Well known for their comfort, low heel drop, and minimal weight, Hoka One One had ultramarathon runners embrace its shoes for those desirable qualities. However, all types of runners soon took to the Hoka shoes because of their cushioning and minimal weight.
With so much success many customers wonder where Hoka shoes are made, so in the rest of this article, we’ll answer that and share other important information about the company.
Most Hoka shoes are made in China and Vietnam. Hoka also operates factories in the Dominican Republic, Cambodia, and the Philippines. The factories outside of China and Vietnam account for less than 10 percent of their manufacturing operations.
Over the years we’ve seen a trend of Hoka moving more and more of its manufacturing from China to Vietnam. This is a common trend among many footwear companies.
Who Owns Hoka Shoes?
At its founding, Hoka was a French company in Annecy, France, but Deckers Outdoor Corporation acquired Hoka Shoes in 2013 for an undisclosed amount of money. Since Deckers Outdoor Corporation is an American company, they’re American owned even if they don’t do any of the manufacturing in the United States.
Deckers Outdoor Corporation was started in 1973 by University of California alumni Karl F Lopker and Doug Otto. The company has since owned a number of footwear brands such as Koolaburra, UGG, Sanuk, Teva, and Hoka One One. The company has its headquarters in Goleta, California.
Are Any Hoka Shoes Made in the USA?
No Hoka shoes are currently made in the USA, although the company bases itself in Richmond, California, and has its headquarters in Goleta, California. In April 2013, Deckers Outdoor Corporation, an American company, bought Hoka Shoes for an undisclosed amount of money. Hoka Shoes is, in fact, a small company in comparison to many others.
Now, some people would see the words American company attached at the front and think that it means they manufacture in the United States. We would hope that people will do more digging than that. Despite its parent company being an American company, they have no factories in the United States to produce the shoes. Hoka Shoes doesn’t give Americans manufacturing jobs.
Although to be fair, that’s quite common with shoe companies who favor the manufacturing in either China or Vietnam. Vietnam has emerged as the new player in this market as China has grown more expensive. We will cover their manufacturing processes soon.
Unfortunately, we can’t list any products that they have made in the USA since they don’t have a manufacturing presence here. However, for those interested in American made running shoes, we would recommend that you check out the article that we wrote here about great running shoes made in the USA. Without that list, it can prove difficult because so many of the companies have taken their manufacturing abroad.
Hoka’s Shoe Manufacturing Presence in China
Hoka One One was first started in 2009, and they heavily favored manufacturing in China at the time. They have slowly split their manufacturing between China and Vietnam over the years as the cost of manufacturing in China has steadily risen.
Believe it or not, if you had to choose between Chinese made and Vietnamese made, you would want the Chinese made if you were to look at quality.
You also want to be aware of how the measurements between Chinese made and Vietnamese made will differ. For example, with the Hoka Clifton 3s, the Chinese made shoes were thought to be 0.5cm larger than their Vietnamese made counterpart. The white and red Cliftons were made in China while the orange and black Cliftons were made in Vietnam.
One thing that many people complained about was how they wished that Hoka would do a better job at keeping a standardized practice with its manufacturing. The significant differences between the two pairs have made it difficult.
Some reports suggest that China may have up to 30 Hoka One One factories in the country. The brand has gradually built itself into a company that offers multiple products besides shoes. We could only find four factories that do footwear in China.
China designs, produces, and markets the shoes as well. One of the things that made Hoka One One favor manufacturing in Vietnam comes from the US-China Trade War. An estimated 70 percent of shoes sold in the United States come from China, but when President Trump added a 10 percent tariff on footwear in China, it caused some brands like Hoka to look to other manufacturing markets.
The one location where we could identify that Hoka was making shoes was in Jiangsu province. That information isn’t surprising considering how Jiangsu is one of the shoemaking hubs in China.
Hoka’s Manufacturing in Vietnam
In recent years, Vietnam has emerged as a key player in the footwear manufacturing industry since prices tend to be lower than in China. In total, we found 19 factories operating in Vietnam for the label and 11 of them for footwear. Aside from China, this country is the largest manufacturer of Hoka shoes. One of the advantages of manufacturing in Vietnam comes from its environmentally friendly approach to manufacturing.
They use eco-friendly manufacturing technology to create their shoes. Vietnam has always been one of the countries to emphasize hydroelectricity with it making up 33 percent of its total power generation. This lowers the amount of unclean energy being used to power its factories, but it also helps with its environmentally friendly manufacturing practices. China, in comparison, has a greater reliance on coal for keeping its factories with power.
These values matter to Hoka One One, and you can learn more about their values on the environment here.
Vietnam has a footwear export economy worth $22 billion each year. We had a hard time finding exact information on this company from anywhere because Hoka One One likes to hide most of the information surrounding its factories and manufacturing practices.
We don’t like that, however, because when companies try to hide this information, in some cases, they have a reason for doing it such as poor factory conditions or other things that could hurt the image of the brand.
What is So Special About Hoka Shoes?
What made Hoka shoes originally popular with ultramarathon runners came from its excellent shock absorbency to protect your joints. The shoes also have a slightly oversized sole in comparison to other shoes on the market. Your knees absorb a lot of the impact when running, and many people think that this can cause early wear and tear on your joints.
