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Finlay McAndrew  •  Running Gear •  09.08.2023 •  4 min read

HOKA Gaviota 5 Running Shoes Review - Their softest stability shoes yet?

Soft cushioned stability

While stability running shoes don’t tend to get a lot of coverage, the HOKA Gaviota 5 is worthy of lots of hype. HOKA’s road running shoe line-up is dominated by neutral running shoes. Even though the HOKA Arahi running shoes are a firm favourite, it’s fair to say there’s some demand for softer and plusher feeling HOKA stability running shoes. 

Shop the HOKA Gaviota

In fact, a lot of runners are looking for soft feeling stability running shoes full stop. It’s not easy making running shoes with more stability that deliver a soft underfoot experience. Which explains why there’s not quite as much choice in this category, versus the neutral running shoes assortment. This explains the excitement around the updated Gaviota 5 stability running shoes. These should be one of the most cushioned stability running shoes available. 

Runner striding in dark green HOKA running shoes

What’s the Gaviota 5 midsole made from?

You could be forgiven for thinking that the HOKA Gaviota 5 now looks like the incredibly popular HOKA Bondi running shoes. That’s because the midsole is very similar. Like the Bondi, the Gaviota features an ultra cushioned and protective CMEVA midsole. The thick midsole also boasts the billowed effect that the Bondi has. This improves how the midsole compresses and increases energy return.

The use of this highly cushioned midsole has been made possible by an updated stability technology called H-Frame. It’s really simple, there’s a firmer material that runs around the top of the midsole. This only joins in the middle, which means that most of your foot sits directly on top of soft foam. As the H-Frame interlocks with the midsole, it creates a secure base. The image below shows off the HOKA H-Frame technology.

Shoe exploded view image showing Hoka H-frame support technology

As the base of the Gaviota 5 midsole is relatively broad, this also improves stability. It’s not all about firmer materials when it comes to support. The geometry and shaping of a midsole makes a big difference to how supportive running shoes feel, particularly on long runs. 

How do they fit?

Like the Bondi, the HOKA Gaviota 5 is made with an accommodating toe box and broad last. The upper is also wider than the previous Gaviota. If you’re wondering, the Gaviota is wider than the Arahi and should feel more spacious in the toe box. 

To match the plush underfoot feel, the Gaviota features a premium creel jacquard upper. While this fabric is ultra breathable, it feels supportive and soft. Extra padding around the heel collar and tongue takes the comfort level up.

Runner standing in green HOKA Gaviota running shoes

How durable are they?

The stack height is 36-30mm and 34-28mm for men’s and women’s respectively. That means you have a lot of cushioning under your feet that potentially takes longer to break down than lower stacked alternatives. Additionally, the H-Frame results in a deep Active Foot Frame. As a result, the side walls are less susceptible to deformation in shape in response to pressure - helping promote longer lasting support.

The midsole also features a lot of outsole rubber. Even though this adds some weight, it improves durability and helps them last longer.

Ultimately, the HOKA Gaviota 5 have all the credentials of highly durable running shoes. Even though we suggest running shoes will last around 400-500 miles, this can vary from model to model. We expect the Gaviota 5 to be at the upper end of this scale and potentially beyond.

How can the HOKA Gaviota 5 improve your run?

The highly cushioned Gaviota 5 midsole is perfectly suited to slower paced runs and long distances. There’s no doubt about it, this level of cushioning should take the stress off your legs and make the miles less impactful. 

Birds eye view of three runners running on an overpass

With its holistic H-Frame support and stable geometry, it is likely to work well for runners who are prone to knee problems. That’s because the guidance system should help reduce knee rotation. As the support is constructed to stabilise you when needed, these should work well for runners who fatigue in the final stages of a run - particularly long ones. 

We understand that legs and muscles can feel tired and sore the day after a harder workout. The Gaviota 5 should feel great on recovery runs when you’re looking to take as much stress as possible off your aching muscles. With its rocker geometry and high stack midsole, your calf muscles shouldn’t have to work as hard either. 

If you’re looking for one of the softest and most cushioned feeling stability running shoes, it’s hard to look past the HOKA Gaviota 5.

With its holistic H-Frame support and stable geometry, it is likely to work well for runners who are prone to knee problems.

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