Hoka Gaviota 4 VS Gaviota 5: What Should I Buy?

If you’re a runner searching for a well-cushioned stability shoe that can go the distance, the Hoka Gaviota 4 and Gaviota 5 deserve a close look. These maximalist shoes provide soft, pillowy cushioning and support for countless miles of training and racing.

Read on to see how these two popular Hokas stack up across key performance factors. You’ll walk away knowing which model is the better fit for your running needs.

Similarities And Differences Between Hoka Gaviota 4 And Gaviota 5:

FeatureHoka Gaviota 4Hoka Gaviota 5
Launched In20222023
StabilityVery stableModerate stability
FlexibilityMedium flexibilityLess flexible
SizingStandard sizingStandard sizing
Weight11.10 oz (men’s), 9.5 oz (women’s)10.9 oz (men’s), 9.2 oz (women’s)
CushioningPlush, highly cushionedPlush and soft
OutsoleDurabrasion RubberRMAT rubber with durability zones
MidsoleCMEVA foam, J-Frame technologyCMEVA foam, H-Frame design
UpperEngineered meshEngineered mesh
Retail Price$153$175

Features Comparison:

Materials:

The Gaviota 4 uses a durable Durabrasion Rubber in the outsole, along with a thick CMEVA foam midsole and an engineered mesh upper. The midsole incorporates Hoka’s J-Frame technology for stability.

Hoka Gaviota 4
GAVIOTA 4

Hoka Gaviota 5
GAVIOTA 5

In contrast, the Gaviota 5 has an RMAT rubber outsole designed for extended durability. The midsole is still CMEVA foam but with the next-generation H-Frame support. The upper remains an engineered mesh, but it’s more breathable than the previous version.

Both models use Ortholite insoles for extra cushioning. The Gaviota 5 sheds a little weight by trimming some midsole material while maintaining signature Hoka plushness. The materials reflect subtle tweaks to improve upon the previous model, rather than an overhaul.

Durability:

Runners love the Gaviota 4 for its ability to maintain cushioning and support, even through high mileage. The sturdy construction shows minimal wear over several hundred miles. The durable rubber outsole grips well, resisting abrasion despite heavy use.

In designing the Gaviota 5, Hoka focused on enhancing long-term durability, especially in the outsole. The RMAT rubber extends higher up the midsole to prevent wear and tear. The outsole also has zones of extra reinforcement in high-impact areas.

Anecdotal evidence from early reviews suggests slightly better durability and resilience compared to the Gaviota 4. Time will tell how the 5 withstands serious mileage over months of training. However, the design improvements indicate Hoka is answering feedback on durability from the previous edition.

Fit:

The Gaviota 4 runs true to size for most runners, with decent forefoot room in the toe box. However, some find the midfoot snug, especially if wearing orthotics. The padded ankle collar provides a secure, comfortable fit.

Gaviota 4 Top View
GAVIOTA 4 TOP VIEW

Hoka Gaviota 5 Top View
GAVIOTA 5 TOP VIEW

The Gaviota 5 has a roomier toe box with a more anatomically shaped toe, improving comfort. The midfoot volume is also slightly higher to accommodate swelling during longer runs. Heel lockdown remains excellent, thanks to the padded collar. Half sizes help dial in the perfect fit.

Runners with wider feet may prefer sizing up half a size in the Gaviota 5 for a little extra room through the midfoot. Both models should fit similarly for those with narrow to medium feet. But the 5th edition opens up the forefoot and midfoot space to prevent pinching or pressure points, especially when feet swell.

Stability:

With its high sidewalls and structured midsole, the Gaviota 4 provides excellent stability for runners who severely overpronate. The J-Frame technology integrates stability guidance and shock absorption while allowing a smooth transition.

Moderate overpronators can also benefit from strong medial support. However, the pronounced guidance may feel excessive for mild overpronators or neutral runners.

The Gaviota 5 offers moderate stability rather than maximum correction. The new midsole shape increases surface area for smoother landings and takes the pressure off the medial side.

Runners report the shoe feels more balanced, with support that’s noticeable but not overpowering. While severe overpronators may prefer the rigidity of the Gaviota 4, the 5th edition offers just enough stability for a wider range of neutral and moderate overpronators. The shoe encourages natural foot motion rather than rigid correction.

Cushioning:

Signature Hoka cushioning defines the plush ride of the Gaviota 4. The broad heel and thick midsole absorb shock exceptionally well, even on hard surfaces or long distances. Yet the shoe retains responsiveness to give a lively, well-balanced feel.

