Brooks Caldera 7 VS Hoka Challenger 7: What Should I Buy?

Trail running enthusiasts know that having the right pair of shoes can make all the difference in their performance and overall experience on the rugged terrain. Two prominent models, the Brooks Caldera 7 and the Hoka Challenger 7, have garnered attention for their innovative designs and features tailored to the demands of off-road adventures.

In this comprehensive comparison, we’ll dive deep into the nitty-gritty details of these trail-running powerhouses to help you determine which one best suits your needs and preferences.

Similarities And Differences Between Brooks Caldera 7 and Hoka Challenger 7:

FeatureBrooks Caldera 7Hoka Challenger 7
Launched In20232024
StabilityStableSome stability
FlexibilityModerateMedium
Weight10.6 ounces8.9 ounces
CushioningDNA LOFT v3 cushioningHighly cushioned
OutsoleTrailTack Green materialRubber with lugs
Midsole26mm heel, 20mm toeBalanced/plush
Uppermesh upperEngineered mesh
Retail Price (official site)$150$145

Features Comparison:

1) Materials: Outsole, Insole, Upper

The Brooks Caldera 7 features a TrailTack Green outsole material designed to provide exceptional traction on various trail surfaces. Its DNA LOFT v3 cushioning midsole offers a responsive yet cushioned ride. However, details about the upper material are not readily available.

CALDERA 7
CALDERA 7

CHALLENGER 7
CHALLENGER 7

On the other hand, the Hoka Challenger 7 boasts a rubber outsole with smaller, tightly spaced lugs in the center and larger, more aggressive lugs on the outside for enhanced grip on moderate terrain. The midsole is described as balanced and plush, while the upper utilizes an engineered mesh construction for breathability and comfort.

2) Durability:

Durability is a strong suit for both shoes. The Brooks Caldera 7 features a robust TrailTack Green outsole and DNA LOFT v3 cushioning designed for longevity. Its durable construction can withstand the rigors of challenging trails.

The Hoka Challenger 7 boasts improved durability over previous models, with a redesigned upper and outsole built to resist wear and tear. Its engineered mesh upper and strategically placed rubber lugs ensure long-lasting performance on moderate terrain. While usage and terrain impact durability, both shoes demonstrate the ability to maintain their integrity through numerous trail adventures.

3) Fit:

The Brooks Caldera 7 offers a secure and customized fit with its availability in both men’s and women’s sizes, catering to a wide range of foot shapes and sizes. Its structured build and stable platform provide a locked-in feel, ensuring your feet remain planted during technical trail sections.

CALDERA 7 TOP VIEW
CALDERA 7 TOP VIEW

CHALLENGER 7 TOP VIEW
CHALLENGER 7 TOP VIEW

The Hoka Challenger 7 also prioritizes fit by offering men’s and women’s sizing options. Its engineered mesh upper conforms to the foot’s natural shape, delivering a comfortable and precise fit. Both shoes aim to provide a tailored experience, allowing runners to focus on conquering the trails without worrying about slippage or discomfort.

4) Stability:

Stability is a key factor in preventing injuries and ensuring a confident stride on uneven terrain. The Brooks Caldera 7 is praised for its stable platform, providing a secure and grounded feel even on challenging trails. The Hoka Challenger 7 offers some stability but may not be as robust as the Caldera 7 in this aspect.

5) Cushioning:

Both shoes prioritize cushioning for a comfortable and impact-absorbing ride. The Brooks Caldera 7 features the DNA LOFT v3 cushioning system, designed to provide a responsive yet cushioned feel. The Hoka Challenger 7 takes cushioning to the next level with its highly cushioned midsole, delivering superior impact protection and a plush ride.

6) Value for Money:

When considering value for money, both shoes offer a reasonable price point for their respective features and technologies. The Brooks Caldera 7 retails for $150, which is a fair investment for a high-quality trail running shoe. The Hoka Challenger 7, priced at $145, provides a slightly more affordable option without compromising on performance and comfort.

Performance Comparision:

1) for Walking

For leisurely walks on moderate trails or paved surfaces, both the Brooks Caldera 7 and the Hoka Challenger 7 offer excellent comfort and cushioning. The Caldera 7’s DNA LOFT v3 cushioning and stable platform make it a great choice for long-distance walking, while the Challenger 7’s highly cushioned midsole and responsive ride provide a smooth and enjoyable experience.

2) for Running

When it comes to trail running, the Brooks Caldera 7 and the Hoka Challenger 7 cater to different preferences. The Caldera 7 is better suited for runners who prioritize stability and cushioning over responsiveness, making it an excellent choice for long-distance trail runs. The Challenger 7, on the other hand, offers a more responsive and agile ride, ideal for runners who prefer a lively feel and faster-paced trail sessions.

3) For Plantar Fasciitis

Runners with plantar fasciitis often require shoes with exceptional cushioning and arch support. In this regard, the Brooks Caldera 7 may have an edge over the Hoka Challenger 7.

While both shoes offer ample cushioning, the Caldera 7’s stable platform and slightly more substantial construction could provide better support for those with plantar fasciitis.

4) For Standing All Day

If you spend long hours on your feet, either shoe could be a suitable option, as both prioritize cushioning and comfort. The Brooks Caldera 7 offers a stable and well-cushioned ride, making it a reliable choice for all-day standing.

However, the Hoka Challenger 7 should not be overlooked, as its highly cushioned midsole and lightweight construction could also provide ample support and relief for those who stand for extended periods.

final verdict:

Choosing between the Brooks Caldera 7 and the Hoka Challenger 7 ultimately comes down to your personal preferences and running needs. If you prioritize stability, cushioning, and a more substantial feel on the trails, the Brooks Caldera 7 could be an excellent choice. Its DNA LOFT v3 cushioning and robust construction make it a reliable companion for long-distance trail adventures.


On the other hand, if you value a more responsive and agile ride, the Hoka Challenger 7 might be the better option. With its lightweight design, highly cushioned midsole, and moderate stability, this shoe caters to runners who prefer a lively feel and faster-paced trial sessions on moderate terrain.

Remember, both shoes have their strengths and weaknesses, so it’s essential to consider your specific needs, running style, and preferences before making a decision. Ultimately, the right trail running shoe can elevate your outdoor experiences and help you conquer the trails with confidence and comfort.

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