You may or may not have noticed a quiet rebranding by a big name in the running world. It’s official — Hoka One One is now, simply, Hoka. Our lips (and brains) get a break from trying to get that pronunciation right.
Blundering the proper Māori pronunciation, which is “ho-kuh oh-nay oh-nay,” is an easy thing to do. Most English speakers default to pronouncing it as “ho-kuh won won.” As a matter of convenience, many of us already call the brand just “Hoka” (full stop) already. The original name translated roughly to “fly over earth.” Pared down, “hoka” translates to “fly” or “soar.”
Hoka has not made a public announcement about the rebrand yet. But it has made modifications to its logo, website, and social accounts in recent weeks.
Founded in 2009, Hoka was a game-changer in the running shoe world. At the time of its founding, the minimalist shoe movement was in full swing; Hoka swung the exact opposite way creating shoes that were maximalist – very plush and stable.
The news of Hoka’s comfortable shoes spread quickly, especially in the trail running and ultrarunning communities, where multi-hour comfort is paramount. Hoka soon sponsored some of the top ultrarunners in the game, including Karl Meltzer (the namesake of Hoka’s flagship trail shoe, the Speedgoat) for the past decade and, more recently, Jim Walmsley, who has been with the brand since 2016.
Walmsley spoke of Hoka’s founding and its ability to keep pushing boundaries in the future of trail running.
“Hoka was born on the trails. It’s where their origin story begins, on the UTMB and [Diagonale des Fous] courses. This is where their passion and creativity shines the most, solving problems on the most demanding courses in the world. This is a continuing driving force for Hoka, which gives them a grassroots bond with the trail community.
“Hoka has grown a lot since I’ve been with the brand, improving on their quality, consistently delivering … and innovating new developments. They have evolved into one of the most complete brands with world class track runners [and] road runners … and they’re obsessed with everything trail and ultra … They’re invested in the ultra-trail community like no other brand.”
No matter the name, we are all looking forward to Hoka’s future shoes, investments in athletes, and seeing where it goes as an innovating brand.
Call for Comments
- What is your experience with Hoka and its continued evolution?