Hoka sneakers started becoming super popular in 2022. The shoes that were once only found on the feet of runners have now graced the feet of celebrities like Britney Spears, Cameron Diaz and Adam Sandler. You may be wondering how these arguably “ugly shoes” made for trail running broke the billion-dollar mark last year. Well, let’s start by looking at the history of Hoka and move on to its rise to mainstream popularity.
Did you know that Hoka was founded by ex-Salomon executives? In 2009, Nicolas Mermoud and Jean Luc Diard founded Hoka in France. The full name, Hoka One One, is derived from the Māori language and loosely translates to “fly over the earth”. Their mission? To create comfortable, trail-friendly shoes that were not only performance-focused but also aimed to reduce the risk of injuries. Despite having more consumers buying them for the way they look, Hoka’s mission remains the same.
With their iconic chunky outsoles which provide cloud-like comfort to wearers and the shoes’ stability, Hoka’s shoes were initially adopted by ultramarathon runners. Word about Hoka’s cushy and lightweight shoes quickly spread among the running community in the United States, causing the shoes to gain more traction. As Hoka became more popular among runners, they started expanding their shoe range, creating shoes made for trail running, hiking, weightlifting and walking. By 2010, Hoka’s sneakers were on the feet of elite athletes such as the ones who competed in the most competitive trail ultramarathon in the world, the Ultra-Trail du Tour du Mont-Blanc.
Despite being popular among the running community since its inception, Hoka would not be where it is today without its rise to mainstream popularity. Funnily enough, these shoes that were made for the outdoors saw increased interest during the Covid-19 pandemic, when everyone was stuck indoors. The “ugly shoe” and gorpcore trends that were popularized during the pandemic made fashion-focused individuals and sneakerheads turn to brands like Hoka.
Apart from the trends, the pandemic led to consumers to look for more comfortable shoes. For them, Hoka was an obvious choice thanks to their plush midsoles. Furthermore, the brand’s strategic collaborations have certainly helped in catching the attention of streetwear enthusiasts. By collaborating with fashion labels such as Engineered Garments, Bodega, Moncler and thisisneverthat, it helped to associate the brand with the fashion market as well.
Thanks to these factors, Hoka shoes have undoubtedly gained popularity, and their numbers reflect that. In 2022, Hoka had more than one billion dollars in sales thanks to popular models like the Clifton, Bondi and Speedgoat.
Whether you’re going for that gorpcore aesthetic or simply looking for a trendy shoe, Hoka sneakers are for you. Shop our selection below.
Hopara Sandal ‘Shifting Sand Dune’
Clifton L GORE-TEX ‘Black’
Anacapa Low GORE-TEX ‘Dune Oxford Tan’
Bodega x Tor Ultra Low GORE-TEX ‘The World at Large’
Project Clifton ‘Black’
Kaha 2 Low GORE-TEX ‘Oxford Tan’