The easiest way to go into this review is to understand that the Cavu not really a Hoka, at least what you expect from Hoka to date. The stack is lower, cushioning is reduced, the upper is knit and snugger, so it doesn’t really hit on all those key points you might expect. The Cavu 3 builds on this and deviates even more from what you might expect and some will love it and some well, read on to find out more.
Quick Details, Specs, and Availability
- Casual and unassuming performance shoe with an all knit upper
- Weighs in at 6.9oz or 196g for a US Men’s 9
- Has a decent amount of cushion and a 6mm heel/toe drop
- Retails at $120.00 USD and comes in 4 colors for Men and Women
The Cavu 3 is so much different from anything you might expect from Hoka and if you haven’t seen it or tried a prior iteration, then reserve judgment. The Cavu is a smaller stock lower cushioned road trainer designed for everyday use. The shoe is super light given how much cushion it has, I mean it comes in below 7 ounces after all and you can definitely feel it.
First off, the knit upper is snug. Hoka calls it adaptive or locked in and it feels just like that. Once you stretch it out enough to slide in, it just envelops your foot and that bootie design holds you really well. Do not expect a lot of wiggle room or any movement in there, it is designed to be like a second skin. I don’t necessarily gravitate to this and would prefer a little wiggle room, but many people will love this feeling as it holds you really well.
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My struggle with the Cavu is that it doesn’t feel like why I love Hoka. It lacks a bit of roominess, it downplays the cushion, and while it has solid responsiveness and performance it just doesn’t necessarily match my expectations of a Hoka. That being said, others are just loving it because it is fast, it is light, and it still has decent cushion.
The upper on the Cavu 3 is an adaptive stretchable knit with an integrated tongue so primarily one piece. It is designed to provide a ton of comfort for a more snug feel overall. It definitely fulfills on the snug side and it fits like a bootie. They have also added perforations across the body to allow for airflow without limiting structure. The toe box definitely drops and tapers a bit as well.
The Cavu 3 uses a mix of their PROFLY on top of normal EVA. These two together combine to form a plush ride with a more responsive take-off. The PROFLY is firmer which is less flexible, but this helps transition the shoe into a place of performance. The rocker has been updated for a bit more speed getting you quickly into that position while they added an Active Foot Frame for more support in the midsole.
The outsole is Hoka’s simple rubberized EVA which allows for solid traction without adding a ton of weight. It doesn’t grip like a full rubber sole, but it does the job. It can get a little funky in wet weather.
Style & Aesthetics
The simple aesthetic is an understatement and the Cavu 3 comes in 4 colors for men and women. You can honestly wear the black pretty easy with a pair of jeans as much as on the road. The white version also has a crazy pop to it if you are looking to mix it up.
The Hoka Cavu 3 is an interesting one for us. The updated shoe is super light, nice and responsive, and well-cushioned. It doesn’t necessarily deliver on most people’s Hoka expectations of roominess and high cushion, but it does deliver on its goals. So truly I feel like the best way to handle these is to try them on before you buy. You may immediately fall in love, but it is definitely a mixed bag.
Check Out Other Reviewers Thoughts
As always, we gather together some of our favorite reviewers so you can get a well-rounded view of the shoe. Here are our favorites.