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Hoka Rincon 2 Multiple Tester Review

As the Clifton has continued to gain weight, Hoka fans continually called for a lightweight maximalist Hoka (that wasn't a racing flat like the Carbon Rocket). Thus emerged the Hoka Rincon (REVIEW) last year: a lightweight but max cushioned shoe that could handle both long and fast miles. The shoe the Clifton tried but failed to be, version 2 returns as primarily an upper update. However, on foot it feels like a few other things have subtly changed. Others meanwhile have stayed the same.


Specifications (per Hoka)
Weight: 7.7 oz (men's size 9), 6.5 oz (women's size 7)
Measured Weight: TBD
Stack Height: 29 mm / 24 mm
Drop: 5mm
Classification: Maximalist Lightweight Trainer



HIGHLIGHTS

Matt: The Hoka Rincon 2 returns with an upper update, featuring a more secure and structured hold on the foot. A slightly snugger fit and a firmer midsole make for a great uptempo shoe and lightweight trainer that can handle both road and trail. While the outsole is wearing fast like the original, the Hoka Rincon 2 gets a little more serious and should work for faster paces better, but still can handle everything from distance racing to recovery runs.

David:
A shoe of minimal weight and plenty of foot protection for miles. The HOKA ONE ONE Rincon 2 is minimalist maximalist shoe if that's possible? The meta rocker gives a nice rolling sensation with a firm yet protective ride. The update to this shoe is a sandwich mesh that hugs the midfoot well and gives an nice foot hold. Known for its versatility, the Rincon 2 lives up to its reputation again with a shoe that can take long miles (18 longest run for me) and uptempo paces as well.

Nathan: The HOKA Rincon 2 is a wonderfully light, smooth, and comfortable shoe that keeps up with the workouts you are putting in as well as having great cushion and stability for longer miles. A refined early stage metarocker combined with a fully compressed EVA midsole provides a silky smooth ride at varied paces. 



FIT

Matt: My size 10 fits true size. The fit is a hair snugger than that of the original Rincon. The sandwich mesh is secure throughout the length of the foot and combined with the elevated sidewalls does a great job of keeping the foot on the platform. The forefoot fits a little snug, with an average to mildly snug fit in the midfoot and heel. There is a heel counter present, but it is not noticeable due to decent cushioning around the heel collar. The mesh is not as breathable as previous, but as mentioned is more secure. Like many Hoka shoes, the elevated side walls can create an odd feeling fit for some people. It took some time for me to get used to the footbed of the Rincon 2 as it initially feels like my foot was in a shoebox. That does disappear with a few miles as the footbed and side walls accommodate to your foot shape. However, during the first 20 miles I did have some rubbing on medial side of my first toe which caused some minor blisters. For those trying this shoe, know the fit may take some time to break in if you are not used to Hokas. 



David:
My size 9.5 fits true to size with an overall snug fit. The toe box up front is on the more narrow end, but I did not have any rubbing or chafing issues. I was a little concerned with having rubbing on the medial side walls since I have had this in the Hoka Cliftons before but I had no issues with medial wall rubbing in either the midfoot or forefoot. Overall snug and narrow throughout with the sandwich mesh but a nice upper. For such a light trainer I think the upper could be thinned out a little but overall the shoe has decent fitting and breathable upper.

Nathan: Certainly this shoe is true to size. The entire upper is simple, light, and slightly snug (in some areas). The simplicity of this engineered mesh upper is perfect to keep the weight down and also holds the foot down on the platform really well, even at the faster paces. The heel counter is of moderate width and has adequate cushioning for the achilles. The tongue is quite thin as well, but has just enough there to prevent irritation from the laces. The platform has sidewalls that are typical of many HOKA shoes, which is great for securing the foot on the platform and adding some stability (if the idea of sidewalls doesn't make sense, check out our YouTube review). However, in this shoe the beginning part of the forefoot is a bit snug. That snugness combined with the side walls did create a good amount of irritation and blistering for me over the first 24 miles (about 4 runs). My last 3 runs after that had no blistering at all. It just took a bit of time to break the shoe in. And I'm glad it did, because I fell in love with this shoe. It'll be one that stays in my rotation.



RIDE

Matt: The ride of the Rincon 2 is firmly cushioned. The lighter weight combined with max cushioning is an interesting combination, but the firmer EVA cushioning will provide plenty of stability and protection over uptempo and long miles. The Rincon 2 features an early stage meta-rocker, meaning that as soon as you transition to midstance, the shoe will start rocking you forward. This creates a nice forward progressing ride and also works well during recovery runs when your feet are beat up. There is a significant heel bevel as usual, meaning that ride is fairly smooth from a rocker standpoint. Although there is a 5mm drop, I almost did not notice it due the major rocker.

