This past summer, I had the chance to travel to Chamonix France for the Ultra Trail Du Mont Blanc (UTMB) sporting event. If you are a trail runner — or even just follow the sport from the comfort of your living room — you know that the UTMB is a grueling 100-mile race that many passionate runners consider to be the Super Bowl of trail running.
And let me tell you, just being in Chamonix surrounded by almost 11,000 ultra-athletes was an incredible experience. While I was there, I was also able to run some sections of the UTMB course with Run the Alps, an outfitter that guides runners of all experience levels along various trails in the mountains. My footwear of choice for this epic Alps run? The Hoka Stinson 7 Running Shoes, of course.
Hoka Stinson 7 Running Shoes
After spending a week in these shoes, both on and off the trails, I think I have found my new favorite, all-outdoor-activity footwear. A few things really stood out right off the bat (or box in this case), starting with their stack height. The Hoka Stinson 7s have 42-millimeter heels and their soles gradually drop down to 37 millimeters towards the front for high-level cushioning. If you are fairly new to trail running, the lofty elevation will help protect your feet from all of the rocks and debris on the trail while also guaranteeing a more forgiving landing with less impact and strain.
I almost felt like I was floating a few inches above the ground while running, and I wasn’t really worried about what I was stepping on — a feeling that I appreciated on some of the steeper sections of the trail. The high walls also kept trail debris from entering my shoes and helped create a smoother transition from trail to gravel, in my opinion.
Coupled with multidirectional 4-millimeter lugs that offer increased traction and grip, the Hoka Stinson 7 Running Shoes offer impressive stability. They also have deep active foot frames that are designed with wraparound sidewalls, which help keep you centered as you run up and down inclines like the ones in UTMB. As if these weren’t enough to win me over, the sticky rubber outsoles also boost their tread, even if the path is a little wet or muddy. The uppers have a jacquard mesh fabric, which adds breathable comfort to keep your feet dry no matter the temperature outside.
As a trail runner who regularly reviews outdoor footwear, I noticed two differences in the Hoka Stinson 7s compared to some other trail running shoes: the moderately stiff heel counters and the durable toe caps. I quite enjoyed the extra cushioning on the heel collars thanks to the sneakers’ rounded shape. It was almost a relief knowing that my heels were just as protected as the rest of my foot against any accidental bumps and kicks on the trail. And the toe caps nicely padded the front of my feet just as securely against any stubs on small rocks or boulders.
Hoka Stinson 7 Running Shoes
From the moment I put on the Hoka Stinson 7 Shoes, I knew that I was in good hands and they even gave me more confidence on the trek. When our guides Marion Giraud and Giles Ruck suggested not to constantly look down at your feet while going downhill on a technical park of the trail, I was a bit skeptical and unsure of how to navigate the run without vigilantly scanning for rocks.
But once I learned to trust the shoes (and their high stacks and multidirectional lugs), I was much more comfortable in doing just that and was able to enjoy the scenery around — it’s not every day that you get to play outside against the backdrop of the majestic Alps.
And I know that I am not the only one who loves running with these shoes. Many Zappos customers agreed that the Hoka Stinson 7s performed exceptionally well on different terrains. One reviewer said they offered “instant comfort” and “did not take any time at all to break in.” They also added, “These are perfect for on and off-road walking and trails.”
Another shopper commented on the versatility of these shoes: “I have to run a few miles to my closest trailhead and it’s so nice to know I’m covered on all terrain. It performs incredibly well on both — I was always pleasantly surprised when switching. As a pretty bad overpronator, I feel like the Stinson was made for me.”
And, if you plan on using your shoes for extended periods of time, then you will appreciate the comfort of the Hoka Stinson 7s, just like this third reviewer did. They called the sneakers a “very constructive, comfortable, all-terrain shoe that takes the load off your back, knees for 16 hours or more.”
Hoka calls the Stinson 7s the “Swiss Army knife of trail shoes” and after logging many miles with them, both in Chamonix and back home in Chicago, it really did feel like an appropriate nickname for the running shoes. While they might not be the lightest trail running shoes out there, they bring a lot of versatility to the table. So if you are going to do a mix of walking and running on gravel and trails and only want one shoe for all these activities. then the Hoka Stinson 7 Running Shoes are perfect for all-day comfort. Trust me, you will not be disappointed.
If the price point is holding you back, then check out these other top-rated options for more affordable running shoes.
More Trail Running Shoes at Amazon:
Saucony Women’s Peregrine 12 Trail Running Shoes
Altra Women’s Superior 5 Trail Running Shoes
Asics Women’s Gel-Kayano 29 Running Shoes
Brooks Women’s Cascadia 16 Trail Running Shoes
Salomon Women’s Outpulse Gore-Tex Trail Running Shoes
At the time of publishing, the price started at $170.
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