Kuru vs Hoka: Check 6 Key Differences Before Buying

Kuru and Hoka have maintained a great reputation for quality footwear for several years. That is why customers often get confused while choosing between the two. Is Kuru better than Hoka? Are these shoes good for foot issues? The truth is, Hoka and Kuru are great for runners with foot problems, too. But, the degree to which they suit you will depend on your foot condition.

If you’re also worried about making the wrong decision, we’re here to help you. Our detailed comparison will look into the key differences between both shoes. We will also dive deep into the details to find the right pair for you! Plus, we have backed up our research with personal experience and customer reviews.

So, stick with us till the end of the article to get more details.

Kuru Shoes Overview: Experience the Magical Float of Zero-Drop Soles

Kuru specializes in zero-drop shoes that promote proper posture and form. Their foot-shaped toe boxes, cushioned midsoles, and barely-there drop from heel to toe encourage natural foot alignment. Runners praise the “magical float” of Kuru soles.

The foot-shaped design is perhaps the best feature we didn’t know we needed until Kuru came up with this idea in the market. Incorporating a heel pad that mimics the actual foot shape to provide extra comfort is a huge bonus. We loved this technology!

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The comfortable heel pad makes the zero-drop shoes fit perfectly. The soft feeling also provides comfort while maintaining a supportive feel. We also noticed that these features provide protection from injuries in zero-drop shoes.

Another unique technology in some Kuru shoes is the anti-slip features. This feature is useful for trail runners and marathon runners. The best example of this is Kinetic 2.0, which is designed to meet the anti-slip standards.

Where are kuru shoes made?

Kuru was the dream of Bret Rasmussen, the CEO of Kuru. He wanted to change the shoe industry by introducing orthotic shoes that came up to their purpose. He started this business in Utah. 

Today, Kuru shoes are manufactured in different locations. The central hub for Kuru shoe designing is the USA. The company has professionals who come up with new ideas to design the shoes. 

Apart from this, the manufacturing of Kuru shoes takes place in different locations. The company has several partner factories throughout Asia, where manufacturing takes place.

Hoka One One Overview: Cloud-Like Cushioning for Ultimate Comfort

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Hoka exploded onto the scene with their signature oversized, marshmallow-like midsoles. The plush cushioning offers sublime comfort and shock absorption, ideal for logging long miles. The Meta-Rocker design ensures smooth transitions.

The thick midsole and wide base of Hoka shoes have attracted many customers. The concept of lightweight padding with ultimate support and comfort mimics the feeling of walking on the clouds. Hoka’s concept is to maximize the cushioning and reduce the drop to make the shoes hug your feet.

The Meta-Rocker technology in Hoka shoes is another bonus that combines with the padding. This curved design aims to drive your feet forward while running. With this technology and broad base, users enjoy smooth transitions while running. 

Several customers love the comfortable feel of these shoes while standing all day. The “walking on clouds” feeling is unique to Hoka shoes. Thanks to the EVA foam in the midsole!

Kuru vs Hoka: 5 Key Differences

Kuru vs Hoka 6 Key Differences

1. Weight and Responsiveness

Both brands aim for featherlight shoes to promote speed. But they achieve this in different ways. Kuru optimizes comfort with cushioning and support. Hoka strips away material for softness and bounce. 

Most Kuru shoes weigh between 10-15 oz. Lightweight models have fewer materials, and sturdy shoes come with more weight, too. For example, Kuru Chicane weighs 15.32 oz. in men’s size. These shoes specialize in providing great support and durability outdoors. Similarly, Kuru Atom weighs 11.9 oz. in men’s size.

Hoka shoes are lightweight compared to those of Kuru. We believe the reason is the lightweight cushioning in Hoka shoes. Hoka Speedgoat 5 weighs 10.3 oz. in men’s size. While being robust and sturdy, this pair is still lighter than most Kuru models. Similarly, the Hoka Clifton 8 weighs 8.9 oz. in men’s size, which is much lighter than standard running shoes.

When talking about the ground feel, Hoka takes a win here too. Kuru shoes have an in-built heel-to-toe drop of 8mm. We consider it a higher drop because it provides extra support by elevating your feet. Some Kuru models, like the Kuru Chicane, have a 12 mm drop.

