The Gaviota is the maximum stability shoe for Hoka ONE ONE. With a 5mm drop and approximately 10 ounces of weight, it’s not your typical stability/motion control running shoe.
I have been wearing it on all my runs for the past two weeks, coming straight from the Mizuno Wave Inspire 14. Read on to see what my impressions are!
Hoka One One Gaviota – First Impressions
The Gaviota is not a particularly good looking shoe. Most motion control shoes are not, and also most Hoka shoes are not.
The chunky look and sole gives the impression of a heavy, tank-like shoe. But already in your hands you can feel that something is different. The weight is comparable to that of a normal neutral trainer.
Put on my feet, I noticed a snug fit and a very very soft cushion. The cushion felt amazing. I took it up for a walk before actually running in them, and they felt strange.
When you walk, you land further behind the heel than you do when running (that’s why walking shoes have bevelled heels) – and what I felt was my stride being corrected from the outside to the inside of my foot, in quite an abrupt way. The cushioning was soft and the gait very relaxed, but I couldn’t get used to the strange motion at heel contact.
Luckily, it all went away while running and – to be honest – I wear them to walk all the time there and I don’t have that feeling anymore. I am not sure if the sole needed some breaking in, or if I needed some getting used to the shoe. Fact is, I really like running in the Gaviota.
Hoka One One Gaviota Sole Unit
The Gaviota, like most Hokas, has a very high sole. Your foot though sits somewhere in the middle of that, and it’s “wrapped” around by the walls of the midsole.
Hoka calls it a J-Frame and it’s a similar principle to what Brooks uses in the Transcend. This keeps the foot aligned with the sole at any point of the gait and it seems really effective to me.
The midsole is made of RMAT, Hoka’s mix of rubber and EVA that receives so much praise in most all other Hoka reviews in here. It’s a great mix of cushioning and light weight.
The weight is really low and you can definitely feel it compared to most other shoes that promise a similar stability. And the cushioning in simply excellent. It’s soft but responsive at the same time (more soft than responsive). It absorbs the impact very well, but never feels sluggish: the toe off always feels efficient. Maybe that’s thanks to the 5mm drop and late stage meta-rocker.
Whatever the reason, the Hoka Gaviota feels like a shoe that wants to be run at a high cadence, while feeling very safe thanks to the great stability.
Hoka One One Gaviota Upper
The upper is good, but sometimes I wish the toebox was a bit wider and less shallow.
Let’s start from what I like. There’s a nice snug fit in the heel and midfoot, without feeling too constrictive. I like my shoes not to slip at the heel and for my foot not to be able to rotate inside the shoe under the ankle.
You can achieve this great heel and midfoot fit without having to tie the laces extremely hard. If you have read any of my reviews you should know that I have the flattest feet you can imagine. Higher arches in the shoes have never bothered me too much. The Gaviota suits me well: I don’t feel like my arch is resting on something hard.
The upper is made of mesh with 3D printed overlays to give it structure, and some kind of “wings” in the mid foot to help secure the fit. (See picture below)
It never feels too hot or cold, it’s soft and comfortable and while I am not sure it’s completely seamless, there are no hotspots or weird places that rub on my foot.
The only improvement I can think of is the toebox: it’s quite narrow and shallow. It’s not uncomfortable, but sometimes I wished my toes had a little more room to splay.
Hoka One One Gaviota – Conclusions
Do you need (or like) a lot of stability? Go buy a pair of Gaviota.
It’s a different shoe from the competition (you won’t find many 5mm drop/10 ounces stability shoes) and it’s worth a try. I found that I love running in them. Next on my review list is the Saucony Redeemer ISO 2, a shoe that I was looking forward to test, but now I don’t really want to go running without the Gaviota.
In my runs (fast 3k, 5k and a couple of 10k) in the past couple of weeks I never ever felt like the Gaviota were letting me down. I just felt very confident that the stability was taken care of and so the shock absorption, but at the same time I felt like I could increase my cadence to the 180 that is my goal without feeling fatigued because of a heavy shoe. The 5mm drop allowed me to land on my midfoot consistently and the cushioning propelled me forward at each step.
A MUST TRY SHOE FOR ME that could only be improved by using a slightly wider toebox.
We purchase a pair of Hoka One One Gaviota from Running Warehouse with our own money. No free samples from the brand. This allows our review to be completely independent and bias-free