Hoka Cielo Road Shoe Review

Hoka Cielo Road Shoe Review

I was incredibly interested in the Hoka Cielo Road shoe. It reminds me of the ghosts of running shoe pasts: lightweight, fast, and no carbon plate. While that isn’t the now of running shoes, it’s fun to look back at the past. Anyway, I still believe Hoka is missing this lightweight but still fast type of shoe after they nixed the Hoka Cavu.

The Hoka Cielo Road originates from the Hoka Cielo Track Spike. The difference is the Hoka Cielo Road is a medium-stack height racing shoe without a carbon plate. It really excels at shorter distances!

Hoka Cielo Road Shoe Review

Hoka Cielo Road Quick Facts:

Weight: 7.1 oz
Drop: 3mm
Price: $160

Hoka Cielo Road Intro:

As mentioned, the Hoka Cielo Road is a shorter racing shoe designed for those who prefer something a little bit lower to the ground. The Hoka Cielo Road is similar to earlier versions of the Saucony Kinvara. I was looking forward to seeing how I actually liked running in it.

Hoka Cielo Road Fit:

When sliding on the Hoka Cielo Road, I noticed it actually fit a little bit long. The air mesh upper is breathable and you can see your socks right through it. It fits similarly to many traditional Hoka shoes in that it’s slightly wider than usual. I love the initiatives that Hoka is taking and the Cielo Road is made with 100% recycled polyester. It’s great to see brands using recycled and sustainable materials.

Hoka Cielo Road Shoe Review

The Hoka Cielo Road does use one of my lesser favorite kind of Hoka tongues. It’s thin and sharp and if you don’t align it perfectly or wear higher socks, then it’s going to cut through your ankles. The tongue is also 100% recycled polyester. Other than that, the best running shoe uppers disappear off your feet and the Hoka Cielo Road does just that. If you have wider feet, you’ll appreciate the extra room that racing flats don’t always have.

In running shoes I usually wear between a size 10-11 wide. I’ve found the size 10.5 to fit the best for the Cielo Road. I really appreciate the extra room in a workout shoe. The Hoka Cielo Road is a good racing shoe for those with wide feet.

Hoka Cielo Road Ride:

As mentioned several times the Cielo Road has a medium stack height and is probably best for shorter distances. The midsole is made up of super foam, PEBA, which makes it more bouncy.

Together with a medium stack height and no carbon plate, there really isn’t anything to keep the Hoka Cielo Road firm. That means it’s soft, and I’m talking SOFT, racing shoe. Now, soft isn’t bad at all, I much prefer softer shoes, but with so many carbon plates, there aren’t a lot of soft racing shoe options these days. I love how simple Hoka has kept the Cielo. It’s like the old days before carbon plates and reminds me a lot of the old Kinvara.

The Hoka Cielo Road rolls easily from heel to toe. Even though there isn’t a carbon plate, it feels responsive, and it’s easy to run fast. The features a 3mm heel-to-toe drop, which is fairly low, so if you have lower leg issues, especially calve issues, it may take some time to work into.

Hoka Cielo Road Shoe Review

The Hoka Cielo Road is definitely made best for shorter races and distances. You may be able to run a half or marathon but it will take time to work into if your body is not used to it. I mean, we used to run marathons in racing flats. I didn’t know where the Cielo Road would fall into my rotation, but I’ve found it great for tempo runs and efforts under 10 miles. Because it’s so lightweight, I like that it’s easy to pick up the pace and get some turnover. It cand definitely double as a lightweight trainer if that is your preference.

Hoka Cielo Road Shoe Review

Durability and Traction:

Usually racing shoes don’t have much of either but the Cielo Road features rubber on both the heel and forefoot. This makes it more durable than average, and I expect to get at least 200 miles in it. The traction is better than average for a racing shoe but it’s still not great.

It’s not designed to run on trails, but it handles wetter conditions well. In all, the durability and traction are decent for a racing shoe. In fact, the traction and durability are closer to a trainer than a racer. I have taken it in rainy conditions. and not had much of an issue. I have 25 miles on my pair with no wear on the outsole.

Hoka Cielo Road Shoe Review

Hoka Cielo Road Conclusion:

In all, the Cielo is a fun shoe. If you are someone looking for a lightweight shorter distance shoe racing shoe or a lightweight option, it’s a great choice. These shoes like the Saucony Kinvara, New Balance 1400, and more are slowly becoming a thing of the past. Now it’s fun when a brand makes a more modern version.

Who should buy the Hoka Cielo Road? If you are racing shorter distances and want a lightweight, medium stack height racing shoe with no carbon plate. If you miss shoes before carbon plates, then the Ceilo will feel at home.

Who should not buy the Hoka Cielo Road? If you are someone who has a lot of lower leg problems, looking for a training shoe, or looking for a carbon plated shoe.

Hoka Cielo Road Shoe Review

My Current Shoe Rotation:

Easy/Daily Runs: Antepes Muscle Runners, Tracksmith Eliot Runner, New Balance 1080v12 , Newton Gravity 12, 361 Degrees CentauriASICS Superblast 

Speed Work: Hoka Cielo Road, Altra Vanish Carbon, 361 Flame, Nike Tempo Next%, Reebok Float Ride Run fast Pro, Nike ZoomX Streakfly

Long Runs: ASICS Superblast

Trail Running/Hiking: 361 Futura, Brooks Caldera 6Hoka Tecton X2 Shoe Review Speedland SL: PDX

Races: Nike ZoomX Streakfly, New Balance Fuelcell 5280,   Reebok Run fast Pro , Nike Vaporfly 3 Hoka Rocket X 2 ASICS Metaspeed Edge+

You Can See All Current Shoe Reviews Here.

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:

What is your overall favorite running shoe?

What shoe are you currently running in?


  1. Thanks for this review, it was interesting. I went to the shoe store recently with the intent of buying these shoes (my two shoe rotation needed replacement, and when I replaced my Adizero SL with the Hoka Clifton, I found that my left heel wasn’t getting sore after runs, so I wanted another lower drop Hoka shoe for my speed work/cross country racing season). I can see how they’d work for some but it was way too much like the New Balance Rebel and Brooks Hyperion Temp for me (bottomed out). I bought a Rincon instead–that actually really reminds me of the racing flats of old, with its air infused eva. I’m also probably one of the carbon anti-responders, as I placed better (using a couple people I know and comparing how far off my time was percentage wise) at recent races without carbon shoes than I did with them. It may be crazy to run my January Marathon in a Rincon but am thinking about it.

    1. If it works for you, who cares Michael All of my PRs are actually not in carbon plated footwear so I get it 🙂

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