Gear Review: Hiking in Hokas to Surprise Lake

Being back in my hometown for the holidays meant a few things—free laundry at my parents house, seeing family, eating all their food and easy access to hiking. I certainly took advantage of every single one of these. In this post though, I’ll stick to telling you about the hiking.

I set out late afternoon with two of my best friends to hike to Surprise Lake. Another friend, the greatest shoe rep ever, had given me a pair of Hoka Stinson ATR trail runners to test out and review. Surprise Lake was a great hike to test them out on with its varied terrain of rocks, steep climbs and softer trail. I was skeptical on whether I would like them since I am accustomed to my hiking boots but I was willing to give them a try.

Great friends to hike with

Hiking with great friends.

The hike starts in a small parking lot from Greenwood Lake and begins with a three-quarter mile steep climb from the blue and white trail to the yellow. The Hokas held up well on the climb up and I felt stable over the rocks. The steep climb was worth it, the view of greenwood lake is incredible. Almost the whole lake is visible from that spot.

The view of Greenwood Lake

The view of Greenwood Lake.

After taking our time, enjoying the view we made our way on the yellow trail to find Surprise Lake—a smaller lake that is hidden on top of ridge. For those thru hiking, this is a great spot to stop to cool off in the clear water since it is only about a quarter mile off the AT. The path we chose next took us on the yellow trail around this lake, briefly on the AT and then back to the white and blue trail. After completing 4.5-5 miles, we climbed back down the steep hill and out of the woods.

The AT blaze just off of Surprise Lake.

The AT blaze just off of Surprise Lake.

I would certainly recommend this hike to anyone near the NY/NJ area for it’s great views and I would recommend the shoes as well. I’m willing to give these another longer workout to decide if I might like to try trail runners for my thru-hike. Hoka Stinsons were comfortable and were very supportive shoes that fit well with my orthotic. Although I might be concerned about the tread wearing out when the shoes reach their final miles, they were very grippy on the rocks for the initial test hike. These shoes run big so when I received the shoe, I was given 1/2 size smaller and the smaller size fit perfectly with my hiking socks on. The race lace system made it easy to tighten the shoes and they stayed tight, no adjustments needed. Regular laces are also included for those who wish to have them. This shoe would work well with someone who likes a lot of cushioning in their step while maintaining your stability. The Stinson ATR runs about $160.

Feel free to let me know your HokaOneOne or other trail shoe experiences!

Thank you Frank Nick and HokaOneOne for the great shoes to review!

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