Hoka Clifton Review

I’ve been asked to write a review on running in the Hoka Clifton. Although I received these shoes at the Fitblog NYC, I was going to buy them the following week at work. It was really almost too good (and lucky) to be true…I still can’t get over it.   I’m never that lucky (I was also not payed or requested to do this review).

Awkwardly trying on the clifton at Fitblog
Awkwardly trying on the clifton at Fitblog

The relevant facts to me wanting a pair of Hokas:
1. I’m getting over a second metatarsal stress fracture.
2. I like maximum support shoes. With the exception of races you will never see me in a minimalist shoe. Give me the maximum support shoes like the (Brooks) glycerin and (Asics) Nimbus.  #maxsupport4life (let’s start that hashtag)
3. I work at a running store and had a while to think about my shoe choices coming back. I personally chose the Asics Nimbus as well as the Hoka Clifton.  I didn’t make a rash and quick decision of a shoe in a short trip to a running store.  One perk of working in a running store is I have a while to think about my shoe choices.  I decided a while ago I wanted to run in a pair of Hokas but was not sure which model (As said, it was an amazing coincidence I hadn’t bought the Clifton yet).  I consulted with almost every single person that I worked with as well as did a lot of research.  I knew I wasn’t ready for the support level of the Hoka Conquest.  I thought it might be too much of a drastic change with everything going on with my feet.  The Hoka Clifton seemed like a great alternative.

It made sense that injured or not that I would eventually try a pair of a Hokas.   Since I’ve pretty much gotten out of the Newtons now, I’ve kept to my heavier models and more cushion shoes.

Getting into shoe aspects, a lot of people expect them to be heavy. The cushion of the shoe and sole lead you to believe it’s going to feel “clunky” or awkward. Honestly the Clifton (as well as any model) Is extremely light.  They are actually lighter then a lot of “traditional” running shoes. I encourage you to pick up a pair of Hokas next time you are at a running store.  At work, I’ve had several people pick them up, expect them to be heavy and nearly fling them halfway across the store (or once at their spouse…that was for the LOLZ).

I wear a normal size 9.5 in running shoes and they run a little big.  9.5 was good for me because I prefer shoes to be a bit looser but a lot of people normally go down a half size.

I tried them on several times before actually running in them.  The first time I  ran in my Hoka Clifton, I felt…taller and injury free.  I was just coming back from fitblog and decided to run after a long day. It was my fourth run post stress fracture. I ran a solid 1.25 miles. They reminded me a lot of a more cushioned pair and last years model of a Brooks Glycerins. I actually like them a lot better then I thought for running.  I like them a lot (which is why I’ve kept running in them).

I’ve since run about 40 miles (half of my “comeback running”) in them.  Honestly I really like them.  They are a very soft, light weight cushioned shoe.  I’ve pretty much run on each type of terrain on them. 

On grass: They don’t feel awkward. Despite being on uneven terrain I don’t feel the extra height and I don’t feel like I’m going to roll my ankles (that was my main worry).

On road: I don’t feel any difference because of the height of the shoe and road. They are a lot softer of a shoe and I don’t  feel the pavement (which I like and need).  I can feel my feet moving quicker because they are lighter and the my pace reflects that.  The pace is all relative because I’m not pace oriented at all right now.  I can normal feel differences in running shoe weight and how it affects my cadence.

On the Treadmill: My only treadmill running has been the Alter G where I’m not running at full body weight. They feel normal to me.  I haven’t run on a normal treadmill because I don’t have a need too and I’m not going to go out of my way to run on a treadmill to review them there.

Final thoughts: I really like the Hoka Clifton model.  For the first few weeks, I thought I wouldn’t run in them post stress fracture but I’m going to keep them in my rotation.  They are a great shoe and I have no complaints.  They far exceeded my already high expectations for them and I will probably continue to run in them.  So for me they are definite staple in my new running rotation.  I would recommend them for any neutral runners out there (or anyone who likes to be comfortable).

Questions for you: 

Have you ever run in any model of Hokas?

Maximum cushion or minimum cushion?