Hoka Kaha 2 GTX - All Gender Review
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Hoka Kaha 2 GTX - All Gender
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|Pros||Supreme comfort, high quality design, waterproof, excellent traction||Lightweight, comfortable, breathable, great traction, reasonable price||Wide toe box, lightweight, padded ankle support, durable lacing system provides stability, excellent traction||Lightweight, stylish, supportive, comfortable||Improved traction, great for a wide foot, inexpensive, well-padded ankle|
|Cons||Expensive, Gore-Tex does not breathe well in hot conditions, thicker sole takes some adjustment||Not as supportive as a traditional leather hiking boot||Pricier, 0mm drop heel takes some adjustment time||Lacks ankle support for extended backcountry travel||Lacing system lacks durability, not enough ankle support for heavier loads, Achilles isn't well padded, heavy|
|Bottom Line||Plush cushion, waterproof durability, and a stable design make these hikers a great choice for extended backcountry missions||A lightweight, breathable, waterproof, and supportive hiking boot that excelled in multiple testing metrics and offers maximum control when moving through technical terrain||These hiking boots have a similar design and feel to your favorite running shoe while also offering a durable outsole, grippy lugs, and a spacious toe box||A sleek, stylish, and lightweight hiking boot that doesn't sacrifice backcountry performance, though is better for shorter trips||These boots offer improved traction and comfort right out of the box, though they underperform in terms of durability and support for extended backpacking trips|
|Rating Categories||Hoka Kaha 2 GTX - A...||La Sportiva Ultra R...||Altra Lone Peak ALL...||Teva Grandview GTX Mid||Merrell Moab 3 Mid WP|
|Water Resistance (15%)|
|Specs||Hoka Kaha 2 GTX - A...||La Sportiva Ultra R...||Altra Lone Peak ALL...||Teva Grandview GTX Mid||Merrell Moab 3 Mid WP|
|Weight (per pair)||2.20 lbs (size 8)||1.68 lbs (size EU 40)||1.60 lbs (size 8.5)||1.86 lbs (size 8.5)||2.06 lbs (size 8)|
|Upper||Nubuck leather||AirMesh, microfiber, TPU||eVent fabric||Leather, synthetic, textile||Leather, mesh|
|Width Options||Regular||Regular, Wide||Regular||Regular||Regular, Wide|
|Water Resistant Membrane||Gore-Tex||Gore-Tex||eVent||Gore-Tex||Waterproof membrane|
|Midsole||Rubberized EVA||MEMlex||Altra EGO||EVA||Super Rebound Compound|
|Sole||Vibram Megagrip rubber||FriXion XF 2.0 Rubber||DuraTread Rubber||Vibram Megagrip rubber||Vibram TC5+|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Hoka Kaha 2 GTX All Gender is an excellent choice for those serious hikers who prioritize support, comfort, and durability in their hiking boots. With over two inches of plush cushion underfoot, a stable and supportive base, as well as killer traction through various terrain, these boots inspired more confidence with every mile. A durable and completely waterproof design make it easy for our testing team to recommend the Kaha 2 for the most aggressive terrain and weather conditions.
The designers of the Hoka Kaha 2 GTX All Gender clearly prioritized comfort above all other metrics. The symmetrical and plush cushioned footbed is one of the thickest models that we tested, with over two inches of foam under each foot. Our testers found the foam protection to be a double-edged sword, while the thick foam prevents any discomfort while inevitably encountering rocks, stumps, or roots on the trail, it also takes some getting used to. We found it necessary to lift our foot a little higher so as to prevent tripping over the rocks and stumps that the cushion conceals.
Another caveat to the supreme foam comfort of the Kaha 2 was the stiffer construction, which we attribute to the leather upper in addition to the Gore-tex and water repellency treatment. This resulted in a longer break in period than say a boot that offers a little more flex right out of the box. That being said, after just a couple day hikes, we were experiencing full range of motion and appreciating the soft and anatomical cushioning underfoot.
Perhaps one of the most supportive and stable hiking boots that we've tested, the Kaha 2 showed its superiority over the competition. Features like the CMEVA midsole and Hubble heel with swallowtail design create a new level of stability underfoot but also create a futuristic look. While some boots that we tested were designed with a softer ankle cushion, the ankle protection of the Kaha is rigid, preventing our ankle from rolling on the trail.
Another notable feature is the meta-rocker technology which contributes to the stable base of this thicker shoe. Our testers found that between the extended swallowtail design (which extends the length of the shoe and a little further beyond the heel), the wide base, the rocker design of the sole, and the rigid ankle shaft, we were confident to take on the burliest of backcountry missions.
Thanks to the integration of a Vibram Megagrip rubber on the sole with a significant 5mm lug and tread pattern, these boots performed well on every type of terrain, whether we were moving through polished boulders or switching it up to desert sandstone.
The Kaha 2 inspired confidence even when already slick boulders and decomposing granite became wet after a significant rain storm in the Eastern Sierra. The thick and aggressive lugs provide solid traction with every step.
It was not surprising that the Kaha 2 performed well in this metric. The height of the boot measures over 5 inches and prevents water from entering through the top. Plus, the Gore-Tex waterproof membrane and a waterproof leather upper sealed these boots off during our water resistance tests. Keep in mind that the trade-off for this high level of water resistance is a reduction in breathability.
The Kaha 2 has a waterproof Gore-Tex membrane rather than an eVent waterproof liner, as in previous Hoka models that we tested. The updated membrane performed well, and our feet remained warm and dry throughout our tests. We suspect that this updated membrane will offer more long-term waterproof qualities, but time will tell. We found that the high shaft height and the seal created by tightening the laces down kept water out effectively, even when submerged for up to one minute.
Sometimes there is a caveat to a high-performing and feature-rich product, and here is where we find it. Unfortunately, the Kaha 2 is one of the heavier hiking boots we tested. Weighing in at 2.2 pounds per pair of women's size 8 US, this boot is not considered lightweight. That said, other boots in this review within a similar weight range did not offer anywhere close to the same amount of comfort and support.
While this is the only metric where the Kaha 2 didn't shine, our testers never felt weighed down, even when moving in these boots for the length of an entire day. The excellent features and support balance out the slight increase in weight.
The Kaha 2 received high marks in this metric, thanks to its all-leather upper, reinforced steel eyelets, and firmly-cushioned sole. The waterproof fabric, in addition to the DWR water-repellency treatment, also helps to increase the durability of this boot.
While not a traditional leather hiker, this boot is perhaps the burliest of all the contemporary hiking boots we tested. The leather upper is subject to some scuffs and micro tears after encountering rocks and stumps on the trail, but we consider this normal for boots with similar construction. Other than a few cosmetic abrasions, we are happy to report that the Kaha experienced no durability issues during our testing period. We would gladly choose these boots for even the most intense backcountry excursions.
Should You Buy the Hoka Kaha 2 GTX All Gender?
The Kaha 2 GTX is incredibly comfortable and supportive around the ankle. The aggressive 5mm lug pattern and the swallowtail design provide confidence on the trails thanks to a stable base you can count on. The all-leather, waterproof uppers make them durable and water-resistant. These are a great pick for extended backpacking trips or day hikes if you're looking for all-day comfort and top-of-the-line support.
What Other Hiking Boots Should You Consider?
These boots are an investment; however, if you want to prioritize comfort, support, and stability, all in a waterproof design, the Kaha 2 GTX boots live up to the hype. If you are after something a little more affordable while still offering comfort and support, check out the La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX. For those interested in all-day comfort with a lot less foam underfoot and a zero-drop design, check out the Altra Lone Peak ALL-WTHR Mid.
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