Gear Review: Hoka One One EVO Mafate 2
Designed for rugged trails and long days, the Hoka One One EVO Mafate 2 was designed with long-distance hikers and runners in mind. The shoe utilizes lightweight and secure materials throughout, and features breathability in the places that need it most. Complete with Hoka’s signature cushion and an insanely aggressive sole, these shoes are a good mix of comfort and power for a shoe that’s ready to conquer the trail.
Hoka One One EVO Mafate 2 At-a-Glance
Weight: 1 pound, 2 ounces
Heel-to-Toe Drop: 4mm
Midsole: Compressed EVA
Outsole: Vibram Megagrip rubber
Circumstances of Review
Between day hikes, backpacking, and treadmill running, I have walked close to 100 miles in these shoes. The shoes have been with me through packed dirt, sandy desert trails, rock scrambles, and have withstood the inclines of a Colorado 14er. Most of these hikes were in the more western parts of the country, so the weather and terrain were typically dry.
MATRYX® Technology: Offers a lightweight fit
Breathable Material: Cuts down on sweaty socks and blisters
Lightweight Compressed EVA Midsole: Provides comfort and weight savings
Gear Category Details
Why Do I Want Trail Runners Instead of Boots?
Although boots have long been thought of as the ultimate hiking shoe, trail runners have emerged in recent years as a lighter and more efficient form of footwear for long-distance hikers. Not only are trail runners significantly lighter and more comfortable, but they allow your feet to breathe and swell however they need to during long days and big miles.
Footwear is a big decision and ultimately depends on the shape of your feet as well as where, when, and how you hike. If your pack weight is on the lighter side, the elements are free of snow, and you are looking for more comfort and freedom for your feet, then trail runners might be worth considering when your next pair of boots are in need of replacing.
What Does “Heel-to-Toe Drop” Mean?
The drop of the shoe is the difference between the height of the heel (back of shoe), and the height of the toe (front of shoe). This number can help you determine how your foot will strike the ground with each step you take, and therefore which shoe is best for your foot’s specific needs. Low- to medium-drop shoes (0mm – 8mm) primarily promote forefoot and midfoot strike ranges, while a higher drop (8mm+) will promote heel striking.
Determining which drop height works for your foot can help reduce injuries and make your hiking experience more enjoyable. Generally speaking, shoes with a higher drop will be more gentle on your lower leg (calf, Achilles, foot, ankle), while putting more pressure on your knees and hips. Lower-drop shoes will typically be kinder to your knees, but in return put more stress on parts of your lower leg.
My very first thought when picking these up out of the box was how light they were. The shoes are noticeably lighter than typical trail runners when held, which translates to significant weight differences on your feet. They say that a pound on your feet is like five on your back, so lightweight shoes are key while backpacking. The Mafate checks that box without compromising on stability.
Something unique about the aesthetic of these shoes is that the same two color choices are offered to both men and women. Hoka is in front of the curve by getting away from excessively pink women’s shoes, and instead offering two bold designs that are appealing for both men and women on the trail.
Tread and Traction
I had a significant fall during one of my first hikes wearing these shoes due to a failure in traction. It took the entire rest of the testing period to regain my trust in the traction of these shoes. With that being said, I never had another fall so am convinced it was a fluke. After 100 miles, the traction has held up great and doesn’t look too much different than the day I took them out of the box. The Mafate features Vibram® Megagrip high-traction rubber outsoles with insane 5mm lugs that make you stick like glue on rocks and inclines.
Comfortable Enough for Long-Mile Days
As someone who is notorious for ripping off my shoes the second I get to camp, I was shocked that I would finish at a trailhead and drive all the way home without even realizing I was still wearing the shoes. They are insanely comfortable on long hikes and I never had my “dogs barking” as an excuse for not pushing big miles.
When picking a shoe for long distances and thru-hikes, durability is key. With that said, I noticed a small tear on the area around my ankle about 40 miles into testing. Over the following weeks, the tear grew and one even started on the other shoe after about 55 miles. This is a common tear area on many brands of trail runners, and the rest of the shoe seems to be holding up fine. However, this is just enough to make me reconsider bringing the Mafate 2 on a multi-week hike.
It’s important to remember that two people’s feet can be almost as different as fingerprints. For the shape of my foot (slightly wider with lower arches), I found my arches started aching after wearing these shoes multiple days in a row. I could hike all day long and feel great, but as soon as I put them on for a second or third day, my arches would start to ache within an hour or two. This problem could be mitigated with insoles.
Sizes Run Different Than Other Hoka Models
I also own a pair of Hoka Challenger ATR3 and found the sizes to vary. A 6.5 in the Mafate feel noticeably bigger than my Challengers, so I would recommend either ordering a half size smaller than your usual, or going to a store to try these on in person before buying online.
The Hoka One One Mafate 2 is a great shoe for long days and harsh terrain. Lightweight materials paired with comfort and an all-around rugged design make you feel as though you can conquer anything the trail throws your way. Although the durability of certain areas could be improved and irritation that may occur on your feet after multiple days of use (depending on the individual needs of your feet), they are a great all-around trail runner and perfect for day hiking and backpacking alike.
Overall Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Comparable Trail Runners
This product was donated for the purpose of review.
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