Hoka Sizing vs Nike: 6 Factors to Concern Before Buying

Imagine spoiling yourself with a pair of both Hokas and Nikes only for one brand not to fit. And this is despite both being the same number. This can be super disappointing, especially given the hassle of shipping back anything.

Every experienced runner knows that Hoka and Nike are two of the best shoe brands. Both have been making top-quality shoes for years. Still, their shoe sizing differs a lot. Understanding how their sizing varies is important. It will help ensure you get the best-fitting shoes.

For starters, Nike shoes tend to run a little narrower. Hokas, on the other hand, often have a wider toe box. In this guide, I will break down the key differences between Hoka and Nike shoe sizing. I will also give you some handy tips for finding the correct shoe size based on your foot type. Plus, I will tell you the shoe fit that will suit your specific running needs.

I have been running for over a decade. In that time, Nike and Hoka have been my go-to running shoe brands. You can trust that I know how each shoe brand feels. I also got additional insights from other runners on several social media platforms.

And make sure you read to the end, as it will be clear which brand sizing will suit you.

The Science Behind Running Shoe Sizing

Size is the most important factor to consider when choosing running shoes. If your shoes do not fit properly, they will just not work. Wearing ill-fitting shoes feels like trying to run with a ball and chain. It’s just super uncomfortable.

Wearing shoes that fit correctly can prevent a myriad of issues. For instance, you will likely develop blisters and calluses if the shoe is too tight. A tight fit means there will be more friction. The constant rubbing also reduces the shoe’s service life. The shoe is more likely to develop toe holes.

A shoe that is too big is also problematic. Besides being uncomfortable, it will keep sliding and slipping off the foot.

With that in mind, it is crucial to understand the uniqueness of foot anatomy. Each runner’s foot will have a varying length, width, and arch. Feet also have different toe splays. Hoka and Nike have spent a lot of resources on foot research. You can hence be sure they understand all this. Their shoes are made to provide the most comfortable fit.

Decoding Hoka Sizing

Hoka One One’s approach to running shoe sizing revolves around shoe comfort. Their philosophy has always been to use extra big cushioning to ensure comfort.

Besides the chunky cushioning, their sizing also focuses on the following:

1. Roomier toe box

Hoka’s have some of the roomiest toe boxes. The extra space on the toe box allows your toes to splay more naturally. A roomy toe box also ensures their shoes accommodate wider feet.

2. Wider midfoot

The midfoot (area connecting the heel and toes) is also wider on most Hoka shoes. The extra width provides more stability and additional foot support.

3.  Lower heel drop

The heel drop on most Hoka shoes is lower than on Nike and many other brands. Besides minimizing the risk of injury, this ensures runners have a more natural gait.

Like any other top brand, Hoka also has specialty models. For instance, they have the best trail shoes if you are seeking to conquer trails. Hoka also has specialty shoes for everyday wear. This should explain why the brand is super popular with nurses. Other professionals and craftspersons who must be on their feet for long also love Hoka.

Tips for Trying On Hokas

Here are some quick, actionable tips for finding the best-fitting Hokas:

  • Go a size higher: Don’t just stick to your standard size. From my experience, Hoka shoes allow for a more natural foot splay when you go half a size higher. For some runners, a full size higher is even better.
  • Test the shoes: Always wear the shoes indoors for a while. This gives you a better feel. And this is more so once the feet adjust to the unique Hoka fit.
  • Buy in the evening: Your feet will be at the widest in the evening. I recommend trying out Hokas at this time. This way, you will be sure the fit is perfect.
  • Wear your typical running socks: If you wear socks when running, make sure to wear them when trying out Hokas. Sometimes your shoes don’t fit well simply because the socks are too thick.

Hoka size chart



Navigating Nike Sizing

Nike is one of the most popular running shoe brands for professional athletes, maybe you know the Nike Air Max series. Most love the brand as it prioritizes performance. Their running shoes are more about ensuring runners reach their maximum potential.

Most of their shoes typically have a snug, performance-oriented fit. Unlike Hoka, they are more about performance than comfort. Their shoes sometimes feel too tight for some runners.

Their shoes also tend to have a sleeker design. And so besides runners, they are also highly popular as everyday and streetwear. They are very popular with fashion enthusiasts.

Another thing worth mentioning is that Nike is famous for incorporating cutting-edge tech. Most of the shoe designs use advanced technologies.

Here are some of their most notable technologies:

1. Flyknit: The upper section is uniquely knitted for a snug but still highly breathable fit.

2. Zoom Air: A lightweight cushioning tech with a bouncier feel. It also provides a more responsive underfoot.

3. Carbon Fiber Plate: Some Nike running shoes include this plate for extra stiffness. The carbon fiber plate can also aid with propulsion.

Tips for Trying On Nikes

  • Go smaller: Unlike Hokas, Nikes tend to run a little larger. I have had some types run up to a size larger than my standard size. It is always better to go at least half a size smaller. But only do this after trying out the shoe.
  • Walk around in the shoe: Even if the shoe fits perfectly, it might not feel right when running. I recommend wearing the shoes and walking around the store for a while. This way, you have an idea of how it might feel when running.
  • Shoe type matters: The sizing also differs for different Nike models. For instance, Nike racing flats tend to run smaller. You hence have to go half or a full size higher. Trainers are often true to size, but some can run a little larger.
  • Leave room for socks: Like with Hokas, I recommend accounting for socks when picking your size. You can wear the socks when trying out the shoes.

Nike size chart

Size Comparisons of Popular Models

Hoka Clifton vs. Nike Pegasus

Hoka and Nike have several models for both armature and pro runners. Still, their sizing philosophy remains the same across most models. If we take the Hoka Clifton and Nike Pegasus as examples, the latter will feet a little smaller. 

