Saturday, March 09, 2024

Hoka Restore TC Multi Tester Review: Comfy "Slippers" that Move Along!

Article by Jeff Valliere and John Tribbia

Hoka Restore TC ($110)


Jeff V:  The Restore TC is the ultimate recovery shoe, with a comfortable, stretchy, breathable sock like knit upper, a barefoot friendly full knit sock and the deep cushioning for which Hoka is known for.  If you are looking for the most comfortable house slipper or casual recovery shoe for short walks, running errands, dog walks or trips to the mailbox, then read on!

Pros:  Cushion, comfort, foothold (for a recovery shoe), durability, support, breathability, easy slip-on

Cons: A bit of a break in period, sizing


Sample: men’s  11.75oz / 334g (US10) 

$110 Available now

Official Features


First Impressions, Fit and Upper:

Jeff V:  The Restore TC at first glance could easily be mistaken for a typical high stack Hoka road shoe, with a massive looking midsole, flared heel and rockered design.  The immediate tell however is the knit mesh lace free stretch upper with a booty like step in design.  

Stepping into them I found them to be quite comfortable, but noticed that my toes were touching the front of the shoe in my usual size 10.  I was a bit worried that they were too small, as my toes were a little uncomfortable, but after about a week I found that they stretched out enough that while my toes are still right up at the front of the shoe, I am comfortable now without any issues.  If they made half sizes, I think a 10.5 would be ideal, but since they only come in half sizes, I think an 11 would be too big for me.  

The knit upper is high quality, stretchy, breathable, secure and comfortable.  The security here is appreciated, as many recovery shoes I have worn can be a bit of a hazard on steps or uneven ground, but fit here is secure enough that I could easily pull off some light running without any issues.

The heel is huarache style and at first I thought of a bit overbuilt for a recovery shoe, but ti  turns out is quite comfortable and secure.

The Restore TC is booty style, quite comfortable around the heel collar and easy to slip into them.  I can’t just “walk into them”, but the pronounced wing-like heel is also a convenient grab point when putting them on.

John: Much like Jeff, my initial impression of the Hoka Restore TC was its resemblance to classic Hoka road shoes, thanks to the high stack midsole and rockered design. However, the unique knit mesh upper quickly distinguished it as a recovery shoe. My experience with the US9 size was true to size, unlike Jeff's slight toe-bumping in his usual size 10. Not sure if this indicates potential inconsistencies in sizing across the range, making trying them on beforehand crucial. I completely agree with Jeff's positive review of the upper. 

The high-quality knit mesh is exceptionally comfortable and breathable, offering a perfect balance of stretch and security. Adding to the positives, I'd like to highlight the ease of slipping the Restore TC on and off. The slip-on design is incredibly convenient, especially for lounging around the house. It's a welcome feature after those long runs when you crave ultimate comfort and effortless accessibility. I must confess my love for the Celeste colorway. Its vibrant and refreshing shade perfectly complements the innovative design of the Restore TC.

Midsole & Platform

Jeff V:  The midsole here is a bit unique, as much of the cushioning comes from the sugarcane EVA insole on top of the sugarcane outsole and reminds me somewhat of the Speedland design with the slide in midsole.

The cushioning here is not mushy soft, but instead a little more on the firm side and supportive vs. other recovery shoes or slides.  For standing on my feet for long periods, this added firmness is appreciated, as my feet feel less fatigued and I also think that they will last longer without packing out, or at least will last much longer without breaking down.

I have been mostly wearing the Restore TC around the house and for standing for hours at a time at my adjustable desk during the work day and they have been very comfortable for that, reducing fatigue on my legs, feet and most importantly for my left heel that is recently recovering from plantar fasciitis.

John: I completely agree with Jeff's observations on the unique midsole design of the Restore TC, offering a fresh take on cushioning technology. I would add that it's not simply firm, but rather "dynamically firm." There's a subtle responsiveness to the cushioning that I find particularly appealing. 

It's supportive enough to minimize fatigue during extended periods of standing, yet it retains enough responsiveness to feel engaging while walking around. This subtle responsiveness is further enhanced by the rockered design, promoting a smooth and effortless rolling motion. As Jeff noted, the firmness is likely to contribute to the longevity of the cushioning, ensuring lasting comfort and support. It's been a fantastic companion for everyday wear around the house. The insole has comfortable ridges that have a massage-like quality when wearing without socks as well. 


Jeff V:  The outsole is the same EVA material that wraps around the shoe and is basically just a continuation of foam instead of an actual rubber outsole.  The EVA seems durable enough for casual house use and light errands, but I suspect that it would wear quickly if you were truly putting in miles of outdoor walking or using them on rough surfaces.  Traction is appropriate for the intended purpose of casual use.

John: While the midsole of the Restore TC deserves its praise, I believe the outsole deserves its fair share of attention too. Constructed from sugarcane EVA, it offers a surprising level of grip and traction. The outsole's lugged design provides decent traction on various surfaces. I've felt confident walking on a variety of surfaces without issues. 

