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Hoka One One HOKA Cielo Road review

7 expert score
0 user's score
As editorial policy, we do not accept free samples. We purchased this pair at Running Warehouse with our own money.
Review written on 02nd October by Larry Lam Larry runs since high school any distance up to 50k.
13 other reviews

Hoka One One HOKA Cielo Road Verdict

The Hoka Cielo Road is a lightweight, cushioned racing shoe that is focused on the 5k/10k distance. It can be used as a lightweight trainer for those faster days as long as the total distance isn’t longer than about 8-10 miles. These shoes are bouncy, feel fast, and will help you run at your top pace even without a carbon plate.

The pros

  • Bouncy midsole
  • Lightweight and fast
  • Smooth ride

The cons

  • Not stable
  • Rubbing on back of heel
  • Not for longer than 10k distance

Where to buy

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Rating breakdown

Comfort
9.0
Build quality
8.0
Upper
10
Sole unit
8.0
Landing
9.0
Transition
10
Toe-off
9.0
Traction
8.0
Durability
8.0
Value / Price
8.0

Facts / Specs

Model
HOKA Cielo Road
Type
Weight
7.1 oz (201 g)
MSRP
$160.00

Heel
33 mm.
Toe
30 mm.
Heel drop
3 mm.
Carbon plate
No plate

Size/Fit

Sizing
True to size
Heel fit
Normal
Midfoot fit
Normal
Toebox fit
Normal

Cushioning & ride

Type of cushioning
Responsive
Amount of cushioning
Medium cushioning
Stability
Not particularly stable
Flexibility
Medium

Usage

Racing  
Speedwork  
Daily training
Long distance racing
Ultra distance racing

Who should buy the Hoka One One HOKA Cielo Road ?

Anyone looking for a non-carbon plated training shoe or someone looking for a good racing shoe that isn’t as expensive as the carbon-plated options out there would do pretty well with these shoes.

If you have the Hoka Rocket X2 and are searching for a non-plated alternative for training or for shorter distances, this is it.

Who should not buy the Hoka One One HOKA Cielo Road ?

If you are a half marathon or above racer looking for a shoe that can double as an interval and longer tempo shoe, this isn’t for you. This shoe doesn’t handle longer distances with comfort.

Hoka One One HOKA Cielo Road Introduction

Picture of HOKA Cielo Road

The Hoka Cielo Road is Hoka’s offering for shorter distance racing, such as the 5k/10k. It can also double as a fast training shoe.

This shoe may remind running veterans of the lower stack racing flats that were ubiquitous in the past. This shoe reminds of the Adidas Adios 8, which is another shoe that I have reviewed.

In comparison, this shoe is much bouncier but shares similar characteristics in its breathability, lightweight feel, fast ride, and good outsole grip. One major difference with this shoe is the midsole is made of Peba foam, which is the reason for the bouncier feel.

In the Hoka racing lineup, this shoe sits below it’s carbon-plated counterpart, the Hoka Rocket X2. While both have the lower profiles with Peba foam midsole, the Rocket X2 includes the carbon plate for extra propulsion and comfort for longer distances.

Hoka One One HOKA Cielo Road First Impressions

When first opening this box, the first thing that stood out was the open mesh throughout the upper and how lightweight the shoe felt.

At 7.1 oz for a size 9, this is a very lightweight shoe.

When trying to put it on for the first time, the only difficulty I had was that this shoe didn’t slip right on. Similar to the Adidas Adios 8, the thin materials in the upper don’t really allow for any support for your foot to slide right in.

My first run in these shoes was an easy 5 miler. The shoes felt comfortable enough but I could feel some rubbing on the back of my Achilles. As it turns out, while I didn’t get a blister, I definitely had some irritation left on my skin. While it was a hot morning, the mesh uppers helped my feet breathe as best as possible. The shoelaces stayed tied for the duration of the run on a single knot.

