It is hard to go wrong when exploring the Hoka and Asics catalogs.
Both companies are monsters in the running shoe industry, with extensive product offerings to appeal to runners of all needs and ability levels.
Hoka is more of the new kid on the block, founded in 2009 and offering some of the most innovative midsole technology in the game.
Asics, on the other hand, is one of the world’s most long-established athletic apparel companies that has a history of pumping out top-notch everyday trainers.
To help you sort through the minutiae of what separates these two running shoe giants, keep reading for a detailed breakdown of Hoka vs Asics!
Hoka at a Glance
Hoka is a prominent global running brand renowned for its distinctive thick midsoles and striking color schemes. With an eye toward providing runners with optimal propulsion and cushioning, Hoka’s Meta-Rocker technology and PROFLY+ foam set the stage for a superior running experience.
The brand’s unwavering optimism is reflected in its bold color schemes, symbolizing the belief that every runner, from novice to seasoned marathoner, has the potential to overcome obstacles and achieve their goals.
Hoka’s commitment to performance and confidence is embodied in its flagship shoes, the Clifton and Bondi, which have undergone continuous refinement over the years to meet the demands of runners of all abilities and made them household products for athletes all over the world.
Asics at a Glance
Asics, a renowned sportswear company, has established itself as a leading brand in the running shoe market. With a deep understanding of athletes’ needs, Asics has developed a comprehensive running shoe collection that incorporates five core principles: cushioning, support, ride, fit, and grip.
Each Asics running shoe is meticulously designed and evaluated based on these principles, ensuring that runners find the perfect shoe for their specific requirements. The brand offers a wide range of models, from highly cushioned shoes ideal for long-distance runners to lightweight, minimalist options preferred by sprinters.
Asics’ commitment to innovation and quality has resulted in a diverse product line that caters to runners of all levels, from elite athletes to recreational fitness enthusiasts. Whether you are a seasoned marathoner or embarking on your first 5K fun run, Asics running shoes provide a combination of comfort, performance, and style to help runners achieve their goals.
Hoka vs Asics Design Comparison
Now that you know some of the broad strokes of what makes these companies tick, let’s dive deep into the engineering of Hoka and Asics products.
Both companies get high marks for their upper design, with engineered mesh uppers that provide outstanding breathability and flexibility.
The typical Asics shoe will use a soft, stretchy, breathable mesh material that holds the foot in place without causing too much constriction. This provides a generally comfortable running experience when donning an Asics shoe.
Hoka is a bit more diverse in its upper profile. While engineered mesh is at the heart of its upper design, you will frequently find more overlays and heel collars in its various products to accommodate those runners looking for a bit more support and lockdown. There are also some Hoka shoes that have an expanded toe box to help out runners with wide feet.
Hoka is renowned for its innovative midsole technology, which features the proprietary Meta-Rocker, PROFLY+ foam, and reinforced EVA rubber. This combination delivers exceptional propulsion, cushioning, and lightweight experience. Many runners feel that Hoka sets the standard for midsole design in the running shoe industry.
To get overly nitpicky, if there is one drawback to Hoka midsoles, it is that some runners may find the noticeable stack of Hoka midsoles to be a bit overwhelming, preferring a more understated look.
Asics midsoles, while perhaps not as noticeable as Hokas, have plenty to brag about of their own.
The company utilizes its proprietary Flytefoam technology in its midsoles. Flytefoam is considered an impressive midsole foam that provides adequate to above-average levels of cushion and responsiveness for various types of runs.
Additionally, Asics often incorporates its well-known GEL technology into some midsoles, enhancing cushioning and shock absorption.
Hoka and Asics outsoles are designed differently to meet the demands of different running styles and terrains.
Hoka utilizes exposed high-abrasion foam to provide cushioning and a smooth ride, while also incorporating high-abrasion lightweight rubber in the forefoot and heel for durability and traction.
As such, Hoka outsoles are engineered for more controlled running environments and don’t do as well for cross-country runs.
