
Last year we reviewed the excellent Hoka Sky Arkali, which proved to be a great hiking boot which we though was perfect for scrambling and technical climbing approaches. Hoka One One have continued to improve the range with the addition of the Sky Toa. They are light, super comfortable and responsive for all day hiking on all types of terrain.
The first thing you notice about the Sky Toa is that they are light, very light. You would be hard pressed to notice that they aren’t a pair of trainers. They are 428g per shoe (our pair of UK8.5 weighed in at 420g per shoe on the trusty CGR scales) and you will hardly know you have them on your feet they are so light. Easily light enough to run in and well suited to mountain running as they are Gore-Tex lined.
Hoka have bought all their trail running expertise into the design of the Sky Toa boots. I’ll call them boots as that is what they look like, a mid topped trail running shoe. They are well designed and have performed brilliantly in all the situations I have tested them in which has been mostly UK mountain conditions in a variety of early Spring/late Winter weather conditions. But more than anything it’s the comfort that has set these boots apart from others I have used.
Any runner, from the occasional Parkrun enthusiast to serious Ultra Runner will have noticed how many runners are now wearing the distinctive Hoka One One shoes with their brightly coloured uppers and oversized cushioning soles. Many more manufacturers now also have highly cushioned shoes that evolved from the ultra running community but it was Hoka that led the way. The company has expanded the range into a nice set of hiking boots that should suit any sort of hiker – from day hikes to thru hikes.
Fit wise the Hoka Sky Toa are generous with a wide toe box. My normal running shoe size can vary between a UK8 to UK8.5 and I’ve been testing the UK 8.5 as I’m more likely to be in hiking boots for longer periods than a run so having that extra bit of space can be useful, especially on the descent after a long day out on the hill. Also the extra space allows for thicker socks during the colder weather which is when I’m more likely to be wearing them as opposed to hiking in running shoes during the dry summer months.
One of the issues I had with the Sky Arkali boots were that were not waterproof, the Sky Toa solves this by having a Gore-Tex membrane. Those makes the boot waterproof and together with the raised sole and the carbon printed heel and rand lamination means that you should have reasonably dry feet in wet conditions. As always there is a trade off when wearing boots with a waterproof and breathable membrane in that the membrane finds it difficult to cope with high temperatures and they can make your feet feel damp in these conditions. This, however, isn’t such a problem here in the UK so for the majority of your hiking you should be fine, dry and comfortable in the Sky Toa’s. It is good to see Hoka have used Gore-Tex, they are the world leader for a reason – it works! The toe box is finished with a nice, thick and rubberised toe cap which gave some protection, but not a lot! If you stub you toe at the end of the day (which seems to happen to me all the time) it will smart.
The tongue is bellowed and the interior of the boot has a knitted scrim lining. The Sky Toa laced up well with no pressure points that I could feel when out hiking. Once I had tightened them up I didn’t need to readjust them and the semi-flattened laces worked a treat and never loosened during any testing. The ankle padding was stiff enough to offer a small amount of support yet flexible enough to help the running shoe feel when moving fast. There are also pull tabs on the tongue and heel to help get the boots on and adjust the fit correctly for you.
Finally to the all important sole unit. As I said earlier Hoka One One are legendary for the cushioning on their footwear. The Sky Arkali boots were the most comfortable hiking boots I had ever worn and the Sky Toa GTX were exactly the same. Ultra comfortable, all day, every day – in fact I could wear these for ever! The heel cushioning was just awesome as I have just been diagnosed with arthritic knees (from over 30 years of mountain adventures) and descents can be quite painful at times, especially if it’s been a long day. If you suffer from knee problems then it would be well worth trying a pair out. Hoka Eu have a great 30 day, no quibble, try out so there is nothing to lose. The forefoot is stiff enough to offer some security on steeper ground and they fitted my Grivel Ran’s nicely so I’ll be happy to use them when in winter walking conditions. Hoka have used a Vibram Megagrip sole which is well tested and a known performer, super grippy in dry conditions. The multidirectional lugs have been fine for both rocky ground and wet grass and easy to clean after use.
In conclusion the Hoka One One Sky Toa GTX are a great, lightweight, hiking boot well suited for a wide variety of mountain terrain. The Gore-Tex bootie will keep your feet warm and dry and the legendary cushioning is a godsend on the knees.
The Hoka Sky Toa GTX comes in three colour options: a blue and a purple and a more muted black. They come in sizes UK 6.5 to 13.5 in half sizes. There are also a specific women’s version available, also in three colour options and sizes UK3.5 to UK 9.5.
The SRP is £160 and they are available direct from Hoka One One Europe and specialist retailers.
Disclaimer – CGR reviewers and writers are never paid to provide a review and the website does not take advertising or link to affiliate sales. We are a bunch of keen climbers and travellers that accept sample products and offer an honest and independent review of the item. The reviewer will often keep the sample after reviewing it for both hygiene and safety reasons and more often it’s in no fit state to return!