Brian Metzler reviews the HOKA Rincon 2, the breakout from HOKA launched last year. Is the second edition of the style snappier? Read on to learn more.
Featherweight and fancy free, the speedy HOKA Rincon 2 continues to the defy reality with being such an impossibly light maximally cushioned trainer.
It’s light and fast enough to be an energetic performance trainer, but it has enough cushion to be a long-run shoe or even an everyday trainer.
HOKA revised its early-state rocker geometry for quicker heel-toe transitions, giving the second edition an even snappier, faster feel.
The engineered sandwich mesh upper provides more security along the mid-foot and better breathability across the forefoot.
There is an accentuated heel pull tab behind the heel for easier entry. The slim tongue design helps keep the weight down and allows for a streamlined fit.
The wide outsole remains unchanged, with a mix of exposed foam and carbon rubber segments at key places to align with common foot strike patterns. The wide foot print allows for maximal ground contact and a touch of inherent stability. Meanwhile, the small carbon rubber sections provide enhanced durability and traction in high wear areas.
FIT, FEEL, RIDE
The HOKA Rincon 2 fits true to size and similar to the original version, with a medium volume from heel to toe. Runners with narrow feet will really have to torque down the laces to get an optimally snug fit.
The step-in feel is plush and comfortable, but it’s the rockered geometry that you feel right after you lace up this shoe. That convex curvature of the outsole-midsole chassis produces a significant rolling effect. This helps smooth the ride from foot strike to toe-off and promote forward propulsion.
The ride is buttery soft but extremely agile and lively. It doesn’t produce a bouncy sensation, but more of a snappy, fluid motion.
The HOKA Rincon 2 inspires quick-cadence running and a slightly faster pace than you might expect, even on long runs and recovery runs.
All in all, this new edition puts a distinct burst of energy in every stride, especially at faster paces.
WHO IS IT BEST FOR?
Runners who appreciate a lightweight, energetic training shoe will absolutely love the HOKA Rincon 2. It promotes fast, efficient leg turnover in every type of workout, no matter what speed you’re running.
It can be a do-everything training shoe for runners who prefer neutral shoes without much structure or support. The Rincon 2 is capable of inspiring long runs and faster efforts like tempo runs, fartlek runs or even track intervals.
Add to this, this versatile style is also a great race day shoe for distance from 5K up to marathon distance.
Pros: HOKA Rincon 2
The single-layer engineered mesh upper has been updated to create a better lockdown at the midfoot and improve breathability. It gives this version of the Rincon a more performance-oriented fit and adds to the fun, fast feeling.
The Rincon 2 is unfettered and fast, but it still has a lot of cushioning in every stride thanks to the full-compression EVA midsole. It doesn’t feel like a stripped-down racing flat, but the soft, smooth and energetic demeanor allows it to perform like one when you want it to.
The Rincon 2 sits between the super-soft Clifton 7 ($130) and the firm Carbon X ($180) in the Hoka line. All three are great shoes for racing a half marathon or marathon, but the Rincon 2 ($115) a blend of both soft cushion and energetic snap at a value-oriented price.
Cons: HOKA Rincon 2
Like its predecessor, the Rincon 2 doesn’t offer much in the way of support or structure. It’s a decidedly neutral shoe and runners who over-pronate or supinate will have find this shoe a bit unstable at times, especially when running fast and cornering.
SHOP HOKA RINCON 2
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Brian Metzler has run races at every distance from 50 meters to 100 miles. He has wear-tested more than 1,500 pairs of shoes, is a three-time Ironman finisher. He occasionally participates in the quirky sport of pack burro racing in Colorado.
He’s the founding editor of Trail Runner magazine, is a former senior editor at Running Times. He was and editor in chief at Competitor Magazine.
As an author, he has penned “Kicksology“, “Running Colorado’s Front Range” and the co-author of “Natural Running: The Simple Path to Stronger Healthier Running” and “Run Like a Champion: An Olympian’s Approach for Every Runner.”