Hoka Anacapa review: Hoka's best hiking boot? - www.hikingfeet.com (2023)

Hoka dropped its newest hiking boot in 2021, the Anacapa Mid GTX. Is it Hoka’s best hiking boot yet? Maybe… This post pools my thoughts together after putting my new pair through more than one hundred miles of varied hikes that I hand-picked to test the Anacapa’s support, comfort, traction, waterproofing, and more. My Hoka Anacapa review gives you the early scoop on this new, lightweight hiking boot.

Hoka Anacapa Mid GTX: overview

Hoka (formerly known as “Hoka One One”) is known for making anatomical wonders that mix maximum cushion with minimum weight. The brand’s impressive line up includes the best-selling trail shoe in the U.S. right now–the Hoka Speedgoat (check out my review)–and two lightweight hiking boots that have earned Outdoor Gear Lab’s “top picks” for comfort, the Sky Toa and Sky Kaha.

The new Anacapa Mid GTX has now supplanted the Sky Toa as Hoka’s best day hiking boot.

Just released in July 2021, Hoka offers the Anacapa in both a mid-cut hiking boot and low-cut hiking shoe for men and women:

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My Hoka Anacapa review focus on the mid-cut hiking boot. The Anacapa Mid GTX is a day hiking boot that follows Hoka’s formula for lightweight footwear with maximum cushion. Its massive midsoles feature more than an inch of soft EVA foam and a rocker design (raised toe/heel) that helps roll you forward into your next step. This look and feel aren’t for everybody. But it’s a winning combination for Hoka fans.

In many ways, the Anacapa combines the best features of other Hoka hiking boots–and potentially addresses their limitations. For example, the mid-cut Anacapa

  • resembles the lightweight Sky Toa but adds more ankle support
  • dials down the extended heel of the Hoka Tennine for comfort & stability
  • cuts a few ounces and $50 from the plush Sky Kahas

The Anacapa has also integrated locking laces and light, nubuck leather to add some ankle support to its lightweight construction. If you’re an environmentalist (and hikers should be), the Anacapa also scores points for sustainability, including

  • PFC-Free water repellent
  • Leather Working Group Gold-rated waterproof nubuck leather
  • Recycled polyester materials in collar, mesh and laces
  • GORE-TEX footwear fabric with recycled textile
  • Molded PU sockliner derived from 50% soybean oil

With luck, this combination will prove to be the best Hoka hiking boot. The company recommends the Anacapa for day hikers and the Sky Kaha for backpackers.

Hoka Anacapa Review

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My Hoka Anacapa review now digs into the newest Hoka for hikers with preliminary notes on its support, weight, comfort, traction, weather protection, fit, and value. (Note: Post updated in January 2022 after 100-200 miles of wear.)

support

Hokas are surprisingly supportive for such lightweight hiking boots and trail running shoes. They don’t have stiff TPU shanks or chassis underfoot (like most hiking boots). However, their EVA foam midsoles are so thick that they’ll usually prevent your feet from over-flexing on uneven terrain. Those soles also offer decent torsional rigidity–resistance to twisting–which may prevent some rolled ankles and sprains.

Even so, hikers shouldn’t expect miracles from the Anacapa’s soft ankle collars. The company has integrated some soft nubuck leather into the boot’s uppers to add some support without adding much weight. And its locking laces also make it easier to snug the boot up against your ankles. However, those ankle collars aren’t particularly tall or particularly rigid. They’ll offer some protection, but nothing like you’d get from the taller and stiffer ankle collars of traditional, mid-weight hiking boots. (That’s one of the drawbacks of lightweight hiking boots.)

For better or worse, the Anacapa Mid GTX feels more like a low-cut hiking shoe than a mid-cut hiking boot. The Anacapa Mid might offer a little more ankle support than the Anacapa Low–but not a lot.

weight

However, most hikers don’t buy Hokas for their support. They buy them for their light weight and max cushion. And the Anacapa does stand out for its weight savings.

This mid-cut hiking boot weighs less than many low-cut hiking shoes. The average men’s pair weighs around two pounds and the average women’s pair weighs a few ounces less than that. For comparison, the Anacapa basically weighs the same as the Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid (arguably the best lightweight hiking boot on the market) and 5 oz less than my pair of La Sportiva Nucleos (my other pick for best lightweight hiking boot).

If you’re looking for a lightweight hiking boot, the Anacapa should be toward the top of your list–especially if you like cushion.

comfort

That’s because the Hoka Anacapa is easily the most cushioned hiking boot in the lightweight category.

“Comfort” is a subjective term that has a lot to do with fit and people’s personal preferences. Hokas generally play to the preferences of people who love them some cushion.

