I am honestly always a little stoked when Hoka comes out with something new. While I love the original models from the Clifton to the Challenger to the Biondi, the diversity they are adding to their lineup with some of the newer shoes are honestly even more fun. This is never been more clear then with the new Cavu, bringing a lighter more breathable upper and a lower stack height, the shoe starts opening up a lot more possibilities and really broadens the overall Hoka range. Let’s jump into the details a bit more.
The Cavu uses an open engineered mesh that is super leigtweight and provides a ton of breathability. The fit of the entire upper is comfortable due in large part to the Lycra based bootie seen in just under the mesh. It says there are additional reinforcements for support, butthey are minor to say the least. The upper is very flexibility sofor narrower foot folks its probably going to feel like a lot of extra material.
For the mid they are using two proprietary technologies designed for rebound and “protection” into something they call PROFLY™. The idea is to give you plenty of kickoff during your stride while still remaining comfortable underfoot. It also features a wishbone design and has specialized tracking supports.
The outsole is very traditional in that it uses RMAT, their EVA blend, which is designed to make all ground contact softer while still cushioning you. The Cavu also features PROFLY™ cushionin which should make it softer in the heel and this will help with shock absorption. It is then firmer in the forefoot for forward rebound.
Style & Aesthetics
The Cavu looks like a Hoka, but also has a very summery/beach feel given its lack of complexity. It comes in a pale blue for men and a much more vibrant blue/back combo for women.
First off, out of the box these things fit like a glove. From the bootie construction to the mesh material used in the upper, all of it really contributes to a really comfortable feel on the foot. It also does still feel like a Hoka, which means you’ve still got a little extra stack height and a little extra comfort through the mid. These were run side-by-side with the Clifton 4 quite a few times just to look at the differences and the takeaway in terms of pacing and distance was these tend to work better for faster runners, or runners who are looking for a variance on their speed days. The reason is, these things are fast. You can get a lot of responsiveness from them and you aren’t belabored with any sort of bulkiness from an overall weight perspective. They actually compete well with the Clifton, but if I was going longer and maybe a bit slower, I’d still gravitate away from the Cavu just to get some level of additional comfort and support.
My only real negative comment on the Cavu comes in the upper and it’s really minimal, but it was apparent enough to me that I thought I should mention it. I also couldn’t figure out a good way to solve it. Now I have a fairly normal width foot, but the Cavu makes my foot feels narrow. I would lace up to what felt like a normal tension point and that felt perfect underfoot, but inevitably after a few miles the entire upper and lacing system would be loose again. Many times I actually stopped to re-tie the shoes bearing down even more. It’s not a major thing, more of an annoyance, but there enough to mention.
The Hoka One One Cavu is really interesting, but my thought kept turning back to the Clifton versus the Cavu and I would 90% of the time probably go to my Clifton as my all purpose. Whereas the Cavu I would reserve for days when I want to go a bit quicker because when I did want to go faster, they performed very well, allowing me to cut time fairly easily. I think what I love the most here is the broadening of the Hoka lineup and the fact you now have more models available for varying times within your training regimen. I am always a fan of a specific shoe for a specific purpose instead of one shoe to rule them all, and the Cavu has a nice sweet spot from a performance perspective in the Hoka One One lineup.
Technical Stats, Pricing & Availability
- Weight: 8.2oz (size 9)
- Drop: 4mm heel/toe
- Type: Neutral Road
- MSRP: $110.00
- Available: Now