Home Reviews Trail shoe reviews Hoka One One Challenger ATR 5

Review: Hoka One One Challenger ATR 5

Written by

Sarah Colligan

Trail Running Expert.

This expert review is written by

Sarah Colligan

Trail Running Expert.
Sarah has been running for a little over seven years, but she fell in love with trail/ultra running about four years ago. She has run thirty-one races at marathon or ultramarathon distance, including three 50-milers and one 100-miler (so far).

As a wife/mom/photographer/writer/wannabe farmer, Sarah uses running to burn off the crazy (and so she can eat more food)!

Weight

We usually consider 10 ounces a "medium" weight for a running shoe: less than 10 and we are entering the lightweight category and above 10 the shoes start to be heavy.

Heel-to-toe drop

Heel drop is the measurement in mm of the difference between the height of the heel and the toe of the sole.

A lower drop (0mm - 5mm) promotes running on mid-foot and fore-foot, while higher drops (8mm - 12mm) are more traditional and meant to support a heel-striking gait.
Expert score
9/10

Expert Review: Hoka One One Challenger ATR 5

Quick overview

Best for
Speedwork on flat surfaces, ultra distances, 50 miles and greater
Terrain
Best for on dirt trails, on paved trails, on paved roads, sidewalks, etc..., through grassy sections or cross-country courses, over very rocky area, through creeks and streams, along moderate trails, along highly technical trails
Grip
The Challenger ATR 5 provides excellent grip and traction on all kind of terrains and surfaces
Lack Traction
Average Traction
Provide Traction
Cushioning
The Challenger ATR 5 offers just the right amount of cushioning
Little cushioning
Medium cushioning
Highly cushioned
Weight

9.4

 oz
266 g
Heel to toe drop
Drop

5

 mm

Pros and cons according to our running expert

Pros and cons according to our running expert

  • Comfortable EVA foam
  • Wide toe box
  • True to size
  • Drains/dries well
  • All-terrain shoe
  • Not toothy enough for deep mud

Our verdict

The Hoka Challenger ATR 5 is a great neutral, all-terrain trail shoe.

It shines on dry single track trail, but is now made to be even more comfortable on road or gravel trails. It's well-padded, typical of Hoka, and has a lightweight mesh upper.

Introduction Hoka One One Challenger ATR 5

Hoka’s newest version of the Challenger, the ATR 5, doesn’t have a lot of big changes from the ATR 4. In fact, it’s pretty much the same other than a minimal change to the outsole.

If you’re a Challenger runner, the guts are still what you love about the other incarnations. While it is a fairly pricey trail shoe (usually around $130 US), it’s versatile, and can be used on both road and trail.

Cushioning Type
The Challenger ATR 5 is more plush than... Read more responsive: provides shock absorption and
Responsive
Plush
Cushioning Amount
The Challenger ATR 5 offers just the right... Read more amount of cushioning
Little cushioning
Highly cushioned
Flexibility
The Challenger ATR 5 has a good mix between... Read more flexibility and structure
Rigid
Flexible
Stability
The Challenger ATR 5 has some inherent... Read more stability and support
Not particularly stable
Very stable

Impressions Hoka One One Challenger ATR 5

Because I’ve been a Challenger-lover since my early days of trail running, I was happy that the guts of the shoe haven’t changed much.

It’s not a super heavy shoe (7.7 oz–women’s version), because the foam is lightweight and the tread isn’t incredibly toothy.

It’s very similar to the ATR 4, so it doesn’t really take any time to adjust to it if you’re just wanting to put the shoe on and run.

For the first run, I was able to put the shoes on, tuck my favorite insoles inside and go. There was no time needed to break the shoe in.

In fact, the 5mm drop felt comfortable and so similar to my ATR 4s that I nearly forgot they were new. Subsequent runs were the same.

I never felt like I needed to adjust to the shoe. Even switching from my road shoes to the ATR 5s was easy.

According to Hoka, the change in the outsole was mainly the distance between the lugs. They are closer together near the heel and further apart near the forefoot.

This is supposed to allow for a smoother ride on harder surfaces, but also better grip on more technical terrain (including wet conditions).

I can say I noticed that these were more comfortable on harder surfaces than previous versions–the bottoms of my feet didn’t get sore during any of my runs.

I have bony feet, so it’s amazing that they don’t get even a little sore and they didn’t feel fatigued. I easily ran through water and never felt like the shoes got heavy or waterlogged.

During the test period, my longest run in the ATR 5s was a 12 mile trail race. It included some more technical, steep climbs and downhills, dry and rolling single-track trail, road sections, wet stones, and gravel.