For that reason, you want to take active measures to protect your joints and Hoka shoes offered one of those products to protect runners. It soon took off and became popular with many runners. While running does have its negatives such as on the joints, some studies have shown how it can protect you from getting arthritis.
The lightweight materials used in the shoes and the Meta-rocker technology help to propel you forward when running. The shoes may have started as a popular choice for ultramarathon runners, but they soon became popular for runners of every category. Today, Hoka has become a $3.06 billion per year brand.
History of Hoka One One
Before we begin, let’s talk about the interesting name, “Hoka One One.” You probably read the last two words as the number one like I first did. In fact, it’s pronounced, “Hoka On-nay on-nay.” The name comes from the Maori language of New Zealand, and it roughly translates as, “Fly over the earth.” What could be a more appropriate naming than that for running shoes?
The company was started in 2009 in Annecy, France. Jean-Luc Diard and Nicolas Mermoud began the company intending to allow people to run downhill faster. The company has had famous sponsors from top trail runners like Karl Meltzer and Dave Mackey.
Today, you can buy their shoes for a variety of running specialties besides ultramarathons, which include:
- Trail running
- Road running
Here is a cool video about the evolution of Hoka shoes over time.
Made in the Philippines, the Dominican Republic, and Cambodia
The Philippines, the Dominican Republic and Cambodia all operate a single factory in each of their countries. This shows you how they don’t operate on a huge level with their manufacturing outside of China and Vietnam. When we look at the total, their manufacturing in these countries altogether only accounts for seven percent of the total. China and Vietnam make up 93 percent of the total manufacturing for Hoka Shoes.
We believe that they did this more as a nod to the diversification of their manufacturing presence, but it’s overall very poor diversification in comparison to other companies that are more evenly spread.
Why does that matter? Well, when global upheaval or upheaval in a country happens for one reason or another, it can cause companies great hardship. One example of this would be the US-China Trade War, which raised the tariffs on those goods from China and hurt the companies manufacturing there. Many companies at the time railed against the Trump administration over the tariffs, and they sent jobs to other countries to cope but not without taking a loss.
Another example of a reason for good diversification comes from forced factory closures for one reason or another, which can hurt the production in those countries. You want diversification to prevent issues with your supply chain.
We can somewhat understand the reasons for Cambodia since the lack of infrastructure in comparison to Vietnam has held this country back from having too many shoemaking factories. In the future, it could take off as another one of the shoemaking hubs. Conditions in many of these factories are, unfortunately, poor.
For example, in Cambodia, seven workers were killed due to the roof collapsing at one of the shoemaking factories from another brand. Speaking broadly and without intending to single anyone out, this sometimes happens due to companies not taking enough safety precautions for their workers during the construction of the building.
We’re not saying that this happened with Hoka, but it’s good to be aware of the conditions of manufacturing in some of these countries and where your money goes to support when you don’t buy American made. In the United States, failure to comply with strict regulations that create safer factory conditions can lead to hefty fines, but it also creates a much safer and more acceptable work environment for its employees.
We couldn’t say why the brand hasn’t chosen to manufacture more in the Philippines and the Dominican Republic, except that the cost is lower to produce in China and Vietnam.
How Long Do Hoka Shoes Last?
Knowing how these shoes were largely produced in China and Vietnam, you may wonder if they will be worth the money and last as long as an American made pair. Many people talked about how Hoka Shoes didn’t last as long as some of the other running shoes on the market. Unfortunately, because the sole will start to compress quickly, this causes the shoe to lose its cushion rather quickly.
In some cases, it takes less than a few months and you will need a replacement, but this depends on how much you use them as well. Most running experts say that running shoes will last anywhere from 250 to 500 miles. You may get up to 700 miles with some outstanding pairs, but that shows you exceptional circumstances.
The Hoka Rincon 3 shoes, for example, tend to last for between 200 to 300 miles—nothing exceptional or even impressive. Hoka Cliftons will usually last for between 300 to 500 miles.
We would also watch for where they were made since most people thought of the China made shoes as being more durable than those made in Vietnam. While we wouldn’t say that they last as long as other choices, we will say one advantage to them and that comes from good knee protection. For anyone who suffers from knee problems, the Hoka Shoes will protect your knees better so that you don’t have to stop running altogether. That matters because I have known people who loved to run, but they had to give it up as they got older because it hurt their knees too much.
Related Article: What Socks Are Made in the USA?
To sum it up, Hoka Shoes may be a good brand, but it would not make sense as a brand if you wanted American made running shoes. You can find far better options made in the USA. In case you’d like to look at some of the shoes made in the United States, we put together this list of shoes made in the USA.
It can give you a better idea of what’s out there since finding American made in this category can prove difficult. If you have any further questions regarding the question – Where are Hoka shoes made? Let us know in the comments and we will get back to you as soon as possible. Also, let us know if there is anything we missed. We’re constantly looking to improve our articles so we’re also interested in community feedback.
Hi my name is Kevin and I’m from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Purchasing products made in America is important to me because it supports local economies, helps the environment, and I know the companies follow high labor standards. I also find that American made products are usually of higher quality so although they’re a little more expensive, you save money in the long run.