Hoka Ora Recovery Review
Cons: Poor traction, relatively unstable, uncomfortable straps and toe block
Manufacturer: HOKA ONE ONE
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Hoka Ora Recovery
$55.00 at REI
|$55.99 at Amazon|
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|Pros||Extremely soft, light weight||Attractive, comfortable, affordable||Comfortable, light, good in wet conditions, great support, affordable||Stylish, great wet environment traction, odor resistant||Bargain basement price, relatively comfortable, good in wet conditions|
|Cons||Poor traction, relatively unstable, uncomfortable straps and toe block||Breaking in takes time, poor traction||Not as soft or breathable as leather||Not good in mountain terrain, loose fit||Low arch, not suitable for hiking|
|Bottom Line||Good for casual lounging or potentially after event foot care if you prefer ultra soft flip flops and don't need much arch support||After break-in, these cult classic flip flops offer excellent comfort and classic styling||These feel like classic Birkenstocks but are entirely synthetic, perfect for wet conditions and vegans||An excellent pair for hanging at the beach, boating, or kicking the style up a notch||These offer decent comfort and overall usability that far exceeds typical bargain basement flip flops|
|Rating Categories||Hoka Ora Recovery||Rainbow Premier Lea...||Birkenstock Arizona...||Hari Mari Dunes II||NeedBo NDB|
|Specs||Hoka Ora Recovery||Rainbow Premier Lea...||Birkenstock Arizona...||Hari Mari Dunes II||NeedBo NDB|
|Sole Material||EVA||Non-slip rainbow bottom||EVA||Foam||Rubber|
|Footbed Material||EVA||Nubuck leather||EVA||Foam||EVA|
|Strap Material||EVA||Nubuck leather||EVA||Nylon||EVA|
|Weight (per pair)||13 oz||13.1 oz||9.3 oz||17 oz||10.5 oz|
|Available Sizes||7 - 14||Small - XXXL||6-6.5 - 13-13.5||8 -13||6.5-17|
Our Analysis and Test Results
Hoka is pretty much a household name these days in the world of running and hiking. Their footwear is generally extremely comfortable and offers a wide variety of cushion for running on anything from a sidewalk to rugged mountains. We were drawn to the Ora Recovery flip flop because we imagined a stable and supportive footbed for after-adventure comfort. This was mostly the case but there were a few downsides.
Yes, the several inches of squishy EVA foam does offer a lot of comfort. This is a bit different than other flip flops, however, as the Ora Recovery is not well suited to do a lot of walking or hiking. It's more of a stand around the beer tent after an event and socializes type of flip. The straps are a bit abrasive out of the box with some sharp edges and the toe block isn't particularly soft, things we didn't really notice until we were getting our steps in. When just standing around, the pillowy food bed did all the talking.
While many Hoka shoes, despite their thick soles, do offer decent support and lateral stability, the Ora Recovery flip flop is a bit unstable. Likely due to the lack of a hard rubber sole, the edges seem to collapse easily. As this flip flop is mostly at home when just chilling after an event, this might not be that big of a deal. When we did get out on some mellow trails the Ora just didn't feel stable enough to inspire any confidence. We ultimately decided it was in our ankle's best interests to just stick to the flats. While the overall lateral stability is a bit questionable, the footbed does offer some nice, yet squishy, arch support. This shoe is "rockered" like many of Hoka's shoes, which gives a feeling of being propelled or rocked forward with each step.
Many of the flip flops we have tested pair an EVA footbed with a dense rubber sole — the dense sole is what provides most of the traction. The Ora forgoes the dense rubber sole which has a massive negative impact on traction. Where the "rubber meets the road" isn't rubber at all. It's just squishy foam. This is fantastic for soaking up any potential bumps, but the grip is nothing to write home about. As we mentioned previously, these flip flops seem most at home just kinda hanging out and providing a massive amount of cushion for bruised feet. If you are looking for a pair of flip flops to do a little hiking, these may not be a great choice.
The Ora Recovery is absolutely a specialized flip flop. Pushing these to their limit would look like going beyond the vendor tent parking lot at your next event. They do offer some decent wet environment performance since they dry out rapidly, but the lack of traction and fairly unstable design make them much more at home as an around the house or purely recovery flip flop, as the name implies.
Imagine if Michael Phelps and Cookie Monster got together for a design brainstorm session to design a flip flop that says, "I absolutely crushed my feet on the course today". Are you imagining it? Well if you're having trouble imagining it, just check out the Ora. If you're considering a pair of these, you likely aren't too concerned with style or impressing your crush at the next backyard BBQ. What the styling of the Ora Recovery does say is that you are more concerned with the wellbeing of your feet after a long day in the mountains than you are with looking good.
While the Ora Recovery isn't priced extremely high compared to the rest of the field, the value still isn't incredibly high. If you are simply looking for the most squishy flip flops on the market, these are definitely it. If you're wanting something that's a bit more well-rounded, the Recovery is likely not a very good value. Just the fact that these flip flops are purely made of foam layers without a rubber sole significantly detracts from their overall versatility and likely doesn't bode well for their lifespan, though they have held up well for the few months we have been testing them.
The Hoka Ora Recovery flip flop is really a one-trick pony. It is quite comfortable when hanging out having a brew after a long day on your feet. Aside from this one circumstance they aren't versatile and are lacking in the other attributes we demand from all-around great flip flops. While that might sound pretty negative, the truth is the Ora Recovery does what it does, and it does it well.
— Brian Martin
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