Thursday, September 4, 2014

Hoka One One Clifton review

There's been a lot of hype lately around the Hoka One One's new lighweight offering, the Clifton.  However, sometimes hype is just hype, so I ignored it for a while.  However, after reading positive reviews by two bloggers that I respect, by Sam Winebaum and Steve Speirs, I decided to pull the trigger.  I've now had them for about week, and have taken them on quick runs, slow jogs, and a long run of 17 miles.

For me, the most important attribute of a shoe is how a fits.  No shoe is going to fit every foot, but happily, the Hokas fit my feet well.  After swapping out the standard insolve for the thinner Ortholite insole (included in the box), they fit almost exactly the same as the Mizuno road shoes and North Face trail shoes that I ordinarily wear. 

The Cliftons are indeed soft, especially at the heel, and I worried a little bit about how well they would run.  It turned out that my worries were unnecessary.  The shoes turn over very quickly and with very little effort, and I consistently found myself to be running faster than I had planned.  And what's more, I was having fun doing it!

There are a few downsides that come with such a stripped down, ultra-cushioned shoe.  When I passed through a few wet spots in the sidewalk, my feet slid.  The Cliftons have very little traction.  And when I ran on the side of a cambered road, my foot sank much deeper into the cushion on the outside, making an otherwise very stable shoe become unstable.  I've also noticed more wear on the sole than I would have expected after 40 miles.  It may be nothing, but we'll see how long the Cliftons last.  (I've now posted an update looking at the Cliftons after 150 miles).

I'd originally envisioned these as a long run shoe, but I'm not going to have a hard time not reaching for them on days when I want to run fast, whatever the distance.



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