My first workout in these shoes was a tempo/threshold run that totaled 13 miles. There were two 5 mile intervals. Both intervals felt pretty good at pace as the bounciness of the shoes helped me keep the paces up. There was still rubbing on the back of heels but, again, no blisters. My feet didn’t feel great in the latter half of the second set. That was about 10 miles in. At that point, the paces felt great but there wasn’t enough shoe to help me feel comfortable.

Hoka One One HOKA Cielo Road Upper

Picture of HOKA Cielo Road

The shoe fits true to size for my size 9 feet. As mentioned earlier, there is an issue with the rubbing on the back of the heel but I will say that it’s possible it’s only limited some sort of break-in period.

By miles 35+, the rubbing seems to have disappeared. The upper is well constructed and the mesh is very much see-through. It helps your foot to breathe while keep the weight of the shoe as low as possible.

The laces were fine for me although I can see how some people might think they are a bit short. The tongue is not gusseted but it stays in place very well.

Hoka One One HOKA Cielo Road Sole Unit

Picture of HOKA Cielo Road

The sole unit of this shoe is what helps this shoe shine. Beginning with the Peba foam, this shoe has lightweight bounciness all over it.

You feel energized and the shoe is made such that there is a rocker feel to it. Unlike the Brooks Hyperion Max, it doesn’t seem like you have to land a certain way in order to feel the full propulsion of the rocker.

This shoe just helps you do the work however you’re running.

The overall heel drop on this shoe is just 3mm (33mm heel, 30mm forefoot). The ride on the Cielo Road is very smooth and even easy runs can feel fast.

Picture of HOKA Cielo Road

One complaint of the midsole is the lack of stability. While the shoe is smooth and fast, that is mostly on straighter or gently curved roads. When it comes to sharp turns, I never felt comfortable taking it fast.

The outsole of this shoe is pretty good. There is a good amount of rubber throughout the bottom of the shoe. After 50+ miles, the rubber seems to be holding up pretty well.

The grip is ok. I ran in rainy conditions once and I didn’t feel particularly stable both because of the foam and the rubber outsole.

This rubber definitely doesn’t compare to the Continental rubber that Adidas uses but it’s adequate enough for non-rainy runs.

Hoka One One HOKA Cielo Road Conclusions

Picture of HOKA Cielo Road

Overall, the Hoka Cielo Road is a fine lightweight shoe that is built well for short distance races and lower volume fast training.

Because I’m currently in marathon training mode, I have to be particular about pulling out this shoe to make sure that the volume of my run fits within the comforts of this shoe.

I didn’t love the initial heel rubbing that I experienced but it has since disappeared.

This is going to be an interval shoe for me for the foreseeable future but I might have to experience a 5k race with it once marathon training season is over.

This shoe is a great option if you’re looking to save money and not spend on a carbon-plated shoe.

It’s also made very well, so you’re likely getting more value for your money than other lightweight trainers/racers from other brands.

How does the HOKA Cielo Road compare?

Hoka One One Rocket X 2
Hoka One One HOKA Cielo Road
Adidas adizero Adios 8
Expert score
9
7
9
User score
Best price
Retail price
US$250
US$159.95
US$129.95
Shoe type
Weight
8.3 oz
7.1 oz
7.4 oz
Heel Drop
5 mm
3 mm
8 mm
Recommended for
Racing, speedwork, long distance racing
Racing, speedwork
Racing, speedwork
Cushioning type
responsive
responsive
responsive
Cushioning amount
Highly cushioned
Medium cushioning
Medium cushioning
Flexibility
rigid
medium
medium
Stability
some stability
not particularly stable
some stability
Sizing
buy half size bigger
true to size
true to size

Why you can trust us

As editorial policy, we do not accept free samples from companies.
We purchased this pair of Hoka One One at Running Warehouse  with our own money.

This page contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. Read more about our policy.
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Reviewed by Larry

This review was written by Larry Lam on 02nd October.
Larry lives outside of Raleigh, NC with his wife, 3 kids, and his dog. He's been running since high school and loves pretty much any distance up to the 50k. Larry enjoys running for both fun and competition - in that order. Outside of running, Larry chauffeurs his kids around to their various exploits - soccer, swimming, track, dance, music, etc.

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