The Hoka Skyline-Float X is a new shoe from Hoka that’s built to hike. That’s right, hike, not run. Long-time Hoka fans probably think that’s weird but in recent years Hoka has created options for casual use, recovery, and now, hiking.
In order to test the Hoka Skyline-Float X, I did a bunch of summer hiking and the results were largely very good. I’ll touch on each of the notable aspects of the shoe.
Hoka Skyline-Float X
Release Date: August 1, 2023
Weight: Men’s 14.9oz., Women’s 12.6 oz.
Sizing: True to size
- Rundown: The Hoka Skyline-Float X is an immensely soft low-top hiking shoe with a rock plate, comfortable upper, and a super sticky Vibram outsole.
Pillowy Soft Midsole
The Hoka Skyline-Float X’s midsole is arguably too soft for a hiking shoe. I didn’t expect much out of the 30% sugarcane midsole but it delivered fantastic squish. That’s partially due to the sheer amount of foam, 43mm in the heel, which is more than Hoka includes in its highest-end running shoes.
You may think that a huge stack of foam would be risky on rocky-strewn trails, but the stability is surprisingly good. Helping to stabilize the big chunk of EVA underfoot is a Pebax midsole plate. That plate is actually pulling double-duty. It provides stabilization and acts as a rock plate. When sharp roots or rocks try to poke through the soft foam, the plate prevents them from bruising the bottom of your foot.
Vibram XS Trek Outsole
It’s always more expensive for shoe brands to use Vibram outsoles, but especially on trail shoes, the price increase is often justified. Vibram’s rubber is top-notch, grips everything, and the 5mm thick lugs dig into soft terrain nicely. The Hoka Skyline-Float X is ready to tackle fairly technical trails as this Vibram outsole does everything possible to keep you upright.
The engineered air mesh upper on the Hoka Skyline-Float X is soft from heel to toe. There aren’t any rough areas that could create hotspots on long hikes. That said, there are a couple of negatives that come along with the plush upper.
First is that when this upper gets wet, it stays wet for a long time. It’s not quick-drying or anything close to that. The layers of mesh hold the water. This shoe is better suited for dry climates.
The second is the width. It’s pretty good through the heel and midfoot, but after the ball of the foot, the toebox slopes in too tightly and can be a pain. I generally prefer hiking and trail running shoes that allow me to spread my toes and get extra grip, especially when I’m going downhill. I couldn’t do that in the Skyline-Float X.
As for sizing, the Hoka Skyline-Float X fits true to size lengthwise but due to the cramped toe area, most wide footers will either want to go up a half size or skip this one altogether.
Any time a Hoka shoe has an exaggerated heel, Hoka is going to tout it as a benefit on their website and other marketing materials. But honestly, it just doesn’t do anything performance-wise. This one isn’t exaggerated enough that I clip the edge of the stairs while going down them, so it’s not a negative, but it doesn’t add anything either. Though I gotta admit, it does make the silhouette of the shoe look pretty cool.
The Hoka Skyline-Float X is priced at $175, which does align well with overbuilt, durable hiking boots, but feels expensive for what it is. Long-term durability looks like it’ll be solid but this shoe largely follows a trail running shoe template so I’d expect it to more naturally compete with $160 trail runners. I’d recommend several models from our best trail running shoes list before telling someone to opt for the Skyline-Float X…not because of performance, but because those trail running shoes offer similar or better performance for $15-25 less.
Hoka Skyline-Float X Summary
The Hoka Skyline-Float X is a well-built hiking shoe that’s super soft but still protective and supportive. It’s better when used in dry climates and is priced higher than I’d like, but is a solid performer.
If your main objective in selecting a hiking shoe is finding one that brings max cushion Hoka feel to the trails or finding a squishy midsole that doesn’t make you feel like you’re walking with stilts, the Skyline-Float X is a great option.