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Hoka Anacapa 2 Low GTX - Women's Review

This athletically-focused hiking shoe showcases optimal comfort, excellent traction, and waterproof performance within a lightweight and eco-friendly design
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Hoka Anacapa 2 Low GTX - Women's Review (The Anacapa 2 quickly became a favorite among our testing team.)
The Anacapa 2 quickly became a favorite among our testing team.
Credit: Trish Matheny
Price:  $180 List
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Manufacturer:   Hoka
By Trish Matheny ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 3, 2023
77
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#4 of 18
  • Comfort - 25% 9.0
  • Support - 20% 8.0
  • Traction - 15% 8.0
  • Water Resistance - 15% 7.0
  • Weight - 15% 6.6
  • Durability - 10% 6.0

Our Verdict

The Hoka Anacapa 2 Low GTX is a uniquely designed hiking shoe that prioritizes maximum comfort for extended summer days on the trail. Balanced cushioning and neutral stability, in addition to a breathable and fully waterproof recycled mesh upper, enhance your trail experience and satisfy the desire for high performance in various terrain types. The Vibram Megagrip outsole and Hoka's signature SwallowTail heel ensure stability and sturdiness underfoot, resulting in more confidence with every stride. Though the fit favors more of a narrow foot and the arch support is minimal, our testing team found that adjusting sizing and adding an after-market insole was highly beneficial. Overall, these hiking shoes offer top-notch performance in exchange for a reasonable investment.
REASONS TO BUY
Well-cushioned sole and design
Great shock absorption
Breathable
Solid traction
Great waterproof performance
REASONS TO AVOID
Expensive
Lacks durability of a traditional leather hiker
Fit runs big
Toe box favors narrow feet
Editor's Note: We added this review on November 3, 2023, after testing this newest iteration of the Anacapa.

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Bottom Line Prioritizing comfort above all else, this thoughtfully-designed hiking shoe is ready for any trailFeaturing high-quality performance technology, this hiking shoe is designed to handle any backcountry challenge you dream upThese shoes will encourage confidence with every step thanks to incredible grip and sticky Vibram rubber outsolesThis affordable hiking shoe offers great support for those with high archesThe lightweight design and sneaker-like feel provide ample comfort under foot
Rating Categories Hoka Anacapa 2 Low... La Sportiva Spire G... La Sportiva TX4 - W... Merrell Moab 3 - Wo... Columbia Crestwood...
Comfort (25%)
9.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
7.5
Support (20%)
8.0
8.0
9.0
8.0
7.5
Traction (15%)
8.0
9.0
9.0
7.0
7.0
Water Resistance (15%)
7.0
9.0
5.0
4.0
3.0
Weight (15%)
6.6
5.5
7.4
5.3
6.8
Durability (10%)
6.0
8.0
8.0
7.5
6.5
Specs Hoka Anacapa 2 Low... La Sportiva Spire G... La Sportiva TX4 - W... Merrell Moab 3 - Wo... Columbia Crestwood...
Measured Weight (per pair, size 8.5) 1.52 lbs (size 8) 1.68 lbs 1.42 lbs 1.70 lbs 1.50 lbs
Upper Recycled mesh Abrasion-resistant mesh Nubuck leather/1.5mm polyurethane TechLite rand/Vibram rubber toe rand Pigskin leather, mesh Leather, mesh, and webbing
Lining GORE-TEX Invisible Fit waterproof/breathable membranes Gore-Tex Surround Nonslip mesh Recycled mesh Omni-Tech
Flood Level 3.5" 3.75" 3.5" 3.5" 3.5"
Midsole EVA (30% sugarcane) EVA Traverse Injection MEMlex Super rebound compound Techlite
Outsole Vibram Megagrip rubber Vibram XS Trek Vibram Megagrip Traverse with Impact Brake System Vibram TC5 Omni-Grip
Width Options Regular Regular Regular Regular, wide Regular, wide

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Anacapa 2 Low GTX is a uniquely engineered hiking shoe that features a thickly-cushioned design and a Vibram Megagrip outsole for notable comfort and stability. The waterproof performance is effective yet highly breathable thanks to the recycled mesh upper that repels moisture from the inside out. Though the fit favors those with narrow feet and the arch support is minimal, our testing team is confident that you'll be impressed with all the thoughtful features that combine for high performance on the trails.

