Hoka Trail Code GTX Hiking Boots Review

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Initial thoughts On The Hoka Trail Code GTX Hiking Boot

I have now run in numerous pairs of trail and road Hokas over the years. Additionally, I also make my way up steep and rocky technical 14-er mountains here in Colorado. Those rough granite rocks will shred most running shoes to pieces. At times, the trail incline pitches too much to run up. That incline will vary for everyone, but no one is running up class 3 or 4 mountains. In situations like that, I will wear the more traditional ankle height hiking boot. Those work, but not to the extent that I am happy with them from a performance standpoint. Equally, I don’t like the constriction of those taller boots as they are just not as comfortable.

This Hoka Trail Code GTX hiking boot is a very suitable shoe for me to have the comfort of a running shoe with the sturdiness of a hiking boot. In essence, it seems to hit all the marks for me to go exploring on a wide variety of terrain. I can’t wait to go on some adventures to really test these boots to the max. Bring it on.

Maroon Bells in the distance!

Features

  • Recycled textile with GORE-TEX footwear fabric for waterproofing
  • Topically applied PFC-free water repellency treatment
  • Finished with dimensional screen printing to decrease waste and increase durability
  • Responsive new foam for exceptional cushioning
  • HUBBLE heels ensure smooth heel-to-toe transitions
  • SwallowTail design has a forked heel to allow for easy adjustments on uneven terrain
  • Late stage Meta-Rocker
  • Molded polyurethane sockliners with 50% soybean oil
  • Quick-lace metal top hooks
  • Anatomic Achilles construction with heel pull tabs
  • Vibram® Megagrip rubber outsoles with 5 mm lugs provide traction on variable terrain

Hiking up North America’s tallest sand dune also takes some doing, and the Trail Code GTX is up to the task.

Upper Of The Hoka Trail Code GTX

Two important things I want to point out that make the Hoka Trail Code GTX. The first one being the 100% rPET ripstop textile upper that is designed to handle the rigors of the trail. And secondly, the overlay and waterproof membrane made out of GORE-TEX footwear fabric comprised of PFC free water-repellant materials that is topically applied.

I suppose there is a third element that I am quite impressed with, and that is the solid Quick-Lace metal top hooks that the recycled polyester laces loop around. They are sturdy and solid, and I hope they stand the test of time.

A decent toe kick should be up to task.

Midsole

The Hoka Trail Code GTX have a CMEVA midsole while sporting the HUBBLE heels.

The rear mid-sole has the added swallowtail cutout in the rear of the heel with the pull tab for easy entry. The swallowtail is unique in that each side almost acts like independent suspension. Both sides can absorb various elements to reduce the strain on the ankles and Achilles.

The late stage Meta-Rocker provides a smooth transition with each step. I really like the comfort fit of the molded PU sockliner with 50% soybean oil.

Outsole

The outsole is molded with Vibram Megagrip rubber that can handle quite the range of trail obstacles in all sorts of weather conditions. The 5mm lugs are large enough to provide solid traction, but not overly so that it is noticeable on smoother terrain.

Technical Specifications

  • Waterproof: GORE-TEX waterproof/breathable membrane
  • Upper: rPET ripstop textile
  • Midsole: CMEVA
  • Outsole: Vibram Megagrip rubber
  • Weight (pair) 1lb 14.6 oz.

High Altitude Testing Of The Hoka Trail Code GTX

I usually try to wear any new shoes around for a few days just to slightly break them in. That doesn’t last long, because the urge to take them on an epic hike or trip is always looming.

That is the case with the Hoka Trail Code GTX as well. A trip to Creede, Colorado provides the perfect setting for the ultimate gear test. This is a rather small remote mining town, and also the base for our attempt at San Luis Peak, one of 54 14-ers that grace this beautiful state. Early June is usually a good time for some early season peak bagging around here, but our rather epic winter gave us cause for concern to say the least. It’s about an 14 mile roundtrip hike on what is supposed to be a relatively straightforward journey on a class 1 trail.

Extensive rains and flooding made for an interesting journey. After a 4 mile jeep road, and several stream crossings, the trail turned towards more high alpine terrain with a couple of basins to traverse. Usually, that is not a super challenging task. Not the case for us in this instance, as we encounter waist deep snow in the last sections of trees. Trail finding was challenging as we continuously find ourselves scrambling through rough tree strewn terrain.

I’m telling you all this to set up what proved to be a formidable testing ground for the Hoka Trail Code GTX. The first few legs of our journey, these shoes are working like a champ. They are soft yet response. The intermittent rain was no issue as my feet stay dry. The subsequent river crossings also does not give me any trouble. The initial snow scrambling across sloped terrain are handled without a hitch as I have plenty of traction, and the GTX wards off the moisture.

I’d say for 95% of the hiking I will do, these will keep my feet dry. This hike is the 5%! Continuous post holing with snow coming at me from all angles is too much. My feet are completely soaked. Honestly, it’s nothing against the shoe. I am up to my waist in slushy wet snow which comes in from the top, and eventually everything is wet. That said, we move on, and despite that, the hike was a success. The Hoka Trail Code GTX still performs despite the wetness keeping my feet comfortable. No rubbing, blisters, or anything like that.

I love the responsiveness as I hop from rock to rock. The midsole absorbs the initial shock, and returns with a good send off onto the next step. In addition, the grip is fantastic on rock and side slope snow and ice. There are moments I wished I had micro spikes or crampons, but the traverses we do are handled nicely. Again, there comes a point when additional traction (and an ice axe) will be needed, and you have to know the time to call it.

I believe that was a seven hour day on my feet, and I can’t complain about much. The wet feet can be prevented with a set of gators, waterproof pants, etc.

In the end, we eat pizza quesadillas over a campfire on a shovel. Yes, a shovel 🙂

Final Thoughts On The Hoka Trail Code GTX

These Hoka Trail Code GTX are a serious contender in the hiking sector of our active outdoor world. The sturdy heavy duty hiking boots surely have their place, but this shoe can reach a target audience that might not want or need all that support. That said, this Trail Code really hits the mark for me. Lightweight, responsive, plenty of cushioning, and supportive to allow me to reach new heights.

Subsequently, the water resistant GTX features will keep your feet much drier. All in all, the Hoka Trail Code GTX is a solid addition to my hiking game, because they will allow me to traverse through technical terrain to reach high alpine mountain heights. In conclusion, I really have not found a knock on the shoe from its construction to how it is performing for me. If you, like me, are a trail runner, and are ok with slowing it down a little to enjoy the view, then this can be a great addition to your shoe repertoire. In brief, give these a shot. For more information or to purchase please visit www.hoka.com or www.rei.com/hoka.

Niels Oomkes: I am a multi-sport endurance athlete, and love to get out into the great outdoors to push the body to its limit. Most of my weekend expeditions, adventures, trips, or vacations are planned around running, biking, snowshoeing, camping, or anything else that will allow me to enjoy nature's exquisite beauty.
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