In the Gaviota 5, Hoka softened the midsole foam to further increase shock absorption. Testers report an even plusher feel underfoot, like running on clouds. Though some runners found the 4 too mushy, the 5 strikes an ideal balance of softness without feeling sloppy or unstable.

The midsole compression adds springy rebound on toe-off. Additionally, the rockered sole encourages smooth transitions. The meta-rocker geometry rolls you forward without compromising cushioning.

Overall, the Gaviota 5 has better shock attenuation and energy return due to the tuned midsole and geometry. The shoe envelops your foot in pillowy comfort without sacrificing an energetic ride.

Value:

With a $153 price tag, the Gaviota 4 delivers excellent value given its durability and versatile performance. Plenty of max-cushion stability trainers cost over $160. For runners logging heavy miles or training for marathons, the 4 is a long-lasting shoe that promotes efficiency.

The Gaviota 5 has an increased price of $175. The upgrades include more durable materials, a redesigned midsole and outsole, and an improved upper. These features enhance comfort and longevity compared to the previous version.

While not inexpensive, the 5 justifies the higher price through engineering enhancements across the board. The shoe provides better value for runners frustrated with the durability or fit of the Gaviota 4.

Overall, both models are sound investments for serious runners pursuing PRs at long distances. The Gaviota 5 comes at a moderate premium in exchange for the performance benefits.

Performance Comparison:

Walking:

The Gaviota 4 performs very well as an everyday walking shoe thanks to the plush cushioning. It provides comfort for long neighborhood strolls or multiday hikes. However, some walkers find it feels too squishy and lacks stability for all-day wear.

The Gaviota 5 has a more responsive midsole that offers a steady platform during walking gait cycles. It also has a more stable base to control excess motion. The roomy toe box accommodates splaying and swelling of the feet.

Overall, the Gaviota 5 is the better choice for walking comfort, especially if you need arch support and mild pronation control. The 4 works but lacks versatility for walking.

Running:

As maximal stability trainers, both models cater to runners seeking cushion, support, and high mileage durability. The Gaviota 4 shines for long runs at easy paces where overpronators can benefit from the firm, corrective midsole. The ample cushion soaks up mile after mile.

However, the stiff construction feels too restrictive for faster paces. Conversely, the Gaviota 5 has a moderately stable base with enough structure for efficient miles without impeding speed. The foam feels lively at tempo paces yet still protective on recovery runs.

Mild to moderate overpronators will find enough support without limiting gait biomechanics needed for speed. The rockered design also creates a smoother transition at varied paces. For most runners, the Gaviota 5 provides a better balance of flexibility, cushion, and support to handle both easy and fast running.

Plantar Fasciitis:

The Gaviota 4’s plush cushioning absorbs impact to protect the plantar fascia. However, some find the soft foam allows arch collapse. The Gaviota 5 strikes a balance with a cushion that remains shock-absorbent without bottoming out.

The upper hugs the midfoot to prevent slippage on the plantar fascia. The stability elements offer moderate arch support to control pronation. Overall, the Gaviota 5 does a superior job managing plantar fasciitis with refinements in cushioning and upper fit.

Standing All Day:

The Gaviota 4 offers poor performance for extended standing due to the soft foam packing down. Within hours, the midsole feels flat and unsupportive. The inflexible sole also restricts freedom of movement.

Comparatively, the Gaviota 5 holds up better to prolonged standing with minimal midsole compression. The firmer density foam retains cushion and bounces for hours on your feet. The roomy toe box allows toe splaying, while the upper provides secure lockdown to anchor your foot over the sole.

Mild overpronators will also appreciate the medical support during long shifts. For workers who stand all day, the Gaviota 5 has much greater comfort and staying power compared to the overly soft Gaviota 4.

Final Verdict:

The Hoka Gaviota 4 is best for severe overpronators who want maximum stability in an ultra-cushioned trainer. It performs well for long, slow runs but feels too stiff for speedwork or racing.


The Gaviota 5 has better versatility with moderate stability that accommodates a wider range of runners. It excels at both fast and slow paces while providing a balanced, smooth ride. The updates in the 5th edition improve upon fit, cushioning, stability, and durability.

Runners cite a roomier fit with enhanced comfort and smoother transitions compared to the 4. Unless you need firm corrective support, the Gaviota 5 is the clear winner.

It retains signature Hoka plushness while shedding bulk and improving performance. The 5 justifies its higher price with smarter engineering that benefits more runners. Both models deliver soft, stable cushioning but the Gaviota 5 has greater longevity and a more natural run feel dialed in.

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