Like all Hokas, this boot sits on a soft pillow of EVA foam–way more cushioning than the average hiking boot. That being said, the Anacapa doesn’t feel quite as soft as some Hokas. It’s not quite as plush as the Speedgoat (trail runner) or Sky Kaha (max cushion backpacking boot).

Hoka opted for a little firmer midsole to give the Anacapa better durability and more of a hiking (not running) feel. You’re still walking on mini-mattresses. However, those mattresses have more “medium” cushioning than “plush” or “extra soft” cushioning. It’s got “float” AND “feel”–that is, your hiking feet will float on the Anacapa’s cushion, but you’ll also feel the trail (more than you can in many Hokas).

My (messed up) feet have liked them. However, I sometimes get soreness in my right achilles tendon wearing Anacapas (which I don’t get in my other hiking boots or shoes). This may or may not be related to the extended heel or the cut of the ankle collar?

The Anacapa has also done some nice things to help dial in fit. I dig the boot’s locking lacing system–the locking eyelets up top allow for different fits in the mid foot and ankle. For example, I can lock in a looser fit in the midfoot (to accommodate my wide feet) with a tighter fit in the ankle (for better ankle support). That’s a nice touch that allows for more adjustment than most hiking boots and hiking shoes.

Overall, I’d say that comfort would be a plus with most hikers.

waterproofing/weather protection

The “GTX” on the Anacapa GTX stands for Gore Tex–still the most reputable waterproofing in the outdoor industry. Gore Tex is both waterproof and breathable. So the Anacapa should be relatively good at keeping moisture out and releasing evaporated moisture through its Gore Tex membrane. My pair has performed as expected in mud, puddles, and snow so far.

It also helps that this boot stands on top of those supersize midsoles. That extra inch of EVA foam should keep some water, snow, and mud off the boot’s uppers and out of its Gore Tex membrane.

Pro Tip: For more on waterproof” and “breathable” footwear, please check out this post.

traction

For me, this is one of the Anacapa’s best features.

Anacapas feature Vibram Mega Grip outsoles–the premium hiking tread from a leading company that’s been making outsoles for 80 years. Mega Grip is a rubber compound known for good multi-surface traction. So far, my pair has excelled on some tricky tracks, including ankle-busting fields of rock talus, slickrock and lichen-covered boulders, and steep scree slopes that are especially slick on descents (when most falls occur).

This particular outsole works well because it’s soft enough to grip on solid rock but also features some aggressive, v-shaped climbing and braking lugs that can dig into loose surfaces, too. In my experience, this tread is good (not great) in mud and really good on rockier trails.

Overall, I’ve been impressed with the Anacapa’s traction.

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Fit

As a brand, Hokas generally run a little narrow. However, the Anacapa seems to built on the brand’s larger last, which means that its fit is pretty standard.

My feet generally require “wide” sizes, for example. But they fit fairly well in the Anacapa (which only comes in standard width). That probably means that you may not need to size up as much in the Anacapa as you do in other Hokas?

Price

This boot is priced smack-dab in the middle of other lightweight hiking boots that I recommend: MSRP$170 (Mid) and$155(Low). That’s $5 more than Salomon’s X Ultra 4 (another lightweight standout) and $30 less than La Sportiva’s Nucleo II High GTX (which I also recommend as a lightweight hiking and backpacking boot). This seems to me a fair price, considering the Anacapa’s lightweight, premium (Gore Tex) waterproofing, and premium (Vibram Mega-grip) traction.

Here are current prices on the Anacapa Mid GTX for men and women:

men’s

women’s

Overall Review: Hoka Anacapa Mid GTX

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Hoka may be best known for their running shoes. But the brand has also launched some intriguing hiking boots that nail their niche of minimum weight and maximum cushion.

At the very least, the Anacapa Mid GTX is another solid option for day hikers who want a lightweight hiking boot with a lot of cushion. The Hoka Anacapa has replaced the award-winning Sky Toa as Hoka’s best day hiking boot–and offers a more cushioned alternative to the Salomon X Ultra 4–one of the best lightweight hiking boots.

Does the Anacapa seem like your sort of hiking boot? If so, please consider picking up your pair through the affiliate links above. Hiking Feet may receive a small commission from the retailer (at no cost to you). Those commissions aren’t much. But they fund this site (and compensate me for the hundreds of unpaid hours I spent creating free content to help you buy the right hiking boots or shoes). If this site hooked you up, please consider hooking me up, too. (Or at least hit that like or share button below.) Thanks, I appreciate it!

Happy hiking!

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