The upper receives an upgrade in this seventh iteration! Reimagined with a simpler and softer engineered mesh, Hoka really went for it in the back of the upper. As most know by now, I’m a heart throb for a elf heel, or heel flare; think Hoka Speedgoat 5 type of flare! Hoka nailed this heel counter and tab for a commuter trail running shoe option. And dare I say, the heel counter is stout! Meaning, it’s built like a tank and will lock your heel into the pocket of the shoe so well. No slipping happening as you ascend the steeper sections of your favorite local trail route. A full gusset will welcome the top of your feet into the shoe, and a pretty standard lock down experience through the toebox, vamp, and eyelet chain. Tongue cushion is spot on, reacts well with the laces, and as always I opted for the runner’s knot in the lacing process. Overall breathability will treat your toes well in the warmer trail running months of 2023, and beyond.