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Hoka Stinson 7 Review: Run Anywhere, Comfortably
By Matthew Klein and David Salas

The HOKA Stinson 7 is the one-stop shop for beating up mileage. The shoe aims at being a maximum cushioned daily training shoe that can tackle both roads and trails. The Stinson has a few updates to its geometry and upper to make it a little more stable throughout. It runs on the heavier side, though is a nice addition to the maximum cushioning category. 

Hoka Stinson 7
Price: $169.95 at Running Warehouse
Weight: 12.1 oz, 343 g (men's size 9), 10.6 oz, 300 g  (women's size 8)
Stack Height: 43.5 mm / 38.5 mm
Drop: 5 mm 
Classification: Maximal Trail/Road Daily Training Shoe


Matt: The Hoka Stinson 7 is a maximum stack height, all-terrain road/trail hybrid for long miles and anything that comes your way. The fit is lower volume but wider especially in the forefoot, making for a unique fit not common in Hoka shoes. The ride is incredibly tall and rockered, sitting as the tallest stack height trail shoe on the market. The surprisingly smooth but heavy ride can roll over anything, making it best for easy mileage when you don't want to worry about what terrain might be underfoot. The multi-directional lugs grip well on trail but are durable enough to tackle roads. For those who want the most rockered and maximal trail shoe on the market, the Hoka Stinson 7 continues as a tank of a shoe that can handle anything that comes its way. 

David: The HOKA Stinson 7 is a maximum cushioned training shoe for logging big mileage. The shoe is unique in that it is designed specifically for all terrain use, including road and trail. The shoe uses an H-frame foam insert to help keep things centered and cushioned. The shoe also uses multi-directional lugs and a secure upper to help with off-roading. The shoe is a classic high-stack rockered shoe from the company with some trail and stability specific elements.

: New Balance Fresh Foam X More Trail v3, ASICS Trabuco Max 2


Matt: The Hoka Stinson 7 fits me true to size in my normal men's US size 10. The upper is a thicker Jacquard mesh that provides plenty of protection. The volume is lower especially in the front but the forefoot fits slightly wide. The midfoot fits normally with a normal thickness tongue that is gusseted on the medial side. I have not had any slippage of the tongue or my foot and did not have to tie down the laces that tight. The heel fits normal to slightly snug. There is a moderately stiff heel counter that I did not feel thanks to its rounded shape and the extra heel collar cushioning. Those with sensitivities may notice this but I was fine.

The upper is plenty secure and as mentioned I did not have to worry about lace locking the shoe. I would absolutely suggest using socks with this upper and not trying sockless wear. The medial gusset is a little scratchy against bare skin but is absolutely fine with socks on. The upper has plenty of overlays and is thick enough that I have run through a variety of terrain and not had any issues with terrain or being poked. This includes some fairly aggressive single track in Monrovia that protected my feet well  (although the skin on my legs were not). Overall the upper is tough and secure while still having a little wiggle room.

Editor's Note: Hoka uses an "Active Foot Frame" for this model that they state
creates a small cradle of foam around your foot in the footbed instead of you just sitting on top of it. See example by Hoka here.

David: The HOKA Stinson 7 fits true to size in my men's 9.5. The shoe uses a relatively thick, though secure jacquard mesh for its material. The shoe has good dimensions throughout with solid lockdown. The volume is a little snug, but not so much it encroaches the foot in a bad way. The tongue is padded enough to allow for good lockdown from the laces without irritation. The width in the heel is slightly narrow, midfoot normal, and forefoot/toe box normal to slightly wide. There is a toe cap to help with abrasion and hitting objects. The toe cap seems to do a good job of providing security and protection, but almost feels a little too thick on the lateral side. It is something I feel pretty frequently. It hasn't irritated my foot, but it is a noticeable sensation on both feet. The length of the shoe is a tiny bit long but the lower volume keeps things snug throughout. The Stinson overall has a good lockdown throughout and I have not had any issues with outside of some rubbing on the toe cap on the lateral side of the forefoot. 


Matt: The Hoka Stinson 7 is a hefty, maximal stack height, tank of a road/trail shoe. It provides a completely different feel and fit from the Bondi 8, which I incorrectly assumed it would be similar to. The ride underfoot is mild to moderately soft while feeling grounded and stable. The heel is well-beveled with a small lateral bias. There is a 5mm drop listed and it feels exactly like that. The edge of this relatively lower drop is taken off by both the heel bevel as well as the highly rockered forefoot. As expected with a 38.5 mm forefoot, there is zero flexibility. All forward transition occurs due to the large forefoot rocker that transitions smoothly on both road and trail. The shoe features Durabrasion rubber and 4mm lugs. The lugs on the outsole combined with the incredibly wide shape do a great job of gripping and creating stable ground contact. The lugs are large enough and integrate well enough together that they are not noticeable on road, yet provide plenty of traction on softer surfaces. On dirt, single tract, gravel and mud I have found this shoe to do fine thanks to both the lugs and wider base. The lugs are not deep enough to handle extremely soft mud, but normal mild mud is fine.

