I’ve tested all 202 Hugo themes from the catalogue plus 3 missing from it for basic functionality and picked the best blog-oriented ones. By that I mean all of them have blog posts shown on the main page and most of them support posts tags.

All themes below have active developers, I’ve didn’t include 3-years-old themes without newer commits. I’ll present them in alphabetical order, they’re all fine quality and couldn’t be compared or ranked in any unified way I can think of.


ananke

Main page

ananke main page

I love themes which cut straight to the content, and this is not one of them - when someone comes to your site by URL, they should scroll or click to see posts.

ananke posts page

For posts it’s the same as with main page, a lot of space eaten by banner. I couldn’t get working tags navigation.

Single page

ananke single post page

Nothing extra on the single post page, however a lot space unused, all posts list on the right in addition to related articles list on the end of the article, no disqus support.


beg

Main page and navigation

beg main page

Cut anything what distracts your from reading, add a little navigation to your posts — and you’ll get beg theme. Everything on it’s place, nothing you don’t want to be there is present. Navigation looks exactly the same as main page, only the title changes — you get what you expect, that’s nice.

Single page

beg single post page

Beginning of the page looks exactly the same as main page, so that screenshot taken from the middle. The only reason you don’t read this blog in the mentioned theme is this: it renders bold text bold and highlighted, and italic as highlighted text but not italic. That’s the only issue I found after using it for several months apart from no related articles list present at the moment. It supports disqus and nice from all points of view.


Casper

Main page

Casper main page

Hybrid between having nothing extra apart from text but navigation and huge banner in ananke. Black and white text, summaries of the posts are present and rendered nicely. Posts page is exactly the same, only title changes.

Single page

Casper single post page

That’s best text handling I’ve seen so far. Post title, description, tags and time, and then content - nothing special, but then comes magic: images have slightly bigger weight than the text. So simple and yet genial. Of course, theme supports disqus.

Casper related articles

Ladies and gentleman, I want to show to you the nicest approach to “next article” and “related articles” presentation on the market: one of both in a separate boxes, same information but present in so tasty way you couldn’t stop the desire to click.


Classic

Main page

Classic main page

Main page is pretty neat, no preview for posts, just post names, custom text and navigation. I almost missed it but couldn’t exclude it from this post when I saw how cool my blog looked like in it.

Classic posts page

Classic tag page

Just text - nothing extra. Hell with the posts’ summaries, that’s classy.

Single page

Classic single post page

Text with fixed width, a sign of a good taste. However minimalism means there is no disqus support out of the box. Formatting is what you could name “plain”, nothing special, but everything on it’s place - well-balanced and very solid.


coder

Main page

coder main page

Simplicity at maximum. Everything on it’s place, right font - and here comes your first impression.

coder posts page

coder tag page

Posts page lacks both tags and summaries, either one of them is better to be present. Tags lack frequiency information, but instead have date of last post which is rare and cool.

Single page

coder single post page

Widest post content out there with deep spacing between the lines, there is a room for improvement for better readability and higher density but it’s unique for sure and someone might find this style appealing. No disqus comments and no related articles list present yet.


Fabric

Main page

Fabric main page

Simple yet unique and functional, and also includes working search field. On the cons side - posts are shown completely, not only summaries.

Fabric posts page

Fabric tags page

Fabric’s posts page is the best navigation without summaries I’ve seen out there, all possible information present and rendered nicely. Tags page is small and leave something to be desired (like sort by number of posts in tag), but functional.

Single page

Fabric single post page

Solid text render without anything out of order. I’ve included a bit bigger screenshot than usual to show you neat shadow around the image and caption under it, which is present in no other theme. Disqus support is there, however no related articles list support.


Jane

Main page

Jane main page

Classy simplicity, pure text of highest quality - that’s what Jane theme is about.

Jane tags page

Tags looks exactly like you expect them to look like, but a slightly better.

Single page

Jane single post page

I’ve chose another post to take screenshot from because that’s something worth seeing: that colors choice is best you could find. Posts which use a lot of formatting, quotes, images and code blocks shine in this theme, author definitely have a good taste which we might benefit from. Disqus comments supported, but hidden by “Show Disqus Comments” button not to distract you from the content itself. No related articles block but it would be redundant on this text celebration.


