REVIEW: HOKA Challenger 7
Written By: SportsShoes
Built at the intersection of road and trail, the HOKA Challenger 7 has been overhauled with plusher foams and a grippy rubber outsole inspired by gravel tires. Delivering inherent cushioning with adaptable tread, there's no telling where your next run will take you.
Hoka Challenger 7 Ratings
|Length:||True to fit|
|Stack height:||31mm (Heel) / 26mm (Forefoot)|
|Key Features:||Extended Heel Pull, Compression Moulded EVA, Increased Stack Height, Durabrasion Rubber Outsole|
|RATINGS||(out of 5)|
REVIEW 1: Marc Smerdon
First impressions? I love the colourways and the huge stack height that HOKA is well known for.
The latest shoe to come from the great HOKA brand and a new one personally to me but it looks like it has had a massive upgrade from its predecessor, the HOKA Challenger 6.
What are the main upgrades you say, the first one and best, in my opinion, is the new CMEVA foam midsole which has increased in stack height and this gives you a comfort level equivalent to a brand new mattress. You would also think that due to the midsole being stacked , the shoe will be cloggy, but due to the compression moulding, this is not the case and this helps propel yourself forward with every step.
Secondly, the newly engineered breathable mesh upper offers a lot of protection but at the same time helps with controlling the temperature inside your shoes which then helps prevent blisters etc.
Thirdly, the new Durabrasion rubber outsole and lug format gives you the confidence to take on any trail that comes your way.
What I love about this shoe is the road-to-trail format in which the Challenger shoe has cemented into its DNA. Living in a town with the trails a couple of miles away I do always have the decision to make of what shoes to wear if I want to do a multi-terrain route to get the lungs working. I used to default to my HOKA Clifton and take the risk if I wanted to venture off the beaten track as I tend to keep my Mafate Speed 4’s to pure trail only. However, I now have my go-to day to day shoe that gives me all the possibilities to explore Cornwall come rain or shine.
Don’t get me wrong if you're looking for a racing shoe for trails then I would stick to the trusted Mafate Speed 4, Tecton X or Speedgoat 5. If you were looking for a road racing shoe I would stick to the Rocket X or Carbon X 3. This shoe could come to play though on ultra races like the Arc of Attrition (100 miles), where comfort is everything and your route includes a lot of pavement as well as trail, or a race alongside a river like the Thames Path 100, as having that bit of grip alongside high-level comfort could be a winning formula.
After a fair few runs in these shoes, I could only really come up with one negative and it only came to my attention due to the amount of rain we have had over the last few weeks, but potentially due to the new CMEVA the shoe seemed to hold water pretty well causing squelching and all be it not too unpleasant it was noticeable.
Personally, this shoe has now become my day-to-day shoe when running from home, the CMEVA midsole is a dream for comfort when you just need to put miles into the legs. The new upgrades have elevated this shoe to new heights and are good for beginners trying out trail running for the first time or elite runners just wanting some comfort from time to time.
REVIEW 2: Anna Wiles
I found the Hoka Challenger 7 the perfect hybrid shoe which will take you from your front door to the trails with ease. The 4mm lugs provide great traction on the trails with a rubber outsole which adapts to any type of terrain.
Right from the get-go the shoes felt plush and breathable! Definitely designed to be versatile however I’d avoid the wet and slippy-muddy trails as you’d need something more aggressive such as the Speedgoat 5 or Mafate Speed 4.
Related post: REVIEW: HOKA SPEEDGOAT 5 TRAIL RUNNING SHOES