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Hoka Anacapa Low GTX Review

These super plush hiking shoes feel like you are walking on clouds, perfect for long days on hard surfaces
hoka anacapa low gtx hiking shoes review
A long way from the trailhead, lightweight shoes like the Anacapa do their part to keep the feet happy.
Credit: Ryan Huetter
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $170 List
Manufacturer:   HOKA
By Ryan Huetter ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 1, 2022
80
OVERALL
SCORE


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

Our Verdict

The Hoka Anacapa Low GTX is straight up the most comfortable hiking shoe we have worn in a long time. While many thru-hikers and long-distance hikers have worn Hoka trail running shoes and been pleased, this shoe feels like one of the best low-top trail-capable shoes designed for hiking that Hoka has come out with in a long time. We found them comfortable enough to go on a 65-mile section of the John Muir Trail right out of the box. While a wide range of shoes will satisfy on short, simple walks, these are the shoes to get if you're after the top performance in longer distance hiking terrain where comfort is king.
REASONS TO BUY
Super comfortable
Durable
Stable
REASONS TO AVOID
Not great for off-trail
Average traction
Editor's Note: We added the Hoka Anacapa Low GTX to the review on October 31, 2022, as well as additional information on new models that have recently come out.

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hoka anacapa low gtx hiking shoes review
Awards Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award 
Price $170 List
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$112.46 at Backcountry
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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Super comfortable, durable, stableExcellent performance, lightweight, great traction, water resistance, supportSupportive, great traction, lightweightExcellent comfort and traction, waterproofSupportive, versatile, well-cushioned
Cons Not great for off-trail, average tractionCuff can be uncomfortable on ankle for some, Quicklace lacing not everyone's favoriteStiff, lacing is hard to tightenExpensive, not the most durableAverage traction, regular width is relatively wide, hard to lace tightly
Bottom Line These super plush hiking shoes feel like you are walking on clouds, perfect for long days on hard surfacesThis is a rugged hiking shoe that can do everything from day hikes to tackling long multiday backpacking tripsThis is a burly hiking shoe capable of getting off the trail and onto rugged terrainA versatile hiking shoe built with the comfort and agility of a running shoe at an unbeatable priceA comfortable and versatile pair of budget-friendly hiking shoes with a casual look that's great for both the trail and the town
Rating Categories Hoka Anacapa Low GTX Salomon X Ultra 4 G... Salewa Mountain Tra... La Sportiva Spire GTX Columbia Facet 60 O...
Comfort (25%)
9.0
8.0
7.0
8.0
8.0
Support (20%)
8.0
8.0
9.0
7.0
8.0
Traction (15%)
7.0
9.0
9.0
7.0
6.0
Weight (15%)
8.0
8.0
5.0
6.0
8.0
Water Resistance (15%)
8.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
5.0
Durability (10%)
7.0
6.0
6.0
6.0
5.0
Specs Hoka Anacapa Low GTX Salomon X Ultra 4 G... Salewa Mountain Tra... La Sportiva Spire GTX Columbia Facet 60 O...
Weight (per pair) 1.79 lbs (size 11) 1.76 lbs (size 11) 2.16 lbs (size 11) 2.06 lbs (size 11) 1.78 lbs (size 10.5)
Upper Nubuck leather, GTX Textile Synthetic, textile Synthetic Abrasion-resistant mesh Seamless mesh
Width Options Regular Regular Regular Regular Regular
Waterproof Lining Gore-Tex Gore-Tex membrane Gore-Tex Extended Comfort Gore-Tex Surround OutDry
Flood Level 3 in 3.25 in 3.5 in 4.75 in 4.25 in
Last Board/Shank Not specified ADV-C chassis Nylon Molded EVA Not specified
Midsole Compressed EVA EnergyCell EVA 5mm Ortholite Insole, Compression Molded EVA, TPU inserts Techlite+
Outsole Vibram MegaGrip Contagrip MA rubber Pomoca MTN trainer Lite Vibram XS Trek with Impact Brake System Omni-Grip rubber

Our Analysis and Test Results

We took the Hoka Anacapa Low GTX shoes out of the box and immediately took off on a section hike along the Sierra Nevada's famed John Muir Trail. While we personally tend to love our trail running shoes for hikes, the Anacapa is amazing at bringing the performance of a running shoe with the added durability and support of a hiker. This is a shoe we will not give back until they fall apart at the seams.

Performance Comparison


hoka anacapa low gtx hiking shoes review - rough country! the hoka anacapa low gtx makes light work out of all...
Rough country! The Hoka Anacapa Low GTX makes light work out of all these granite stairs with its top-notch comfort.
Credit: Ryan Huetter

Comfort


If there was one headline to describe the Anacapa Low GTX, it would have to be comfortable. Well known for their cushioned, rockered soles, Hoka has long been trying to perfect their hiking shoes since stepping into the market several years ago. Many have chosen Hoka shoes for their enhanced comfort on hard and unforgiving trails that are mostly comprised of granite. We find that the Anacapa Low takes that soft and cushioned ride and puts it into context in a hiking application.


