These Hoka Sneakers Are the Only Shoes I Wear Outside Anymore, and I’m Entirely OK With That

Allie Holloway & Timothy Mulcare

SHOP $200, hokaoneone.com


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Like everyone else, quarantine has forced some unexpected changes to my personal style. I never thought I’d be a regular athleisure guy. Or that I’d really invest in a nice pair of house slippers. But one thing I really didn’t see coming was that my time in lockdown would inspire me to get a single pair of go-to shoes that I could wear for long-distance walking in literally every type of weather.

This all began early last March, when my normal train commute to the office was replaced by daily sanity walks around Prospect Park in Brooklyn, across the street from my apartment. Rain or shine, I needed to get out of my tiny apartment at least once a day to breathe some fresh air and stretch my legs. That’s when I started getting into waterproof sneakerboots made for hiking or trail running. And the hands-down best ones I’ve tried comes from Hoka One One. Here’s why a pair of Gore-Tex-protected Kaha Lows deserve a spot in your rotation, too.

the kahas don't hide their hiking aesthetics, but they don't shout about it, either
The Kahas don’t hide their hiking aesthetics, but they don’t shout about it, either.

Allie Holloway & Timothy Mulcare

They’re Perfect for Any (Any!) Outdoor Situation

It’s not just my daily sanity walks. Pretty much all my trips out of the apartment in the last year have been on-foot excursions. No cars, very little train travel. Which means I’m either walking to distanced park hangs or going for lengthy urban hikes through the city. I’ve gotten to the point where I no longer have to even think about what shoes I’m going to wear when I leave the apartment. It’s my Hokas. During the few times I’ve been able to escape the city, I’ve taken these shoes from urban hiking to real hiking through the Catskills, where they’re just as reliable (if not better) on rough terrain as they are on sidewalks. What’s especially nice, though, is that I don’t have to worry about rolling up to a distanced outdoor gathering looking like a Boy Scout in these hiking shoes, because—and this is very important—they don’t look like hiking shoes. The Kaha Lows could pass as sincerely stylish chunky sneakers any day (because they are).

SHOP $200, hokaoneone.com

goretex, vibram, and hoka the holy trinity of logos
Gore-Tex, Vibram, and Hoka: The holy trinity of logos?

Allie Holloway & Timothy Mulcare

Did I Mention They’re Waterproof?

Because they’re fully waterproof. That’s thanks to the Gore-Tex bootie. So not only do I not have to care what about walking long distances, I don’t have to worry about the weather, either. I’m not at all kidding when I say that I wear these for Every. Single. Occasion. I’ve taken them through snow, streams, rain, mud, ice. As someone with constant decision fatigue, it has been a blissful experience being able to simply pull on my Hokas without even worrying about what’s going on outside.

the cushy, grippy soles ensure a comfortable ride all day long
The cushy, grippy soles ensure a comfortable ride all day long.

Allie Holloway & Timothy Mulcare

Most Importantly, They’re Comfortable

I’ve tried out a number of lower ankle height boot/hiking sneakers from other brands, and I’ve noticed they can often feel too stiff. Because of the thick waterproof layer, these shoes don’t have the flexibility to bend with the foot and can actually be difficult to walk in without the support of the high top. But the Kaha Lows manage to be strong against the elements but also pliable enough to move and bend without feeling like a brick on your foot. Which is nice because functionally these things are tanks. With the Vibram high-traction sole and a wide, highly cushioned and supportive base, the Kahas are sturdy—perfect for long climbs or descents on rough terrain. And with a secure lacing system these shoes are fully locked onto my foot the way I want them to be. Who knows, maybe once we’re back seeing people in person I’ll be wearing them to formal events too.

SHOP $200, hokaoneone.com


Photography and prop styling by Allie Holloway and Timothy Mulcare

Culture Editor Matt is the Culture Editor at Esquire where he covers music, movies, books, and TV—with an emphasis on all things Star Wars, Marvel, and Game of Thrones.

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