Hoka shoes have a standard heel-to-toe drop of 4 or 5mm. This results in a quite muted ground feel. Even the Bondi 8 has a drop of 4mm. Thus, Hoka excels in providing a better ground feel.

2. Traction and Durability

Traction and durability affect safety and longevity during training. Kuru touts grippy rubber outsoles that are resistant to wear. Hoka uses strategically placed rubber for wet or dry traction. 

The amazing traction of Kuru shoes is due to their large rubber soles. The multi-directional lugs add to the sturdy traction, allowing you to tackle rough terrains and snowy areas. After trying Kuru shoes, runners with foot problems stated they can run longer distances.

Hoka shoes, especially the Speedgoat series, are designed to provide excellent traction. Several Hoka shoes allow uphill and downhill movement. It is due to the thick Vibram Megagrip outsole that extends throughout the sole. Customers say that Hoka shoes have a wide base. Combined with the cushioning, the shoes work well for long runs.

One tester was of the view that Hoka shoes have a great ground feel. They aren’t suitable for technical terrains. But the shoes performed great on slow runs.

Thus, Kuru shoes feature rubber outsoles for adapting to different terrains. The rubber outsole and cushioning allow them to bear high impacts. Whether it’s standing all day or running on rough terrains, Kuru can handle it all!

On the other hand, the outsole of Hoka shoes features the Vibram Megagrip technology. The shoes offer extreme durability and traction during hiking and trail running.

While Kuru shoes are comfortable and supportive, Hoka shoes are more durable and versatile for tough terrains.

3. Arch support

Kuru shoes are designed to adapt to all types of arches with the FLEXFIT technology and zero-drop design. Hoka has strategic arch-shaping mechanisms and support elements that aim to target stability.

The KURUSOLE technology in Kuru running shoes puts an emphasis on how much the company values comfort. This technology is best for runners suffering from plantar fasciitis. The running shoes have a comfortable heel pad that hugs the heel to prevent pressure. This technology mimics zero-drop shoes and suits runners with flat feet. 

The heel-to-toe drop of 12mm is more than enough for people with high arches. Runners with medium arches can also wear Kuru shoes. But we do not recommend them for low arches. A high drop will disturb the natural body alignment. But, the adaptability of Kuru shoes can suit runners with low arches. It depends on your needs.

One customer with plantar fasciitis said, “The shoes not only helped with PF, but my posture has improved along with tightness in my hips and pain in my ankles.” 

While Hoka shoes have a neutral drop, they have great support mechanisms. Most Hoka shoes have neutral arch support, making them ideal for runners with medium and low arches. The Meta-Rocker technology provides smooth transitions. Combined with the maximum cushioning and neutral arch support, you get amazing performance.

Several podiatrists think that Hoka shoes are ideal for flat feet. The low heel drop does not disturb the natural body alignment. Instead, the maximum cushioning provides a smooth ride while maintaining the ideal posture.

Thus, the foot-shaped design of Kuru shoes and high drop can suit runners with high, moderate, and low arches. Hoka shoes have generous arch support and maximum cushioning. These shoes are great for medium and low arches.

4. Ideal Uses and Wearability

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The ideal situation to use each shoe comes down to preferences. Kuru excels in stability and comfort over long periods. Hoka provides targeted cushy softness.

Ideally, Kuru shoes serve runners who suffer from foot conditions. The real idea behind the patented KURUSOLE was to provide relief to the foot muscles and avoid putting more pressure on them. We noticed that Kuru shoes can also be great for recovery days. 

The foot-shaped design and heel pad will provide shock absorption. The support features of Kuru shoes make them great for hiking, running and gym workouts. As we mentioned before, some users said they ran thousands of miles in Kuru shoes without facing problems.

On the other hand, the cushy softness of Hoka shoes makes them ideal for rough terrains and hiking. These shoes work well for casual runs. The curved forefoot design propels forward movement. However, as we mentioned before, users were of the view that these shoes don’t always make you run fast. 

Thus, you should choose Hoka if you want cushioning and prefer casual, short-distance running.

