Thursday, April 28, 2016

Hoka Challenger ATR 2 review

Hoka OneOne Challnger ATR 2 (2016 model).

Hoka OneOne's new Challenger ATR 2 for 2016 is pretty much the same as the 2015 model we all loved so much (my review here). But there are some differences that are worth pointing out.

  • The shoe has wisely been kept mostly the same as last year's successful model
  • It's still in the same price category (about 130)
  • Early Stage Meta Rocker for that fast smooth ride is still there
  • 29mm heel and 24mm forefoot = the same 5mm drop remains unchanged
  • Similar 4mm lugs for traction in the outsole
  • The same size as before works for me (US10.5 - but please note the differences below and the fact that I buy my shoes one full US size bigger than my foot, which is actually US9.5 only).
Testing Challenger ATR 2 in challenging terrain. 

  • New Closed Air Mesh upper for added protection
  • Slightly more padded tongue for more comfort
  • "More supportive fit through the midfoot", ie. tighter fit around your foot - possibly helps prevent blisters
  • Stronger front tip (this was the point that broke first last year after kicking a few rocks)
  • Thicker Ortholite insole (I already had changed a thicker one into last year's model as it didn't work)
  • Slightly heavier (284g per shoe in my size US 10.5, a 6g increase from 278g - this 2% weight increase is not noticeable when running)
  • The laces are slick and will loosen up in no time if you are not careful - better make sure to tie them well before starting to save lots of time later)
  • Hopefully more long-lasting (my last year's Challenger ATRs are already in the trash after getting 1100 km out of them, which is more than I get out of most other shoe brands - but I've ran about 2000 km from my 2015 Stinson ATRs and they are still being used occasionally)
  • New crazy 'Astral Aura/Neon Green' color combo - doesn't make any sense to me, but the shoe actually looks pretty cool.

It's fun flying aboard Hoka Challenger ATR 2!


  • Last year's model was already a great success, but this is new model fits my foot just perfectly
  • In my opinion, Challenger ATR 2 is the best trailrunning shoe by Hoka
  • After testing the shoe in steep muddy uphill and downhill, I was surprised how well it performed
  • The shoe feels very safe and stable even when sliding down in mud on one foot
  • Just the right amount of cushioning - these shoes are definitely not too soft
  • Even when you are getting tired, the shoe makes you feel like you could keep on running forever
  • Makes running so much fun it's really hard to stop
  • Good for all distances, but in longer ultra races you might need more than one pair of them
  • Challenger ATR got me through the super tough Swiss Irontrail 2015 in 55 hours, and I expect this new model to perform even better this year.

Hoka Challenger ATR running in Swiss Irontrail 2015.

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