Hi people welcome to the Run Testers and our review of the Hoka Zinal 2 – a racy trail shoe that HOKA says is designed to deliver the same light, responsive precision as the original Zinal but with a lower stack, amped up response and better grip. So how does it fare on the trails? Hit play to find out in our Hoka Zinal 2 review.

0:00 – Intro
0:23 – Design Details: Drop, Stack, Price
0:53 – Shoe Whip Round: What’s new
2:09 – Fit
3:43 – The Run Test
12:21 – The Verdict

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Hi people welcome to the Run testers and Our review of the Hoka xenel 2. now this Is a racy shoe that hocus has designed To deliver the same light responsive Precision as the original Z now but it Now comes with an amped up response Better grip so how does it feel on the Trails watch on to find out in our Hoka's email to review Let's start with those key specs then And the hokazine L2 has a lower stack Than the first generation it's down to 30 mils in the hill and 25 mils in the Forefoot for an overall five mil drop The lugs are now deeper too they now Come in at five mils I think that's up From four mils on the last generation It's now also lighter than the previous Generation coming in at 7.3 ounces or 208 grams in our UK men's size eight and A half test tube price wise it will set You back 160 pounds in the UK or 160 Dollars in the US so let's have a quick Whip round of the shoe let's start with The cushioning then where you've got a Lower profile Eva midsole here and That's designed to keep your feet a Little bit closer to the ground and well Connected to the trail it's now smaller Stack than the previous generation Though relatively speaking actually Despite the fact it looks quite normal There's still quite a high stack it's Not far off the simile midsoles Hoka

Challenger 7 in fact surprisingly Overall that Eva is pretty firm note so It can feel less cushion than those Shoes there's also a light rocker to the Midsole unit up top to enhance wants to Strip back and race you feel you've got A sock-like upper here that's made from A part recycled mesh it's got that quite Really sort of structured plasticky feel That suggests it'll ward off water well But it doesn't scream Comfort overall It's a very very racist shoe it's also a Stretch knit collar here to help keep Debris out in a kind of booty fit along With a heel tab to help you get them on It's very useful if you've got high end Steps and wide feet and need a little Help it's all a bit reminiscent to me of Something like the Nike Free shoes with The way the kind of booty works flip Them over and you've got a Vibram Mega Grip outsole and the five mil lugs are One mil bigger than on the original Z Nail to help improve grip in the mud and On technical Terrain Oh So fit for me in the hookers inhale then I ran in a UK and a half which is my Size normally I think these shoes are Very tight they're very compact I mean They're very narrow very very slim Fitting so you might call that kind of Like a race hugging fit but it's cramped For me they're cramped in the toe box

They're cramped across the midfoot and For the first sort of yeah for the first Few miles of many of my runs it's been Like having clamps on your feet You're going to have to like a really Narrow Closed fit to enjoy these in terms of The fit I'm going half a size up may fix Some of that for sure I don't think it's Going to fix everything though I think This is just the way they're built They're obviously built light and racy But for me the fit is it's kind of a no And I don't really enjoy it uh it's just Too cramped the fit for me in the zanal Too I would say that I have the right Size this is a size eight in the UK I'm A size eight but it is a very very lean Shoe it's quite narrow around the Midfoot there's not a lot of space in The toe box and I did find on the right Hand side of my right foot it was Rubbing a bit against my uh little toe So it's definitely not a shoe for Somebody who has a wider foot and also Even though I would stick to my size It's not a lot of space in this shoe It's a performance shoe and if you're Looking for a shoe that maybe has a Little bit of extra space in it a little Bit of wiggle room this shoe won't do it But I would stay to my size if I wanted A performance shoe that was very lean So there's an L2 is a quite a big

Difference from the original zanal I Used the original one when I went away To Croatia for a few weeks last year and I was using it as a Um daily training shoe I only took a Couple of pairs of trail shoes with me One of them was a zenile and I used it Um on the trails but I also used it on Road as well it's a very lean shoe but The outsole of it was actually not very Aggressive so you could use it for Shorter distance runs Um on harder paths and some road as well Um it was also very comfortable shoot Away it was lightweight but it also had More traditional upper than what you get On the zanol too so I think the thing About this in R2 is that a lot of the Changes have been made to really make it A little bit more performance focused on The trails one of the biggest of those Is the outsole so it's got these new um Aggressive five millimeter lugs on it And they are quite noticeable it's quite A hard outsole it's really designed for More technical running so you need to be Out on the trails to actually be able to Use this shoe I did a running note today Uh which was on uh a bit of Road and Eventually I ended up on the trails Where I was on um muddy uh forests and Hills and some Fields as well and what I Found was that on the road sections it You you can't really use it on road it's

