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 Hoka One One Rincon 3 Review
By Contributor Nathan Brown


The third iteration of the HOKA Rincon is upon us. In a world where many high quality running shoes are continually priced higher and higher, the Rincon 3 maintains a price point of $115. Where the Rincon has suffered in the past is in durability, and the third version takes aim at correcting some of those issues. Although the changes may seems subtle from the previous version, there are some important changes on the bottom of the shoe which may impact which runners will fair best with the Rincon 3. 

Hoka Rincon 3 in hand. Orange upper and aqua, larged stack midsole seen. HOKA written over rear midfoot


Specifications for the Hoka One One Rincon 3 (per Running Warehouse)
Weight: 7.3oz (men's size 9); 6.2oz (women's size 8)
Stack Height: 33mm (heel), 28mm (forefoot
Drop: 5mm
Classification: Lightweight Daily Trainer

Medial view of the Hoka Rincon 3. Large aqua midsole. Winged logo on heel
Medial view of the Hoka Rincon 3. Large aqua midsole. Winged logo on heel

RUNNING SHOE SUMMARY

The HOKA Rincon 3 is a no frills lightweight trainer that is an interesting crossroads of maximalist design while still maintaining some ground feel. The third version brings a more breathable upper, slightly increased rubber outsole coverage, a drop in weight, and some changes in outsole design that has an impact on heel stability and effective heel to toe offset. The Rincon sits on the firmer end of the HOKA line and stays out of the way when different runs and conditions are thrown at it.

Outsole of the Rincon. Strategic rubber on forefoot and very rear heel. Crashpad seen in heel.
 

FIT (LENGTH / WIDTH / COMFORT)

If you have been following HOKA this year there are a few shoes that have bucked their trend of more narrow toe boxes, namely the Mach 4 and Bondi X. However, the Rincon 3 sits back in the traditional HOKA fit. It has a moderate to wide heel with a snugger mid and forefoot. The upper is vented and also does accommodate a bit, but this shoe will fit those with normal to narrow feet best. The main area that this upper falls short is the non-gusseted tongue. It is a thin and minimally padded tongue (which is fine), that unfortunately slides slightly down. This has led to the top laces falling off the tongue and onto my foot.

This same thing happened with the Bondi X for me, and I think it could be a simple fix. The tongue has an offset groove on the top for the soft tissue on the top of the ankle (tibialis anterior tendon), but this mainly serves as an area for the laces to slide up. Besides the tongue, the upper locks the foot down well, is breathable, and stays out of the way. In my size 9, the shoe fits true to size for length, and maybe slightly narrow for width.

Mildly padded heel of the Hoka One One Rincon 3. Soft & Light Meets Fast Written on insole
PERFORMANCE (RIDE / SPEED)

The Rincon 3 midsole works really well for a lot of things, but is absolutely no frills. It is a very light material that allows you to turn over quickly without feeling like you have to drag the shoe along. It is also on the firmer end of the spectrum, and with that firmness comes some rigidity to give the shoe some snappiness. I'd also add that this midsole doesn't give you a soft/cushioned feel or really any bounce/pop. It's relatively muted from the get go. I don't choose muted as a negative thing necessarily, because it allows the runner to feel a couple of things. This midsole, despite having 33mm in the heel, gives you some ground feel, which is a welcomed option from HOKA. Additionally, the more muted foam allows you to feel the effect of the rocker and get some of the rigidity and snap when picking up the pace. Given that it is muted from day 1, the changes in the midsole haven't been severe over my testing and I expect it to keep its character for a couple hundred miles. 

There are two major changes to the outsole design that impact the ride of this shoe. First is the increased rubber coverage. The rubber extends a little forward on the outside/lateral part of the shoe, really improving durability for those of us who are heel strikers. Additionally, they added more rubber in the forefoot to give full coverage for toe off. I found this helped with grip when picking up the pace. The increased rubber also may have contributed to the slightly more firm feel of the Rincon 3 compared to the 2. The second change is the modified cutout in the crash pad area. Compared the the 1 and 2, the Rincon 3 has a significantly wider cutout. When standing in the shoe, you may even feel the center of your heel sink down into the cutout area (more on that later). What is also does is make this shoe compress easier in the heel, and depending on where you land may make this shoe feel more like a 2-4mm drop shoe than the 5mm drop that it is listed at. 

What is possibly my favorite thing about the Rincon 3 is its versatility. For $115, you can get a no-nonsense daily trainer, performance trainer, and long run shoe. Light and snappy enough for picking up the pace, enough ground feel for some recovery runs, and enough protection for longer runs. It's a great value as long as you are okay with a firmer and muted foam. For many, this can even be a 10K-marathon race day option.

Up close on the crashpad in the heel of the Rincon outsole.

STABILITY

The Rincon 3 is a very "centered" shoe, thanks to the new cutout in the heel. The wider cutout in the crash pad creates a valley for the heel bone (calcaneus) to sink into when landing. This may assist some runners in guiding their movement forward early on in the gait cycle. Pair that centering with a firmer foam, the typical HOKA wide full contact outsole, a bit of ground feel, and some side walls, and you have yourself a very stable neutral trainer. The one area that could improve stability slightly is synching up the heel counter to prevent sloppiness for those who have a narrow heel.