Additionally, Kuru shoes are famous for being true to size. However, Hoka shoes will give a snug fit due to the maximal cushioning. In both cases, we recommend buying half a size up to avoid inconvenience. Luckily, both Kuru and Hoka have wider sizes available! 

5. Kuru vs Hoka for plantar fasciitis

Both Kuru and Hoka shoes are great for plantar fasciitis pain. However, some runners get relief from Kurus, while others prefer Hokas. The reason is the severity of the pain and the foot condition.

Kuru shoes have patented technologies. This fact makes us realize that Kuru shoes were specially made for people with plantar fasciitis. The heel design and barefoot feel of the shoes, along with padding, give comfort underfoot.

Apart from the foot-shaped design, the rubber sole helps with this condition. One tester who reviewed Kuru Quantum Mesh shoes liked the heel pad and KURUSOLE technology. He said that it mimics the natural foot shape and provides improved positioning.

Still, some customers think that Hokas are better for plantar fasciitis. The reason is the maximal cushioning of Hokas, which provides a comfortable and snug fit.

Even in Hoka models, customers love Bondis and Clifton 8 for their impeccable cushioning. Runners believe the shoes absorb the impact and evenly distribute it on the foot muscles for a relaxed feel.

Thus, we can say that both Hoka and Kuru can help prevent plantar fasciitis pain. Kuru will absorb and distribute the impact with its KURUSOLE and heel pad. Hoka shoes will provide maximal cushioning for a soft feel. The shoes you choose will depend on your needs during plantar fasciitis.

Weighing the Trade-Offs between Kuru and Hoka

In the battle of Kuru vs. Hoka, there’s no universally “best” option. The choice depends on your priorities – stability vs. softness, comfort vs. agility, etc.

Kuru shoes have amazing technologies. They aim to provide support while maintaining the natural foot position. However, Hoka shoes offer a plush feel with maximum cushioning. Where Kuru aims for stability, Hoka gives softness.

Similarly, if weight is your prime concern, Hoka shoes will be your choice. Kurus can be a deal-breaker in this case because of their heavy shoe designs. While being comfy and stable, Hokas are still lightweight.

Your running preferences also play a role. Kurus are great for hiking, gym workouts, and long-distance running on rough terrains. The large lugs of Hokas also make them great for muddy conditions and bumpy areas. But Hokas are better for short-distance and casual running.

Based on these differences, you can decide the shoes that best suit your preferences and needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which brand would you recommend for beginners vs. experienced runners?

Beginner runners can opt for Hoka shoes because they provide maximal padding. The shoes can provide comfort until you get used to this running style.

Experienced runners can choose either Hoka or Kuru. The orthotic soles of Kuru shoes are great for recovery runs and long-distance running. Hoka shoes can be great for experienced runners who want a comfortable ground feel while running.

How often can I expect to replace shoes from each brand?

In general, you should replace your running shoes after 300-500 miles. The same applies to Hoka shoes. Users often feel that Hoka shoes last for up to six months. After this time, the padding starts to compress, and the shoes might not stay as comfortable.

How often can I expect to replace kuru shoes

Compared to Hoka, the lifespan of Kuru shoes is much longer, which is evidence of their durability. According to the official website, an average Kuru shoe can last for more than a year.

What’s the warranty and return policy for both brands?

Kuru offers a 6-month warranty for its running shoes. This warranty will start from the date of purchase. Also, the warranty will only cover defects that came from the manufacturer. Kuru does not provide any refunds for its products. However, you can still get your shoes replaced for another pair.

On the other hand, Hoka offers a 1-year warranty policy for its products. This warranty also covers manufacturer defects. However, the company does not offer repairs of shoes.


Kuru and Hoka have their own unique features that make one shoe better than the other. But you need to understand that there is no winner in this competition. You will need to choose the shoes that match your preference.

We believe Hoka shoes are better for seasonal runners or those who prefer casual running. The padding also makes them suitable for people who like a soft and cushy feel while running.

On the other hand, Kurus aims to provide ease from plantar fasciitis pain. They have enhanced mechanisms in the sole and heel to provide comfort over long distances.

The best choice is to visit a specialty store and try the shoes. This is best for runners who are buying from these brands for the first time.

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