Both Clifton and  Pegasus are available in regular and wide. Still, the fit is different. Despite the claims they are the same, Nikes feel smaller. For instance, the Nike men’s size 9 is up to 0.3 inches smaller than Hoka’s number 9. And so, if the Hoka shoe fits you perfectly, you may want to go for Nike’s size 9.5 to get the same fit and feel.

As a size 9 myself, I have found Nike’s Pegasus to be truer to size. And this is more so because I love my shoes to be super snug. The shoes feel like a plastic paper bug wrapped nicely around my feet. If I go for the same size Hoka Cliftons, they feel a little too loose for my liking. I hence have to go half a size down to get the same snug fit.

Hoka Sizing vs Nike: 6 Factors to Concern Before Buying

How to Find the Right Size Based on Foot Type

Ultimately, your best shoe size will depend on your foot type and running needs. And this is regardless of whether you choose to buy Hoka or Nike. You need to understand your foot width and other things like your arches. Also, the runners and walkers need different fits, as do trail and track runners.

Here are 6 crucial points to consider to ensure you get a size that suits you.

1. Measure Twice, Order Once

Chances are you already know your foot size. You are probably also super confident about this. Still, you need to measure your feet when shopping for new running shoes. The right shoe size for you might be different from what you think.

You should always complete this step if you want a shoe that fits well. Measuring your feet well can help prevent injuries and improve your performance.

Here are some simple steps to follow when measuring your feet:

  • Step 1: Start by grabbing a piece of paper, a pencil/pen, and a ruler.
  • Step 2: Stand upright with your feet against the wall.
  • Step 3: Place the paper under the feet and trace out the outline of the feet.
  • Step 4: Measure the foot length from the heel to the end of the longest toe.
  • Step 5: Measure the foot width where it is widest.
  • Step 6: Use the Hoka or Nike size chart to check your shoe size.

2. Consider Your Foot Type

Your foot type also determines the right shoe size and type for you. For instance, what works for flat feet will not be ideal for high arches.

Here is a quick overview of the different foot types:

  • High arches: Runners with high arches need support to minimize pressure on the heel and balls of the feet.
  • Flat feet: People with flat feet need extra arch support. The arch support will reduce pain in the ankles, knees, and hips.
  • Neutral arches: For neutral arches, almost any shoe can work. Still, ensuring it fits well and is comfortable enough is essential.

Hoka shoes have a maximalist design with extra chunky cushioning. They would, hence, be perfect for flat feet. Nike shoes provide a more supportive fit, making them the go-to for high arches.

3. Understand Running Terrain

Where will you be running often?

You need to answer this question when deciding on the shoe sizing. Understanding your terrain ensures you get a shoe that will be comfortable. It also ensures what you buy can boost your performance.

For instance, what works for the rough, uneven trail terrain might not work well for roads. Trail shoes can withstand extra abuse. They also provide a comfortable feel and excellent traction.

Nike’s streamlined design is excellent if you prefer to keep your runs safer on the road. Hoka’s cushioning is more suitable if you are a trail conqueror with the spirit of adventure. Also, Hoka’s trail shoes provide the needed grip for your trail excursions.

hoka gaviota 4

4. Account for Running Style

How you run also determines the right shoe fit for you. For instance, what works for overpronators may not work for supinators. Also, you need to account for how you strike the ground.

Overpronators will roll their feet inward when running. This running style means extra pressure on the arch. It is better for an overpronator to wear shoes with adequate cushioning and support. A wider toe box will also be more favorable. All this means that Hoka shoes will work better for overpronators.

Supinators roll their ankles outside. They will put more pressure on the outside of their foot when running. Shoes with stability features like what Nike often offers are the best here.

The extra cushioning on Hoka shoes will suit runners who strike the ground with their heels. On the other hand, Nike’s shoes offer more responsiveness. They are perfect for midfoot strikers.

5. Sizing for Wide Feet

Your wide feet are the biggest issue you face when shopping for new running shoes. The good news is that Nike and Hoka have shoes for wide feet. For instance, both Hoka Clifton and Nike Pegasus have wide shoe size options.

Still, you need to wear the shoes before buying. Also, try them out late in the afternoon or evening. As mentioned earlier, your wide feet are the widest at this time of the day.

As for specific models, I find the Hoka Bondi 8 and Nike Tempo perfect for wide feet. These shoes seem wider than most others. And they even have extra-wide size options. 

6. Sizing for High Arches

High-arch runners will always benefit from shoes with wider toe boxes. Extra cushioning and support are also necessary. They will provide the needed support for their arches. A narrow shoe with little cushioning is uncomfortable and can lead to injuries.

Generally, both Hoka and Nike shoes can work well for high arches. Nike uses advanced technologies to ensure maximum support. Hoka relies on its chunky cushioning. Still, both brands have specific shoes for high arches:

  • Hoka Bondi 8: This maximally cushioned shoe also offers a wider toe box, making it perfect for high arches.
  • Nike Pegasus: These shoes have an extra-wide size option. They also have a perfect balance between support and cushioning. All this makes it ideal for high arches.


Nike and Hoka have some of the best shoes in the market. While most of their shoes are largely true to size, this is not always the case. You need to choose your size carefully for comfortable and injury-free running.

You need to know how to size your shoes and when to try them. And with all the tips above, this should be easy now. Ultimately, how the shoes feel on your feet is what matters most. The best way to know what size works for you is by wearing and walking/running in the shoes.

Please let me know if you have any additional questions about shoe sizing. Drop your questions in the comments sections below. I will be happy to answer them.

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