My first pair of Hoka One One’s and I wasn’t sure what to expect from them to be honest.
The original Hoka Clifton received rave reviews because of its ultra lightweight structure and its smooth, soft ride. The Clifton 2 is an updated version of the very popular Clifton that was released in 2014.
I usually prefer less cushioning in my shoes but non the less I was looking forward to getting out in them. I’ve always looked at people wearing Hokas with a little smirk on my face as they remind me of clown shoes and look very heavy.
The weight wasn’t anything to worry about. I pulled them out of the box and was amazed at how light they felt. It shouldn’t be possible to make shoes like this so light but Hoka One One have achieved the impossible.
So far so good, but how did they feel out on the the road?
What I like
- For the size of the shoe they are incredibly lightweight
What I don’t like
- For my tastes they had a bit too much cushioning and I found the heel height was a bit too high meaning I found them a little unstable when cornering
- The outer sole could be an area for concern with durability
Hokas award-winning Clifton receives an updated upper with a focus on lightweight comfort for 2015. A softer, lightly padded tongue provides increased protection across the foot, and structural overlays improve midfoot support.
The ride remains unchanged and the outsole features strategically placed rubber pods to improve durability.
Compared to my usual shoes the 29mm heel height felt incredibly high, almost like wearing heals!
I found this to be a little unnerving when cornering, especially when the corners were taken at speed.
The Clifton 2’s are a very snug fit so it would be advisable to go half a size up from usual.
They are quite narrow fitting and I have wide feet so I found that I did suffer from a few hotspots in the soles of my feet.
Cushioning on the Clifton’s took a little getting used to coming from more minimal shoes but once the shoes had been run in a few times I started getting used to it.
I can see the benefit this would provide, especially on longer runs or after a big race when the extra cushioning would come into it’s own on recovery runs.
I was shocked at how light they felt when I took them out of the box. For a shoe with such a chunky sole they weigh next to nothing.
The Hoka Cliftons 2 are a a jack of all trades. They are light enough to race in, yet cushioned enough for recovery runs and everyday training.
If you are looking for a shoe that you can use for multiple different applications then you couldn’t do any better than the Hoka Clifton 2’s.
Featuring a seamless upper constructed with speed frame technology the Clifton 2 breathes well and made of a durable material.
The Clifton 2 features a revised tongue which adds comfort to the upper and allows you to get the tightness of the shoe just right without the fear of causing pain or irritation that can be experience on other shoes if the laces are too tight.
There is a generous amount of padding around the heel giving you plenty of cushioning in this area.
Overall I would describe the fit as comfortable, breathable, and so far durable. There were no hot spots or areas of irritation on my foot while running in the shoe.
The Clifton 2 features a full length CMEVA foam midsole as well as Hoka One One’s early stage meta-rocker geometry.
It is the CMEVA midsole that give Hokas their legendary cushioning and provides maximum shock absorption that is unrivalled on shoes of a similar weight.
CMEVA is Compression Moulded Ethylene Vinyl-acetate. EVA is the foam that the midsole is made of, and Hoka’s compression moulded EVA is exceptionally soft, light, and resilient.
Compression moulding is the production process factories use to produce soft foams, like those found in Hoka and generally to a lesser degree in a wide range of other makes of running shoe.
As mentioned previously the shoes were too cushioned for me but I can see that a lot of runners would benefit greatly from the additional shock absorption that these Hokas provide and would people who suffer from knee pain whilst running.
The Hoka Clifton 2 has an exposed outsole made of CMEVA foam with durable rubber in the high wear areas such as the forefoot and heel to increase the life of the shoe.
Where the exposed midsole is in contact with the ground it appears to be very durable given the material. This is more likely than not due to being in a low impact area of the sole.
The CMEVA outsole could be a cause of concern in terms of wear so is something I will be keeping an eye on but the main contact points are protected so apart from cosmetic reasons this shouldn’t really be an issue.
The Early-Stage Meta-Rocker Geometry profile of the Hokas is part of the reason the ride is so smooth.
The Meta-Rocker gets its name from the fact that it is positioned under your metatarsals and because of the efficient thickness of the Hoka sole there is enough material at the end of your leg to produce a nicely rounded rocker under the forefoot.
The rocker profile of the shoe allows them to roll from foot strike to toe off in a very smooth manner no matter what type of foot strike.
I found the ride to be smooth, yet soft and isn’t like anything I had run in before.
To be perfectly honest these aren’t the shoes for me but that’s not to say they won’t be the right shoe for you. I can see a lot of runners gaining a big benefit from using the Clifton 2’s
I found the cushioning just a bit too soft for my liking meaning that I felt as though I was wasting energy in them and they did feel slightly unstable when corning due to the higher than normal heel height and the softness of the sole.
They could be used for multiple applications – they are light enough to use as an out and out race shoe for an distance, yet would be ideal for recovery and training runs. Hoka have produced a shoe that can be used for many applications and would perform well at all.
The Hoka One One Clifton 2’s are an incredibly versatile shoe. The shoes can serve many purposes, they are cushioned enough for recovery runs and springy enough for daily training, yet they are light enough for racing.
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- Fit: Medium
- Surface: Road
- Category: Neutral: Lightweight Training
- Preferred Ride: Plush
- Offset: 5 mm
- Forefoot: 24 mm
- Heel: 29 mm
- Weight: 235.00 g
- Weight is based on size EU 42 2/3 and may vary depending on size.
- Ultra-Lightweight No-Sew SpeedFrame Construction
- Early-Stage Meta-Rocker Geometry
- Full Length Compression-molded EVA Midsole
- Full Ground Contact Design
- Strategic Rubber Placement for Lightweight Durability
Disclosure: The nice people at Hoka One One sent me these shoes in exchange for an honest review.
All opinions are my own