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Hoka Mafate Three2 Review: Trail Walking for the Streets (Street Walking for the Trails??)
By Matthew Klein

Although our name is "Doctors of Running", we are increasingly looking at shoes that can be used for walking and standing. Part of this comes from the fact that the majority of running shoes can also be used for casual purposes. The other part comes from that fact that most running shoe purchases in the United States are actually for walking and standing. Using running shoes for this purpose is great because the quality is often far higher than normal casual shoes, the cushioning is far better and the shoes are designed far more anatomically (not always, but sometimes). Many companies have taken this and repurposed older models into walking shoes, including ASICS, Nike, Saucony and many more. Hoka is clearly following this trend with the release of the Hoka Mafate Three2.  A combination of midsole and upper from the third and second versions, the Hoka Mafate Three2 brings a high level of trail shoe quality into a shoe meant for casual wear but still packs enough tech to be used as a running shoe if you choose.

Hoka Mafate Three2
Price: $185 at Hoka
Weight: 11.6 oz, 329 g (Unisex, men's size 9)
Stack Height: 35 mm / 31 mm
Drop: 4 mm 
Classification: "Street-Ready" Trail Shoe


The Hoka Mafate Three2 is a retro combination of the Mafate Speed 2's midsole and the Mafate 3's upper to provide a grippy casual shoe that still packs technology to hike and run. The upper features Hoka's classic snug/slightly narrow feel with a durable mesh from the Mafate 3 that keeps the foot secure. The midsole features the stable, cushioned ride of the Mafate Speed 2 with incredible outsole grip for any surface. Best for those who have normal to narrow-width feet or who want a snug fit in an all-day shoe, the Hoka Mafate Three2 brings the best of two shoes back for casual wear, hiking and even some running.

SIMILAR SHOES: Hoka Transport


The Hoka Mafate Three2 fits me slightly short in my normal US size 10 mens. This is due to a quick taper at the forefoot combined with a lower volume at the front of the shoe. The forefoot is snug with plenty of reinforcement with a large toe guard. The toe guard is large and thick, which makes it protective but a bit rough on the edge of my toes This creates a normal-to-slightly snug midfoot. The tongue is gusseted, secure and moderately thick. The lock laces do a great job of securing the upper and I have had no issues with walking, hiking or running. The heel is normal in width, featuring a solid amount of heel collar cushioning and a moderately stiff counter. The amount of heel collar padding offset the counter and it did not bother me at all. I would definitely use socks with this shoe as the guard is fairly rough on the inner aspect of the upper. The security is fairly good due to the slightly snug and lower volume fit. I always get worried with lock laces, but they continued to prove that you can get a secure fit without traditional laces. The little strap to keep the lock laces secure works well and I have not had any issues with the end getting in the way while in motion. Overall this is a classic Hoka fit, so those comfortable with that will do just fine here. 


The Hoka Mafate Three2 features the same highly cushioned midsole from the Mafate Speed 2. The midsole features a full-length compression-molded EVA foam at a classically maximal stack height. This provides a ton of protection underfoot with a slightly firmer ride relative to the height. The weight is not noticeable and my pair of mens size 10 weigh 11.8 oz. While on the heavier end, I suspect a size 9 would weigh far less than the listed 11.6 oz. The rockered ride and lower drop both contribute to these shoes feeling lighter than listed. The 4mm heel drop is noticeable but is offset by the rockered sole. There is no flexible anywhere along the length of the shoe. There is a solid heel bevel and forefoot rocker that do offset this, although the forefoot does need a little time to break in. Once it does, the transition feels like a classic maximal shoe. However, the lower drop will still necessitate some calf mobility and strength.

