Hoka One One's Sky Kaha hiking boots have had a 2020 upgrade. The newest iteration features the brand's own rubberised foam sole design and a full-grain waterproof leather design, plus a GORE-TEX waterproof bootie to keep your feet comfortable and dry. This range has long been a regular in our ranking of the best women's hiking boots (as well as the best hiking boots for men), so how does the latest version hold up? Read on for our Hoka One One's Sky Kaha review.
First, let's address the obvious. Yes, these boots look...odd. They have the appearance of a futuristic reimagining of the walking boot, and that's not far from the truth. Hoka One One started out as a trail running brand by two innovators who wanted to create a more comfortable shoe. In the years since the brand was founded, its range has expanded to cover everything from track running shoes to hiking boots, but its focus on comfort and performance remains.
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The Sky Kaha boots look odd as Hoka One One has incorporated its proprietary sole design into a walking boot – and yes, it works. The sole has a rocker design that mimics the natural gait and 'drives the foot forward', with a cushioned midsole that the foot sits within, rather than on top of. In action, it gives an incredible amount of arch support, making the movement of the foot a seamless flow from heel to toe. We've suffered on and off from plantar fasciitis and found the support really helped alleviate the condition after longer walks.
While that sole might look bulky, the boot is surprisingly lightweight, and it feels supportive rather than spongy, sucking up the impact of the foot against the ground so your feet remain fresh after many long hours of walking over varied terrain.
It's not just about the sole, however. The GORE-TEX liner keeps your feet dry, and the high ankle gives some support, but still allows plenty of movement in the joint for climbs and descents as it's made from a softer, flexible foam material rather than the structured, protective leather the rest of the upper is constructed from. It's great for keeping dust and debris from getting into the boot. Decent sized lugs on the base with Vibram Megagrip rubber helped keep us stable and confident on muddy, slippery slopes.
These boots are ready to go straight out of the box and felt comfortable without requiring breaking in, though they didn't have that 'formed to your foot' feel that you get with more traditional boots after the breaking in period. And while we didn't have any issues, some reviews found that the stitching around the ankle rubbed a little on rockier terrain.
Our verdict is don't be put off by the looks, particularly if you want plenty of comfort and arch support. We've embraced them fully because comfort and performance reigns supreme, and for long hill walks and rambles, these boots are Queen.
Find out more about the Hoka One One Women's Sky Kaha GTX boots.