THOUGHTS AS A DPT / FOOTWEAR SCIENCE

The most significant design change to the Rincon is the cutout in the crash pad. I mentioned above that this design creates almost a "cradle-like" effect on the heel. For heel strikers who have some stability needs, this may be a very welcomed effect. Interestingly, the centered nature of the cutout may be effective for those who enjoy a little support either on the inside of the foot and on the outside of the foot. Before I go further, I'm going to stress that pronation and supination may be completely normal and healthy. Runners may land in supination and some runner may go into varying degrees of pronation as a part of their shock absorption. Again, this is typically okay. 

Now, for those who have an injury history where they show a pattern of pain that is consistent with excessive pronation or supination (note: excessive is not defined well yet in the literature), the Rincon could end up being a potential option. For those who have excessive supination and an injury history consistent with that, the cradle may guide the foot into more of a centered position. For those who have excessive rearfoot pronation, the cradle may act in the opposite direction, centering the heel more in a relatively supinated or neutral position. I stress rearfoot because the cutout is isolated to the rearfoot and early midfoot, so for those who like a little guidance later in the gait cycle, this won't be the best option for you.

- Nathan Brown PT, DPT, OCS


Rear of the Rincon 3. Some minor sole flaring seen out of the heel foam.

Nathan holding out the short tongue of the Rincon

RECOMMENDATIONS

There are two areas I'd love just a touch of refinement. One is in the tongue, either by making it slightly longer, removing the asymmetrical groove, or adding padding (or a gusset). Just something to keep it secure higher on the top of the foot. The other would be to narrow the heel slightly. This is already a lightweight trainer that verges on the performance trainer realm, so a narrowed heel would help add security to the upper in the one area that it was lacking. 

WHO THIS SHOE IS FOR (Conclusion)

The Rincon 3 is a lightweight and versatile trainer that will suit runners who want some foam protection underneath but still a touch of ground feel. Geared for runners who like a firmer lightweight trainer, the foam itself may not "wow" you, but it is effective for piling on miles for various types of runs. The updates make this a nice step up, with better upper security and breathability and improved stability due to the centered cutout, but also may feel like a slightly lower drop due to the increased capacity for compressing the heel due to the cutout. In certain cases, this shoe may actually work well for those with a history of running injuries related to excessive supination or pronation.

GRADING (SHOE CATEGORY)

Nathan
Fit: (Breathable and secure through the toe box, but tongue is an issue and heel is a touch wide)
Performance: 
A- (Consistent and gives a balance between cushioning and ground feel, can pick up the pace and handle long distances)
Stability: A- (A stable neutral trainer with added heel stability with the cutout in the heel)
DPT/Footwear Science: A (Creating a shoe that can provide possibly stability needs for various runners is a big plus)
Personal:  B+ (I love having this shoe in my arsenal, I think the drop is just a bit low to use ALL the time)
Overall: A- (A value do-it-all shoe with solid design elements for stability)


Up close on the upper of the Rincon 3.

Rincon's held in air by the pull tab. Bit of red seen from the heel streaking down into the orange upper.
SHOP | SUPPORT DOR

Find the Hoka Rincon 3 at Running Warehouse here. Using the link to purchase helps support Doctors of Running. Thanks so much!

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Spring Energy Gel: Smooth and goes down easy. Great flavors
Trigger Point Foam Roller: Help get those knots out post-run and feel better for tomorrow
Coros Pace 2 Watch: Excellent watch for various running goals and a massive battery life
Theragun Massager: This small version is great on the go for working tired legs

FURTHER READING

Try More Hokas
Hoka Mach 4 -
A more effective uptempo shoe, but equally light and efficient
Hoka Clifton 8  - A higher cushioned, softer, more relaxed ride for everyday training mileage
Hoka Bondi X - The highest stacked, most cushioned Hoka, now with a carbon plate for a snappier response

Recently at Doctors of Running
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Update to the Chinese brand's carbon plated racer
Hoka Bondi X Video Review
August Round Up at Doctors of Running
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The premium stability trainer gets a big upper update to make the ride plush and comfortable for long miles

Thanks for reading!

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TESTER PROFILE:


Nathan Brown PT DPT OCS
Doctor of Physical Therapy 
Orthopedic Clinical Specialist
Movement Performance Institute Certified in Advanced Functional Biomechanics 

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.

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.

***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 systematically put each type of shoe through certain runs prior to review. For trainers and performance trainers, we take them on daily runs, workouts, recovery runs and a long run prior to review (often accumulating anywhere from 20-50 miles in the process). For racing flats we ensure that we have completed intervals, a tempo or steady state run run as well as a warm up and cool down in each pair prior to review. This systematic process is to ensure that we have experience with each shoe in a large variety of conditions to provide expansive and thorough reviews for the public and for companies. Our views are based on our 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.

Please feel free to reach out, comment and ask questions!
Contact us at doctorsofrunning@gmail.com

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Maximal vs Minimalist Shoes - Podcast Episode 57

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