I love a brand new shoe to review, and the Hoka Kawana is a new shoe from Hoka. It’s designed as a responsive and firmer shoe. in the Hoka family. If you’re a fan of the Clifton, you might be surprised by how firm the Kawana is. That being said, if you are a fan of Clifton Edge, you might be a big fan of the lighter and more responsive Hoka Kawana. Anyway, the Hoka Kawana is an exciting shoe in the Hoka lineup and, truthfully, not one I’m sure they needed.
Hoka Kawana Quick Stats:
Weight: 8.4 oz
Heel to Toe Drop: 5 mm
Hoka Kawana Fit:
As most people know, I’m a big fan of shoe companies doing good for the environment, and the Hoka Kawana does just that. It uses recycled jacquard upper with no overlays. The upper fits and feels good. It doesn’t feel like you’re sacrificing an excellent upper for the environment. Plus, it breathes well, a massive plus in the desert summer.
The Kawana has a padded guessed tongue and heel collar that helps provide some cushion and comfort. I firmly believe the best running shoe uppers disappear off your feet, and the Hoka Kawana does just that.
I typically wear a women’s size 10-11 wide in running shoes. I’ve found the Hoka Kawana in size 10.5 fits the best, which is pretty in line with other Hoka shoes.
Hoka Kawana Ride:
The first thing I noticed about the Hoka Kawana is the beveled, swallow tail heel that is similar to the Clifton 8 and Clifton Edge. What does this heel do? It’s designed for smoother heel strikes, so if you’re a heel striker, it provides a smoother transition from heel to toe. If you’re not (I am not), you probably won’t notice it when you are running.
The Hoka Kawana uses compression-molded EVA for cushion and a midsole platform that offers shock absorption and propulsion. What makes the Kawana different from other Hoka models is the foam is denser and heavier. If you are looking for a lightweight pillow under your foot, the Hoka Kawana is not it. It’s a firm and responsive shoe. But, it’s not as thick as many Hoka models, such as the Bondi.
Durability and Traction: The outsole uses durable rubber pods separated by deep flex grooves that make it feel slightly softer. I do find the Hoka Kawana to have more traction than many Hoka shoes with exposed EVA. Plus, I expect it to last the entire 300-400 miles.
I’ve taken the Hoka Kawana out for several types of runs, including easy runs, long runs, and a few workouts. For me, it’s a great daily trainer that I can pick up the pace if I want to. I pack it on longer trips when I only want to bring one shoe or don’t know what kind of run I want to do for the day.
What is the difference between the Kawana vs. Clifton Edge?
The Hoka Kawana is similar to the Hupana (RIP: because Hoka recently discontinued the Hupana). Consider the Kawana the “little sister” of the Clifton Edge. It’s lighter and firmer, and you can pick up the pace more easily. They go together well and neither is a perfect replacement for the other. Use the Clifton Edge for easier runs and the Kawana for runs. You might want to pick up the pace.
Hoka Kawana Conclusion:
The Kawana is different from any other Hoka shoe, but not the wrong way. The firmness makes for a speedier shoe. It’s not what you consider a soft and pillowy flagship Hoka shoe. In all, some will prefer for a faster daily run shoe and others who are already running in minimalist shoes will most likely prefer it for an easy day shoe. I’m a fan, and I expect I’ll use it for it’s entire life. (Which is not something I usually say for brand new models).
My Current Shoe Rotation:
You Can See All Current Shoe Reviews Here.
Are you looking to learn more about running shoes? In my ebook, I talk about why you need a good running shoe, a shoe’s anatomy, neutral vs. stable, and even myths of running shoes.
Questions for you:
Have you tried the Hoka Kawana?
What is your favorite running shoe?