Staff Pick: Hoka One One Rapa Nui 2 Tarmac

Available for the first time in the U.S., this responsive, resilient running shoe provides a smooth ride with a low heel-to-toe offset and maximum cushioning. How’s that possible? Jason explains. 


RUNNING SHOE: Hoka One One Rapa Nui 2 Tarmac

Category: Maximum cushioning, Lightweight

Best for: Training, Roads, Racing

Weight: 11.1 oz. (men’s size 9)

Heel-to-toe drop: 5 mm

Price: $129.95



As I happen to be a huge Hoka fan, I was pumped to receive a pair of the Hoka Rapa Nui Tarmac shoe a few weeks ago — well before anyone else in the U.S. — and was really excited to get these babies on my feet and out the door. So far, I have roughly 200 miles on them, primarily on roads with a few trail miles mixed in here and there. Let’s just say I am not disappointed.

One of my biggest complaints about my beloved Bondis was that the outsole gets chewed up quickly, regardless of running surface. While this doesn’t really impact the shoes’ durability, I prefer more tread on my outsole, not less.  With 200 miles on ’em, the Rapa Nui outsole looks barely worn. I’m guessing has at least a few hundred more miles on it.

My initial impression of the Rapa Nui Tarmac was very good, although it felt a bit more firm than what I was used to. This makes sense, though: the Rapa Nui line is intended as a lighter weight, more performance-oriented type of shoe, so it is much more responsive and resilient than previous models.

I’ve taken it on longer slower runs of up to 20 miles, as well as shorter tempo-type runs, and am really, really impressed! It just feels less bulky than other Hoka models with a much better fit, and much better outsole. For me, it is very versatile; I can take this pair out on roads, trails, long runs, or even tempo runs and my legs just feel so much better the next day.  The heel-to-toe drop is roughly 4 mm and like other Hoka models this includes a bucket seat. So your foot really sits down deep in the shoes and gains some stability, which suits my style of running and over-pronation just fine.

All-in-all give the Rapa Nui a try if you are looking to branch out. At a more wallet-friendly, added value of $130, (compared to other models which range between $160-170), it is a fantastic option for someone looking for a daily trainer suitable for a variety of surfaces.

Check out the Hoka One One Rapa Nui 2 Tarmac here

Leave a reply


  1. says

    Nice review. Thanks for posting. Just received a pair too, but find them really stiff around the ankle. Did you experience the same? If so, how long did it take for them to loosen up a bit?

    Thanks again!


    • Jason Halberstadt says

      Hi Steve,

      I did find them to be a bit stiff initially as well. Mine
      softened up once I had around 40 miles or so on them and I haven’t had any
      issues since.

      Thanks! Jason

  2. Eli says

    Thanks for the post. Bought my first pair. I really like running in them, but having some issues with the top eyelet for the laces. The top eyelet digs in to my toes as the tongue is pretty thin. Wonder if anyone else getting the same issue. I have removed the metal eyelet. The shoe is softening up and less grating on my toes. Overall a really good experience so I want to see this work out.

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