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Hoka Anacapa Low GTX - Women's Review

A uniquely engineered hiker with a long, narrow build, excellent cushioning, and solid traction but negligible arch support
hoka anacapa low gtx for women hiking shoes review
Credit: Myrha Colt
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Price:  $170 List
Manufacturer:   HOKA ONE ONE
By Myrha Colt ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 7, 2022
69
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#7 of 12
  • Comfort - 25% 5.0
  • Support - 20% 6.0
  • Traction - 15% 8.0
  • Weight - 15% 8.0
  • Water Resistance - 15% 9.0
  • Durability - 10% 7.0

Our Verdict

A uniquely-styled lightweight day hiker, the Hoka Anacapa Low GTX is best-suited to a narrow foot when cushioning and grip are a priority and arch support matters less. The waterproof, athletically inspired leather upper is both soft and flexible. When paired with the highly adjustable lacing system and well-padded interior, the Anacapa comfortably encases and stabilizes the foot like a champ. But what stands out most is the shoe's dramatically thick base. Hoka's signature extended heel geometry is eye-catching, to say the least, but the outsole also packs a punch, combining a softer heel-to-toe transition with excellent tread and an impressive compression-molded foam midsole. While not a great shoe for wider feet or those requiring arch stabilization, it could be a dream hiker for anyone struggling with plantar fasciitis and needing a protective base.
REASONS TO BUY
Well-padded
Great shock absorption
Breathable
Solid traction
REASONS TO AVOID
Limited arch and lateral support
Runs long and narrow
Editor's Note: This hiking shoe was brought into our lineup on November 7, 2022.

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Star Rating
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Pros Well-padded, great shock absorption, breathable, solid tractionGreat traction, highly cushioned, stable, waterproof, well-pricedExcellent cushioning, roomy toe box, great traction, stable, supportiveSpacious toe box, great traction, waterproof, durable, stableFast, nimble, excellent traction, waterproof, supportive midfoot
Cons Limited arch and lateral support, runs long and narrowBulky design, no additional runner’s loop eyeletHard footbed, a little heavyHeavy, hard footbed, not the most breathableLimited adjustability, average durability, runs narrow and long
Bottom Line A uniquely engineered hiker with a long, narrow build, excellent cushioning, and solid traction but negligible arch supportSupportive, affordable, and highly durable, this tried-and-true design is well-suited to every type of foot, hiker, and hiking experienceThe perfect balance between strength and softness, with exceptional cushioning, deep tread, and a roomy yet supportive baseA burly, reliable trail partner with a wide base and sticky traction for when trips run long, and durability, stability, and waterproofing are importantThis high-performing modern hiker is impressively stable, supportive, and responsive, well-suited to narrow feet on hard-charging missions across versatile terrain
Rating Categories Hoka Anacapa Low GTX Merrell Moab 3 WP -... Oboz Sawtooth X Low... Keen Targhee III Low Salomon X Ultra 4 G...
Comfort (25%)
5.0
9.0
9.0
8.0
5.0
Support (20%)
6.0
9.0
9.0
7.0
7.0
Traction (15%)
8.0
9.0
9.0
9.0
9.0
Weight (15%)
8.0
7.0
6.0
6.0
7.0
Water Resistance (15%)
9.0
9.0
9.0
9.0
9.0
Durability (10%)
7.0
8.0
8.0
9.0
7.0
Specs Hoka Anacapa Low GTX Merrell Moab 3 WP -... Oboz Sawtooth X Low... Keen Targhee III Low Salomon X Ultra 4 G...
Weight (per pair) 1.6 lbs (size 10) 1.8 lbs (size 10) 2.0 lbs (size 10) 2.1 lbs (size 10) 1.7 lbs (size 10)
Width Options Regular Regular Regular, Wide Regular Regular
Upper Nubuck leather, Recycled Polyester Mesh Leather, mesh Oiled nubuck leather, Cordura fabric mesh Oiled nubuck leather, mesh Synthetic textile
Midsole Compression-molded foam EVA EVA Rubber-blended Adaptive Cushioning Technology foam EVA Dual density EVA EVA
Lining Molded PU sockliner, Gore-Tex Recycled mesh/waterproof, breathable membrane B-DRY waterproof/breathable membrane KEEN.Dry waterproof, breathable membrane Gore-Tex
Outsole Vibram Megagrip rubber Vibram TC5+ rubber True Tread rubber KEEN All-Terrain Rubber Rubber Contagrip

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Hoka Anacapa Low GTX will grab your attention. Its unusual design has an athletic vibe, and the thick, oversized outsole is in a league of its own. While the fit limits the shoe to only those hikers with a longer, narrower build (and no need for built-in arch support), the shoe itself is chock-full of features many will appreciate.

