Up until recently, running shoes hardly ever crossed my mind. My daily routines involved brisk "hot girl walks" around the city and bringing my very demanding golden retriever (all 35kg of him) to and from the park. For these activities, court shoes and tennis sneakers were my trusty companions. That is until I was introduced to Hoka and On sneakers.

Now, before we go any further, let me make one thing clear: I am not an expert runner. While I have slowly started to embark on my running journey (hey, 5km a day isn't too shabby), I am far from someone about to cross the finish line at the NYC marathon. One day, I hope to accomplish that feat (probably just for the attention, let's be real). But, until then, I have recruited the help of my 42km-er colleagues and other experts to determine who has the better running shoe: Hoka or On.

Not long ago running shoes were bulky, heavy sneakers that hindered speed or minimalist racing shoes that offered little protection from the pavement—but Hoka and On have ushered in a new era of running footwear. Their maximalist designs feature ergonomic benefits and unconventional styles that appeal to a broad audience—ranging from dads and fashion folks to professional runners alike—and while both brands are celebrated for their supple midsoles, that's basically where their similarities end.

What makes Hoka a good running shoe?

Known for its marshmallowy, high-stack midsoles, Hoka sneakers are designed to offer a comfortable, lightweight ride with exceptional stability and shock absorption. The Hoka Bondi 8 was the first running sneaker I ever tried (I don't think the Skechers I wore in 2006 count), and it felt like my feet were gliding on a rocking horse, smoothly transitioning from heel to toe. Despite their bulky appearance, Hoka shoes are incredibly light and extremely efficient.

When I spoke to their head product designer about what makes them a real stand-out option on the market, he told me that they're built with unique features like Active Foot Frame technology, which ensures your foot sits deeply within the midsole rather than on top of it, offering better support. He also mentioned that Hokas are built for all types of runners (and walkers) and are often recommended by podiatrists for long-distance runners, marathoners, and people with plantar fasciitis. I had one colleague even tell me her mother who is a school teacher and on her feet consistently, swears by Hoka to keep her comfortable throughout the day.

What makes On a good running shoe?

It's hard to walk down the street without spotting someone in a pair of On sneakers, and for good reason. On offers a different type of cushioning experience than its competitors. Their CloudTec technology provides targeted cushioning only when needed, leading to a more minimalist feel when compared to brands like Hoka. Their unique pod-like soles compress upon landing to dissipate shock and then firm up to offer a solid base for push-off.

Not to mention their Swiss-engineered Speedboard, which propels you forward by converting landing impact into forward motion. This technology enhances the overall running efficiency, making them perfect for speed workouts and races. The first pair of On shoes I ever tried were the Cloudrunner 2's. I found them to be lightweight, breathable, and designed with a narrower fit, making for quicker transitions.

What are the main differences between Hoka and On?

The first is price. We found that On's running sneakers aren't very budget-friendly. And while we understand why they're priced the way they are—think of it as added assurance—Hoka has managed to keep the price low while still providing an equally high-performing product. The second is design. Hoka has a lot of vibrant colourways and bold fashion choices, which is a pretty niche style preference. On sneakers, in contrast, have a much more minimalist look than Hoka, and can serve more as a lifestyle shoe. Seriously. I've tried it. You can pair them with your favourite jeans, shorts, hell, even slacks, and still have them look good.

Lastly, their biggest differentiator is their flexibility. According to one of our experts here at Esquire (he's raced in three half marathons and two full ones and has averaged around 160km a month for the past three years—woof), On's running shoes have stiffer soles when compared to Hoka, except for the Cloudboom Echo 3 and the Cloudboom Strike. And I have to agree. They sometimes feel awkward on your feet and aren't as pliable as Hoka's sneakers.

Is Hoka or On a better running shoe?

This one was tough, but considering all testing factors and reviews, we believe Hoka is the better running shoe. However, despite our personal experiences, expert consultations, and discussions with product designers, this preference is ultimately subjective. Much like other life choices—Coke versus Pepsi, cats versus dogs, lake versus beach—you need to choose the one that suits you best. In the end, you can't go wrong with either option. If you're still undecided, read on to see the differences between our favourite running sneakers from each brand.


Hoka Clifton 9

+ Lightweight and breathable
+ Thick, responsive sole
+ Virtual try-on experience available
- Can be hard to clean

My first pair of Hokas were the Bondi 8, and they gave me the confidence boost I needed to start my running journey. While I'll always wax poetic about that plush and supportive style, the Clifton 9 is currently the best all-around shoe. Featuring a symmetrical cushion bed that provides the support you want and nothing you don't, it's designed to maintain a responsive toe-off for when you want to go faster. And seriously, these shoes will help you go faster.

What really stands out about them, though, is that they eliminate the weight of previous iterations and, instead, add 3mm in stack height, which helps with shock absorption and protects your feet from the elements. The Clifton 9 also delivers a revitalized underfoot experience with a responsive new foam and improved outsole design. And let's not forget about the 26 unique colourway options, including my personal favourite, the orange and lime.