Purpose-wise, the Hoka Stinson 7 is best for easy runs, recovery runs and long runs if you can handle the weight. The 12.1 ounces (my size 10 is almost 13 oz) is extremely noticeable. Thanks to the CMEVA midsole foam and rockered transition, the edge of this is taken off but it took me some time to get used to running with this much weight on my feet. It is far lighter than most hiking shoes but is not light enough to be considered for anything but slower running. I have tried to pick up the pace and felt like I had leg weights on. Trying to run with a longer stride was also challenging. The heavier weight and rocker makes this shoe feel much better running with a short efficient stride. Fortunately, the amount of material underfoot does make it extremely durable. I have 30 miles of road and trail miles in this shoe and not been able to even dent the lugs. For that reason, I expect this shoe to last a long time even with hybrid surface use. 

Editor's Note: Hoka says CMEVA is a compression-molded EVA.
This midsole is now found in many Hoka models like the Gaviota and Kawana.

David: Okay, I'm surprised. I didn't think I would like this shoe this much. My image of the Stinson prior to receiving it was that it was going to be a slightly trailish Bondi. In some ways it is, though it still runs like a completely different shoe. The foam feels a tad softer underfoot and the rocker feels a little more natural. Even though there is a bunch of CMEVA midsole foam underfoot there is still a small amount of flexibility to the forefoot which feels nice. The rocker profile does not feel overdone. The heel bevel is large enough to work and it blends in well with the midfoot and moderate toe spring. The lugs give good traction but do not feel overly involved on the road. In trail situations I actually felt quite good and secure given this has 43mm of stack.

The H-frame is surprisingly noticeable. I would say you feel pretty centered and having that "H" design gives a little more impact room for the foam at the heel and forefoot. It isn't overly dramatic but I would say you feel decently stable and secure in this shoe. The sole flaring and sidewalls of the shoe are done very well and this comes off as a stable neutral shoe given the stack height. The shoe does come in at 12 ounces so its heavy. With that said it runs very smooth and I have no hesitation in all of the reasonable situations I have found myself running in. The shoe shines best at easy paces and is a workhorse training shoe. This lines up with the upper though the one thing I did find was the rubbing of the forefoot toe cap laterally when I was running. Thankfully I did not have any irritation following runs, but the sensation was noticeable. Otherwise this was a home run for me.


Matt: Thanks to several methods, the Hoka Stinson 7 easily qualifies as a stable neutral shoe. There are no traditional methods of stability, but a new H-frame sits in the midsole, the sole is wider, the midfoot is filled in and there are excellent sidewalls in the forefoot and heel. The sidewalls are part of the H-frame design, which based on videos appears to be a stiffer layer of foam that circles the shoe like an "8". This is an excellent guidance method with additional stiffening in the midfoot. The forefoot and heel sidewalls provide excellent guidance forward while the rocker and midfoot structure keep the momentum going. This does not feel like a stability shoe because it is technically not, but it certainly qualifies as stable neutral and even a guidance shoe. I never felt like I was getting pushed in a certain direction, but throughout the length of the shoe felt centered. This is one of the few trail guidance/stability shoes out there that has excellent centered stability throughout the length of the shoe, whether at the heel, midfoot or forefoot. 

David: The HOKA Stinson 7 is technically a neutral shoe but they did a great job of stabilizing the platform. For having so much foam I never felt unstable in this shoe. The shoe uses a "H" frame design using a slightly firmer foam wedge across the shoe. This creates a similar feeling of a guiderail medially and laterally, while having a little crash pad in the heel and forefoot as the foam compresses. The H-Frame does have some give to it. This makes it noticeable but fluid. The shoe also does a great job of using sole flaring and sidewalls. The platform feels very stable underfoot and I never feel like I am going to roll off of either side. The upper is very secure as well. The mesh is reinforced throughout and very trustworthy. The toe cap helps keep structure as well, though as noted above I did get some rubbing on the lateral forefoot. The shoe may be heavy with a lot going on, but this is one of the best examples of stable-neutral in the business right now (especially in the maximum cushioning category). 

Thoughts as a DPT: H-Frame, Stability and Maximal Shoes
By Matthew Klein

I have been curious about what Hoka's new "H-Frame" is. This technology is also now seen in the new Gaviota 5, which surprisingly moved on from the tried and true J-frame. Looking at Hoka's videos, it appears to be an outer layer of firmer foam that crosses in the midfoot with one circle at the forefoot and one at the heel that both have a softer center foam. "8" frame might be a better description. Regardless, this is a solid move forward toward more guidance-based stability rather than just a medial wedge or post. It mirrors what some other companies have been experimenting with, including the Saucony Tempus.

