A few days back, I reviewed a pair of HOVR Infinite running shoes from Under Armour, finding them a perfectly competent option for road runners, with an intriguing dash of tech added to the mix. Today, I’ll take a look at a completely different type of shoe, this time from Hoka One One.
The new Hupana Flow promises to be a versatile, do-all type of footwear that departs from what we’ve come to expect from Hoka. And while I wouldn’t recommend them to hardcore runners, they have charmed their way onto my feet in other capacities.
At first glance, you’d be forgiven for mistaking the Hupana Flow for a loafer rather than an athletic shoe. Its knit upper, which is great for improved weight and breathability, also lends it a level of sophistication that you don’t find all that often in a running shoe. Indeed, the Hupana actually looks like it would be more at home at a concert, sporting event, or even a casual night out on the town, rather than the gym or out on the road for a run.
A Road Running Shoe
Like the HOVR Infinite, the Hupana Flow is billed as a road running shoe, albeit one that liberally uses rubberized foam throughout its sole. Hoka has incorporated the material in the midsole to provide a cushioned and comfortable ride –– something the company is well known for –– as well as in the outsole for improved rebound and protection. The result is a comfortable shoe that provides nice support for a wide range of activities.
Comfortable, Light, & Nimble
This being footwear from Hoka, it should come as no surprise that it has a pedigree steeped in athletic design and performance. Indeed, the Hupana feels comfortable, light, and nimble on foot, belying its origins as a running shoe that can be used in other fitness-focused workouts.
Want to wear them to the gym? You’ll find it’s a nice shoe for cross-fit or spin classes, not to mention hitting the weight machine or the treadmill. It can even transition outside for walking or light running, although I didn’t find it the best option for long-distance workouts. Anything more than 3 miles (4.8 km) had me wishing I was wearing a more running-focused shoe instead.
Versatility is the Hupana Flow’s greatest strength, however, and while it may not be my footwear of choice for half-or full-marathon training, it is a solid all-around shoe that does a lot of things well. That includes maintaining its traction on various surfaces, offering a good level of durability, and an understated design unique in the Hoka lineup.
All of this has given me an appreciation for these shoes not necessarily for their intended purpose –– namely running and workout –– but as a travel shoe instead.
Comfortable Enough to Wear Anywhere
The athletic nature of the Hupana Flow makes them comfortable enough to wear just about anywhere while offering plenty of performance to make them useful in a variety of situations.
As someone who loves to travel light, these shoes could be the only ones that I’d take with me on a trip, depending on the location, of course. Because they are so versatile while still managing to look good at the same time, these are the kind of footwear that can blend in a while, wandering a museum, bartering your way through a market, or grabbing dinner in a casual environment.
The flip-side of that coin is that they can also be used to hike a light trail, workout at the hotel gym, and even go for a short run should you need that functionality too. It isn’t often that you find all of those qualities in a single shoe.
If you’re looking for the official particulars on the Hupana Flow, they tip the scales at just 8.9 ounces and feature a 5mm drop from heel to toe. My test pair felt true to both the size and width, meaning you shouldn’t have to size up or down when purchasing them.
They also require absolutely no break-in time either, feeling quite comfortable straight out of the box.
The Hoka One One Hupana Flow is fairly inexpensive for a pair of running shoes, but as already noted, I didn’t find them to necessarily be completely well suited for that job.
Compared to more casual shoes designed for use around town and traveling, they may be on the bit pricier side. That said, you’re getting far more performance and versatility from the Hupana than you would from a more generic “travel shoe.”
That alone makes them worth the extra cash, as you’re getting footwear that falls into the “go almost-anywhere, do almost-anything” category. That’s a rare bird indeed.
As I typically note, with any shoe that I review, your mileage is likely to vary with the Hupana. Selecting the right shoe is a highly personal process, and what works for me may not work for you.
As always, I’d encourage you to try any shoes on before deciding whether or not to buy them, and the Hupana is no different. This is a shoe designed to offer mass appeal, so there is a good chance it will offer the fit and functionality you’re looking for.
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