Hoka One One launched the Gaviota as an answer to all the orthopedic designed stability shoes on the market. They wanted to bring patented Hoka cushioning and comfort along with lighter weights and enhanced performance. The launch of the Gaviota 2 is an effort to improve this even more with a whole new upper and more improvements to the midsole. The overall result is a pretty mixed bag, but we will let you decide for yourself. We will see if you need support and stability, you can safely read on.
The entire upper has been redone on the Gaviota 2 featuring a new engineered mesh which should improve comfort and still provide breathability. It also features molded sock liner for a precise fit. It does feel a little restrictive on the foot, so first suggestion would be to size up at least half a size. You’ll want to get some roominess back for your toes as it’s a little confining over the course of your run.
The midsole on these things is where all the work is done. It features Hoka’s trademark J-Frame technology which is a rubberized EVA that enhances support, durability, and rebound. There are stability wings on either side of the mid-foot to aid with pronation or supination issues and the platform itself is designed for increased stability. It maintains the heel bevel and Meta-Rocker technologies which all aid in transition, stability, and inevitably toe off. This together should lead to a more stable ride and still give people the ability to move quick in them.
The outsole on the Gaviota 2 uses rubber placed strategically in certain zones across the exposed EVA providing enhanced durability and better traction to the shoe overall.
Style & Aesthetics
The Gaviota 2 makes use of a number of materials so has a bit of a Frankenstein effect, but still feels on brand for Hoka. It does feel visually a little bulkier than other Hoka models, again probably due to the material usage and lack of a clean line. They come in 3 colors for men and women have enough of a mix where everyone will find something they like.
I’ve long been a fan of all things Hoka has produced and even when the choices and updates were questionable, I think we still found a way to celebrate the positives in the shoe. Going in, I haven’t had a lot of experience with the Gaviota platform and with this new model releasing, was very excited to check out the latest update to the platform and see what I have missed.
The out-of-the-box experience was immediately a little alarming for me. Having a pretty solid relationship with most Hoka platforms, I am very secure with my sizing, but I just felt a little enclosed here and would definitely have sized up. I did also notice right away the tapering on the lateral side of the toebox just above your pinky and this may have been for stability, but it definitely affected comfort. The shoe is all about structure and I could tell that right away. The structural elements are not visually apparent, they blend in well with the shoe, but it definitely give you a little extra support in those areas will you need it. I’m not your typical a runner who needs a lot of support, but on longer runs this can always be beneficial because your feet inevitably start crashing and having that built into the shoe can save you in those later miles.
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You can definitely feel the weight gain from those elements in the shoes and maybe it’s the addition of the support or the overlays or a mix of everything, but they just feel little sloppy. In run, this became even more apparent and now almost one hundred miles later I can pretty consistently say that I was not pleased with the clunkiness it seems to have. I didn’t feel a lot of responsiveness because the weight was distracting a lot of the experience. It just felt like overkill. One last weird thing, the laces are oddly long… it’s minor, but I challenge you not to notice it.
I did realize after that if I was a slower runner who needed a lot of support because of foot issues, then this might be a different discussion so I would take that into account. They still have all the cushion of a Hoka as well as all their great tech, so it has a lot going for it.
So clearly this was our first experience with the Gaviota platform, and the Gaviota 2 from Hoka was not the best first go. don’t get us wrong, there is definitely room for the shoe in the market if you’re looking for a lot of support. For us, it just felt a bit clunky and we really didn’t like that overall enclosed feeling, almost restrictiveness around the foot itself. We will be excited to see if they fix any of these issues with the 3, but for now these are targeted to a very specific portion of the market.
Technical Stats, Pricing & Availability
- Weight: 10.6oz (size 9)
- Drop: 5mm heel/toe
- Type: Stability (Cushioned)
- MSRP: $150.00
- Available: Now