Performance Comparison


hoka anacapa low gtx for women hiking shoes review - hoka's massive outsole and signature extended heel geometry is what...
Hoka's massive outsole and signature extended heel geometry is what you'll first notice about this hiker, as well as its narrow sizing.
Credit: Myrha Colt

Comfort


As always, this metric is quite subjective and the most difficult to assess for a broad audience. But, while the narrow Anacapa Low is not a great match to our lead tester's wider forefoot, it is easy to see there's a lot on offer for anyone with a more slender build.

hoka anacapa low gtx for women hiking shoes review - although not enough room to comfortably accommodate a wider...
Although not enough room to comfortably accommodate a wider forefoot, the Hoka is a great option for slender-footed hikers who looking for maximum midsole support.
Credit: Myrha Colt

To start, the Anacapa Low is constructed of a soft, flexible leather upper combined with Gore-Tex fabric that is extremely well-padded from top to bottom, including a squishy tongue, cushy ankle collar, and even an extra heel pad at the rear. With easily adjustable laces and a runner's loop eyelet, achieving an individualized fit was a simple task.

hoka anacapa low gtx for women hiking shoes review - the extra ankle pad is a nice touch to help keep the foot locked...
The extra ankle pad is a nice touch to help keep the foot locked into place.
Credit: Myrha Colt

Of course, the shoe's base sets the Anacapa apart from others in the pack. Hoka's thick signature base is designed with extended heel geometry. It combines an oversized Vibram Megagrip outsole with a compression-molded EVA midsole for a soft, smooth, well-balanced, and grippy ride. We found the shock absorption on this thing to be ace and a real asset on rocky terrain. The heel-to-toe transitions are also notably smooth, subtly propelling you forward with every step. Where the fit is right, this is a day hiker that performs.

hoka anacapa low gtx for women hiking shoes review - the extended heel geometry and oversized vibram megagrip outsole are...
The extended heel geometry and oversized Vibram Megagrip outsole are what will first catch your eye on the Anacapa, but its solid grip and incredibly soft compression-molded EVA midsole will be among the first things you notice once you put it on.
Credit: Myrha Colt

What's lacking? Arch support. The Anacapa not only didn't help alleviate pronation, but it also seemed to actively encourage it by allowing an inward roll over the base of the shoe. To be fair, this shoe is advertised as offering only "neutral stability without additional prescriptive technologies." So the absence of support is intentional. And a set of aftermarket inserts will likely help a great deal. But it is something to note in case the thick structural base might lead some to assume the shoe will have you covered.

hoka anacapa low gtx for women hiking shoes review - lack of arch support made this pronator's feet hurt after only a few...
Lack of arch support made this pronator's feet hurt after only a few miles.
Credit: Myrha Colt

Support


As advertised, the Anacapa Low is designed to offer just enough cushioning and support to enable a comfortable ride without over-designing the shoe with additional features and supports you don't require. So it's not surprising that some support elements are stellar and others are lacking.

hoka anacapa low gtx for women hiking shoes review - although there's plenty of cushioning underfoot, hoka intentionally...
Although there's plenty of cushioning underfoot, Hoka intentionally chose to design the Anacapa with neutral stability.
Credit: Myrha Colt

The thick oversized sole provides a remarkably sturdy foundation from heel to midfoot while also intentionally leaving a responsive toe-off to allow you to easily increase your speed. In our lateral tests (twisting the shoe like a sponge), the torsional rigidity was impressive, yet the flex up under the toes remained readily apparent. A thoughtful design, working as planned.

hoka anacapa low gtx for women hiking shoes review - testing the torsional stability on the hoka produced a small amount...
Testing the torsional stability on the Hoka produced a small amount of twist and reasonably more flexion under the toe to allow for quick, responsive movement.
Credit: Myrha Colt

The soft, flexible leather upper of the Anacapa is athletically styled but in no way flimsy. And with a thoroughly adjustable lacing system overlaying a puffy gusseted tongue, it's easy to establish a great fit without gaping or slippage. The highly structured heel cup partners with a plush heel pad along the backside of the ankle collar. Together they do a remarkably good job of locking the heel into place. Add in the extended outsole off the back of the shoe, and you've got excellent stability and a smooth step. The only thing missing is a sturdy arch (which is an intentional feature of the design).

