Gear Review: Hoka Challenger ATR 6 GTX Shoes

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Last winter, once I made the decision to keep walking outside as much as I could through the colder months, I knew I needed to shop for some new shoes.  Central Ohio may not be the coldest, snowiest place on Earth, but it’s cold enough—and though my toes may not freeze as quickly as my fingers, they still tend to get chilly quickly.  So after a little bit of research, I decided to try out these Gore-Tex treated Hoka Challenger ATR 6 GTX shoes for my winter walks.

Though last winter wasn’t nearly as cold and snowy as predicted, it was still cold and damp—but, fortunately, I never once had to worry about cold, damp socks.  And with the extra grip on the soles, they’re able to handle everything from wet paved paths to slippery mud to more rugged trails while still maintaining stability.

Of course, the warm-toastiness does mean that the uppers are thicker and stiffer than my favorite summer shoes. They can feel a little bulky, and it seemed to take a little extra time to break them in. But after I put some miles in, they felt comfortable and well-cushioned. And, really, a little extra bulkiness is a perfectly acceptable trade-off for warm, dry feet—and for shoes that seemed way more eager to tackle the winter weather conditions than I was.

Meanwhile, though I thought that these would be winter-only shoes, I’ve actually found myself reaching for them year-round.  When my daughter and I made plans to try out some new parks with unfamiliar unpaved trails, I reached for my Challengers.  When the paths were a little wet and muddy: Challengers.  And I was surprised that, while my feet stayed dry, they didn’t overheat in the summer from the Gore-Tex treatment, either.

Hoka’s Challenger ATR 6 GTX shoes may not be the cushiest of shoes, but they’re great for so many different conditions.  They’re the shoes I reach for to help me take on everything from paved paths on rainy days to hikes off the beaten path to wintery walks.


Kristin has been hitting the trail (or the treadmill) for a walk almost every day for the past several years, and she recently completed her first half marathon. She loves sunny fall days, cushy walking shoes, and coconut caramel iced coffee from Dunkin.

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