David:
Oddly enough the shoe is has plenty of protection but still carries a firm ride. I had no foot soreness running through rocks, trails, or pavement. The shoe has a 5mm drop but does not feel aggressive in any way. The meta rocker and firm midsole keep a fluid rolling like sensation on this shoe. Traction could be better... but it is still decent. If a little more rubber was placed in the forefoot I think that could help with grip and traction. With how light the shoe is it is perfect for me on days when my legs feel beat up and could use a lighter shoe with good protection still. Don't worry, you can still have a good quality protective ride with an EVA midsole. The Rincon is an example.

Nathan: First, the fully compressed EVA of the Rincon 2 is slightly on the firmer end of the spectrum, but still has the maximally cushioned feel to it. The thing that makes this shoe unique in its ride is the refined early stage metarocker. It comes into play early after heel strike and spans the full length of the outsole, which make it very modest and smooth  (personally I think HOKA creates the best rocker soles out there). Some rocker soles are very aggressive and you can feel it alter your gait, but the Rincon 2 is just enough to create a nice transition without forcing the ankle anywhere. I mention this in our video review/podcast, but there also seems to be a softer, more cushioned heel that transitions into a firmer, more rigid forefoot. This creates a soft landing that transitions to a snappy toe off. For how light it is, there is plenty of protection. 



STABILITY

Matt: As many Hoka shoes are, the Rincon 2 is quite stable. The wide base combined with the elevated side walls, rocker and firm ride makes for a stable ride. There are no traditional stability elements (no posting, etc), however there is enough stability there for most people (unless you need something extra). The ride is stable from heel to toe and the early stage meta-rocker really helps maintain a forward progression. This is more noticeable at uptempo speeds. The side walls do take some getting used to (as mentioned earlier, they caused some irritation initially), but do provide gentle guidance on both the lateral and medial sides of the feet.

David:
The Rincon was more stable than I was expecting. The firm midsole combined with side walls created medial/lateral stability pretty well. The meta rocker design also creates a fluid initial contact and sets up the gait cycle nicely for smooth transitions. I was very pleased with stability and was able to still take this shoe into mountain trails. Traction could be better in terrain, but on road you will be just fine.

Nathan: The Rincon 2 is a rather stable ride for a maximalist shoe. The lateral flaring of the outsole (which is full contact), the side walls on the foot platform, and a secure upper create a rather stable base to operate off of. There is no designated arch support or purposeful adjustments to the midsole, but for the typical neutral runner, this shoe will work fine. The stability it offers and the wide platform did make this run well on crushed gravel as well.



SPEED

Matt: The firmer ride combined with the early stage meta-rocker makes the Rincon 2 a great option for tempo runs, uptempo long runs, easy runs and recovery runs. This is a great marathon training shoe that can handle a variety of road and trail miles at a majority of speeds. For anything faster than tempo runs, the size and max feel of the Rincon 2 slows it down. While it did very well for me during tempo runs, the size makes the shoe feel heavier as the pace picks up. For faster intervals this is not the best option, but it is better than most traditional trainers. 



David:
The HOKA ONE ONE Rincon 2 is a great choice for long runs, daily efforts, uptempo runs, and potentially racing for a more recreation community. The midsole is a little firmer but does make the shoe a little more snappy when picking up the pace. Add in the meta rocker and you have a shoe that keeps you in a momentous gait cycle. The shoe still feels great at easier paces too. As noted earlier I actually like it more for easy days when my legs feel beat up because it gives protection at such as light weight.

Nathan: The Rincon 2 is a versatile shoe. It has the cushion to handle long miles, and the geometry and weight to handle some speed. The shoe isn't necessarily "propulsive" but it keeps up with whatever you throw at it. My favorite runs in the Rincon 2 were long tempo efforts because of the cushion and ability for the shoe to keep up with any tempo I threw at it. However, I've also done recovery runs and hill repeats, and never was wishing I had something else on my feet. 



DURABILITY

Matt: While the upper is more durable than previous, the sole is wearing out just as fast. After 50 miles, I have a significant amount of wear throughout the length of the sole. There are spotty areas of outsole rubber that I have still worn through, but am wearing through the exposed outsole fastest. This has not actually affected the ride thus far, but is a concern I have for long term wear. The Rincon 2 is not meant to be a super durable shoe as it is very light, but those who are particularly hard on outsole (me) should be aware of this. The Rincon 2 actually took some time to break in as the ride was very stiff at first. However, after 40 miles it started to loosen up. It has continued to loosen, so the midsole may also be breaking down at a decent pace.