I purposely didn’t use my trekking poles during this race because I wanted to see how the shoes fared on their own, without assistance. I wasn’t disappointed.

If you’ve read previous reviews I’ve written, you know I like a shoe I can “trust” (I can be fairly tentative on steep downhills).

But I never felt unsafe on the downhills, and the grip on the climbs felt great.

The shoes also felt springy and light on the single track, rooty trails, as well as in the grass. They didn’t drag on the gravel or pavement.

This shoe is versatile, and COULD be used as a road shoe in a pinch.

I can imagine the sole would wear down much faster on pavement, but it is comfortable enough to use as a flat surface shoe, if necessary. So you won’t have to skip a run if you happen to forget your road shoes!

Ultimately, I was pleased with the Challenger ATR 5s. They were everything I’ve come to expect from Hoka.

I love when I can easily wear a trail shoe and not feel like my legs and feet are fatigued from lugging them around.

I recommend the ATR 5 because it is a versatile, supportive shoe that is great for multi-terrain trail runs. The only thing that would prevent me from purchasing them is the price.

But, overall, I enjoyed the Hoka Challenger experience, as usual.

Protection Hoka One One Challenger ATR 5

The ATR 5 has a wide toe box that is reinforced with TPU or thermoplastic polyurethane. As I always do, I put the toe box to the test.

I never really felt it when I stubbed my toes on roots, or on any of the sharp sticks or rocks that I ran into on long runs. The uppers felt durable, and I noticed no snags or significant signs of wear in the mesh.

Rockplate
The Challenger ATR 5 does not have a rock... Read more plate.
Not present
Solid protection
Lugs
The Challenger ATR 5 provides excellent grip... Read more and traction on all kind of terrains and
Lack Traction
Provide Traction
Water resistance
The Challenger ATR 5 offers great water... Read more protection. Not completely waterproof but
Poor
Water Resistant

Durability Hoka One One Challenger ATR 5

While I didn’t get to use the Challenger ATR 5 on tough mountain terrain, I could see it staying comfortable in mountain conditions.

It performs well on dirt trail. But it also works well for me on rocks, roots, boulders and steep climbs.

I would definitely wear the ATR 5s during an ultra distance race. I have worn previous models of them in past ultras, and the new model is no different for me!

I plan to wear them in an upcoming 50K, and I have no doubt it will be comfortable and perform well.

Responsiveness & Speed Hoka One One Challenger ATR 5

I felt that the ATR 5s were light and fast on wide trail where I could really open up. I never felt they slowed me down.

In fact, I think the light, springy soles were responsive, and I was able to reach top speed without feeling like my legs got fatigued.

Even on more technical single-track, the Challenger ATR 5s were ideal for me. THe curve of the sole allows for easy forward motion.

The combination of cushion and traction helped me push off of rocks and roots. And the grip is great for almost any terrain you’d find on a normal trail race course.

Comfort and Fit Hoka One One Challenger ATR 5

With the thickness of the sole, runners may expect the ATR 5s to feel heavy. But they are surprisingly light.

They are made to be true to size, compared to your normal running shoe size. I didn’t feel like there was any discrepancy between the sizing of my Hoka road shoes and these trail shoes.

They are comfortable wet or dry, and they feel great, even if I have to wear them for long stretches.

Also, this model is being made with a wide width option. Hoka hasn’t always had options for those with a wider foot, so the EE width is made for those who might need a wider shoe than the D width.

I know runners who have immediately decided not to try Hokas because they can be narrow. However, I think Hoka has tried to remedy this issue, and they don’t want to exclude runners with wider feet.

Sizing
The Challenger ATR 5 has average sizing: buy... Read more the usual size
Buy size smaller
Buy size bigger

Conclusion Hoka One One Challenger ATR 5

The ATR 5s were exactly what I wanted/expected them to be. Hoka didn’t make many changes in this edition, but the few changes they did make helped make the shoe even better.

I have already recommended them to other trail runners. The shoe is comfortable, light, grippy and durable. I had no problem using them on steep dirt trail, and then switching right to pavement.

I loved that I wasn’t disappointed by the ATR 5s, as I so often am when testing a new version of a shoe I’ve grown to love. So I am giving them a big, smiley face and two thumbs up!

This page contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

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Dave Howson

I run over 40km per week, I use them primarily for running
Great trainers over cross of trails and road not great traction in heavy mud and feet get wet quite easily have found my heels hurting so have ordered Stinsons for... Read more my long slow run training only problems I’ve had is going over 100miles in a race and my feet pads blistered but I was going for 41hrs so can’t blame the shoes

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