Hoka Gaviota 3 VS Gaviota 4: What Should I Buy?

The Hoka Gaviota series has become a popular option for runners seeking a stable, cushioned trainer that can handle daily miles. The Gaviota 3 and the newer Gaviota 4 models blend comfort and support in a shoe built for overpronators.

Though the models share many design elements, there are some key differences between them. Read on as we compare the Gaviota 3 and 4 across critical performance factors like fit, cushioning, stability, and durability.

Discover how these stable, cushy trainers stack up so you can decide which version best matches your needs for a durable high-mileage running shoe.

Similarities And Differences Between Hoka Gaviota 3 And Gaviota 4:

FeatureHoka Gaviota 3Hoka Gaviota 4
Launched In20212023
StabilityHighVery High
FlexibilityLess flexibleMedium
SizingMen’s 7-13, Women’s 5-11Men’s 7-13, Women’s 5-11
Weight11.3 oz (men), 9.3 oz (women)11.10 oz
CushionPlush, responsiveBalanced, plush
OutsoleRubber podsDurabrasion Rubber
MidsoleRMAT foam, J-Frame, Meta-RockerCMEVA foam, J-Frame
UpperBreathable, medium-plushEngineered mesh, breathable
Price$180$153

Features Comparison:

Material:

The Gaviota 3 uses plush RMAT foam in the midsole along with rubber pods on the outsole for traction and durability. The upper features a breathable, medium-plush material.

GAVIOTA 3
GAVIOTA 3

Hoka Gaviota 4
GAVIOTA 4

The Gaviota 4 updated to a CMEVA foam midsole and Durabrasion Rubber on the outsole. CMEVA foam is designed to be more responsive and durable than standard EVA foams.

The Durabrasion Rubber features a mix of soft and firm rubber for enhanced grip and longevity. The upper on the 4 is an engineered mesh that is highly breathable thanks to strategic perforations placed in hot spots. Overall, the 4 moved to upgraded materials for a slightly springier and more breathable ride.

Durability:

Both the Gaviota 3 and 4 use premium materials to enhance durability for the long haul. The rubber pods on the outsole of the 3 provide excellent traction that grips well even after many miles of wear. The pods resist abrasion in high-contact areas.

The Durabrasion Rubber on the 4 also maintains traction over time while resisting wear and tear. This rubber outsole technology specifically aims to increase lifespan.

The engineered mesh upper on the 4 remains resilient against debris. Between the outsole and upper, both models achieve impressive durability as high-mileage daily trainers.

Fit:

The Gaviota 3 and 4 offer a secure midfoot wrap and medium-volume fit thanks to their wide footbeds and traditional lace-up closures. The flat laces help customize and lock in the fit across the top of the foot. Both models fit true to size for most runners.

GAVIOTA 3 TOP VIEW
GAVIOTA 3 TOP VIEW

Gaviota 4 Top View
GAVIOTA 4 TOP VIEW

However, some find the 4 runs slightly more narrow through the midfoot which may affect fit. This is likely due to changes in the overall upper construction.

Trying on both models is recommended, especially for runners with wider feet. This will help determine which version offers the best shape and roominess for your foot anatomy.

Stability:

As expected from the Gaviota series, the 3 and 4 deliver exceptional stability from elements like the J-Frame and Meta-Rocker geometry. The J-Frame forms the midsole to guide and support overpronation.

The Meta-Rocker smooths the heel-to-toe transition. Together they provide ample stability for even severe overpronators. The 4 has a slight edge due to extra stability-boosting features like the H-Frame integrated into the upper, providing a more adaptive fit.

But both versions remain top choices as supportive daily trainers or for runners who need stability shoes due to overpronation issues.

Cushioning:

The Gaviota 3 and 4 offer plush cushioning, making them comfortable options even for long training runs. The dual-density midsoles use soft foam in the rearfoot and firmer foam in the forefoot to provide responsive cushioning underfoot.

The high stack heights also contribute to the soft, well-cushioned feel. The RMAT foam in the 3 feels slightly softer and more forgiving compared to the CMEVA foam in the 4.

The 4 has more of a balanced, moderately cushioned ride. So runners looking for maximum softness may prefer the 3, while those wanting a more balanced cushion-to-support ratio may favor the 4.

Value for Money:

With a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $180, the Gaviota 3 delivers strong value considering its quality components and advanced stability technologies.

And now that the Gaviota 4 has dropped to $153, it provides even better value for runners seeking a durable, supportive daily trainer. At its lower price point, the 4 offers all of the cushioning, stability, and resilience of the 3 while integrating new enhancements like the engineered mesh upper and Durabrasion Rubber outsole.

For just over $150, the 4 provides exceptional value by combining premium features in a shoe built to log heavy miles while reducing overpronation-related injury risk. So for shoppers on a budget, the 4 hits a sweet spot of performance, comfort and stability at an affordable price.

Performance Comparision:

Walking:

With their stable platform and plush cushioning, both the Gaviota 3 and 4 are comfortable for walking long distances. The Meta-Rocker geometry provides a smooth transition through each step of the walking gait cycle. The cushioning absorbs impact to reduce walking fatigue.

The high-quality durable materials in both models allow them to hold up well for regular walking use. Some may find the softer RMAT midsole foam of the 3 more comfortable for walking compared to the moderately cushioned 4. But both remain cushioned and supportive walking shoes.

Running:

The Gaviota 3 and 4 are ideal for daily training runs, though not designed for speedwork. The ample cushioning softens the impact on each footstrike while the stability features keep the foot moving straight. This makes them suitable for logging high weekly mileage.

The wide-foot platforms give a stable base to land on. The Meta-Rocker rolls the foot smoothly forward. Together these design elements make both versions a responsive, well-cushioned, and stable ride for regular runs.

Plantar Fasciitis:

The plush cushioning and support of the Gaviota models help minimize strain on the plantar fascia tissue, making them suitable options for runners with plantar fasciitis. The soft midsoles absorb shock while the stability components provide control and guidance to reduce overpronation linked to plantar fasciitis.

The Meta-Rocker also promotes smooth foot motions through the gait cycle. With its updated stability platform, the 4 may be advantageous in reducing plantar fascia inflammation and pain.

Standing All Day:

Thanks to their generous cushioning and stability features, the Gaviota 3 and 4 provide comfort for all-day standing or walking. The plush foam midsoles reduce joint and muscle fatigue commonly associated with extended time on your feet. Technologies like the Meta-Rocker also smooth foot motions to diminish fatigue.

The 4 likely has an edge for comfort standing all day due to the engineered mesh upper intended to reduce irritation and hotspots during prolonged wear. But both remain strong options for comfort standing or walking long hours.

Final Verdict:

For runners seeking a highly stable, cushioned daily trainer, both the Gaviota 3 and Gaviota 4 deliver on all fronts. The 4 gets the edge for those wanting the latest in stability technology or a shoe specifically for ultramarathons or plantar fasciitis relief without compromising softness.


However, some runners may favor the plusher feel of the 3’s RMAT midsole over the more balanced cushioning of the 4. Trying on both models is recommended, as fit and feel preferences will determine which version suits your needs.

While the 4 has updates, core elements like the Meta-Rocker remain consistent. So if you loved prior Gaviota models, either of these will provide the soft, stable ride the series is known for mile after mile.

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