David:
I did take them in technical trails... but my Rincon 2's are pretty shredded in the outsole and on my lateral walls. The shoe has decent durability for its purpose, but some durable rubber could be placed slightly more in posterior lateral heel and through forefoot. The ride remains consistent overall but does lose a little of the initial firmness when you first put the shoe on. There is enough midsole and protection for a lot of miles though.

Nathan: To keep with the theme here, I'm noticing some decent wear of the exposed EVA, though not as much as "The Destroyer", Matt Klein...obviously. The ride hasn't changed much, but the grip is changing due to the breakdown of the outsole. The outsole will be done before the midsole and upper for sure. As mentioned in fit, the midsole, including the side walls, took some time to break in. Once it did, it has stayed smooth and cushioned. 



THOUGHTS AS A DPT 

We discuss the rockers of the foot and ankle frequently here. The rockers of the foot are natural curves or mechanisms that facilitate forward motion efficiently without extra energy required. These include the heel rocker from the curved calcaneus, the ankle rocker from the domed talocrural joint and the forefoot rocker from the natural transition from the metatarsophalangeal joints during toe off. The early stage meta-rocker of the Rincon 2 helps facilitate both the ankle and forefoot rockers. The fact that the upward curve of the front of the shoe starts earlier back means that the shoe begins to roll the body forward at an earlier time. This type of design is really good for those with with stiff toes and stiff ankles. If you are the kind of person with very little calf flexibility, stiff ankle joints or someone who feels a pinch at the front of ankle when you transition forward, a shoe with an early stage meta-rocker will reduce the work and motion required at the ankle joint and may help you with forward progression. You should see a physical therapist to help you figure out why and how to improve your ankle/foot mobility, but for the time being this footwear type may help unload those areas.


RECOMMENDATIONS 

Matt: The Rincon 2 is meant as a lighter weight max cushion shoe.  7.7 oz is great for this much shoe, but I really suggest adding more outsole rubber to make this shoe last a little longer. A couple more patches shouldn't add too much weight and may extend the life of this shoe. The other suggestion I have is to really think about how the footbed is designed. Often putting Hokas on feeling like running in shoe boxes initially. I really encourage Hoka to consider sculpting the sidewalls to follow the foot. This can be very difficult to do as people have incredible variety in foot shapes, but it may be something that will help the shoes break in faster.

David:
My recommendations are mainly in fit and durability. The sandwich mesh is nice and gives a good hold on the midfoot but the toebox of the shoe is more narrow and might cause rubbing for some. The outsole also could have a real small addition of rubber to the posterior lateral heel and up in the forefoot, which would add minimal weight. I  have similar thoughts as Matt with the side walls. It seems pretty consistent for HOKA's to have medial irritation from the walls in some capacity. Contouring the wall to follow the fit, or widening the platform could help a little bit with an improved dynamic stability while decreasing the chance of irritation.

Nathan: Don't mean to be a broken record here. First change I would make is adding a few areas of rubber, namely one "pod" on the posterolateral section that is anterior to the current rubber, and then three pieces that are more anteromedial. This would increase durability without adding much weight at all. And for what this shoe is good for, it could put on 0.2-0.3 oz without causing a problem. Second is widening the early part of the toe box to allow for a more adaptable fit. If this is done, would have to make sure that the midsole stays snug so that the foot can be secure on the platform.

Suggested rubber outsole additions


WHO THIS SHOE IS FOR (Conclusion)

Matt: The Hoka Rincon 2 is a subtle evolution of their lightweight trainer. Those who want a firmer, lightweight maximal shoe that can handle tempo runs to recovery runs should definitely check this shoe out. This will be a great marathon shoe for a large number of people who want a protective but light enough ride to still go a little faster. Those who also want to go off road should know that while the sole is not the most durable, the stable base and outsole design still will give enough traction for light trails.

David:
The Hoka Rincon 2 is a versatile training and potentially racing shoe for some that can do a little bit of everything. The Rincon 2 is s a maximalist, firm, responsive training shoe that weighs under 8 ounces. The shoe does run narrow and may cater to those with a more narrow foot shape, but some others do just fine without blisters. Overall a versatile yet protective shoe that is a bit of a "jack of all trades".