What does that even mean? Well, the trail runners we have learned to love while out hiking on the trail can be soft and pliable and offer excellent cushioning, but in the absence of an EVA molded midsole, as the Anacapa has, you end up feeling way more of the trail than you might want. With these shoes, you get the smooth ride of a runner thanks to the rockered sole and the extended heel, but they feel more balanced for hiking over rough terrain.

hoka anacapa low gtx hiking shoes review - the anacapa have the same classic hoka marshmallow sole you know and...
The Anacapa have the same classic Hoka marshmallow sole you know and love, but with an added midsole are much more supportive.
Credit: Ryan Huetter

Support


Support is another metric in which the Anacapa rises to the top. When first slipping into these shoes, your ankle feels securely cradled by the snug heel cup, and the foot is held in place by a classic lacing system that works great for a medium-volume foot. The heavier materials that the Anacapa uses, at least compared to some of their all-mesh running shoe counterparts, securely wrap around the foot and give some measure of reassurance that you won't get a rolled ankle while bounding along the trail.


The 5-inch wide forefoot makes a stable walking platform that extends beyond the foot to give the feeling of stability when walking on uneven ground. The compression-molded EVA midsole has a surprising amount of torsional rigidity for a shoe this lightweight, giving it an edge over those shoes that lack any added midsole stiffener. We are talking about hiking shoes, after all, which by definition, tend to be no higher than the ankle. But the deep heel cup gave us more confidence than other low-cut models, and we found the Anacapa to be one of the most supportive models in this review.

hoka anacapa low gtx hiking shoes review - cross country travel like this is a perfect place for the anacapa...
Cross country travel like this is a perfect place for the Anacapa Low GTX.
Credit: Ryan Huetter

Traction


The Anacapa Low GTX uses a Vibram Megagrip outsole, with good results. We have really liked this rubber compound from Vibram when testing other shoes, and it has proven performance on wet and dry surfaces. The traction that is attained on looser ground depends on the lug type and pattern, though. These shoes use a 5mm deep tread pattern on the lugs, which are sharp and give a good bite on the forefoot while being more spread out in the heel.


The wider platform that gives these shoes such good balance does work against them a bit in terms of edging, so when hopping over talus and walking off trail we found ourselves trying to be more conscious so as not to lose an edge or roll an ankle. For mostly on-trail use, these shoes do an excellent job.

hoka anacapa low gtx hiking shoes review - the anacapa has a blend of open and tight lugs, giving them good...
The Anacapa has a blend of open and tight lugs, giving them good grip in all but the loosest or most slippery conditions
Credit: Ryan Huetter

Weight


With a verified weight of 1.79 pounds for a pair of US size 11, the Anacapa Low GTX hiking shoes are right in there with some of the best performance-to-weight ratio shoes we have worn. We were honestly a bit surprised that they are as light as they are, given the more robust materials, the Gore-Tex lining, and the EVA molded midsole. No doubt about it, these are excellent shoes for their weight class.


Water Resistance


The Anacapa Low uses a Gore-Tex waterproof-breathable membrane to keep water out while also allowing perspiration to pass through. This is in addition to the waterproof nubuck leather material used in the upper, which adds to the overall impermeability.


We walked through alpine streams and stood in the water while wearing the Anacapa without fear of the material soaking through. These hikers outlasted our 5-minute test for water resistance, and the nubuck leather dried out quickly once we got back on the trail. That said, it would be wise to treat this material periodically so that it can continue to shed water before taxing the Gore-Tex membrane.

hoka anacapa low gtx hiking shoes review - with both a gtx liner and waterproof nubuck material, the anacapa is...
With both a GTX liner and waterproof nubuck material, the Anacapa is up for some wet conditions.
Credit: Ryan Huetter

Durability


We found the Anacapa Low GTX to be quite durable compared to our experience with shoes of this weight class. The upper material is rugged and resists the effects of being scraped up by rocks and roots, the outsole feels less foamy and more durable than this brand's lighter-weight trail runner models, and the toe bumper provides some protection from trail impacts.


We beat these shoes up and continued to wear them long after our testing period was complete, and we found them to be very durable. However, they will likely still only last a couple of seasons of regular use, which is consistent with this type of lightweight hiking shoe.

hoka anacapa low gtx hiking shoes review - the heavier material used, in this case nubuck leather for the...
The heavier material used, in this case nubuck leather for the uppers, helps the Hoka Anacapa Low GTX avoid durability issues.
Credit: Ryan Huetter

Should You Buy the Hoka Anacapa Low GTX


Yes. We heartily recommend this shoe to those who want the ultimate in on-trail comfort, desire a Gore-Tex liner for wet weather conditions, and who would like a bit more support than a trail runner can offer but who still don't want the bulk of a hiking boot. For the price, we feel that the Anacapa Low is a great value.

What Other Hiking Shoes Should You Consider?


For more technical hiking, we really like the Salomon X Ultra 4 Gore-Tex, which has a narrower platform and edges better than theAnacapa. It's also just slightly lighter. If you want to save some bucks and you're okay with a slightly less technical shoe, our pick is the Columbia Facet 60 Outdry.

hoka anacapa low gtx hiking shoes review - bouncing along the trail, the hoka anacapa low gtx are a joy to wear...
Bouncing along the trail, the Hoka Anacapa Low GTX are a joy to wear and are some of the most comfortable hiking shoes we have gotten to test.
Credit: Ryan Huetter

Ryan Huetter
 
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