A it's too firm Um and it's very minimal when it comes To cushioning so it just doesn't really Work on road once you get onto the Trails it is definitely a more Aggressive Trail shoot than what I found From the original xinal uh it is Um definitely Nimble lightweight the Grip's very good uh when you're running Out on the Trails Um it's definitely designed for more Technical terrain Um and it does a good job at that it's a Very quick shoe it's a very light shoe The upper as well has been redesigned to Be it has got this sort of sock fit Upper which is designed to be uh hold Your foot in place it's designed to Um protect the ins inside of the shoe From debris and stuff like that rocks Things like that Um and it is very comfortable but it is Also quite hard to get on as well I Found Um it's a very lean upper Um and for some people I don't think That's going to be that enjoyable uh It's definitely not comfortable upper For me um but it does do the job if You're looking for a lightweight Trail Shoe and your focus really is speed what I found about the shoe is that on Trails Um specifically sort of hardened mud Um Forest paths things like that it

Works very well the on softer ground Um the more rigid firm midsole of this Delivers quite well it's a very quick Shoot to run in I felt like it really Run quickly on this if I if I was doing A trail race and maybe it went up to 5K Or 10K I think this would be a very good Shoe for that it it's very nippy Um and you don't really feel it on your Feet it's that light Um but it's not a comfortable shoe I Definitely wouldn't use this for daily Training miles I definitely wouldn't use It for a game for a nice little uh hour Long run on the trails I'd only really Use it if I was going all out speed Um just because it's not an enjoyable Cruising shoe and excuse that leanness It just doesn't really have a lot of Cushioning in it to make you have a nice Comfortable Rune really it's definitely A nice bit of pickup in it you can Really quickly accelerate in this shoe Due to how light it is but also it's got A nice bit of rigidity in it so when you Are picking up the pace it's very good At doing that if you're going downhill Things like that you can really get a Nice Pace in this it's a bashu I say That the upper is nice and breathable But it's not the most comfortable design That you'll get on a trail shoe it's Quite plasticky it's not really designed For Comfort it's more designed for

Protection Um and that's really all I got from from The Opera I didn't really think that it Was a nice comfortable shoe to wear There's a little bit of covering on the Toe box as well but it's not really Protective toe covering I don't think This should be a very good shoe if you Were running in really pointy rocks and Things like that because it's not going To protect your feet there is some very Lean shoe as I keep saying Um so it's not going to be the sort of Shoe that it protects you on the trails It's really stripped down for Speed Above All Else I did found that outside grip to be very Good I wasn't running in the wet when I Tested this shoe out but on the inclines And declines of the forests and of the Hills that I was running on it felt very Good that Vibram outsole is as good as You'd expect from a vibrant outsole and It really does have a very sticky tacky Um rubber design to it so it's Definitely a good shoe if you want Something for hitting technical terrain And you want peace of mind that you're Going to have the grip to do that which Is a far superior to the previous zinel Running shoe so for my front test of the Hookers and out I have now done probably Around about 30 kilometers now that's Not the distance that I would usually do

In a shoe before I do a review I'd like To go further but the truth is that Every time I put these shoes on 5Ks up To 10ks it's probably the max I've Really wanted to run in them this is Partly for me the way they're built they Are very strict back they're very Minimal there is a lot of ground contact They're very firm they're very tight They're very compact they're very racy And for that reason I think you know Getting in straight into what I'd use These for they feel like a shoe that you Want to go short and fast in on the Trails Max this is not a shoe that I Think personally I would lace up to go Over a couple of hours today I've just Done an hour and 10 minutes in them and Yeah they're not they're not the most Forgiving shoe so I think there's that Now I mentioned it in the fit I'm going To repeat it here because I think it's Really important they are very narrow Very hugging very tight there is very Little room in the toe box here my toes I feel them right now are squished Together quite quite badly that is Something that again you know it's not Going to allow you I don't think to go For long distances And if you like a roomy shoe you're not Going to like these I don't think Because they have got that real kind of Race hugging fit it feels almost like a

Marathon Race shoe where you've got that Really sort of tight fit it's not Something that I've really enjoyed on The trails too much I prefer to have a Bit more room now when it comes to the Ride underfoot in the test that I've Done again these are very direct you are Going to feel a lot of ground coming up Now that shallower stack of midsole you Know what it's not giving you protection It's not really going to give you too Much kind of Bounce and spring either You do get a fair amount of quick Turnover from The Rocker I feel the Rocker in these and that does help with The clip through you know quite a lot Actually quite significantly you could Really feel it sort of doing that but These are a shoe that you're going to Have to pick your feet up pretty quick And just because of that ground coming Up you know you feel the impact so You're going to have to move with a fast Turnover to get these shoes to work for You when you do that okay they do a job And again if you're going to go out and Race a fast 5k off-road or a fast 10K Off-road and you know you're a good Lightweight Runner I'd say these shoes Could do a really good job for you if You're heavier if you usually rely on a Bit more cushion on the trails if you Yeah if you don't like that ground Impact feel coming up then there's Xeno