Journal

Main page

Journal main page

Simplicity and nice fonts, what else do you need? No tags, no categories.

Single page

Journal single post page

One of the nicest fonts out there, neat render with great attention to details. However, nothing else but post content is present, not comments nor related articles list.


Liquorice

Main page

Liquorice main page

Pure minimalism, looks very solid.

Liquorice posts page

Liquorice tags page

The same minimalism, but a little overhelming this time — what is enough for the main page, is not enough for tags page (e.g. information about how “big” the tag is is missing). Posts list missing tags, which is pretty important when you don’t show post summary.

Single page

Liquorice single post page

Wide text block shows more text than any other theme in this list. Simple text render without anything special about it, black and white palette. No related articles and no disqus comments.


Manis

Main page

Manis main page

Another minimalism approach at it’s best.

Manis posts page

Manis tags page

Fixed width text even on navigation pages, which is sweeter than a candy. Tags won’t tell which one is most used, and posts don’t show tags which is important because lack of summary.

Single page

Manis single post page

In line with main and navigational pages, post content and nothing extra. Text is rendered in a very neat way, quotation and source code blocks adjusted to be in style with the theme and it’s done really nice. Only next\previous posts shown below, no related posts. Disqus comments support is present.


NOW-UI

Main page

NOW-UI main page

By the main page you could say it’s not only blog theme. Actual content is hidden somewhere where you should scroll and click, same with posts page. It have a lot of features which are not related to blog itself.

NOW-UI tags page

As all other pages, tags page have ridiqilous red banner on top, but under it is pretty tags list which is sorted by how many posts with each tag the blog have, which is the best possible sort in my humble opinion.

Single page

NOW-UI single post page

It’s better to see once for yourself. That big banner doesn’t seem to be doing anything useful, but magically it adds importance to whatever written on it, and draws attention to the post title and description. Text is light and nice, and utilize black, white and red palette. No related articles list or links to previous article, however disqus comments are present.


Nofancy

Main page

Nofancy main page

That’s only theme which choose to show single post instead of main page. Everything is… no fancy, in a good term.

Nofancy posts page

Nofancy tags page

Navigation reminds me of reddit. I like it a lot, it’s the best representation of the information you could get with staying that simple.

Single page

Nofancy single post page

Nothing fancy there as well, black on gray with a little red. No related articles list, no disqus comments, bit with such desing it’s a plus, not a minus.


Refined

Main page

Refined main page

Underdog, which is yet not included to catalogue. Nothing distracting, straight to the business, red on gray palette. Posts descriptions instead of summaries, in between between nothing and summaries, to me it seems one of the best possible variants.

Refined tags page

Posts page looks exactly main page, tags have all needed information and sorted alphabetically.

Single page

Refined single post page

Very unique design I’ve seen only once more in all 200+ themes, this theme almost directly quotes markdown code from which the content is created (e.g. ## becomes *, ### becomes **, but they also still represent h2 and h3 HTML tags). If you think there is something unusual on the right, you’re right: that’s nicely crafted table of content, one of two enabled by default from all themes there, and done with finest quality. No related articles, however next and previous pages links are present, and comments are in place, but they are Isso in addition to disqus.


Retroful Hugo

Main page

Retroful Hugo main page

“Cool” is the least thing you could say when you see this theme. I guess you could either love or hate it, but nothing in between. Sadly I wasn’t able to set up navigation correctly.

Single page

Retroful Hugo single post page

It looks like I imaging 80’s terminals, but in a way there were redefined in Alien (1979), and also it refers to Tokyo neon lights from Bladerunner (1982). No related articles (but previous\next post link present), but disqus comments are supported.


Whiteplain

Main page

whiteplain main page

Black, white and blue palette, everything is very clear and assembled with great care. Also you could notice that’s one of the themes with table of content enabled by default.

whiteplain posts page

whiteplain tag page

Posts page is the same as main page and tags page, only title changes. Posts are listed with summaries and all the metadata. Tags are the best out there, they have maximum metadata presence plus alphabetical sort - my heart is with these tags.

Single page

whiteplain single post page

Text is not fancy, but very solid and readable and have no distracting elements which some themes tend to use (like quotation boxes). Disqus support is in place, next\previous post navigation but no related articles (which could look alien there).