Hoka VS New Balance: Which Is Better For You?

When it comes to running shoes, Hoka and New Balance are two popular performance brands with distinct styles and features.

This comprehensive guide will compare key factors between Hoka and New Balance to help you decide which may be better for your feet and style.

Comparison Table Between Hoka And New Balance:

FeatureHokaNew Balance
Founded In2009 in France1906 in USA
Comfort & FitMaximum cushioning, wide toe boxGreat arch support, snug heel, medium cushioning
Color OptionsMore muted tonesHuge range of colorways
DurabilityHighly durable foam, outsoles lastQuality materials withstand mileage
PerformanceSoft, even stride from cushioningResponsive stability and pronation control
Design & StyleIconic sculpted midsoleClassic athletic styling
PopularityRapidly growing among distance runnersEstablished brand with very loyal fans
Best Selling ModelBondi 8990 v5

Hoka Overview:

Founded in 2009 by Nicolas Mermoud and Jean-Luc Diard, Hoka One One burst onto the scene with their super thick midsoles, aiming to provide maximum cushioning for runners.

Nicolas Mermoud and Jean-Luc Diard

Initially, their oversized design was polarizing. But as more runners experienced the plush ride, Hoka gained a cult following among ultramarathoners and trail runners.

Hoka remains focused on cushioning and stability to create a smooth, comfortable run. Signature technologies like the Meta-Rocker outsole encourage a natural gait cycle and transition. The roomy toe box allows your feet to splay and relax over long miles.

For runners who struggle with joint pain and hard impact, Hoka’s pillow-like foam brings sweet relief. The soft landings and energetic rebound make each stride feel effortless. It’s easy to see why Hokas have a reputation for comfort.

Hokas aren’t the most flexible shoe due to the higher platform. And the bulky silhouette isn’t for everyone. But for runners craving a cushy feel, Hoka delivers plush shoes that can go the distance in blissful comfort.

New Balance Overview:

Founded in 1906 by William J. Riley, New Balance began by making arch supports and prescription shoes for people with foot issues.

Based in Boston, the brand gained popularity for technical innovations like ripple soles and heel counters to stabilize and customize fit.

While New Balance makes athletic shoes across sports, they remain deeply rooted in running due to their origins in correcting overpronated feet.

Core neutral shoes like the 880 use injected EVA midsoles for soft landings and Ortholite insoles for support.

Iconic models like the 990 integrate dual-density midsoles and Abzorb foams to combine cushioning with compression resistance for smooth transitions.

New Balance leans into retros styles while also incorporating new 3D printed midsoles and engineered mesh uppers. With masterful attention to fit adjustments for all foot shapes and biomechanical needs, New Balance delivers versatile performance and classic appeal across running categories.

Major Differences Between the Brands:

We’ve gone through some of the basic overviews of both brands. It’s now time to see how both brands compare in performance, affordability, and designs. This will help you make an informed decision.

1) Comfort and Fit

Hoka shoes stand out for their ultra-plush cushioning that gives a soft, pillowy ride. The meta-rocker sole also rolls smoothly from heel to toe.

New Balance focuses more on adjustable support features and moderate cushioning suitable for many foot types.

Those needing stability or custom orthotics may prefer New Balance’s tunable options. For marathon-ready pillowy-soft comfort, Hokas have the advantage.

Also Check Out: Brooks VS New Balance: Which Is Better?

2) Durability and Performance

Both brands build running shoes to last hundreds of miles, from durable rubber outsoles to compression-resistant midsole foams.

In terms of performance, New Balance targets versatile support across speed work, training, and racing. Hoka optimizes for cushioning and shock absorption over terrain, making them preferred for ultrarunning and trails.

For runners prioritizing an ultra-cushioned feel over terrain response, Hokas are the choice.

Also Check Out: Nobull VS hoka: Which Is Better?

3) Price

The average price of both brands falls around $100 – $150, with models ranging from budget options under $100 to premium shoes over $200.

NB offers very affordable basics under $80, though these lack premium features. Hoka discounts older models frequently on sale.

Overall for regular retail pricing, New Balance takes the edge for very low-cost entry price points ideal for casual runners or secondary pairs.

Also Check Out: Hoka VS Skechers: Which Is Better?

4) Design and Style

If you like a throwback classic athletic look, New Balance’s shoes fit the bill. Models usually integrate suede, mesh, and leather for vintage appeal.

On the other hand, Hoka’s extra thick midsole gives them a very modern, almost space-age look that’s hard to miss.

Some runners love standing out in the chunky Hoka silhouette, while others prefer New Balance’s understated retro vibe. It just comes down to personal taste.

Also Check Out: Dansko VS Hoka: Which Is Better?

5) Popularity

As an established brand for over 100 years, NB has earned widespread popularity and loyalty across demographics.

