The RW Takeaway: With its dependable tread and overall cozy feel—a soft upper, cushy midsole—the Challenger ATR 6 is a hybrid shoe that can seamlessly traverse road and trail.
- Firm, well-cushioned EVA foam midsole
- Grippy outsole with 4mm rubber lugs
- Breathable upper partially made with recycled materials
Weight: 9.8 oz (M), 8.1 oz (W)
I’ve fallen into the strange habit of anthropomorphizing running shoes, and if there’s one word to personify the Challenger ATR 6 it would be “congenial.” The Challenger is hospitable and flexible—both in personality and physicality. It’s happy on the trails but it won’t judge if you’re more road warrior than trailmeister—and it’s just as in its element on smooth surfaces as it is on uneven terrain.
Its non-spongy EVA midsole has firm cushioning to provide support and absorb shock. The 4mm lugs make its tread versatile over gnarly paths and smooth surfaces. A toe cap, aka the rand, offers some protection from stubbing and mud-slinging. The breathable upper has a gusseted tongue for a snug fit, and the textured laces—which are made of recycled polyester—stay securely tied.
It’s the shoe to grab when you’re indecisive about where to run and start out slow, seeing where your feet take you. Should you up the tempo or switch to a more a rugged route: Challenge accepted.
A Hybrid for All Terrain
The Challenger’s firmly cushioned midsole has just enough give so the small bones in your toes don’t ache (that telltale balance of not too hard for longer efforts, but not too soft where the foam feels like mush). The EVA foam absorbs impact well, protecting the pads of your feet as you plow down gnarly trails. But, this monster on the off-road still doesn’t discriminate against runs on the pavement.
Like that kid in high school who could seamlessly hang with all the cliques, the Challenger truly lives up to its acronym. ATR stands for All-Terrain Running—so the shoe is no poser when it comes to hitting the roads and sidewalks. The outsole has zonal rubber lugs that are only 4mm in length; long enough to bite into soil, yet not awkward or too aggressive when the only obstacle in your path is a speed bump.
“The best feature about this shoe is how well it can transition to different running surfaces, without losing any traction or stability,” said a tester. “When wearing other shoes that were specifically designed for either the road or for the trail, I had to be concerned about specific terrain. These are a great pair of cross-over running shoes!”
This shoe is offered in both regular or wide widths, but even our tester who found past Hokas too narrow—the Clifton and Speedgoat, specifically—declared he was “shocked” by how well the Challenger (in regular width) fit.
“The padding all around the interior of the shoe felt cozy,” he said. “I commend Hoka for a great feel in these shoes. This is one pair I would feel comfortable going long distances in without hesitation.”
The last is slightly wider at the midfoot and rounder around the toe compared to that of a Brooks or Nike model. You’ll see that both of those brands’ shoes are noticeably narrower if you compare them sole-to-sole with a Hoka. The Challenger’s wider midfoot—Hoka calls this “flat-waisted geometry”—and spacious toe box provide a comfy overall fit around your foot, and also offer more stability as you run.
More Tester Feedback
Colleen F., tester since 2016
Arch: Medium | Gait: Neutral | Footstrike: Midfoot
“In PA we have a ton of rocks and roots, and (when wearing other shoes) I can feel them underfoot as I run over them. With the Challenger, I didn’t feel the rocks as I moved over them. The midsole is firm, but not too firm that it doesn’t flex over the rocks and roots. I find that I need a certain amount of flexibility in a shoe to move efficiently on the local trails. These shoes had ample cushioning and forefoot flexibility, except the heel felt stiff. The upper materials seem strong and didn’t rip or tear under normal trail running conditions.”