HOKA ONE ONE's new TenNine Hike GTX is immediately recognizable. Its chunky protruding heel, bold colorway and distinct foam-filled midsole are unmistakably HOKA. It would be easy, should you not be familiar with the TenNine Hike GTX, or with HOKA's beefed-up midsole, to dismiss these technical features and advancements as gimmicks. But the truth is, there's real science and performance driving these new design features. To see how those features resonated with fans of the brand, and how they work searching out pockets of nature in the big city, we caught up with Isabella Rojas Bauso and Jaeki Cho — two New York City-based creatives and HOKA fans.

Isabella Rojas Bauso, Co-Founder, MÁS

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Bella Rojas Bauso was raised in Portland, Oregon, and has been living in NYC on and off for the past eight years. She's a rock climber, creative and model, loves consuming and creating art, kids and babies, and is passionate about health and wellness. Professionally, Rojas Bauso is the co-founder of MÁS, which is a media collective where all of her passions collide.

Despite being a resident of NYC, Rojas Bauso finds time to enjoy the pockets of nature available in New York, as well as the surrounding areas, and the benefits of getting out are clear to her. "Outdoor recreation is important to me because I grew up with it and realize what it can do for your health — both mentally and physically," she says. "Interacting with natural spaces helps me feel connected to the rest of the world and gives me perspective when I’m too wrapped up in my own shit."

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Q: Tell me a bit more about MÁS. How did you get started with that project?

Isabella Rojas Bauso: "MÁS is a media collective aimed to amplify diverse climbing stories by documenting climbing with a unique lens. Màs (meaning more) sort of implies the reason we started the project in the first place. My co-founders and I realized there was so much missing from traditional climbing media, and we wanted to see more of what we love about the sport — more relatable content, more than just professional climbers sending the hardest grades, more joy and goofing around, more people of color, etc. So far, we mainly publish zines made from 35mm images."

      Q: Are you able to get outside in NYC and enjoy nature?

      IRB: "Before I had access to a car, I had to redefine what it meant to "go outdoors" as a New Yorker. City parks and community gardens are valid outdoor recreation spaces! Getting outside for most New Yorkers is a unique experience, and can require some craftiness; figuring out bus routes to take a hike in state park outside the city or hauling crash pads onto the subway to climb boulders in Central Park. Now with a car, getting outdoors is a lot easier, but even without one it was always a priority for me."

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      Q: What is it about HOKA that's interesting to you? What did you think of the HOKA TenNine Hike GTX when you first saw it?

      IRB: "I love HOKA's signature maximalist style that’s so trendy now. They’re known for having these oversized soles and extra cushion, that I think looks dope but also is functional and super comfy. When I first saw the HOKA TenNine Hike GTX, I thought they looked sick. Not exactly my type of colorway, but I respect the boldness. I wondered how it would feel to actually walk in... would that outsole feel completely ridiculous and distracting?"

      Q: And what about after you wore them?

      IRB: "When I actually tried them on, they felt totally comfortable and extremely light — didn’t trip once! In fact, the stability in these shoes makes me feel like nothing could knock me over. They’re light and stay comfortable through hours of walking."

          Hoka One One TenNine Hike GTX

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          After one look at HOKA's TenNine Hike Gore-Tex, the brand's new top-of-the-line premium hiking boot, it's clear that it's a bit different. The striking design was developed specifically to make hiking feel both smoother and easier. It features the brand's unique HUBBLE(R) design, which gently catches the foot’s impact, and paired with the characteristic wide, maximal-cushion platform, is ultra-stable. While it may look chunky, the boot weighs in at just 416 grams, which makes it a veritable featherweight compared to more traditional hiking boots. And for shoulder season or hiking and adventuring in adverse conditions, HOKA added a Gore-Tex membrane liner to keep your feet dry — a tried and true outdoor material that's used on everything from jackets to hats to hiking boots. Top it off with a Vibram Megagrip outsole for plenty of traction across a wide variety of surfaces and it's easy to see why the TenNine Hike GTX makes such a solid impression.

          Price: $250

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          Jaeki Cho, Partner, Alumni and Essentic

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          Jaeki Cho is from Queens, New York, and is a partner of the lifestyle boutique Alumni as well as the marketing and sales agency Essentic. He co-produced the feature documentary Bad Rap, which premiered at Tribeca Film Festival and was also streaming on Netflix. Recently, he has garnered a sizable following on TikTok for his cooking tutorials.

          But Cho also finds time to explore and enjoy the outdoors. When asked what the outdoors means to him, his response is grounded: "It’s a source of inspiration and also a wake-up call to my humble existence. Living in man-made surroundings can blind us from seeing the wider vision of where we stand on this communal space called earth. Every time I step into the outdoors, I’m reminded of how indistinct I am in the bigger picture."

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          Q: Are you able to get outside in NYC and enjoy nature?

              Jaeki Cho: "There are pockets of nature within NYC. Luckily, I live not too far from Prospect Park, where there are short trails that isolate you from the crowds. While NYC is a concrete jungle, it’s the most walkable city in America. So when I can’t hit up the outdoors, I explore the boroughs and check out what each neighborhood has to offer. Queens reigns supreme, of course."

                  Q: Do you travel outside of the city to recreate outdoors and hike?

                      JC: "I hit up trails in upstate New York — spots like Bear Mountain, Breakneck Ridge, Storm King and Big Indian. I did attempt to summit Mount Rainier (or Tahoma) last summer, which I hope to do again in the near future."

                      Q: What did you think of the HOKA TenNine Hike GTX when you first saw it?

                              JC: "The most noticeable feature was its chunky midsole. I’ve seen many footwear brands implementing this approach. From wearing products with similar features, I was well aware of the cushion and stability that it’ll provide. The Vibram sole for added grip and Gore-Tex for protection definitely made the cypher complete for me."

                              Q: And after you wore it? Would you wear them hiking?

                                      JC: "Like other HOKA hiking shoes I’ve worn, they’re extremely light and have a lot of stability. They felt like the perfect shoe for casual hikes during colder months. Or even for hikes in higher altitude before hitting the glacier. HOKA is currently my favorite footwear brand, so I’m biased. Therefore the answer is yes. I’d wear them on a hike."