Performance Comparison


Springy cushioning and a thickly-padded sole made the latest version of the Anacapa 2 a favorite of our testing team.
Credit: Trish Matheny

Comfort


The thickly cushioned sole of the Anacapa 2 offers substantial comfort from the first time you slip them on. The recycled mesh upper allows for excellent flexibility without sacrificing the stability that you'd expect from a hiking shoe. The design includes a lightly padded tongue and extra padding near the Achilles that enhances comfort without overly decreasing the shoe's ability to breathe and shed excess moisture accumulated during your hike.


The Anacapa 2 features a narrow fit that was perfect for our lead tester. That said, the lack of room in the toe box might reduce comfort for those who prefer a wider, more spacious fit. While testing this latest iteration, we even down-sized from an 8.5 to an 8 for a more comfortable fit — trying on these shoes is highly recommended. But when all was said and done, we couldn't help but appreciate the protective cushion that cradled our feet while remaining responsive on the trail.

hoka anacapa 2 low gtx for women - the anacapa 2 features a thickly-cushioned sole in addition to...
The Anacapa 2 features a thickly-cushioned sole in addition to padding that surrounds the ankle for added comfort without sacrificing breathability.
Credit: Trish Matheny

Support


The Anacapa 2 Low was created with neutral support and stability in mind, showcasing lightweight EVA midsoles made with 30% sugarcane. Our testing team appreciated the opportunity to utilize the additional runner's loop eyelet that allows you to customize the fit and lock your heel in place for navigating more technical terrain. While previous iterations of this shoe made us consider the potential of a rolled ankle due to the height of the sole, the sturdy foundation of this second version provides more confidence thanks to the SwallowTail heel that extends beyond the ankle.


Perhaps our only complaint regarding the support and stability of this shoe is due to the lack of arch support and the minimal insole. Those with higher arches may consider an after-market insert for additional support and a more custom fit. Overall, we found the forward flexion and torsional rigidity supportive enough to allow for the weight of a heavy backpack, making this a versatile option for both day and extended hikes.

hoka anacapa 2 low gtx for women - the lacing system offers stability for the ankle, especially when...
The lacing system offers stability for the ankle, especially when utilizing the extra runner's loop eyelet.
Credit: Trish Matheny

Traction


The Anacapa 2 Low includes a 100% recycled vamp and quarter mesh Vibram Megagrip outsole that performs well on most surfaces. Whether traversing technical terrain or navigating the slippery boulders found on the most popular trails, we felt confident with every stride. The all-terrain sole combines with a heavy-duty 5mm lug pattern to provide substantial grip whether hiking through a dry desert or precipitous mountain environment.


The only caveat we found within the design of this burly outsole is the soft-sole rubber included with the Vibram Megagrip outsole. The rubber directly below the foot's arch doesn't perform as well as the Vibram. While we appreciate the fact that this rubber likely reduces the overall weight of the design, our testing team prefers hiking shoes that feature Vibram throughout the entire sole of the shoe to maximize grip on especially slippery trails.

hoka anacapa 2 low gtx for women - the vibram sole provides confidence with every step.
The Vibram sole provides confidence with every step.
Credit: Trish Matheny

Water Resistance


Our testing team had no complaints about the waterproof performance of the Anacapa 2 Low. Whether crossing shallow streams, moving through thick mud, submerging for up to one minute in our favorite stream, or during our bucket test (where we submerged each shoe in standing water for five minutes), no water was able to penetrate the Gore-Tex Invisible Fit waterproof membranes. We were especially impressed with the overall breathability within the recycled mesh upper.


