When it comes to comparisons in the running shoe world, it doesn’t get more apples-to-apples than Saucony and Hoka.
Both companies were founded to provide innovative solutions for a variety of running needs. They feature expansive product catalogs that cater to runners of all ages and ability levels.
While both brands are known for their industry leading midsoles and colorful, energetic upper designs, there are a few key distinguishing points that separate them.
For more on the good, the bad, and the blah, keep reading for a detailed breakdown of Saucony vs Hoka running shoes!
Saucony at a Glance
Saucony, a popular athletic footwear and apparel brand, has left an indelible mark on the running shoe industry. Recognized for its statement-making and highly functional products, Saucony rose to prominence in the 1980s and 1990s and continues to be a favorite among runners today.
The brand is known for using its proprietary PWRRUN+ technology. According to Saucony, the PWRRUN+ midsole technology offers 28% more lightweight cushioning and 5% better impact absorption than other shoes in its class. Furthermore, it provides double the flexibility and three times the durability, enhancing the overall running experience.
In addition to its exceptional performance features, Saucony is renowned for its vibrant color schemes and distinctive designs. Saucony’s energetic aesthetic sets it apart from the competition and lets runners express their unique style even when they are giving their all to their workouts. Whether you’re a seasoned marathoner or just starting out on your running journey, Saucony’s wide range of versatile running shoe styles are sure to meet your needs.
Hoka at a Glance
Hoka One One is one of the running industry’s most recognizable brands known for its maximalist shoes, featuring thick midsoles and unique designs. With an emphasis on providing runners with a cushioned and propulsive ride, Hoka’s Meta-Rocker technology combined with PROFLY+ foam aims to deliver an unmatched running experience.
Like Saucony, the brand is known for its vibrant and bold colors reflecting its optimistic approach to running, inspiring runners of all levels to conquer their goals. Their flagship models, the Clifton and Bondi, embody Hoka’s commitment to performance and confidence. Over the years, these models have undergone continuous refinement to meet the needs of various runners. As a result, they have become highly sought-after products by athletes worldwide.
Driven by its dedication to innovation and a belief in the potential of every runner, Hoka continues to capture the attention of runners seeking a cushioned and propulsive ride. The brand’s expansion into other categories like trail running and road racing reinforces its commitment to helping athletes achieve their best on any terrain.
Saucony vs Hoka Design Comparison
Now that you know some of the broad strokes of what makes these two companies tick, keep reading for an in-depth analysis of the engineering behind their products.
Saucony is a brand that provides cutting-edge engineering in its uppers. For example, it uses innovative materials such as FlexFilm overlays to provide lockdown in the forefoot. These FlexFilm overlays are designed to keep the shoe lightweight and prevent the formation of blisters, enhancing runner comfort. The brand’s FORMFIT technology takes this further by utilizing seamless FlexFilm to provide a customized, natural hug to the foot.
Hoka, known for its signature engineered mesh uppers, is also a great choice for runners seeking an upper with additional support and lockdown. They frequently incorporate overlays and heel collars to ensure a secure fit. Runners with wide feet are also considered, with some Hoka shoes offering an expanded toe box for ample room.
As you can see, both Saucony and Hoka prioritize quality and performance in their upper designs. Whether it’s through innovative FlexFilm technology, seamless FORMFIT uppers, engineered mesh construction, or targeted support features, each brand aims to deliver exceptional comfort, fit, and functionality for runners of all needs.
Saucony and Hoka are two of the premier names in the running shoe market thanks in no small part to their innovative midsole designs.
Saucony PWRRUN+ midsoles, a staple in the industry, offer runners an unmatched plush experience on long runs, with an additional layer of cushioning over a standard EVA base. This keeps the padding close to the foot for supreme comfort. To further enhance performance, the brand incorporates Powergrid+ technology, a series of strategically placed holes throughout the midsole designed to effectively spread out impact.
Not to be outdone, Hoka has made a name for itself with its exceptional Meta-Rocker design and PROFLY+ foam. Combined with reinforced EVA rubber, these features set the standard for midsole design. Boasting exceptional propulsion and cushioning in an incredibly lightweight package, many runners swear by Hoka’s midsole prowess.