In all of my tests that I've done They've just felt a little bit too firm Even for somebody who normally likes a Firm shoe and that's even against trail Shoes where some do come up firmer Anyway You know even like a innovate Trail Flight 270 or something those can be Quite direct themselves but these are Really really taking it to the nth Degree it's really quite a strict back Feel it reminds me a little bit actually Of the naked TR Trail shoe again which Was a firm direct shoe that I feel like It's the kind of preserve of people who Can move much faster and much lighter Across the ground than I can and this is A shoe that every time I've put it on Initially it hasn't really felt Particularly comfortable you know I've Run across the roads to the trails in it It's quite hard on the tarmac but over Time the longer you get going in it it Does ease off a little bit it's still Not great in terms of that overall Comfort but it does become more Comfortable I think particularly when You hit you know you might hit a bit of Grass or you hit some softer Trails then That's cool I definitely think it's got pretty good Grip it's quite light you know you can Weave down Hills and you can pick your Way you can you know you're definitely

Feeling the ground underfoot and you Know because it's pretty direct you've Got quite a lot of stability here you Know you're you're relying on your foot Landing and you can really feel where Each of your footsteps is landing and That does help you kind of pick down Sort of more technical Trails but you're Going to feel those stones you're going To feel the roots you're going to feel Things coming up underneath so again you Know it's a bit of swings and Roundabouts here again I'm going back to That idea if you like footing and you're Fast then maybe that's going to be fine But if you're a heavy Lander even on the Downs you're bashing your heels in these Are not going to be for you So my verdict on the xanar2 is that if You look if you're looking for all-out Speed you want the most stripped down Trail shoe that you can get that's still Going to give you the technical benefits Of running out on the Trails um then This is a good shoe for that that's Really all I would use it for so if I Was racing I would happily use this shoe If it was over a shorter distance I Wouldn't go up to half marathon in the Shoot it's just too light for me there's Not enough cushioning in it for me I Just don't think I'd enjoy that it just Feels it feels a little bit too minimal For the sort of running that I do but if

I was doing 5K and 10K races and they're On the trails maybe if I was doing a Park run that was on the trails I think It should be a very good shoe for that It's fast it's nippy and it does the job I think the problem comes where it comes When it comes down to comfort it's not a Very comfortable shoe for me I don't Think I'd want to pick this up if I was Going to enjoy a trail run I think it Just hasn't got the elements in it that Make it a comfortable shooter where the The upper isn't particularly Accommodating there's not a lot of Padding in it and the out outsole is Quite firm um and minimal for me so it Doesn't really do very well on harder Surfaces either so basically if you want To fast shoe for shorter distances on The trails I think it's a good job but For anything else I probably wouldn't Pick it up for for those sorts of runs If you're looking at this shoe then You're definitely looking for a Lightweight Trail racer alternatives for Me would be something like the art Terex Sl3 which is probably actually a little Bit leaner than this only just Um I'd probably go for this shoe over That one just because that shoe is Really really minimal Um and there's not a lot to it I Definitely will not use that shoe for Anything over 5K maybe maybe we won't

Even go up to 10K in that shoe and the Outsole on this is far superior to that Shoe I'd also say that the North Face Summit vective sky is A bit heavier than this but it's a good Alternative it's a little bit there's a Bit more to that shoe it's a bit more Comfortable but it is still like a fast Trail racer if you're looking for Something that Um you can pick up the pacing on the Trails my verdict on the hookers are now Then well I've seen some reviewers say That the stack on this isn't low and Racy enough but for me the firmness and Directness along with that race hugging Slightly restrictive upper makes this a Shoe that I'd only ever really use for Short blasts and races on the trail now I actually prefer my shoes firmer and More direct but even for me I found it a Little unforgiving at times now Nest You're moving with intent with a fast Foot turnover or you're going to go out And smash a speedy Trail 10K then I Think this shoe might be a little bit Too direct this issue I think that's Best for short Speedy off-road efforts And for that it's definitely a light Agile responsive weapon but if your Trail racing stretches to into marathons And Ultras and long time on feet I fear This shoe might not offer the cushioning Protection that most Runners are going

To need I wouldn't want to be wearing This deep into 100K for example so Overall I'd say it's got good grip it's Got a lively ride with okay stability It's big on the ground contact if you Want that but it's low on the protection And for me it's only suited to very Specific use unless you're really after A Precision Trail race shoe I think you Can spend that 160 pounds this will cost You Or even less elsewhere to get more Versatile shoes I think in a wider range Of Runners I understand what Hoku is Trying to offer here I just don't think It'll be many people's cup of tea So there you have it that's been our Review of The Strip back and racy Hoka Xenl 2. we hope you found it useful hit Like And subscribe if so if you're in The market for a good trail show not Sure where to start check out our best Trail shoes video which will appear on The channel just about now Otherwise it's been a pleasure to talk To you thanks for watching and we hope To see you again soon on the Run testers Good luck with you running out there Whether you're hitting the trail or the Road and whatever you're trying to Achieve go and get it