Overview of the HOKA ONE ONE Challenger ATR 5
The HOKA ONE ONE Challenger ATR 5 is the latest version of HOKA’s venerable, do-everything, neutral trail shoe. New for this model is a wide (i.e., EE width) option that I know a lot of people have been asking for and was happy to see HOKA offer for the first time.
I purposely asked HOKA for the wide model of this shoe as I wanted to see if it is a viable Altra or Topo competitor in the forefoot width department. What did I uncover after putting the shoe through its usual paces? Overall, the Challenger ATR 5 is a solid option for folks who want a do-everything, wide trail running shoe.
- Weight: 218g / 7.7oz (US women’s 7.0); 266g / 9.4oz (US men’s 9.0)
- Category: neutral
- Drop: 5mm (29mm / 24mm)
- Fit: true to size (i.e., your normal running shoe size)
- Width options: D (normal), EE (wide)
- Upper: dual-layer mesh upper with TPU overlays
- Midsole: EVA foam
- Outsole: approximately half outsole rubber coverage with 4mm lugs and half-exposed midsole foam
Now for more details. In this review, we’ll break things down in to six areas:
- What’s good: the new, differentiating, or simply well designed or built features or aspects of the shoe.
- What could be improved: tweaks or improvements that could be made to make the shoe better.
- When to use it: the situations or scenarios where the shoe excels.
- How it compares: head-to-head comparison with similar shoes
- Should you purchase? My overall recommendation on whether to purchase this shoe or not.
- Purchasing Information: where to go to purchase this shoe.
I’ll try to be as succinct as possible. After all, you’ve probably got more running you can do today!
The simplicity. I think there is a lot to be said for shoes that are not overbuilt. Some of my all-time favorite trail running shoes are comprised of essentially a single slab of EVA foam, a mesh upper with minimal overlays, and just enough outsole rubber to grip in most situations. And that is essentially what we see with the HOKA ONE ONE Challenger ATR 5.
The cushion to weight ratio. Sadly, we seem to be at a moment in time when somewhere around 9oz in a US Men’s size 9 is considered ‘light’ for a trail shoe. Sigh. So given that this shoe does offer a really nice amount of reliable cushioning. With the single slab of EVA foam underneath it’s a consistent and reliable experience (at least until the EVA foam flattens out like all EVA foam midsoles do).
The squish. I like the durometer of the foam used in this midsole. To me it didn’t feel as firm as the third or possibly even fourth version of the Challenger. It’s not as pilowy as the original HOKA ONE ONE Challenger ATR or Clifton but it’s squishy in a good way.
A wide option. Folks have been asking for this and HOKA delivered. The EE width is nice and roomy for folks who feel the D width HOKA Challengers are too narrow.
What could be improved?
The price. $130 is a fair price for this shoe. And I commend HOKA for yet again keeping the price consistent from the previous model. I would just love to see the price be $120 or less given this shoe likely won’t last more than 300-400 miles for most folks before the midsole is dead.
Better outsole configuration. HOKA updated the outsole configuration slightly in this fifth version compared to the previous version. However, I think the outsole lugs are not spaced far enough apart to really dig in when you want them to bite. The outsole is OK, but it’s not quite dialed yet.
When to use it?
Everyday trail runs on easy to moderate terrain. This shoe could really be your go-to, everyday trail shoe. It can handle road-to-trail excursions just fine as well but of course the outsole lugs will wear down faster if using extensively on pavement.
Similar shoes to compare with?
HOKA ONE ONE Challenger ATR 4 – Despite the outsole changes and some small tweaks to the upper this fifth version is essentially the same shoe.
HOKA ONE ONE Speedgoat 2 – Different shoes in a number of ways. The Speedgoat 2 has more and firmer cushioning that mutes more of what’s underfoot. The grip of the Speedgoat 2 is also superior in all situations. However, the more tapered toebox of the Speedgoat 2 just does not work with my footshape and as a result I like the fit of the Challenger better.
Topo Ultraventure – Very similar shoes in a lot of ways. If you can deal with the extra weight of the Ultraventure, which is a full ounce, I think it’s a better shoe all around.
Altra Timp – The Challenger ATR 5 is a better shoe in every way.
Should you purchase?
Maybe. If you liked the fourth version you will definitely like this version. And if you were waiting for a truly wide version of a HOKA that fits more like an Altra or a Topo well this is your best option today from HOKA.
Check out your local, independently-owned running specialty store, as independent stores are vital to our community and need all the help they can get. If that is not an option you can purchase directly from HOKA’s site (women’s version here & men’s version here). Thanks!
Meet Your Reviewer: Ben Zuehlsdorf
I am an avid running gear junkie. When I’m not smelling new shoes I’m usually running or racing around the local trails in Marin County, California or talking shop with the San Francisco Running Company community of friends. I was once a road marathoner but now have transitioned almost exclusively to the trails and racing ultras the last few years.
Disclaimer: This shoe was provided to URP/me for testing purposes. All words and thoughts are my own and no compensation was offered nor received.