If there is anything negative to say about these high-tech midsoles, it is that some runners do find the noticeable stack height in Hoka’s midsoles to be visually overwhelming, detracting from an otherwise stellar design. Overall, though, this is a small aesthetic issue that does not even show up on many runners’ radar.
For those runners who prioritize lightweight, flexible outsoles, Saucony and Hoka are arguably the top two manufacturers in the game.
Saucony outsoles feature a high degree of exposed EVA foam on the outsole, providing elite cushioning for runners on unforgiving surfaces. To enhance traction, the company strategically deploys advanced XT-900 carbon rubber throughout the forefoot and heel striking areas.
Hoka outsoles are engineered using a largely similar concept. They use a generous amount of exposed outsole foam to absorb shock on landing and meticulously place high-abrasion lightweight rubber throughout the heel and forefoot to improve traction without vastly increasing weight. These outsole features generally make Hoka products a favorite among people running on tracks, sidewalks, gyms, and other controlled environments.
Saucony vs Hoka Feature Comparison
Now that you know the nuts and bolts of how Saucony and Hoka shoes are manufactured, let’s dig deep and see how they perform along key purchase considerations.
Both Saucony and Hoka running shoes are generally considered to offer low to moderate levels of durability, typically lasting between 300-400 miles before showing significant signs of wear and tear.
Generally speaking, the high amount of outsole foam present in both brands may reduce the lifespan of their shoes compared to their competitors.
However, while not elite in terms of durability, Saucony shoes feature XT-900 carbon rubber and FlexFilm overlays to enhance outsole durability and prevent upper damage, making them somewhat usable for cross-country terrains in small doses.
The same can be said for Hoka products. Hoka shoes prioritize comfort with exposed foam outsoles, making them more vulnerable to wear and tear on rough surfaces. They have just enough outsole rubber in key striking areas to prevent them from completely melting when encountering jagged objects, but they are by no means a durable cross-country trainer.
Therefore, when choosing either of these brands, it is important to limit their use to the correct type of surface to enhance their longevity. Regularly clean the outsoles and pick out any jagged materials that may have stuck to the exposed outsole foam.
Both Saucony and Hoka running shoes are generally true to size. However, they differ a bit in terms of width. Saucony shoes are narrower than most other brands, making them ideal for runners with standard-width feet who prefer a snug fit, while Hoka shoes offer a more relaxed and accommodating fit. Hoka shoes utilize stretchy engineered mesh in the uppers and offer expanded toe boxes in some of their products, making them suitable for runners with wide feet.
It’s worth noting that some Hoka models feature reinforced overlays that provide a more locked-in feel. Despite these variations, most Hoka uppers are lightweight and airy, providing a comfortable and breathable fit during runs.
When comparing the cushioning of Saucony and Hoka running shoes, there are a couple of key differences to consider. Saucony utilizes their PWRRUN+ technology designed to keep the cushioning closer to the foot. Runners might find this makes Saucony a more comfortable option for long runs, due to reduced midsole wear during extended running sessions.
In contrast, Hoka employs a thick CMEVA midsole, renowned for delivering a soft and plush ride. This feature makes Hoka shoes especially appealing to runners seeking a shoe that absorbs shock and shields their feet from the impact associated with running.
While neither company may be able to match Brooks in terms of providing elite stability features across most of its catalog, both Saucony and Hoka do offer some stability features with their running shoes. However, each brand employs different, unique designs to accomplish this.
For Saucony, the Guide line of shoes is designed with improved midsole geometry aimed at cradling the foot and reducing overpronation. Additionally, these models include a proprietary HOLLOW-FIT guidance frame for increased stability.
Hoka running shoes feature three main stability features. Various Hoka shoes have heel clutches to prevent slippage, J-Frame technology designed to prevent the foot from collapsing inward, and the Meta-Rocker design to minimize exertion between strides.
All in all, when comparing the two brands, Saucony seems to focus on stability through a reduction in overpronation, while Hoka takes a more general approach that limits exertion and provides support against inward foot collapse.
