HOKA ONE-ONE Rincon Review

A new shoe from HOKA! The Rincon is a new lightweight trainer/racer that still provides the traditional high stack heights and meta rocker design that HOKA is known for. Filling in the void in HOKA’s lineup that the Clifton’s increase in weight and substance has created, the Rincon is now HOKA’s performance model, a position that starts to expose the limitations of HOKA foam.

Key Points:

  • Advertised as fast and soft, HOKA has basically taken a Clifton and shaved off some weight and plushness – creating a firmer ride
  • The upper is spartan – only a thin layer of mesh that doesn’t have much give or plushness to it
  • It is about standard in terms of width and length, running true-to-size with enough flexibility for runners with wider feet
  • The typical HOKA wide base should provide enough inherent stability to provide runners with a little flexibility to use a lightweight racing and training shoe
  • Despite the amount of foam on the shoe and HOKA’s reputation for a pillowy-soft ride, when you start to compare it to competitors such as the New Balance Beacon, Nike Pegasus Turbo, and even the Saucony Kinvara – the use-cases of the Rincon start to seem limited

HOKA ONE ONE Rincon review

Fit

The first thing that you notice when you slide on the Rincon is how spartan the upper is. It’s more like a racing flat than a typical trainer, and that’s by design. The upper makes the Rincon as light as it can be while still providing a good amount of support to hold your foot into the shoe and keep it from moving. While it’s not plush by any means, that doesn’t mean that it’s uncomfortable. The lightweight fabric is breathable and flexible enough to hug narrower feet and give wider feet a little room to stretch. The toebox has a decent amount of room in it, and the overall package pretty much disappears when you put the shoes on.

Feel

With the Clifton getting a little softer and heavier, there was room in HOKA’s lineup for a lighter-weight trainer/racer. While the Rincon does that, it remains to be seen if that’s a niche that many runners are looking for. With the Clifton still being pretty light on the scale, the lighter weight that the Rincon provides does come at a cost of softness. The traditional HOKA marshmallow feel is absent here, replaced by something that feels… fast! For the HOKA adherents who wished for a fast, lightweight shoe… it’s here!

 Function

With its wide, supportive base, the Rincon could be a nice option for slightly pronating runners who want a racer/trainer. We haven’t had much time with it to see how much inherent stability is has, and likely it won’t be enough support for runners or walkers who have high amounts of pronation, but for those needing a moderate amount of support it should be deceptively supportive for a fast-feeling neutral shoe.

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Comparisons:

Hoka Rincon vs Clifton:

The Rincon slots in just below the Clifton in Hoka’s lineup, and while both have the typical Hoka One-One rocker feel and a bunch of midsole foam, the Rincon just has a little less of each –¬† a little less softness, a little less rocker, and a little less foam. You feel much lower and lighter in the Rincon, with the Rincon being a couple of ounces lighter on the scale and feeling lighter on-foot. It really does feel fast. But, for HOKA loyalists, it may not be exactly the feel that they are looking for. Overall width is similar, with the Rincon having a biy more toebox room.

Hoka Rincon vs New Balance Beacon:

The Beacon is probably the closest direct competitor to the Rincon, and it shows how limited HOKA’s foam is. The FreshFoam in the Beacon is lighter, softer, and seems to provide a little more energy return. New Balance has also snuck in a little rocker feel into the Beacon, so you’re not even missing that. The Rincon does have a bit more volume in the upper, although the Beacon’s is softer. We do expect the Rincon to have a little more inherent stability, so for runners who want to prevent some pronation, the Beacon might not be an option.

Hoka Rincon vs Nike Pegasus Turbo:

While on the opposite ends of the price spectrum ($115 for the Rincon vs $180 for the Pegasus Turbo), the two essentially serve the same customer. Their ability to be a lightweight daily-trainer and racer is similar, but the price points speak to the completely different approaches the two companies took to get there. HOKA put a basic upper on a chunk of lightweight foam and priced it among the lowest shoes on the wall. The Pegasus Turbo uses Nike’s highest-tech ZoomX foam along with an engineered mesh upper to make a low, fast, yet soft shoe that’s basically the highest-priced lightweight trainer on the market. ZoomX foam really shines in this application, and the Pegasus Turbo really does do it all in this case, with a light, fast, responsive, soft feel. It of course does that at a cost. The Turbo is more hugging, with a lot more room overall in the Rincon. While ZoomX has shown a little inherent stability, we’re expecting the Rincon to be a little more stable.

Hoka Rincon vs Saucony Kinvara:

The Rincon and Kinvara both feel like throwback trainers/racers. They provide a pretty basic piece of foam without a ton of contour along with a basic, lightweight upper. In this age of new foam materials that provide both bounce and response, they are holdouts in the traditional EVA camp. The main difference in the two is the stack heights – the Kinvara is low and flat while the Rincon has a little rock to compliment its large block of foam. The Kinvara is a little more hugging in the upper and a little smaller overall. In terms of stability, the Rincon should be a little more inherently stable because of how wide the base is.

 

 

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