Shoe Review: Hoka Napalis with Bergamot

This review is in partnership with Running Warehouse, which provided products for testing. Salty Running receives a commission on sales made via our Running Warehouse affiliate link, used throughout this post.

I’ve been eyeing Hokas for years, but have been reluctant to say goodbye to my “traditional” soled running shoes. However, Running Warehouse may have done the impossible: I think I’m a convert! With over a month and at least 100 miles of training on these shoes they show very few signs of wear. The Napalis are cushy and durable, like my new relationship with them.

The Hoka Napali is a neutral shoe with a 5mm drop. It remains lightweight despite its thick cushioning. They run true-to-size!

I like thickly cushioned shoes, but with their signature extra-thick soles, I thought Hokas would be too thick for me and was concerned about my feet feeling clunky as I ran, but I was so wrong! My Napalis arrived on a rainy, slushy day, and I ran in wet conditions for the first few runs. Not only did they offer a smooth, cushy ride, the height of the shoe actually helped keep my feet dry when running through puddles.

History

I’ve been running in the Adidas Boost since 2014, when I ran my first marathon in the Adistar model. For the last three years I’ve rotated between Boosts and the Brooks Ravenna. I always liked these shoes because I prefer a cushy sole, the cushier the better. Durability and cost is also important; as a law student I can’t afford to drop $100 on shoes every couple of months.

Out of the Package

I do prefer my shoes to be on the cute side, and I really loved the bright, friendly teal color that even matches my watch! The thick sole, which cushions my heel so lovingly, is unfortunately also the least aesthetically-pleasing part. Maybe it’s a little shallow, but that look is what kept me from trying Hoka for so long. But form follows function, and there is magic in the function of Napalis that is making me really appreciate their form.

Maybe I picked the wrong hobby, or maybe I’m just a cheap beardy guy on the inside, but I need to be able to run in my shoes a little longer than their recommended mileage. So far, the tread in the Napali is slightly worn, which is to be expected, but the outer sole looks untouched which bodes well for our future together. Currently $99.95 at Running Warehouse, the Napali is a great value for a runner on a budget like me!

Rotated between the road and the treadmill thanks to winter weather, I immediately noticed how smooth these run, regardless of speed.In my other shoes I’ve always noticed a “jarring” feeling in my legs, especially at the end of harder runs. In the Napalis I barely notice the ground. The shock absorption is just awesome.

Overall Experience

At 25-30 mpw, with two speed sessions each week and a Sunday long run, I found the Napali provided me with superior cushioning and comfort at all speeds on roads, treadmills and trails. I also think these shoes would translate well to a track since they’re surprisingly lightweight. They don’t weigh me down or interrupt my turnover and I’m really impressed by their versatility. I plan to race a 10k in them this spring.

I love the consistently smooth ride, and that I feel less overall muscle strain in this shoe, particularly after hard workouts. I have struggled with IT Band tightness and knee pain the past couple years, and I haven’t had any issues with these shoes yet!

My only complaint is minimal soreness in the sole of my foot the first week I wore them. Rolling my foot over a tennis ball was enough to address the problem.

My Take

I’m so happy Running Warehouse gave me the opportunity to try these shoes, they are my new favorites! I definitely plan to continue training in this shoe after my goal race this spring. I would recommend this shoe to road runners logging 30+ mpw who are looking for a comfortable, long-lasting running shoe under $100.

Final Verdict: 5 out of 5 snails for the Hoka Napalis!

I'm a student of law and life. A Jill of all trades, master of none. But I'm hoping to master something, sometime. ;) Preferably a sub-23 5k and a sub-4 marathon!

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1 comment

  1. In the Napali, I have found my favorite Hoka shoe and probably my favorite long distance, easy run shoe of all time. They get the cushy and the firm perfectly balanced. They’re wide enough so that my foot muscles aren’t struggling to balance with all the cush. I love the Bondis but they’re so much shoe! The Mach’s were great but got blisters. The Napali is just perfect!