When it comes to trail shoes, Hoka has had a couple of top choices, the Challenger ATR and the Speedgoat, but when the EVO Mafate 2 was released we wondered how it might fit. After putting it through its paces, it is clear it is basically the answer to what would the Rincon look like as a trail shoe. They come in under 9 ounces, feature a reinforced upper, sport a lot of cushion, and have some really grippy treads… so let’s break them down.
The upper on the EVO Mafate 2 uses Hoka’s new MATRYX fabric. This is definitely more durable than other uppers they have constructed prior but remains lighter overall than other trail shoes. It can definitely handle a lot of what the trail can throw at you, it cleans off very easily, repels mud well, and maintains a nice sock-like fit due to a pseudo gusseted tongue.
The midsole on the EVO Mafate 2 is consistent with other shoes in the Hoka lineup. It is made of compressed EVA with over 29mm of plushness and also features their patented Metarocker design which helps with foot transition and toe-off. It also sits right in that sweet spot in terms of drop, at least for us, at 4mm.
The primary outsole material is also just like other Hoka models, where they feature a rubber injected version of EVA which improves durability without adding extra weight. In addition, they also sport a nicely spaced 5mm lug pattern that is full Vibram rubber. Due to this, the grip and stance on these are pretty exceptional and probably the biggest differentiator from the Speedgoat.
Style & Aesthetics
If there was one bummer, it probably comes in the color selection. The EVO Mafate 2 only comes in 2 colors and let’s be honest and say they aren’t the most fun, so we would love to see some improved color options for the shoe. Again, it does feel like a Rincon with a little bit of a spin.
Thankfully, we had a chance to let a couple of testers review the shoe and got takes from two varying sides of the performance spectrum.
As someone who has been running in the Rincon, it was amazing how similar the EVO Mafate 2 felt underfoot. The upper material is definitely improved and while it maintains a nice fit, I also love the fact it still felt like it could stand up to debris on the trail. There are a few times when I got these things nasty and could just hose them off. In terms of performance, it can be really aggressive if you want them to. Because the shoe is so light and yet has so much cushion, and the lugs grip so well, you kind of just want to go. I guess my only caveat here is similar to the Rincon. The upper is not necessarily something I see running a ton of distance in, but you probably could… just not my first choice. I also tested the Speedgoat prior and the EVO Mafate 2 just lacked the playfulness I felt in those shoes. So while I dug these, I would probably stick with the Speedgoats and definitely looking forward to the next iteration of that shoe.
The upper fabric gives really well and my foot overall feels like it has a lot of freedom. I am not a huge fan of the visual of the shoe for some reason, but I do love the feel of this shoe underfoot. It has plenty of cushion and traction and I think the only reason this hasn’t become my go-to shoe would be the visual and the fact it doesn’t handle inclement weather as well as some others. The grip on them is great as well and I have put a lot of trail distance on these.
The EVO Mafate 2 is definitely a solid update. If you are running in the Rincon and enjoy the additional cushion then this hits a really nice sweet spot for the trail. It is a bit perplexing in the lineup, but it is infinitely better than the last version of the Challenger ATR and should also definitely help push the Speedgoat model forward as it will fight to keep up. If you’re looking for a wider toebox, and then the Mafate 2 will be a better choice. If you are looking for a little bit of playfulness and balance, then you’re probably want to hold out for the next version of this Speedgoat.
Technical Stats, Pricing & Availability
- Weight: 8.9oz (size 9)
- Drop: 4mm heel/toe
- Cushion: 29mm
- Type: Neutral Cushioned Trail
- MSRP: $170.00
- Available: Now