Gaviota’s updated midsole supports runners who supinate (run on the outside of the foot) as well as overpronate (roll excessively in) and is especially suited for long and recovery runs; it is also a great shoe for walkers and those on their feet all day who need supportive shoes.
Though Gaviota is lighter than in the past, it is not best for speed-focused runs or runners who prefer a light, quick feel underfoot. The midsole support is helpful for non-neutral runners, this outsole is not the most durable option for those with heavy wear patterns.
HOKA’s maximal midsoles quickly rose in fame since the brand’s start in 2009. The Gaviota, which means “seagull” in Spanish, is the stability version of the max-cushioned Bondi in HOKA’s line-up and now offers 5 mm. more midsole than Bondi.
Gaviota comes with a high price tag at $175 USD, up $5 from the 4.
This is a distinctly better shoe than the past two models due to a new stability system that meets the needs of both over and under pronators.
In addition, an early stage rocker system replaces the late stage rocker which results in a better transition. In other words, this shoe will work for most people and rolls smoothly underfoot.
Shoe weight is 9.1 oz. (W sz. 8) and 10.9 oz. (M sz. 10).
Saucony Hurricane along with Brooks Beast (men’s) and Ariel (women’s) similarly boast top comfort and stability from their brands with drop heights of 8 mm. and 12 mm. respectively.
This attractive, revamped shoe jumped out of the box with a soft-looking base and wider-looking forefoot than I was used to in my last pair of Gaviota (the 3).
Walking around in the shoe for the first time I immediately noticed three positive changes:
I jokingly call the older Gaviota 3 my “strength-training shoe”; I run in it when I want a strength workout from pulling the heavy shoe through each step! I was not looking forward to testing another heavy shoe, so was overjoyed at Gaviota’s unexpected changes!
The Gaviota 5 is about an ounce lighter per shoe than the previous two models. This plus the change in rocker provide a MUCH more pleasant ride.
Why wear dress shoes when you have running shoes?
I went with the more plain harbor mist/rose gold colorway of Gaviota 5 for a running shoe that doubles as a classy work shoe, but there are also some really attractive, brighter colorways for the men’s and the women’s shoes as well as classic black.
Gaviota’s redesigned Creel Jacquard mesh upper is strong and breathable, with an internal heel counter that is no longer supported by a plastic cap behind the heel—a change that makes sense as the heel counter is most effective countering excess side-to-side motion (versus backward).
There is still an easy-to-use heel loop for pulling the shoe on, though not as attractive as the rope version in the 4.
A plush ankle opening and sock liner welcome the foot; a padded tongue protects the foot, despite a slight down-grade in thickness. The tongue is now semi-gusseted only on the medial side, meaning it is attached to the midsole with a flexible strip.
The lacing system is trimmed down to standard, well-supported holes, with laces still running through a loop in the tongue.
Fit is true-to-size, and the forefoot offers a touch more room.
Gaviota’s completely revamped sole is now 5 mm. higher dropping from 36 mm. in the heel down to 30 mm. in the forefoot, a change in drop from 5mm. to 6 mm.
This midsole now sports an early-stage Meta-Rocker that rolls the runner through the foot plant. Meta-Rockers function 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 (closer to the midfoot), while late-stage Meta-Rockers have the transition zone in front of the metatarsal heads (closer to the toes).
The late stage is arguably more stable because it does not roll forward as quickly, but this makes the transition more blocky; what people really care about—side to side stability—does not require a blocky ride!
The top, firm midsole layer is shaped like an “H” to provide support to both edges of the shoe. This increases Gaviota’s appeal with those who overpronate (roll too far in) and supinate (don’t roll far enough). This “H-frame” technology replaces the “J-frame” of the past.
Gaviota’s soft CMEVA (compression molded ethylene vinyl acetate) midsole foam is comfortable without being squishy and is surprisingly light.
Durabrasion rubber patches cover a series of “circles” running up and down both sides of the outsole as well as the tip of the shoe bringing decent grip. The rubber wears alongside exposed midsole. This shoe’s lowest point is outsole durability.
The support makes this shoe excellent for those with non-neutral gaits, but the lower durability will not stand up against heavily uneven wear patterns. Runners have to choose between lighter weight or more outsole.
Gaviota remains a stable, comfortable shoe that is best for slower-paced runs and walking, but this version is more fun to run in than in the past.
A smooth roll and lighter weight now encourage the runner along, and the look shines with class.
Are you looking for comfort and support? Definitely give this one a try!