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Lightweight, tempo trainers are common, but to find one that's also highly cushioned is something very rare. The Rincon 3 is an example of such a shoe.
At only 218 g for a men's US 9, the Rincon 3 is 34 g lighter than its bigger, heavy duty brother, the Clifton 8 but its lighter build doesn't come at a cushioning sacrifice because the Rincon 3 is still very well cushioned.
Hoka achieves this feat by using a certain type of compression molded EVA (CMEVA) as the midsole foam of the Rincon 3 which is both lighter and softer than regular EVA foam midsoles.
The Rincon has taken the world by storm. It's already not only one of the most popular Hoka trainers but one of the most popular lightweight trainers and it was only launched in 2019.
The Rincon 3 is the third generation of the Rincon series and with it, Hoka hopes to fix many of the issues that runners had with the first two versions, namely outsole durability and cushioning longevity. The Rincon 2 was only an upper update but the Rincon 3 is a complete overhaul. It has a new upper, midsole and outsole.
Version 3 of the Rincon weighs 3 grams less than its predecessor and while this doesn't sound like a lot of weight shed, it's impressive because the Rincon 3 has a lot more outsole rubber than the Rincon 2 and outsole rubber is very heavy. It maintains the same price and the same drop.
There used to be a time when Rincon uppers felt cheap and scratchy. They felt like they belonged on a budget running shoe, however that's not that case anymore with the Rincon 3's upper.
The new engineered sandwich mesh of the Rincon 3 feels softer and more premium than before. It's thin, lightweight and it has diagonal vents on the forefoot and midfoot to let air into the shoe.
An internal heel counter provides excellent heel support and lockdown so you won't experience any heel slippage in the Rincon 3. The thick heel pull tab “band” that was found on the previous 2 versions of the Rincon has been replaced with a thin string in order to save weight.
The heel tab and the collar of the Rincon 3 are lightly padded and comfortable on the ankle. There is also a new, silky smooth inside lining which makes it suitable for runners who like to go sockless.
The new tongue is a perforated mesh on the bottom half which lets more air into the shoe while the top half is thin, flat and racing-inspired. This new, minimal tongue suits the Rincon 3 much better than the thicker, padded tongue that was present on the first two versions.
The fit is definitely true to size but it has the notorious Hoka narrow fit. Unlike the Clifton, the Rincon has a wider midfoot so the arch isn't as prominent. The Rincon 3 is also available in a wide version for the first time so it's finally suitable for wide-footed runners.
Hoka says that the new CMEVA foam which forms the midsole of the Rincon 3 is a lot more similar to the one used in the Clifton 8. It definitely feels denser and not as “airy” as the one used in the previous versions. This means that its cushioning should hold up much better over time.
The early-stage Meta-Rocker is a signature Hoka feature and it's also found on the Rincon 3. The forefoot and the heel are curved upwards to encourage a rocking motion from heel strike to toe-off. This gives the Rincon 3 a more dynamic, faster feel during transitions.
The heel section of the midsole has a similar split-heel design that was first seen on the Hoka Mach 4. This “swallowtail” design helps to distribute shock more evenly during heel strikes to make transitions feel smoother.
It's a 5 mm heel to toe offset in the Rincon 3 which is standard for most Hokas. The “S35 x 22” inscription is the spring measurement- how high the toe and heel are off the ground. The “V462” is the total volume of the foam midsole, while “W175” is the weight.
The Rincon 3 follows the new outsole design which we first saw on the Clifton 8 earlier this year. The lugs on the forefoot are now arranged diagonally instead of horizontally which makes the forefoot less flexible and more snappy.
One of the criticisms of the outsole of the first two versions was that there wasn't enough outsole rubber to protect the soft, exposed midsole foam. Hoka has fixed this by adding extra rubber. The entire forefoot has rubber lugs as well as the outer lateral heel area which is one of the highest wearing areas of the outsole.
Despite the extra outsole rubber on the Rincon 3, durability is still lower than average due to the amount of exposed midsole foam there is on the midfoot. The midsole foam is more abrasion resistant than on previous versions of the Rincon so it won't shred as fast upon ground contact.
Traction is excellent on a variety of surfaces, both wet and dry because of how soft the exposed foam is and there is plenty of ground feel in the Rincon 3.
The ride of the Rincon 3 is a vast improvement over the first two versions. Not only do transitions feel smoother, but they also feel faster because of its forefoot which feels more snappy.
The updated outsole configuration has fixed the lumpy forefoot which could be felt in older Rincons. In the Rincon 3, it's easier to get into a rhythm and runs are smoother, more pleasant.
One of the main reasons why the Rincon is such a popular trainer is its exceptional versatility. Hoka markets the Rincon 3 as a fast, tempo trainer but it's also very comfortable at more relaxed paces such as easy or recovery runs slower than 6 minutes per kilometre.
This is due to the fact that the Rincon 3 is very well-cushioned and also very stable at slower paces. It has a wide midsole base which makes foot strikes feel very planted.
The Rincon 3 has a slightly firmer ride than the Clifton 8 which makes it very easy to pick up the pace in the Rincon. Its feather light weight also makes tempo and threshold runs much more enjoyable.
Long runs are also in the Rincon 3's wheelhouse. On runs above 20 kilometres, the Meta-Rocker geometry helps to save you energy by rolling you through your stride so by the end of the long run, your legs still feel fresh because of how energy efficient the Rincon 3 is.
The Hoka One One Rincon 3 is a big upgrade over the Rincon 2. It has a smoother ride, a more durable outsole and a more premium, softer upper.
Hoka has managed to fix all the problems that runners had with the first two versions and the Rincon 3 is a much more polished all-rounder with better durability.
The big difference is that the Rincon 3 weighs over 70 grams less than the average mid-range daily trainer which makes it more fun to run in.
The only thing to complain about is that there is no reflectivity on the Rincon 3's upper and outsole durability is lower than the average daily trainer because of how soft the exposed midsole foam is.
“Soft & light meets fast” is what’s printed on the insole of the Rincon 3. This might give you the impression that the Rincon is only a lightweight tempo trainer but don't let that fool you because the Rincon 3 can do much, much more.
Reviewed by Brandon Law