While not a small player, Hoka has a fraction of New Balance’s customer base and brand recognition. However, Hoka’s popularity has surged in recent years among trail runners, ultramarathoners, and those wanting maximal cushioning. There’s room for both brands, but New Balance claims the broadest appeal.

Also Check Out: Hoka VS Merrel: Which Is Better?

6) Target Market

New Balance markets their versatile support shoes to everyone from weekend joggers to elite racers. Their models easily adapt to niche needs like orthotics or stability.

Hoka goes after a narrower demographic of runners who prioritize soft cushioning above all else, especially long distances or taking on rugged terrain.

Both brands can work for most runners with some self-knowledge of their fit needs.

Performance Comparison Between Hoka And New Balance:

1) For Nurses

When it comes to shoes for nurses, Hoka and New Balance both offer options to provide comfort for long hours on your feet. However, there are some key differences:

Hoka shoes tend to have thicker, plusher cushioning thanks to their oversized midsoles. This can help absorb shock and reduce pain in feet and joints during extended periods of standing and walking. They prioritize softness over stability though.

New Balance shoes offer a balance of cushioning and support. Models like the Fresh Foam Cruz provide responsive comfort without being too squishy. New Balance also has athletic style options with features to promote stability and traction on hospital floors.

In summary, Hokas focus on maximum cushioning for comfort. But New Balance offers versatile options with cushioning and stability to suit long nursing shifts.

2) For Walking

Both Hoka and New Balance make shoes suitable for walking and casual wear. Here are some key comparisons:

Hoka walking shoes like the Bondi or Clifton provide generous cushioning which makes each step comfortable and smooth. However, their stiff midsoles don’t provide much flexibility for a natural stride.

New Balance walking shoes use foams that adapt to the wearer and terrain while still cushioning. Models with ABZORB or Fresh Foam offer shock absorption while remaining flexible. The range of widths also accommodates different feet.

In summary, Hokas promote comfort through ample cushioning. But New Balance walking shoes adapt better to an individual’s stride and provide versatility for different walkers.

3) For Running

For runners, Hoka and New Balance both make popular training and racing models. Here are some key contrasts:

Hoka running shoes are known for their extremely thick midsole foam that provides a soft, bouncy ride. They excel at providing cushioning and shock absorption mile after mile. But they tend to lack responsiveness.

New Balance offers a range of cushions like Fresh Foam to absorb impact while also returning energy with each stride. Shoes like the Beacon or 1500 are designed for speed while remaining comfortable. Stability options like the 860v12 also accommodate various foot motions.

In summary, Hokas focus on cushioning over all else. But New Balance adapts their foams and features to suit more running needs – from stability to speed.

4) For Flat Feet

For runners with flat feet or overpronation, both brands provide stability options with differences:

Hoka shoes like the Arahi and Gaviota utilize frame technologies to control excess foot motions. The wide base and plush foam provide comfort and support. However, they maintain a rigid sole even in stability models.

New Balance stability shoes like the 860v12 use a combination of foams to provide cushioned control. A medial post limits inward rolling of the foot. Wide sizes, structured uppers, and flexibility through the forefoot adapt to flat feet.

In summary, Hokas cushion but their structured stability features can feel too rigid. New Balance better complements flat foot biomechanics with cushioned support adapted to enhance gait.

5) For Hiking

When it comes to hiking shoes, both brands can deliver in key areas, but also have limitations:

Hoka hiking shoes like the Speedgoat provide generous cushioning to soften impacts over uneven trails. However, stiffness in the midsole reduces ground feedback and agility on unpredictable terrain.

New Balance hiking shoes offer versatility to handle different hiking needs. Foams like Fresh Foam provide cushioning while Vibram outsoles grip well. Supportive uppers secure the foot over varied terrain. They have less cushioning than Hokas though.

In summary, Hokas focus on cushioning while New Balance offers more adaptability and grip for versatile hiking needs.

6) For Plantar Fasciitis

Shoes that provide arch support and impact absorption can help relieve plantar fasciitis. Here is how the brands compare:

The plush midsoles of Hoka shoes cushion heel strikes and reduce forces on the plantar fascia. But they often lack adequate arch support and adaptable features to improve foot mechanics.

New Balance shoes like the 928v4 combine cushioning with arch support. The stability features and flexibility through the sole complement natural foot motion to reduce strain on the plantar fascia.

In summary, Hokas absorb shock but may lack adaptability, while New Balance complements foot biomechanics more effectively to alleviate plantar fasciitis.

Final Verdict:

In the battle of these two popular running shoe brands, there is no universal winner. Choosing between New Balance and Hoka comes down to considering your fit preferences, running needs, and priorities.

Overall, for runners craving a super soft feel, Hoka is your match. If tunable stability and classic style are more your jam, then New Balance has you covered.

Ultimately finding your perfect running shoe is a journey. That’s it from our side today. I hope you have all the information about both brands to make an informed decision. If you still have any doubts feel free to ask us in the comments section and we will try our best to help you out.

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