These were a gift for a peakbagging/trailrunning/general endurance fiend friend of mine--here's what he had to say!
I have taken these out 3 times now on very different hikes. The first was 16 miles 4800 vertical up Mahogany mt near Mount Timapanogas in Utah with about half of it off trail with some bushwacking and scrambling. Not really what the shoe is made for, but it performed well with the added benefit that I was able to run downhill upon meeting the trail, surging through flooded sections in high water and remaining dry and passing 2 runners on the long downhill that had rocks that the Hoka sole absorbed similar to their other offerings, but with more ankle support. A runnable hiking boot!?
The next hike was around 2400 vert 6 miles up Round Mountain in Washington. This trail was barely cut out and it had rained recently with a lot of brush that constantly shed on me. I had rain pants and a shell and remained dry except for my thighs perhaps, but eventually the shoes either soaked through, or the wicking from my socks eventually drained. Either way, my feet were soaked. I would not expect a light membrane with this constant of exposure to hold up though. I dont knock the boot too much, what was hard was the scramble down from the summit on wet foliage, I slipped alot and had tobe careful, my Asolo Powermatics would have been better in this case, but heavier and much more rigid, different benefits.
The next hike was as an approach shoe to climb Mount Baker via the Coleman Deming route. I brought my La Sportiva Nepal Evo for the glacier climb in my pack. I am glad I brought these and this is where they really excelled. Waterproof in the rain and stream crossings, supportive for a heavy load. Managed the minimal snow crossings, but on the return trip downhill I was fast and they saved my feet from the pain of the already long day in the rigid Evos. The last 2200 vert down of a 8800 vert day were almost a pleasure for my feet in these. Great boots if you use them for the right things, somewhat concerned for the long term wear of the sole if used on extremely rugged, rocky, off tail terrain, but once again that is not really what they are designed for.
Did I mention they are extremely light? Lightest boots I have ever had for sure.