Review: Hoka One One EVO Mafate

Written by

Katherine Takai

Long Distance Runner, former Sprinter.

This expert review is written by

Katherine Takai

Long Distance Runner, former Sprinter.
Katherine Takai lives in Denver, CO and is a budget analyst and fitness enthusiast.

Although she was a sprinter in high school, since became fascinated with endurance sports and began participating in long-distance running events over eight years ago.

During her leisure time, she can be found chasing around her dog on the trails of the Front Range.

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 EVO Mafate

Quick overview

Best for
Regular training, long, slow training runs, speedwork on flat surfaces, short trail races (up to half marathons), marathon and 50k trail races, ultra distances, 50 miles and greater
Terrain
Best for on dirt trails, on paved trails, through grassy sections or cross-country courses, in muddy area, through creeks and streams, in snowy or icy sections, along moderate trails
Grip
The EVO Mafate provides excellent grip and traction on all kind of terrains and surfaces
Lack Traction
Average Traction
Provide Traction
Cushioning
The EVO Mafate is maximally cushioned
Little cushioning
Medium cushioning
Highly cushioned
Weight

9.6

 oz
272 g
Heel to toe drop
Drop

4

 mm

Pros and cons according to our running expert

Pros and cons according to our running expert

  • Ample cushioning and comfort
  • Lightweight
  • Durable upper
  • Sculpted midsole for smooth heel to toe transition
  • Efficient traction on varied terrain
  • High stack can be unstable on technical terrain
  • Not much padding in the tongue
  • Pricy

Our verdict

The HOKA ONE ONE Evo Mafate is a light, comfortable trail running shoe that is durable and protective enough for longer distances and technical terrain. The maximalist shoe floats up a hill (while still providing adequate traction) and crushes on the downhill.

Introduction Hoka One One EVO Mafate

I have always been skeptical about HOKA shoes, primarily because of their bulky appearance, but the HOKA ONE ONE Evo Mafate made me feel like I’ve been missing out.

The Evo Mafate was comfortable out of the box, durable and protective for runs of various lengths and terrain types, and lightweight for how bulky they initially appeared. Grippy, strategically-placed lugs made every step feel strong and secure on the uphill and generous midsole cushioning and a sculpted midsole design made me feel like I was speeding down clouds on the downhill.

Cushioning Type
The EVO Mafate is more plush than responsive:... Read more provides shock absorption and some energy
Responsive
Plush
Cushioning Amount
The EVO Mafate is maximally cushioned
Little cushioning
Highly cushioned
Flexibility
The EVO Mafate has a good mix between... Read more flexibility and structure
Rigid
Flexible
Stability
The EVO Mafate has some inherent stability... Read more and support
Not particularly stable
Very stable

Impressions Hoka One One EVO Mafate

This shoe was built to run long distance trails. Patented MATRYX® fabric upper is lightweight and strong (you might consider it nearly bulletproof) to ensure foot stability, durability, and protection. This HOKA ONE ONE-signature design elements – Meta-Rocker geometry and super cushioned midsole – make for a fast and comfortable run.

The Mafate’s Vibram Megagrip outsoles were grippy enough to handle most rocky, trail, dirt, gravel, mud, and other types of terrain. As someone who likes control on the trail, these shoes were adequately responsive except for on very narrow, rocky terrain.

Protection Hoka One One EVO Mafate

The high cushioning of this shoe (34mm heel stack, 30mm midfoot) offers protection from rocks, roots, and other hazards on the trail. This shoe’s mesh woven upper is made of patented MATRYX® technology infused with Kevlar for durability and added protection (Kevlar is the primary material used in bulletproof vests).

This material is effective at preventing tearing and puncturing from abrasive elements on the trail. However, the lightweight material is thin; so you’ll still experience an impact from any direct contact with a rock or hard object on the top of your foot.

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

Durability Hoka One One EVO Mafate

After 50 miles on this shoe as someone who is tough on shoes, there is little evidence of wear anywhere on these shoes. The upper shows no signs of tearing or fraying even at the tip of my big toe, which is the first place I see holes on my running shoes.

I’ve found Vibram Megagrip material to be durable on many products that I own. This was also the case with the outsoles of the Mafate, which show minimal signs of wear.

Responsiveness & Speed Hoka One One EVO Mafate

These shoes were responsive and quick on dirt and gravel, especially on a downhill. Meta-Rocker midsole geometry, designed to create a “rocking chair”-like effect in transitioning from initial impact at the heel to the toe, felt smooth and fast on flats and downhill sections. The R-BOUND™ midsole is made of a lighter and improved version of earlier R-MAT material used in HOKA running shoes, which was designed to provide cushion and responsiveness. These features made every step in these shoes feel natural and springy.

The 5mm lugs maintained efficient traction on rocks, mud, and dirt trails, and multidirectional lug placement ensured that traction on the up or downhill. The Mafate transitioned well in short sections of road between trail or back to my car, making them a viable race shoe for a race with sections of road. On very rocky terrain (such as cliffs and ridges), there were a few times that I felt slightly off-balance because of the high stack.

Comfort and Fit Hoka One One EVO Mafate

These shoes were comfortable right out of the box. I wear a size 7.5 to 8 depending on the brand, and a 7.5 was a great fit. The thin upper material allows for a large toebox, suggesting that these shoes would allow room for foot swelling comfortable over the course of long distances (50-100 miles).

The semi-flat shoelaces allow for quick tightening and loosening and tie notably securely and easily. The microfiber tongue is thinly padded and perforated, making the shoe more breathable. I did experience some blistering when I first began breaking these shoes in (on the tip of my big toe on medial fourth), but this hasn’t happened in the last 25 miles.

Sizing
The EVO Mafate has average sizing: buy the... Read more usual size
Buy size smaller
Buy size bigger

Conclusion Hoka One One EVO Mafate

These shoes were a joy to run in. While I felt occasionally slowed down on rockier terrain because of the higher stack on this shoe, its lighter weight and effective traction inspired confidence on most uphill and flat trails; and the shape and cushion of the midsole made me feel unbeatable on the downhill.

These shoes were built for varied terrain, and they performed on the varied terrain encountered on Colorado’s front range (from afternoon mud to most rocky up and down hills and even on short segments of road). At $170, this is an expensive pair of shoes; but their durability and performance, especially for longer distance runners, may be worth the price.

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

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