hoka anacapa low gtx for women hiking shoes review - the anacapa does a great job of locking in the foot to enable an...
The Anacapa does a great job of locking in the foot to enable an easy, confident stride free of hot spots and ankle chafing.
Credit: Myrha Colt

Traction


The Anacapa Low is all about its base and the key to that powerful feature is the Vibram Megagrip outsole. This reliable all-terrain sole is made of sticky, heavy rubber and comes with a series of hefty 5mm multidirectional lugs and an especially grippy tread pattern just under the heel. In combination with its strong yet heavily cushioned EVA midsole, we found the Anacapa performed well no matter what type of trail we crossed. It left us particularly confident whenever we hit hard rock where a solid grip and shock absorption would matter most.

The large, deep lugs of the Hoka Anacapa Low.
The large, deep lugs of the Hoka Anacapa Low.
The Anacapa easily gripped granite slabs and kept our tester stable...
The Anacapa easily gripped granite slabs and kept our tester stable and secure when moving over rocky terrain.
We tested each shoe on loose dirt and on steep uphill and downhill...
We tested each shoe on loose dirt and on steep uphill and downhill climbs.

Weight


The Hoka Anacapa Low is surprisingly light for a leather hiker. Weighing in at only 1.6 pounds for a size 10 US, it is among several shoes in the test group that is both lightweight and highly functional. Yet when standing atop such incredibly thick and supportive cushioning, the it feels among the lightest on foot.

hoka anacapa low gtx for women hiking shoes review - at 1.6 pounds, the hoka anacapa low gtx are right in the middle...
At 1.6 pounds, the Hoka Anacapa Low GTX are right in the middle range of all the shoes we tested, offering maximum features for minimal weight.
Credit: Myrha Colt

Water Resistance


Just as with all other waterproof shoes in the lineup, the Anacapa performed admirably during water testing. No stream nor puddle breached the ankle collar and no amount of standing water during bucket testing (where we submerged the shoe in 3 inches of water for 5 minutes) found a way inside, nor did we see any notable absorption or weight gain in the shoe. If water gets in, it's coming in over the top of the ankle opening. And where that is a regular concern, it may be time to consider a taller model from our list of top-ranked women's hiking boots.

Water testing involved submerging each shoe in 3 inches of water for...
Water testing involved submerging each shoe in 3 inches of water for five minutes, and then comparing how much each absorbed and how dry the foot stayed inside.
The Anacapa has a large foam base and Gore-Tex lining: feet stay dry...
The Anacapa has a large foam base and Gore-Tex lining: feet stay dry in there (unless water sneaks in over the top).

Durability


While the massive outsole on the Anacapa is impressive, it's also the one area where we noted concern about the shoe's longevity. We road-tested these hikers across hard granite slabs and loose desert mountainsides and trekked through streams, fields, and pokey desert sagebrush. It performed admirably across the board. But there were signs of mild abrasion and wear across the upper edges of the sole. We suspect that's due to the greater surface area that's exposed. But the material also has a softness to it that may make it a bit more vulnerable to bumps and scrapes in the road.

hoka anacapa low gtx for women hiking shoes review - the thick sole on the anacapa is both soft and a bit vulnerable to...
The thick sole on the Anacapa is both soft and a bit vulnerable to the wear and tear of the trail, catching and snagging on sharp objects in passing.
Credit: Myrha Colt

Should You Buy the Hoka Anacapa Low GTX?


If you have a narrow foot and plantar fasciitis, the uniquely engineered Anacapa Low GTX should be on your shortlist. But it is unlikely to serve your needs if you have an average to wider foot or need sturdy arch support. And given this shoe is at the higher end of the price spectrum, other more affordable, accommodating, and versatile options are available.

hoka anacapa low gtx for women hiking shoes review - although not our favorite shoe in the bunch, the anacapa has many...
Although not our favorite shoe in the bunch, the Anacapa has many great features in its design and would be a top pick for anyone working through plantar fasciitis or needing a supportive shoe without much arch support.
Credit: Myrha Colt

What Other Hiking Shoes Should You Consider?


If you run narrow but want to hone in on something more supportive through the arch, the Salomon X Ultra 4 Gore-Tex is an exceptionally stable, well-built option at a similar weight. It's also rugged enough for more technical terrain. If you want all the padding plus the support and are willing to take on a few extra ounces, you can't go wrong with the Oboz Sawtooth X Low Waterproof. Or, for something that balances comfort, support, weight, and durability, we are big fans of the Merrell Moab 3.

Myrha Colt
 
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