Given the full-length sidewalls and wide base, the Hoka Mafate Three2 is a stable neutral shoe. The wide base provides a ton of surface area under the foot and the midfoot stays wide. The sidewalls are particularly large in the heel and midfoot and do a great job of keeping a centered ride. Those who are sensitive to sidewalls will need to approach with caution while those who respond well to them will find a well-guided sole from the heel into the midfoot

Purpose-wise this shoe is meant for casual wear but I have been able to still use it for hiking and running. The outsole features extremely large lugs that dig into a variety of surfaces. We recently got snow in the SoCal mountains and I found this to provide plenty of traction on mild snow, rocky trails and mild mud. The Vibram outsole also provides fine grip on roads and indoor artificial surfaces. I have not slipped at all even while changing directions quickly but given the design of this shoe would try to keep its use to forward motion only (not lateral stuff). Pace-wise at its weight it is best for longer efforts, be it long-standing, hiking or running. I have used this shoe easily for long days of teaching or treating, long walks (max 5 mile hike) and several easy runs (3-4 miles) without issue. I have not taken this shoe farther than 3-5 miles due to its intended use as a casual shoe, but it still performs given its background as a performance running shoe. I have about 30 miles of varied use in this shoe now and the durability of the outsole has been fantastic. The lugs have almost no wear on them despite using them in a variety of ways, although I have kept them off-road for most of my running. So if used as a casual and trail shoe, I expect the durability to be quite high. Thus, those seeking the same midsole feel/ride of the Mafate Speed 2 will be happy as it maintains the high-performance ride, now sold as a casual shoe.

Thoughts as a DPT: What Are The Real Differences Between A Running and Walking Shoe? 
By Matthew Klein

A frequent question we get is whether running shoes can be used as walking shoes. Outside of track spikes and super shoes, most running shoes can be used as walking and standing shoes. In fact, from our conversations with companies, most running shoes are actually bought for the purpose of standing and walking by people looking for something more comfortable. So the answer is clearly yes. From a clinical perspective, I will always suggest running shoes for those walking given the wider variability in features. Running shoes, especially now, tend to feature more cushioning underfoot, have better-rockered profiles, better and appropriate flex grooves and uppers designed for comfort rather than fashion (usually). The only exception to this is if the individual is searching for a formal work shoe. In that case, I will look to for all black/solid neutral colorways of certain running shoes, walking variations of those running shoes (which usually just translates to the same midsole with a leather upper) and in a worst-case scenario, I will look to formal dress shoes and attempt to find something with the mechanics necessary (although these are extremely rare). 

Running shoes are typically designed with better biomechanics, cushioning, and fit compared to typical walking/casual shoes. They can be used as walking shoes if comfort is a priority. If fashion is a priority, then attempting to look at retro running shoes may be helpful. However, how good they are will depend on how far back "retro" is for that company. In the case of the Mafate Three2, the components are only a few years old in design, compared to other companies that release shoes that are decades old. This makes it far more appropriate given that the design will feature up-to-date features (appropriate/more comfortable geometry, flex grooves and cushioning). So instead of asking what the differences are between running and walking shoes, I encourage people to realize that "running shoes" can work for both activities if comfort and appropriate biomechanics are a priority.


Personally, I tend to use my older running shoes as casual shoes. I'm not sure I would buy the Hoka Mafate Three2 unless I really liked the Mafate 2 and 3 and wanted to have that same experience in a shoe I could both wear casually and do some run/hiking it. It functions well for both and now looks great, so if I were someone who wanted a Hoka ride and fit in a casual shoe, then yes I would recommend this. Those who have normal to narrow feet and can handle a tapered toe box will do best in this shoe, while those who want more room in the front may need to look elsewhere. Those who want a causal shoe that has excellent grip, maximal cushioning and a rockered profile that can handle streets and aggressive trails will do best in this shoe. It is a great combination of function and looks (all my students like the all-white colorway).


Fit: (Secure, lower volume fit with tapered toe box and thick toe guard. Fits slightly short)
Performance: B+/
A- (Feels lighter than listed weight. Excellent durable traction with rockered, highly cushioned ride)
Stability: A- [Stable Neutral] (Wide base with large heel/midfoot sidewalls)
DPT/Footwear Science: B (Nothing new here. Retro)
Personal: B (Tapered toebox puts me off this shoe but comfortable outside of that. Still a solid amount of performance for a retro/"casual" shoe)
Overall: B+ 


Hoka Mafate Three2
Price: $185 at Hoka

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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, Santa Barbara, Danbury and Stevens Point areas, we 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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