Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Hoka One One Clifton Review - First Impressions


That was how I felt when I took it for a medium-long run the other day, just 3 days after purchase.

The Hoka One One is well known for its maximalist shoes, and you can be sure to recognise its chunky looking shoes from afar. Chunky, responsive, maximum cushioning and stability, it sounds like an absolute dream to run (really) long distance in a pair of Hoka's.

My new runners, the Hoka One One Clifton.

With an upcoming race and not much time left to train for, I settled on the Clifton for three reasons: cushioning, lightweight, and affordable price.

With its maximum cushioning technology, Hoka shoes generally promise its wearers a squishy, if not cushy ride. The Clifton, despite being one its latest lightweight models for road running, does not disappoint in this aspect. It is light, but still squishy. So squishy that they make pretty excellent walking shoes!

Its Meta-Rocker profile is noticeable on the outlook but I barely noticed it as I ran. They promote mid-foot to forefoot landing, propelling you forward with ease.

I should have taken a picture before I ran in them! :)

The purple bits strategically placed at the heel and forefoot are hi-abrasion rubber soles (made with EVA) to absorb full ground contact.

I would have preferred the aqua colour. :)

Although they still look chunky, with heel and forefoot height at 29mm and 24mm, don't let it fool you. They give you about 4mm / 5mm from heel to toe offset, yet you don't really feel the ground. It actually feels like 6mm when you're walking in them, but more 4mm when you're chasing speed.

I feel like an ant!

The upper consist mainly of thin welded-on overlays on breathable mesh. 

What do I think?

1. Lightweight at less than 200gm.
It is remarkably lightweight that you don't even know it's in the box. In fact, the girl at the store had to open up the box to reconfirm that the shoes were inside!

It's SOOOOOOOOO light!

2. Price.
It is one of Hoka One One's affordable shoes at AUD$190.00. Among its range.

3. Cushioning.
While I absolutely loved the cushioning of the Bondi and Stinson, and their added height, I was more inclined towards the Clifton. They are cushy and light, reminding me of my first ride in the Skechers GORun Ride

Halfway through my run, however, I felt that the cushions were deflated. Already? It could be my imagination or just tired legs, but I'm not supposed to feel that way, was I? I wanted marshmallow-softness throughout my run! 

4. Fit.
The toe box is wide enough for my toes to flay open. There are no noticeable hot spots at the moment, but towards the end of my medium-long run that day, I could feel a blister at my usual hot spot, near the right bunion / big toe joint.

I usually go with a US7 for my road shoes, but this time I got half a size bigger. With my Injinji socks and Thorlos, my feet have no issues with the shoes being too big or too loose to date.

The shoes come with an extra pair of insole, so you can swap between the ones already in the shoes or the spare, depending on whether you prefer a thinner one or not. I've just inserted both into my shoes, just to see whether the extra cushioning helps to give me a marshmallow-softness kind of feeling. :D

5. Stability.
No issues here.

6. Durability.
I'm not sure how long this pair of shoes will last me, but I sure hope that they will last a long time. The girl at the store assured me that they should take me up to 500-600kms.

It is the upper sole that seems fragile. It's not even a week into these pair of shoes and its welded overlays are starting to show signs of separating from the base mesh.

Can you see it?

7. Responsive.
Is it responsive enough for me? 
How do you measure responsiveness?

My sore calves can attest to the fact that ... I have not found the responsiveness I am supposed to find. Yet.

Every time I start running, I wince. My calves are getting a workout more than they bargained for, most probably due to the Meta-Rocker geometry. I don't know.

I'd continue running and tough it out, and 5KM into my runs, my calves complain less. It's still there, no doubt, but less noticeable.

This shoes have only covered 60km so far, its longest run being my so-called medium-long run at 35km. I was trying to go slow and steady, but each time I glanced at my watch, it told me that I was going at an average of 5:40 min pace.

Which wasn't what I wanted.

I tried to slow down every time, but the shoes would unknowingly push me forward, making me go faster.

As much as it amused me, I was panicking and asked myself, "Where are the brakes?"

Is it Time To Fly?

But if you're referring to the shoes bouncing back as your feet land on the ground as responsiveness, then I am still looking for it. I haven't found that *boing boing* feeling (like a kangaroo hopping about with ease) which I am hoping for. 

Regardless, I believe that the Hoka One One Clifton has wings and will take me flying.

It's just a matter of time for my calves to stop screaming.


  1. Wah, the tools of an elite ultra sky runner. Sponsored, ah this shoe? :D Where are the brakes some more. And you ask me why I gave you the name Speed Demon!

    1. sponsored by the other half, you mean!

      i think the shoes were trying to give me false hope that i can sustain the pace for an ultra. crazy!

  2. Wow. ELite!

    Purple some more. :)

    1. Apa elite la haha!
      i really don't fancy the purple on this one! :)