Fresh from the AW21 Hoka One One collection, the Hoka One One Anacapa Low Gore-Tex hiking shoe is a dedicated day hiker shoe that marries no small amount of tacti-cool looks with progressive sole geometry and a sprinkle of environmental creds to boot. Don't be put off by that unorthodox styling, it's one of the best men's walking shoes we've tried.
The Hoka One One Anacapa Low Gore-Tex hiking shoe is available from Autumn 2021 at a UK RRP of £135. Read on for our full review.
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Hoka One One Anacapa Low review: design and build
The Hoka One One Anacapa Low Gore-Tex hiking shoe isn’t shy on any front, far less in the design. A lightweight Nubuck leather upper (Leather Working Group certified) wraps a Gore-Tex liner (incorporating recycled textile), while the molded PU sockliner is derived from 50% soybean oil. The collar, mesh and laces involve recycled polyester materials too, really amping up the eco-friendly manufacturing count.
That chunky sole unit is Vibram Megagrip rubber with 5mm lugs, which immediately grabs the eye, as well as grips pretty much everything. There's been considerable ingenuity in the design and build here by Hoka One One, layering materials to maximise protection and durability but also retain breathability and flexibility. The Nubuk leather creates quite an old-school shoe unit, wrapping around the heel and forward as far as the laces. Then the polyester outer takes over for the toe-box, before meeting a rubberised toecap, itself crowned with some Vibram Megagrip wrapped round from the sole. This complexity also helps bring the shoes in at just under 400grams per shoe - not too shabby for such a monster.
Hoka One One Anacapa Low review: comfort and performance
The sole unit is the first thing you’ll notice in the performance department, for several reasons. While the 6mm heel-toe drop isn’t particularly extreme, and contributes to a surprisingly neutral foot position, there’s plenty of unusual geometry here. Most obviously the heel unit – far less aggressive than the completely over-the-top Hoka One One Ten Nine Hike – but still with a significant overhang that initially forces the wearer to tread with care on rocky downhill sections, stairs and when driving.
However, on the open trail the Hoka One One Anacapa Low Gore-Tex hiking shoe delivers the flipside of this deep sole unit – a super-plush, deadly comfortable ride. Coupled with the aggressive tread pattern (which will chew up and retain most trail surfaces) it’s immediately easy to believe in these shoes, and trust them to keep you trekkin all day long. The upper nubuck is immediately flexible straight out of the box, and the polyester toe section offers no resistance at all, making normal walking totally effortless.
Another obvious feature is the heel upper, equipped with an unusual additional heel insert, like a high-end mountaineering boot. While it might look a little odd, this insert makes for a much more comfortable walking experience, locking the heel firmly into place underneath it, cushioning the Achilles, as well as spreading long-term wear from any remaining minimal heel lift. It also positions the fabric pull-on loop beautifully to the hand - an essential element in donning these in a hurry.
Although the Hoka One One Anacapa Low Gore-Tex hiking shoe is supremely comfortable, it’s worth noting that the sole unit isn’t standard – like much of this shoe – in that the Vibram Megagrip doesn’t cover the entire sole, leaving a gap under the foot arch that’s the same soft EVA material as the midsole. Although this isn’t one of the highest wear areas on the sole, this could prove to be an issue longer term, and will certainly take wear on more abrasive surfaces such as rocky paths and trails.
Hoka One One Anacapa Low review: verdict
The reality is that there are an awful lot of hiking shoes out there, most of which are pretty similar in performance and looks. We like Hoka One One’s dedication to mixing things up in this space, bringing genuine trail expertise to bear on a market that’s often a bit of an afterthought. That said, even these are a low-profile take on the taller Anacapa Mid model, but still there’s lots to like here – mostly in terms of comfort, although build quality and dynamic looks are also high notes.
At this price point, the Hoka One One Anacapa Low Gore-Tex hiking shoe is highly capable, as well as strikingly different, which is rarely a bad thing...