The Clifton 9 is the comfiest, springiest, and best walking and running shoe. If you've ever suffered from pain while participating in these activities, these shoes, thanks to their durabrasion rubber outsole, will help minimise any discomfort. One of our colleagues at Esquire, even ran a half marathon in them a few weeks ago, and managed to shave ten minutes off his previous best. And if that's not the ultimate selling point, then I'm not really sure what is.

MaterialsKnit, Rubber
Heel to Toe Drop5 mm
Weight247 g
Best ForEveryday Running, Walking


On Running Cloudsurfer

+ Great for people with flat feet
+ Super comfy upper
+ Smooth and fun ride
- Outsoles could be grippier

In contrast to Hoka's Clifton 9's, On's Cloudsurfers offer a much more subdued and simple look. Living up to the brand's cloud-like trademark, they offer soft landings, springy toe-offs, and a lightweight, luscious foam that makes them suitable for both short sprints and long-distance runs.

One of the most noticeable things about this style is that unlike many of On's other models, the Cloudsurfer omits the speed board, which is usually inserted to add rigidity and promote faster running. This absence results in a softer ride, making the Cloudsurfer more comfortable for daily runs or recovery sessions where the focus is on comfort rather than speed. If you're looking for the latter, our experts recommend trying On's race shoes, like the Cloudboom Echo 3 or the new Cloudboom Strike–both of which pride themself in impact protection and energy return.

What our reviewers especially loved about the Cloudsurfer is that they felt energetic and easy to maneuver. They have a seamless heel-to-toe transfer and offer more support and better shock absorption than their peers. And let's not forget that the Cloudsurfer is one of the brand's most sustainable shoes yet—the company ditched the plastic overlays for this design and bumped up the shoe's total recycled content to 30%.

MaterialsRecycled Contents
Heel To Toe Drop10mm
Weight245 g
Best ForWalking, Everyday Running

Originally published on Esquire US

Defending champion Ockie Strydom will return for the Porsche Singapore Classic until 24 March at Laguna National Golf Resort Club. PORSCHE SINGAPORE CLASSIC

There's a misconception that golf is reserved for a particular faction. It's a fair assumption but not an entirely accurate one. Enter the upcoming Porsche Singapore Classic, which merges top-quality competitive action with delightful sport and lifestyle activities to make the game more accessible to spectators, aspiring players and new followers of golf.

Some key facts to know about the tournament is that this is the opening event of the DP World Tour’s Asian Swing. Players competing include 2019 Open champion Shane Lowry, PGA Tour winner Matthieu Pavon and newly-crowned DP World Tour winner Rikuya Hoshino, among others. The prize purse has increased to USD 2.5 million, and Porsche is offering their latest Panamera Turbo E-Hybrid Porsche as the prize for the professionals and spectators (more on that later) scoring a hole-in-one on Hole 17.

DP World Tour events in Singapore have been pretty significant for Asian talent in particular. Both Arjun Atwal (India) and Zhang Lian Wei (China) made history for being respective country firsts by clinching their Tour titles here. Fellow top regional golfers you'll catch on the green at the Porsche Singapore Classic include Hoshino of Japan, as well as Kiradech Aphibarnrat (Thailand), Gavin Green (Malaysia), Li Haotong (China) and Kho Taichi (Hong Kong).

Locally, Singaporean Mardan Mamat won the Singapore Masters in 2006 and remains our only winner on the DP World Tour to date. And this year, all three international qualifying spots for the Porsche Singapore Classic were swept by Singaporeans Nicklaus Chiam, Joshua Yap and Irvyn Tan, so keep your eyes peeled for these rising talents at the Laguna National Golf Resort Club.

If you are new to the game, this gateway to sport works for all. At the Porsche Singapore Classic, a unique spectator village located conveniently within the beautiful Dusit Thani Laguna Singapore resort boasts a slew of tantalising food and beverage options as well as entertaining fringe activities. These include putting challenges, shootout games, and the chance for spectators to win a Porsche Panamera Turbo E-Hybrid. Make it a family outing while you’re at it—children aged 16 and below enjoy free entry into the Porsche Singapore Classic, as long as they are accompanied by an adult with a valid ticket.

Porsche Panamera Turbo E-Hybrid. PORSCHE

And why Porsche?

A natural question but it's worth noting that the automobile giant has been involved in golf since 1988 through the Porsche Golf Cup, a series of amateur tournaments for Porsche customers. The Porsche Golf Cup has grown to become one of the company’s most successful customer events—over 17,000 Porsche customers recently took part in 261 worldwide qualifying tournaments. Porsche is no stranger to the professional golf scene too as title sponsor to the DP World Tour's European Open, and is now expanding its presence in the Asian market as Title Partner of the Singapore Classic. Porsche Singapore has also supported the upcoming tournament with a fleet of 20 Taycan shuttle cars for VIP guests and players, and the Porsche 996 Swan will be on display at Laguna National as well.

Which means if you'd like to catch a glimpse of the freshly-launched hybrid Porsche (and who's walking away with it), watch top golfers in action, or simply kickstart that overdue interest in the sport, wait no more. We’ll see you at the Porsche Singapore Classic.

Get tickets to the Porsche Singapore Classic happening until 24 March at Laguna National Golf Resort Club.