Asics, on the other hand, employs its proprietary Asics High Abrasion Rubber (AHAR) material for outsole traction and durability. This makes most Asics outsoles more durable to handle rugged terrains.
Asics outsoles also feature the Trusstic System, a unique design that splits the forefoot and rearfoot of the outsole. This system leverages a resin bridge under the arch of the foot and ensures strength and stability without compromising flexibility, achieved by the separation of the forefoot and rearfoot sections.
Hoka vs Asics Feature Comparison
Now that you know the companies’ engineering philosophies, let’s take a closer look at how Hoka and Asics perform along specific performance features.
Although Hoka and Asics both offer premier running shoe solutions, there is a noticeable difference in their durability characteristics.
Hokas are known for their comfort and lightweight construction, but they are not typically the most durable shoes on the market. The exposed foam on the outsole of many Hoka models makes them more susceptible to wear and tear than shoes with a solid rubber outsole.
As a result, Hokas are best suited for running on smooth surfaces such as gyms, tracks, and sidewalks. With proper care, Hokas can last for up to 400 miles, but some runners have reported experiencing problematic breakdown before reaching that mark.
On the other hand, Asics shoes are known for their durability and performance in all conditions. They feature greater outsole rubber coverage that helps them hold up well on a variety of surfaces.
Asics shoes are popular everyday cross-trainers and are a favorite among runners who want a shoe that can handle a variety of terrain. Many runners note that their Asics shoes last for 500 miles or more.
There are some key differences to note regarding the fit.
Hoka shoes generally provide a more relaxed, accommodating fit than Asics shoes. Hoka uses stretchy engineered mesh in its uppers and has shoes with expanded toe boxes to help those with wide feet. There are some Hoka shoes with reinforced overlays for more lockdown, but most Hoka uppers are light and airy.
Asics shoes, on the other hand, provide a more snug, form-fitting feel. The engineered mesh uppers in Asics shoes hug the foot, and some models feature a heel clutch that helps keep the posterior of the foot from sliding around.
Both Hoka and Asics are known for their excellent cushioning.
Hoka shoes feature a thick, CMEVA midsole that provides a soft, plush ride. This makes them ideal for runners who want a shoe that will absorb shock and protect their feet from the impact of running.
Asics shoes use a combination of GEL cushioning and Flytefoam midsole foam to provide a soft, yet responsive, ride. This makes them ideal for runners who want a shoe that will give them a good rebound and help them to push off more quickly.
Both Hoka and Asics running shoes offer a good amount of diversity in their offerings for stability and support.
Hoka products feature heel clutches to prevent slippage, J-Frame technology to prevent the foot from collapsing inward as you run, and the Meta-Rocker design to help limit exertion between strides.
Asics shoes also have a heel clutch that keeps the foot locked in place and prevents slippage within the upper. The Trusstic system in the outsole also works well for preventing twisting of the foot during strides.
One downside for Hokas in terms of stability is that due to their thick midsoles, some runners who like to be able to feel the ground note that running in Hokas is a bit of a balancing act. This is not a problem with Asics shoes, which have a more traditional midsole design in terms of stack height.
When comparing the cost of Hoka and Asics running shoes, it becomes evident that Hoka shoes are generally more expensive than Asics shoes.
Hoka shoes typically have a starting price of around $150, with many of their latest models priced over $200.
On the other hand, Asics shoes have a wider range of prices. Although Asics does offer some premium models that can cost up to $200 or more, it is more common to find a great pair of Asics running shoes for less than $100.
Hoka vs Asics Popular Shoe Comparison
To get a better idea of whether Hoka or Asics is right for you, it is a good idea to break down some of their specific side-by-side and see which company has the edge.
Everyday Trainer: Hoka Clifton 9 vs Asics Gel-Nimbus 24
Although the Clifton line has long been considered Hoka’s best product for everyday running, the Clifton 9 has made some minor tweaks that seemingly improve on this position.
