Hoka Zinal review: hands-down one of the fastest trail running shoes we’ve tested

Trail running shoes take many different forms, from the stripped-back barefoot approach to those technical offerings for the gnarliest trails. (image credit: The Gear Loop)
The Hoka Zinal sits somewhere in the middle - a hybrid that contains elements pinched from racy road running shoes and fusing them off-road features (image credit: The Gear Loop)
By eliminating much of the added extras found in more hardcore trail runners, Hoka has been able to to produce a swift, no-fuss offering. (image credit: The Gear Loop)
The forefoot is narrow and the fit fairly snug, as opposed to the roomier trail shoes we have previously tested. (image credit: The Gear Loop)
Vibram’s Megagrip sole, despite not having anything extreme in the way of lug length and pattern, seems to grip on just about every surface we tried. (image credit: The Gear Loop)
The Hoka Zinal is a lovely shoe to lace up. It’s compact, light and feels immediately fast when you put it on. (image credit: The Gear Loop)
Ardent trail runners will likely want to see more off-road features, but these are perfect for those who want to run fast on more predictable off-road surfaces. (image credit: The Gear Loop)