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January 2020 Issue
Home / Gear reviews / Footwear / Three season boots

Hoka One One Sky Kaha

Price:

$499

Our Rating:

At a glance
Plusses: Lightweight, supreme comfort, stable, good grip.
Minusses: Expensive, fiddly lace lock.

Weight: 1016g (m), 852g (w)

Features: The Sky Kaha’s overriding principle is comfort. It has a full-grain waterproof leather upper, eVent waterproof/breathable lining, an EVA midsole with an extra layer of rubberised foam which makes it look like you’re about five centimetres taller than you really are, but which also provides a plush cushioned platform to walk on. The upper lace hardware has an effective lace-lock and an extra heel-lock eyelet allows an adjustable fit – use the rear eyelet for securing the heel in place, use the front eyelet for tighter lacing across the bridge of the foot. The boot is wide-fitting and has a huge outsole measuring 11.5cm at its widest to offer plenty of traction.

Fit: These are roomy boots – so much so that I could easily wriggle my toes – but not to the extent they are loose-fitting. They wrapped my feet in plush luxury, preventing heel lift and foot slide. 

Comfort: It is not possible to overstate how comfortable these boots are. The midsole foam and padded lining offer next-level cushioning, the extra width easily accommodated my feet and the adjustable lacing
prevents pressure points. 

In use: The profile of these boots is quite unusual. The extra layer of foam has the user standing high above the trail, but they are just as stable as other boots thanks to the extra width of the outsole. The boot has a rockered design which means the toe and the heel rest off the ground. This design is said to be more energy-efficient, allowing the wearer to roll through their steps. I convinced myself my feet did feel less fatigued at day’s end.

The grip is superb, but the shallow tread means it doesn’t perform that well on loose terrain. But because the boots are so wide and the sole surface provides extensive ground contact, the shallow tread is more than compensated for.

I found the lace lock effective – once in, the lace does not slip – but also annoying. The gap to hook the lace into is narrow and is easy to miss. It also requires force, so I wouldn’t want to be doing it in cold weather with numb fingers.

After a few months of use, the boots are looking on the abused side – but that’s because they’ve become my go-to for pretty much every walk. 

Value: These are an expensive boot, but what price do you put on comfort? Their durability may be compromised in the long term as the foam midsole compresses and indeed, the boot is already showing signs of use. 

Verdict: Their comfort needs to be trialled to be believed. A good boot for on-track hikes of a day or longer and while wearing a pack. 

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