Hoka One One Gaviota 3 Intro
HOKA shoes have a distinct look with their famed maximal midsoles. Since the company’s start in only 2009, they’ve quickly become well-known as a top running shoe brand.
The Gaviota is the stability version of the Bondi in HOKA’s line-up, both offering the most plush ride in their categories. Gaviota 3 has a few more millimeters of cushion than last year’s model.
It comes with a high price tag at $160, an increase of $10 from the previous (so…$3 per midsole millimeter? Well, and an upper redesign!).
Gaviota weighs in at 11.3 oz. for the men’s shoe and 9.3 oz. for the women’s shoe, up about a half-ounce from the last model.
Stability comes by way of a wide platform with a straight cut in the midfoot, and HOKA’s J-Frame. The Arahi is HOKA’s other stability option, with a bit more flexibility and lighter weight.
Gaviota’s rocker is late-stage and so transitions closer to the toe of the shoe, compared with Arahi’s early-stage rocker.
Meta-Rockers function in a shoe like a fulcrum, making the shoes roll like a rocking chair.
Early-stage rockers place the transition zone of the shoe behind the metatarsal heads, while late-stage Meta-Rockers have the transition zone in front of the metatarsal heads, providing a more stable midfoot.
Three shoes come to mind when I run in Gaviota. The ride is most similar to another low drop stability option, New Balance’s Vongo. Gaviota’s base is more of a platform.
Comparing outsole widths, Gaviota is almost 2 cm. wider in the heel and 4 mm. wider in the forefoot. Gaviota’s midsole also juts over 2 mm. further back behind the heel of the shoe.
Saucony Hurricane 22 offers less cushion underfoot but a plusher upper than Gaviota, with both shoes boasting the top comfort and stability from their brands.
Finally, Brooks Transcend—which is being replaced by the Glycerin GTS—brings a push ride that rolls into toe-off more noticeably than does Gaviota.
Gaviota also competes with ASICS Gel-Kayano and the New Balance 860.
Hoka One One Gaviota 3 First Impressions
This shoe looks great! A subtle sparkle of reflective specs in the upper twinkle in the light (though they could be a bit more pronounced to offer low-light visibility benefit).
I was nervous that this shoe would pinch just enough at my forefoot that I wouldn’t notice it until hours and miles in. No! This is my first HOKA without that issue.
On my first run I noticed a touch of benefit from the late-stage rocker in Gaviota which rolls me toward the toe, but I was hoping for more of this effect, like I’ve experienced in the Clifton, Arahi, and ATR with their early-stage rockers.
The surprisingly high weight (for a HOKA especially) of this shoe likely contributes to the diminished return off the rocker.
This is the most solid platform I’ve ever run in. I love the feel and have tried to ignore the weight.
Alas, it can’t be done, but the superb cushion and stable feel make up for it on easy runs for short-medium distance. The wide base is noticeable every step, in a pleasant way (as long as speed and agility aren’t your goal for the run).
Hoka One One Gaviota 3 Sole Unit
Gaviota stands tall and proud with its maximal, dual density RMAT midsole.
The EVA foam is plush yet responsive; rubber covers the heel in pods of a J-frame that run up most of the lateral outsole and covers the outer surface of the forefoot.
This midsole comes in a 5 mm. drop, with a late-stage Meta-Rocker that rolls the runner into toe-off.
The fulcrum for this rocker comes after the metatarsal heads (toward the toes after the ball of the foot) rather than before, as in the early-stage rocker shoes from HOKA.
Runners coming from traditional stability shoes will need to ease into this lower drop as it places more strain on calves and even quadriceps.
The benefit is a natural feel through foot plant and a shoe that facilitates a mid-foot strike.
Gaviota’s midsole provides the perfect balance of comfort and responsiveness, and its outsole offers high traction in a variety of conditions, with segmented pods and rubber covering high-wear areas.
The top is capped with a pleasing aesthetic of connected-star print, that also runs along the lateral pods.
Hoka One One Gaviota 3 Upper Unit
Gaviota’s redesigned upper comes with the tried and true standbys of a firm internal heel counter and an attached tongue.
New this year is a plastic cap behind the heel that reinforces the heel counter, along with an easy-to-use heel loop for pulling the shoe on.
The material around the heel collar and tongue are medium-plush and comfortable. The lacing system and midfoot upper are super interesting!
Laces alternate between wide loops connected to the visible upper, and wide loops of sturdy support material that runs below the top layer, from the laces down to the midsole.
This allows for a customizable fit. I tighten the laces much more toward the ankle in this shoe, which allows me to avoid the pinching at the ball that I’ve had in all other HOKA shoes in my regular size.
The laces also run through a loop on the tongue which locks it in place together with its connection to the upper.
Gaviota’s plush sock liner reveals a surprise underneath! Another layer of perforated foam sits above the midsole, adding cushion and breathability.
This shoe offers medium breathability and fits true-to-size (but on the long side of that). The width is right next to “narrow” without yet making “medium,” with wide options available.
Hoka One One Gaviota 3 Conclusion
Gaviota is a stable, comfortable, durable shoe, hitting above expected in all categories. It boasts the most solid platform I’ve run on. It’s also heavy and could be bulky for some, especially during speed work.
Gaviota is a top option for comfortable, yet stable, cushion underfoot, with a clean-looking upper that belies the technology going into its great fit.
We purchased a pair of Hoka One One Gaviota 3 from runningwarehouse using our own money. This did not influence the outcome of this review, written after running more than 50 miles in them.
Hoka One One Gaviota 3 Price Comparison
This page contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.