The usual lightweight cushioning and hefty midsole stack are present in the newly engineered midsoles, but runners note greater energy return than with previous models.
Runners also recognize that minor tweaks in the engineered mesh upper provide the shoe with an even more comfortable fit, making this a great shoe for accumulating miles on a daily basis.
When it comes to Asics, a brand well known for its everyday trainers, the Gel-Nimbus 24 takes the cake. See how it compares with cushioning running shoes in our Asics Cumulus vs Nimbus article.
Combining GEL technology and Flytefoam throughout the midsole, runners can feel confident that they will get Asics’ best comfort and retain strong pushback mile after mile.
The shoe also has a very breathable mesh upper and flexible midfoot panel to keep the foot fresh as the miles add up.
Winner: Asics Gel Nimbus 24
Performance: Hoka Rocket X vs Asics MetaSpeed Sky
The Hoka Rocket X and the Asics MetaSpeed Sky are two of the most popular running shoes on the market for runners who want to up their MPH. Both shoes are designed for speed, but they have different strengths and weaknesses.
The Rocket X looks the part of a Hoka shoe, with a thick, cushioned midsole and a relatively narrow toe box. It provides excellent comfort and support during higher impact speed sessions.
The MetaSpeed Sky, on the other hand, is a more minimalist shoe, with a thinner midsole and a wider toe box. It is designed to provide a more natural, barefoot feel.
Both shoes have carbon fiber plates in the midsole, which helps to improve propulsion and speed. However, the MetaSpeed Sky’s plate is more aggressive, which can make it more difficult to control at slower speeds. The Rocket X’s plate is more subtle, which makes it a better choice for runners who want a fast shoe that they can still use for everyday training.
Winner: Hoka Rocket X
Stability: Hoka Arahi 6 vs Asics Gel-Kayano 29
The Hoka Arahi 6 and the Asics Gel-Kayano 29 are both stability running shoes designed for runners who overpronate, but they have different approaches to providing support.
The Arahi 6 uses a less pronounced heel-to-toe drop and a J-Frame feature to keep the foot from collapsing inward, while the Gel-Kayano 29 uses a LITETRUSS system on the inside edge of the midsole to prevent the foot from rolling too far inward.
Both shoes provide ample cushioning and support, but the Arahi 6 may be a better choice for runners who want a more natural feel with subtle stability features, while the Gel-Kayano 29 may be a better choice for runners who need classic pronation support.
Winner: Asics Gel-Kayano 29
Cushioning: Hoka Bondi 8 vs Asics Novablast 3
When it comes to cushioning, the Hoka Bondi 8 and the Asics Novablast 3 are two of the most comfortable running shoes on the market. Both shoes feature a thick, plush midsole that absorbs shock and provides a smooth, comfortable ride. However, there are some key differences between the two shoes.
The Bondi 8 has a more subtle midsole design, with a heel-to-toe drop of 4mm. This drop helps to create a natural foot position that won’t feel awkward to those unused to large midsole drops..
The Novablast 3, on the other hand, has a more pronounced heel-to-toe drop of 9mm. This drop provides more support for runners who have achilles tendon issues and do not want any stretching in that area.
In terms of cushioning, the Bondi 8 has a slightly softer feel than the Novablast 3. This is due to the fact that the Bondi 8 uses a softer foam in its midsole. The Novablast 3, on the other hand, uses a firmer Flytefoam Blast+ that is less squishy and compressive, providing a more responsive ride.
Winner: Hoka Bondi 8
Hoka vs Asics: Our Final Verdict
While Hoka and Asics offer plenty of can’t-miss shoes for all types of runners, there are some important differences among their products.
Hoka shoes are usually better for cushioning and midsole innovation, while Asics is the better choice for cross country and everyday training.
If you are looking for a more detailed comparison of Asics every day trainers and stability shoes, read our Asics Kayano vs Nimbus article.
Whatever your primary needs are as a runner, explore the catalogs of these two giants to help you out on your next run!