Nathan: The HOKA Rincon 2 has become one of my favorite shoes in my rotation...and no, it isn't because I got the awesome-looking TK Colorway. This shoe spans that gap of having plenty of cushion for long miles while being light and smooth enough for tempo days. A shoe that is great for marathon training, it could be great to have in a shoe rotation. For those looking for a durable trainer to do it all for you, this might not be your best bet due to the lack of outsole durability. But for those who do have a shoe rotation, this is a great add for some longer tempo days. 

Doctors of Running Youtube Review of the Hoka Rincon 2

GRADING
Matt
Fit                   8 /10 (Secure fit with good lock down. -2 due to chaffing at forefoot and odd initial footbed fit)
Ride                 9 /10 (Smooth ride, little clunky at first)
Stability           9.5 /10 (Great stable shoe due to multiple mechanisms for a variety of people)
Speed               9 /10 (Good for easy to tempo run speeds. -1 for limited higher speeds despite lighter weight)
Durability        7 /10 (Should last decently, but -3 for high amount of early outsole wear)

David
Fit                     8.5/10 (good lock down, but narrow toe box and thicker less breathable upper)
Ride                  9.25/10 (meta rocker helps with smooth roll, not greatest in terrains with traction)
Stability            9.5/10 (firm midsole, side walls, rocker, pretty good overall in stable conditions)
Speed                9/10 (agree with Matt. Not racing fast for me by any means, but uptempo ok)
Durability         7.5/10 (nothing to brag about but should last decently. Very average durability)

Nathan
Fit                     8.5/10 (narrow proximal toe box and irritable sidewalls initially; great upper breathability and weight)
Ride                  10/10 (wonderfully smooth)
Stability            9.5/10 (side walls and wide platform create a stable, yet neutral, shoe)
Speed                9.75/10 (protective for long runs, light and good geometry for tempos and even some workouts)
Durability         8/10 (outsole durability just doesn't stand up; everything else lasts well)

Total Score: 88% (M: 8.5/10  D: 8.75/10 N: 9.15/10 )

Thanks for reading!

TESTER PROFILES:
Dr. Matthew Klein is a 140 lb male with notable PRs of 14:45 for 5k and 2:32:44 for the full marathon.  He typically runs 70-100 miles per week and trains at a variety of paces from 8min per mile recovery runs to 4:40 per mile 1k repeats.  He prefers firmer and responsive shoes with snug heels and medium to wide toe boxes.  He is particular to less cushioned shoes and close to the ground shoes, but can handle a little cushion when he gets beat up.

Dr. David Salas is a 135 lb male with notable PRs of 3:54 1500m, 14:56 5k, 31:06 10k, 1:08 for half marathon. He typically runs 40 to 50 miles per week and trains from about 7:30 recovery runs to fast shorter efforts at 4:30 pace. He normally prefers neutral shoes with a firmer ride, but is completely open to other types of shoes.  He is a footwear enthusiast at heart and will always appreciate a high quality shoe when it comes around. For updates on training or testing, IG handle: @docsofrundavid

Dr. Brown is a 155 lb male with notable PRs of 18:18 5K, 39:25 10K, 1:29:01 half marathon, and 3:54 marathon. He typically runs between 20-40 miles per week at a variety of paces from 7:30-8:30 min/mile for recovery runs to 6-6:45 min/mile for tempo runs. He typically prefers shoes that provide some cushioning underfoot but still maintain a more firm and responsive feel. Current goals for 2020 are to break the 1.5 hour half marathon and 3:30 marathon. IG handle: @nate.docsofrunning

Editor's Note: As always, the views presented on this website belong to myself or the selected few who contribute to these posts. This website should not and does not serve as a replacement for seeking medical care. If you are currently injured or concerned about an injury, please see your local running physical therapist. If you are in the Los Angeles area, I am currently taking clients for running evaluations.

Matthew Klein, PT DPT OCS FAAOMPT
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Board Certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist
Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapists

Nathan Brown PT DPT MS
Doctor of Physical Therapy 
Masters in Anatomy and Clinical Health Science
Movement Performance Institute Certified in Advanced Functional Biomechanics 

David Salas PT DPT CSCS
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist

***Disclaimer: These shoes were provided free of charge in exchange for a review.  We thank the  people at Hoka for sending us a pair.  This in no way affected the honesty of this review. We put at least 35-50 miles on trainers and 10-25 miles on racing flats prior to reviewing them. Currently we have 54 miles (Matt), 35 miles (Nathan) and 36 miles (David) on our pairs. Our views are based on my extensive history in the footwear industry and years testing and developing footwear. If you are a footwear rep looking for footwear reviews or consultations on development, we are currently looking to partner with companies to assist, discuss and promote footwear models. Partnership will not affect the honesty of our reviews.

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