Hiking events

I wore the Hoka Anacapa Mid GTX hiking shoe on my toughest hike yet.

Climbing a big mountain is no small feat. You need to have good cardiovascular health, watch your position when maneuvering over gravel and logs, and have a game plan in case you come face to face with an animal that might eat you as a mid-afternoon snack. -midday. It can be daunting if you’re a beginner, but I’m all about living on the edge – and hey, sometimes you have to leave your laptop and bump your fists with nature.

I am a long distance runner and was looking for a non boring and not too strenuous cross training that I could do between runs. Hiking has a relatively low impact on the knees (if you’re moving at a moderate pace) and works muscles you wouldn’t normally use during a run. But just like my runs, hiking is not possible without the right shoes. I put a lot of thought into selecting the right running shoes, so naturally I wanted to think before choosing the boots that would take me to unforeseen heights. That’s where my new must-have hiking shoes come in: the Hoka Anacapa Mid GTX.

$185 at hoka

$185 at hoka

Hoka runners have long provided me with fantastic support and stability in my distance running adventures for some time now; I became a fan the day I ran a painless 10k race in the Bondi 7s. The brand has been a godsend to my feet, to say the least, and IMO it deserves endless praise – and gets a lot from not just me, but tons of other runners who live off its elastic soles. It’s no secret that Hoka always keeps me coming back for more, so did I expect this time to be different? No chance. Although a new addition to the Hoka lineup, the Hoka Anacapa Mid GTX hiking shoe already has a 4.4 out of 5 star rating on the Hoka website, which is a green flag. “I hike mostly in New Hampshire so I constantly wear these boots over rocks and across river crossings, wrote one reviewer. “I’ve never worn such a comfortable boot – I’ve never had a blister or a crushed toe.” This review speaks to my soul – once I have a blister it’s over for comfort. So naturally, I had to take them for a spin myself.

The Hoka Anacapa Mid GTX is a semi-lightweight hiking shoe designed to tackle trails and mountains like a pro. The silhouette is designed with lightweight leather, recycled polyester and Gore-Tex fabric to keep your feet dry, should you encounter mud, puddles or streams. Wet socks are hell, so as a hiker, it’s a big deal to get around the anxiety of climbing trails that get close to bodies of water. The Anacapa Mid GTX sole is also designed with an extended heel geometry for soft impact and smooth heel-to-toe transitions, while much-needed traction is provided by the Vibram Megagrip outsole. Traction is extremely important when it comes to shoving, as wiping out can easily cause injury. These boots provide stable support with a symmetrical cushion bed for neutral balance, also a necessity for walking on loose, shaky rocks.

To be honest, although I really like hiking, I’m relatively new to it. I’ve hiked some steep mountain trails here and there when traveling across the US, but never chased the super tough options on AllTrails. Last weekend I encountered my first real hike with obstacles that would usually get on my nerves if I wasn’t wearing the right shoes: I hiked the Bear Mountain Major Welch Trail, which is 4.1 miles and has a 1,177 feet elevation gain. Some experienced hikers may say the trail is for amateurs only, but the deluge of rocks makes it a somewhat strenuous hike that will be difficult if you don’t have the right traction. I can honestly say the track wasn’t much of a challenge, and I felt really confident even on the trickiest parts – and aside from my running experience and cardio fitness, I owe it all to the Hoka Anacapa Mid boots. GTX.

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Although they may seem very durable, these boots are very light; they didn’t feel heavy on my feet and were quite breathable considering it was also very hot. The fit is very roomy, which is essential for me since I have bunions (ugh, damn it). It’s no surprise that the boots have received a Seal of Acceptance from the American Podiatric Medical Associate, which recognizes products that benefit foot health. The boot doesn’t come in a wide width option, but that’s unnecessary as I wore thick Nike socks and still felt like I had enough room. As a bonus, given her tall build, ticks and insect bites weren’t a concern. With three lace hooks, the shoes stayed secure all day. If you are not worried about insects and bites, they are also available in a low version. But above all, they were super stable. Not once did I feel like I was going to slip on gravel, steep hills or rocks. I was sturdy and solid on my feet the whole time, and that says a lot, because I’m a clumsy girl.

$170 at hoka

$170 at hoka

TL; DR: These hiking boots are already making me want to get back into nature. If you’re looking for a lightweight, stable hiking boot with some extra extras in terms of comfort and practicality, I can confidently say that this model is a reliable runner and deserves a place in your range of hiking gear, whether you’re a beginner or experienced hiker. Once winter arrives, I plan to wear them when it snows as well, given their traction and waterproof fabric. I thought they might just be the kings of sneakers, but good news, Hoka is a jack-of-all-trades (shoes).

The Hoka Anacapa Mid GTX Boots are available for purchase at Hoka, Urban Outfitters, and REI.

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