The Hoka Zinal is a brand new model from Hoka. It’s a trail shoe designed to run fast. It combines both Hokas road cushioning as well as rugged performance to make a lightweight but fast shoe. Since I appreciate the Hoka Torrent 2 so much, I was really excited to try the Hoka Zinal.
Hoka Zinal Quick Stats:
Weight: 7 oz
Heel to Toe Drop: 4 mm
Hoka Zinal Fit:
Not that it matters much, but I love the look of the Zinal. I appreciate the colors together, and that Hoka is making trail shoes bright and fun! But that is less important than buying a shoe that works for you.
Like most Hoka models, the Zinal uses a lightweight but breathable mesh upper. It has a roomy toe box that allows your toes to splay appropriately. One of my favorite things Hoka has started doing in many of their shoes is using recycled yarn.
The ankle of the Hoka Zinal sits lower than many other models. This isn’t an issue, and I don’t feel as though I’m “sliding out.” Most of the rest of the upper in the Zinal is unnoticeable. The best kind of running shoe uppers disappear on your foot when you are out. I appreciate the minimal tongue and that it isn’t paper-thin.
The Hoka Zinal has a reinforced toe bumper to protect your foot from debris. op view of Men’s HOKA Zinal
Though the ankle is lower in profile, the heel collar is well-padded and provides a secure fit that is tough enough for the trails yet smooth enough to prevent chafing.
Typically in running shoes, I wear between a women’s size 10-11 wide. The women’s size 10.5 in the Hoka Zinal fits well.
Hoka Zinal Ride:
The Hoka Zinal is built on the ProFly midsole foam. This means it’s both responsive and bouncy without being heavy. It has a lightweight Vibram MegaGrip outsole which means you can have plenty of traction.
The lower stack height and early-stage meta rocker of the Hoka Zinal encourage fast transition and helps you stay fast on the trails. It doesn’t have a lot of cushion underneath, but it has enough that you don’t feel rocks and you also feel protected.
Durability and Traction: The Hoka Zinal has multidirectional logging that is placed strategically at the heel and forefoot. This allows you to have traction going uphill but also downhill and through mud and rocks. Of any trail shoe I own, the Hoka Zinal feels like one of the lightest and most nimble over trail debris. It’s not too light that you feel every rock.
I’ve run several types of trails in the Hoka Zinal, including muddy, rocky, those with plenty of vert, and of course, single track. It’s performed well on each, and it’s a great fast trail shoe. If you are looking to run fast or race, it’s definitely a great option. In fact, it might be more my favorite over the Hoka Torrent 2 and even the carbon plated North Face VECTIV Flight. I think it could handle racing a trail marathon or ultra in it, but I would not consistently run all of my trail mileage in them.
Hoka Zinal Conclusion:
I didn’t think I could like a trail shoe more than the Hoka Torrent 2. The Hoka Zinal is a great fast paced trail shoe. When I do get back to trail running and racing, it will be one of my go-to race shoes. I like how fast it is, and Hoka did a great job. I don’t really have anything negative to say about it.
My Current Shoe Rotation:
You Can See All Current Shoe Reviews Here.
Looking to learn more about running shoes? I talk about why you need a good running shoe, a shoe’s anatomy, neutral vs. stable, and even myths of running shoes in my ebook.
Questions for you:
Have you tried the Hoka Zinal?
What is your favorite trail shoe?