Hoka One One Trainers

Review: Hoka One One Challenger ATR 3 Trail Running Shoes

A versatile and mega comfortable trail runner that your knees and feet will love

If supreme comfort and shock absorbing stability are on the agenda for your next pair of trail runners, then the Hoka One One Challenger ATR 3’s are most certainly for you. Promoting a neutral running position, and with a highly luxurious footbed, these quirky-looking trail running shoes are to be enjoyed by the knees and joints of road and trail runners alike.

Hoka One One Challenger ATR 3: The stats

Best for:All terrain
Heel to toe drop:5.00 mm
Weight:(US sz 7) 7.90 oz
Waterproof:No

Features of the Hoka One One Challenger ATR 3

Outsole

Grip of trainersThe bottom of these trail runners features 4mm lugs and a podular outsole design that provides excellent stability on uneven terrain.

Laces

Laces of trainersLaces that don’t stay done up are a huge frustration. But these are nice and flat, and don’t undo themselves constantly — even with a single tie. They’re on the long side, but that leaves plenty of length should you wish to do a double knot.

Cushioning

Sole of trainersThe oversized EVA midsole provides lightweight cushioning that is superbly cushy under the whole of your foot. There is also plenty of cushioning at the heel making the foot feel highly secure and comfortably at the ankle.

The uppers

Upper trainersThe upper section of the shoes are constructed with breathable layers of synthetic fabric that have reinforced overlays for greater support and durability.


Hoka One One Challenger ATR 3 review

My first few outings in these distinctive-looking trail runners had me feeling a little anxious about falling over. I felt like I was some weird Croc-platform shoe hybrid! Bumper-cars of the trail running world. The signature sole of Hoka One One footwear creates a platform of support and comfort that is like no other shoes I’ve ever worn. It can feel more cumbersome than comfortable — to start with, at least. But once I’d gotten used to them, I soon came to really love this feature.

The fit

Though these are not especially narrow shoes, the toe box is certainly on the fitted side. Obviously this is personal preference, but for my regular width feet I find them just a touch tighter across my toes than I prefer. Having said that, they are not so tight there that I get any discomfort from them at all. But if you prefer a little more wiggle space for your toes to splay then you may find these slightly restrictive.

Comfort

Hoka One One claim that the Challengers have modest cushioning. However, compared with other trail shoes I’ve worn in recent years, I would say these are by far the most comfortable. And that is mostly down to the cushioning. The soles of my feet feel like they sink into the footbeds, and the shoes feels luxurious around my ankles and heels.

The grip

I’ve been super impressed with the ‘stickiness’ of the soles. And surprised, if I’m honest. They perform equally well on dry, loose downhills, as they do on wet and slippery uphills. In fact, I would go as far as to say that they almost rival the Salomon Speedcross trail runners in terms of grip performance.

Stability

The mid-soles provide a ton of support through my arches (though not height in the arches). And the relatively small heel to toe drop helps keep my feet in a relatively neutral position, much like the Topo Athletic Terraventures. Additionally, their snug fit and secure lacing system prevents my toes from hitting the front of the shoes on descents. There is minimal foot movement inside them at all.

Versatility

The Challengers may have been be pipped at the post when it comes to grip, but they soar above the Salomon’s in the durability stakes. I would go to great lengths to avoid pavement running in my Speedcross’, as their lugs wore down very quickly. The soles of the Challengers, however, deal with road running with no problems at all. And their cushioning makes road running (almost) enjoyable again!

Hoka trainers

What I love the most about the Hoka One One Challenger ATR 3

They’re super bouncy! and the cushioning is highly luxurious. I feel really supported when landing big leaps off or over rocks, and my knees very much enjoy the extra level of shock absorption that they offer. They look pretty great too!

What I don’t love so much about the Hoka One One Challenger ATR 3

They don’t drain water through very efficiently.


Verdict

With superb grip both on and off the trail, the Hoka One One Challenger ATR 3’s are an exceptional trail running shoe, especially if comfort and support are important. Although slightly on the narrow side for some, the overall fit and performance puts these durable trail runners up there with the best high performance trail running shoes on the market.

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Disclaimer: Cool of the Wild received this product free in return for an honest review. We only recommend gear that we love from companies we trust and we are under no obligation to give a positive review. All thoughts and opinions are that of the reviewer and we are in no way influenced by the brand or company.

About Joey

author-joey

Joey is based in Cornwall, UK, and runs Cool of the Wild. She can’t get enough of being outdoors – whether that’s lounging around the campfire cooking up a feast, hitting the trail in her running shoes, or attempting to conquer the waves on her surfboard – she lives for it. Camping is what she loves to do the most, but has also spent many many hours clinging to the side of a rock face, cycling about the place, cruising the ski-slopes on her snowboard and hiking small mountains and big hills.

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