This traction is further enhanced by the wide and stable platform created by the flared heel and rockered design. In combination, these features provide a reassuring sense of stability, minimizing the risk of slips or stumbles..

Ride, Conclusions and Recommendations

Jeff V:  The ride around the house is smooth and much more responsive than any other slippers, slides or recovery shoes I have used, especially given its rockered design.  I appreciate the comfort, support, security, cushioning, breathability and overall protection (upper and underfoot).  I find them to be quite versatile to be used as house slippers, going outside to check the mailbox, take out the trash, standing for long periods at my work desk, running errands or taking short walks around the neighborhood.

Jeff V’s Score: 9.25/10

Ride: 9.5, Fit: 9, Value: 9, Style: 9


John: For me, the most striking aspect of the ride is its "smooth dynamism." The rockered design combined with the dynamically firm cushioning fosters a smooth rolling motion while maintaining a subtle responsiveness. This translates into effortless transitions and a surprisingly "lively" feel for a recovery shoe. Unlike clunky slippers, the efficient roll-through feels surprisingly natural, making it a pleasurable experience rather than just a comfortable one. 

I wholeheartedly agree with Jeff's appreciation for the shoe's versatility. The combination of comfort, support, security, and breathability makes it ideal for various scenarios, from relaxing at home to tackling errands and short walks. 

The excellent traction and stability further enhance its outdoor capabilities. 

The Hoka Restore TC delivers a ride that surpasses expectations. It's smooth and supportive while maintaining a lively and engaging feel. This unique blend of features makes it a versatile choice for both recovery and everyday wear, blurring the lines between comfort and performance.

John’s Score: 9.43/10

Ride: 9.5, Fit: 9.5, Value: 9, Style: 9.5


4 Comparisons

Index to all RTR reviews: HERE Roadtrailrun 

Hoka Ora 3 Recovery Slide (RTR Review)

Jeff V:  Two very good recovery shoes, but very different.  The Ora is much softer underfoot and is a “slide” style, so of course is much less secure and designed for even more casual shuffling around the house, whereas the Restore is much better for quickly moving around the house and more competent for outdoor forays and even on uneven ground or stairs.  The Ora runs really big and is loose in my size 10, where the Restore runs small.  When it gets to be summer, as vented as the Restore is, I will likely transition more to the Ora.

Oofos Ooclog Sports Clog (RTR Review) 

Jeff V:  The Ooclog is much much softer underfoot and perhaps a bit more comfortable at step in, but the soft foam packs down fast and is not nearly as supportive for standing or walking for any duration.  The Ooclog is also not adequately vented (or vented at all) and even during the coldest winter months, my feet sweat in them.  The Restore is better in every way.

Topo Rekovr 2 (RTR Review)

Jeff V:  Probably the closest comparison.  The Topo is not quite as highly cushioned, but still quite comfortable and has a warmer wool blend upper, but one that is not overly warm.  Security is not as good as the Restore and I save the Topo for winter use, especially with the far superior technical trail worthy outsole.  The Restore however is better for standing for long periods and has a more secure upper which is advantageous under certain circumstances.


John: While Crocs offer unparalleled ease of wear and basic comfort, the Hoka Restore TC elevates the recovery shoe game with superior support, stability, and a more natural walking experience. The dynamically firm cushioning, rockered design, and secure upper provide a level of performance and versatility that Crocs simply cannot match. Think of the Restore TC as a comfortable companion not just for lounging, but for actively recovering and engaging in everyday activities with confidence and support.

The Hoka Restore TC is available now including at our partners below

Tester Profiles

Jeff Valliere loves to run and explore the mountains of Colorado, the steeper and more technical the better. He has summited all of the 14ers in the state and can be found on mountain trails daily, no matter the weather, season, conditions or whether there is daylight or not.  On the side he loves to ski (all forms) bike and hike, often with his family, as he introduces his 12 year old daughters to the outdoors. Jeff was born and raised in New Hampshire, but has called Colorado home for over 25 years. He is 5’9” and 145 lbs.

John Tribbia (5' 6", 130lbs) is a former sponsored mountain/trail runner who has run with La Sportiva, Brooks/Fleet Feet, Pearl Izumi, and Salomon. Even though he competes less frequently these days, you can still find John enjoying the daily grind of running on any surface, though his favorite terrain is 30-40% grade climbs. He has won races such as America's Uphill, Imogene Pass Run, and the US Skyrunner Vertical Kilometer Series; and he's held several FKTs on several iconic mountains in Boulder, Colorado and Salt Lake City, Utah. If you follow him on Strava, you'll notice he runs at varying paces between 5 minutes/mile to 12 minutes/mile before the break of dawn almost every day.

Samples were provided at no charge for review purposes. RoadTrail Run has affiliate partnerships and may earn commission on products purchased via shopping links in this article. These partnerships do not influence our editorial content. The opinions herein are entirely the authors'.

Comments and Questions Welcome Below! Please let us know mileage, paces, race distances, and current preferred shoes

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