When it comes to a great pair of trail running shoes, there is no one-size-fits-all option. Some runners crave traction and durability, others want comfort or stability. What you look for in a shoe arguably comes down to your priorities as a trail runner and the type of terrain you tackle most. With that said, no matter what kind of runner you are, odds are you want a shoe that won’t leave your feet feeling achy for days afterward. This is where the Hoka One One Challenger ATR 5 truly makes a mark in the industry. Offering supreme comfort and top-notch protections, this is a shoe that appeals to a broad majority of trail running enthusiasts.
Underfoot Protection that Actually Works
Many shoes boast adequate underfoot protection and still come up short. The Hoka One One Challenger ATR 5 offers up 31mm of robust underfoot protection right in the heel. Without question, this is a heavily cushioned shoe built with comfort in mind. The high-quality EVA foam works to protect your foot from trail objects such as sharp rocks, root systems, and even dirt clumps. This protection also does wonders for lessening the forces on your body that inherently accompany a run. While you won’t find a rock plate for added protection in the midsole, we found that you don’t really need one. Due to the thick and cloud-like foam, you’ll never feel what you’re stepping on.
Sticky Traction to Tackle All Terrain Types
The One One Challenger ATR 5 may be known as one of the most protective shoes on the market, but how does it stand in terms of traction on rough terrain? In our opinion, this is a shoe that works well thanks to a sticky rubber outsole and 4mm deep lugs that are rectangular in shape. The very shape and nature of the lugs give the underfoot a generous amount of surface area to land upon. We also find that this lug pattern tends to do better than small deep lugs. Additionally, the EVA midsole foam works wonders at helping the lugs to work functionally deeper than they otherwise could. Overall, this is a great shoe for dry trails, mud, rock, and even loose trails.
A Stable Shoe Built for Any Trail
Hoka knows that stability is key to any trail running experience. That’s why they sought to create a solid landing platform that effectively rids itself of side-to-side rocking upon landing. The upper rubber of the shoe works to hold your foot in place, allowing you to land centered on the footbed of the shoe, no matter what kind of terrain you find yourself running on. With that said, the forefoot of the shoe itself is a bit narrow and tight, while the midfoot and heel are wide. This can create a bit of shifting within the shoe.
Overall, this is a shoe with the traction and underfoot protection you need to tackle any type of terrain with total ease. Lightweight and easy-to-wear, even novice trail runners will enjoy the overall feel of the Hoka One One Challenger ATR5 5.