With stacks on stacks of cushioning, the HOKA ONE ONE Challenger 4 is our Top Pick for Comfort. Featuring a new wider forefoot and better stability, this shoe is a new favorite for many of our testers. The dual-layer mesh is light and breathable, absorbing little water and drying quickly during wet weather and river crossings. Also, the outsole provides decent traction across most terrain but excelling in dry conditions. While it's not the best for slippery surfaces, like the Salomon Speedcross 4, the smooth bottom provides a nice transition from heel to toe that will have you rocking on for miles on both technical and flat surfaces.
While the Challenger 4 is perfect for those in search of a super cushioned and comfortable trail shoe, it's not the most stable or sensitive. Unlike the Salming Elements (one of the least protective and most sensitive in this review), it has stacks of cushioning that doesn't give you a 'close-to-the Earth' feel. Also, because of the loads of cushioning in the heel, it's more tippy than other contenders. All that said, the new wider forefoot makes it more stable than any prior Challenger model — giving it two huge thumbs up.