The additional stability is an absolute necessity for a maximal shoe, especially one that sits over 40mm and is supposed to go on unstable terrain. The taller a shoe is and the higher your foot is off the ground, the less inherent stability there is. There is a delay in proprioceptive input for your body to stabilize itself, which may or may not be a reason for the increase in peak eversion compared to more traditional shoes (Hannigan & Pollard, 2020; Sinclair et al., 2021). The taller stack height can be compensated for with a wider sole, which is often but not always done (see many super racing shoes). The normal integration of stability/guidance components into a shoe this tall therefore makes sense to compensate for the normal reactions of the body to a maximal shoe and to keep the foot on the platform. In the past, I would have hesitated in adding a stability/major guidance component to a shoe that was supposed to be neutral. However, these new methods appear to be working for both those with and without stability needs. Add that to the fact that the body has some interesting reaction to maximal shoes that guidance mechanisms MAY (we don't know for sure) help with, this is a logical addition that at least anecdotally feels great. 


Hannigan, J. J., & Pollard, C. D. (2020). Differences in running biomechanics between a maximal, traditional, and minimal running shoe. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport23(1), 15-19.

Sinclair, J., Brooks, D., Taylor, P. J., & Liles, N. B. (2021). Effects of running in minimal, maximal and traditional running shoes: A musculoskeletal simulation exploration using statistical parametric mapping and Bayesian analyses. Footwear Science13(2), 143-156.


Matt: The Hoka Stinson 7 surprised me with its ride and fit. I got way more miles than I expected on this shoe, which initially I thought I would only use for hiking. I was going to suggest making the shoe lighter, but I am not sure that can be done without sacrificing the stability and durability. The wider midfoot, H-frame and cushioning make this stable and protective enough to handle almost anything that comes your way. The H-frame in particular works really well. I would almost suggest softening the internal non-H-frame foam, but that might make the stability too aggressive. If it would be possible to increase the resilience of the foam, ie bounceback, that may help make the shoe feel lighter without having to actually reduce weight. (something the New Balance Fresh Foam X More v3 Trail did very well). Other than that, I have no suggestions and am impressed that this shoe does what it is supposed to do really well.

I really loved the HOKA Stinson 7. My only gripe with it is the toe cap. I like it being there but it does feel a little too thick to me. It extends being the little toe into the 4th and I definitely feel it making contact with my toes. I did not have any irritation or blisters, but just feeling it constantly makes things less desirable. That's really the only major recommendation I have for the shoe. 


Matt: The Hoka Stinson 7 is for those that want a tank of a shoe that is highly rockered, stable, tough and can handle any terrain and mileage. It is well-rockered, durable and highly stable, making it an excellent option for a variety of runners on a variety of terrain. The upper fits lower volume wise but has a little extra room in the forefoot, make it secure while still having some room for the toes to spread. It is really heavy, which does limit it to easier paced runs and specific, shorter running mechanics. Once you learn the shoe it will glide along as long as you will.

The Stinson series has been around a long time as the toughest and heaviest trail running shoe within the Hoka line. The addition of guidance elements will make it interesting to observe how runners react to it and whether it attracts new users. The increase in weight is a little disappointing from the previous version but is made up for with improved stability. It also distinguishes the Stinson 7 far more from the other Hoka trail shoes. So even in a market with lighter shoes, the Stinson 7 still has a clear place as the heavy-duty, stable road/trail hybrid that is ready for anything.

The HOKA Stinson is a shoe for someone who wants a single shoe to tackle all of their training miles, regardless of footing. The shoe is a max stack height rockered shoe, but is designed very well and feels relatively natural for the platform. The shoe also provides great security and stability throughout. For those that have a lot of movement in their ankle where they feel it "rolling" in one direction frequently, this is a secure upper and platform. The shoe is heavy though and you will have to look past that on this model since it does a great job with everything listed above. 


Fit:  A- (Wider forefoot with lower volume fit. Thick protective upper that is secure)
Performance: B+
 (Smooth rolling but heavy tank that will run over road and trail. Best at easy paces only)
Stability: A [Stable Neutral/Guidance] (Highly stable shoe without being overbearing due to H-frame, sidewalls, sole flaring, filled in midfoot and upper security
DPT/Footwear Science: A (Excellent integration of guidance concepts in an all-terrain shoe. )
Personal: A-/B+ (I am enjoying this shoe but the weight does get to me over longer miles. Will definitely continue to hike and do easy miles in this shoe but may be too heavy for me to continue grabbing)
Overall: A- 

Fit: B+ (Low volume, though good security and fit, toe cap a little too involved and can rub)
Performance: A- 
(I keep reaching for it or at least looking at it. Great for easy days and can tackle nearly any terrain.)
Stability: A (Stable neutral but H-frame, sole flaring, sidewalls, upper security, traction all solid in this model)
DPT/Footwear Science: A- (I'm actually impressed with them for not just taking a Bondi and slapping lugs on it. There is a lot of thought and attention to detail for a true all terrain shoe)
Personal: A (It's heavy but I can look past that. The transitions are smooth, I trust the shoe in most situations, and it works for my mechanics)
Overall: A- (A very solid addition to the maximum cushioning category and serves the purpose it was designed for)


Hoka Stinson 7
Price: $169.95 at Running Warehouse

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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 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.

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