At 3.5 inches, this shoe features the highest measured flood level of our lineup, which enhances waterproof performance by allowing for additional clearance when moving through spring runoff, fresh snow, or when hiking into higher elevations. Though the mesh does take on a bit of water after submersion, the water never penetrated the upper, which delivered excellent waterproof performance and breathable ventilation.

The Anacapa passed our water resistance testing with flying colors; we experienced no issues with the performance and were grateful for the additional height of the flood level due to the thicker sole.
Credit: Trish Matheny

Weight


The Anacapa 2 falls somewhere in the middle of the pack when considering the overall weight of the athletic design. Though the thickly cushioned shoe is heavier than some lightweight hiking shoes, the weight is not noticeable underfoot and didn't increase fatigue on the trail for us. If anything, the “springy” support is worth its weight and helps to propel you forward, even offering enough stability for those who like to pick up the pace.


Though features such as the cushioned sole, the Vibram Megagrip rubber outsole, a metal-reinforced lacing system, and high-performing waterproof mesh increase the weight of the Anacapa, our testing team is confident that you'll think it's worth the trade-off.

hoka anacapa 2 low gtx for women - falling somewhere in the middle of the pack, the anacapa 2 features...
Falling somewhere in the middle of the pack, the Anacapa 2 features technology that's worth the additional weight.
Credit: Trish Matheny

Durability


Though the Anacapa 2 Low features a recycled synthetic upper that is reinforced with Gore-Tex Invisible Fit technology, we can't help but acknowledge that these high-quality materials simply aren't as durable as their nubuck leather counterparts. That being said, it is worth mentioning that we experienced no durability issues with the recycled mesh during our testing period. The lacing system on the Anacapa is strengthened by metal eyelets around the recycled mesh, and the laces themselves are made of a thick cord; both combine to increase overall quality and longevity within the design.


Our biggest complaint is that the massive outsole can be easily impacted when hiking in desert mountainsides or trekking through streams, fields, and pokey desert sagebrush. Though the outsole offers a competitive performance regarding traction, the softer rubber in the design is easily susceptible to bumps, scrapes, and indentations, perhaps due to all that surface area that is exposed. Complaints aside, our team appreciates the durability of both the lacing system and the large toe cap.

hoka anacapa 2 low gtx for women - though our testing team loves the breathability offered by the mesh...
Though our testing team loves the breathability offered by the mesh and the overall lighter weight, we noticed that this blown rubber is easily damaged on technical trails.
Credit: Trish Matheny

Should You Buy the Hoka Anacapa 2 Low GTX?


If you're after superior comfort thanks to thoughtful padding and a thickly cushioned sole, the Anacapa 2 is a great choice. Though the shoe favors a narrow foot, the sizing also runs big, which allows room for those with regular to wide feet. The combination of the recycled mesh upper and Gore-Tex Invisible Fit waterproof membrane means great waterproof performance without sacrificing breathability. We feel this performance is worth the price and is perfect for those willing to invest in a hiking shoe that will offer ample comfort, whether you're out for a quick stroll or shouldering a heavy pack.

hoka anacapa 2 low gtx for women - this shoe is perfect those who are looking for exceptional comfort...
This shoe is perfect those who are looking for exceptional comfort, excellent breathability, and waterproof performance while navigating well-maintained trails.
Credit: Trish Matheny

What Other Hiking Shoes Should You Consider?


If comfort is paramount for your hiking shoe selection, but you're interested in a less cushioned outsole, check out the On Running Cloudwander. If you have a narrow foot and want something that offers better traction and durability, check out the Salomon X Ultra 4 Gore-Tex or the La Sportiva Spire GTX. Both of these options feature a design that is geared towards a narrow foot with more durability in both the outsole and the upper.

hoka anacapa 2 low gtx for women - though not as durable as other more traditional leather hiking...
Though not as durable as other more traditional leather hiking shoes, our testing team preferred the athletic, lightweight design that offered exceptional comfort and breathability on the trails.
Credit: Trish Matheny

Trish Matheny