Saucony and Hoka running shoes are both considered to be premium brands, and their prices reflect that. Saucony shoes typically fall between $100 and $150, so they are generally a bit more affordable. Hoka shoes, on the other hand, have a starting price around $170, with many of their popular models being priced over $200.
Saucony vs Hoka Popular Shoe Comparison
To zero-in even closer on how Saucony and Hoka stack up, let’s take a look and see how some of their most popular shoes perform in a side-by-side comparison.
Everyday Trainer: Saucony Ride 15 vs Hoka Clifton 9
The Saucony Ride 15 provides runners with a reliable, responsive ride with a soft, smooth transition. PWRRUN+ foam balances comfort with responsiveness, making even the most daunting runs feel effortless.
In comparison, the Hoka Clifton 9 has received overwhelmingly positive reviews as a dependable daily trainer. Runners appreciate the shoe’s signature lightweight cushioning and high stack of soft, springy foam. To sweeten the experience, some runners note that the Clifton 9 has a noticeably more energetic ride than previous Clifton models, which had some detractors due to lack of responsiveness.
At the end of the day, both the Ride 15 and Clifton 9 are suitable as do-it-all, daily trainers for runners of various experience and skill levels. Saucony’s PWRRUN+ and Hoka’s signature midsole cushioning provide similar experiences underfoot, though the Clifton 9 feels notably bouncier.
Winner: Hoka Clifton 9
Performance: Saucony Kinvara 13 vs Hoka Rocket X2
The Saucony Kinvara 13 and the Hoka Rocket X2 are two of the most popular running shoes on the market for runners looking to don these noticeable brands while also optimizing speed in the process.
Both shoes provide excellent cushioning and support, but they have some key differences.
The Kinvara 13 is a lighter shoe, weighing in at just 7.2 ounces for men and 6.4 ounces for women, while the Rocket X2 is a bit heavier at 8.3 ounces for men and 7.4 ounces for women.
As a result, the Kinvara 13 is a bit more responsive and quicker on its feet, while the Rocket X provides a bit more cushioning and protection underfoot.
Winner: Saucony Kinvara 13
Stability: Saucony Guide 15 vs Hoka Arahi 6
The Saucony Guide 15 and the Hoka Arahi 6 are both solid stability running shoes but achieve stability in different ways.
The Guide 15 uses a traditional medial post to support the arch and prevent overpronation with a generous amount of PWRRUN+ foam midsole for cushioning.
Conversely, the Arahi 6 uses a J-shaped frame on the inside of the shoe that guides the foot into a neutral position with a lower heel-to-toe drop (5mm vs 8mm) and a slightly rockered sole for a more natural flow with each strike.
Winner: Saucony Guide 15
Cushioning: Saucony Triumph 20 vs Hoka Bondi 8
The Saucony Triumph 20 and Hoka Bondi 8 are two of the most popular cushioned running shoes in a highly competitive ultra-cushioned game. Both shoes offer excellent padding and a smooth, comfortable ride while retaining solid responsiveness.
The Triumph 20 features a PWRRUN+ midsole foam that provides ample cushioning and a rocker design that encourages a smooth, efficient stride. The shoe’s lightweight and supportive upper keeps the foot snug and secure.
The Bondi 8 utilizes a thick, plush midsole that absorbs shock with a soft, forgiving feel. The shoe has a mild heel-to-toe drop of 4mm that promotes a neutral foot position.
Both the Triumph 20 and Bondi 8 are excellent cushioned running shoes with loyal followings. Choosing between the two will likely come down to personal preference, with some runners having an affinity for the lively, energetic ride of the Triumph 20 while others will appreciate the plush, luxurious feel of the Bondi 8.
Winner: Hoka Bondi 8
Saucony vs Hoka: Our Final Verdict
Finding points of distinction between Saucony and Hoka is no easy task.
Both of these running shoe giants use a variety of innovative features that have helped them achieve a dedicated following throughout the years.
In general, Saucony may be a bit more “techy” in terms of some of the features it offers in its products, while Hoka may get the nod for those wanting max cushioning.
Whatever your needs may be, explore the vast catalogs of each company to get you up and running today!