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expending more energy than necessary
#1
One of the great things about the running shoe market right now is that there is a huge diversity of footwear options available. From minimal to maximal, and everything in between, there is most likely something out there that will meet your personal preferences/needs.
As a more minimally oriented runner, I’ve held off for a long time on trying out a Hoka running shoe. However, I feel it is important to keep an open mind, and I have readers who span the spectrum of footwear preferences. As such, when offered the chance to try out the Hoka Clifton, I decided to give them a go (Disclosure: the shoes reviewed You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login to view. here were media samples provided free of charge by Hoka). The experience of running in them has actually been quite interesting, and has caused me to do a lot of thinking.
Last week I wrote You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login to view. a post sharing 5 observations about running in the Cliftons that spurred quite a bit of discussion in the comments. The experience among commenters seemed to be quite mixed. Many love the shoes, others seemed to feel that they had to work harder when running in them. I want to emphasize this because although I fall into the latter group, there’s a lot to like about this shoe, and if you prefer a soft, cushy ride, they would be a great option to try. It’s important to remember that my reviews only reflect my personal experience with a shoe, and not how they might work for you. I’ll do my best to describe the shoes so that you can make a decision You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login to view. for yourself.The Hoka Clifton is currently the lightest shoe in the Hoka lineup at 7.8oz in men’s size 9 (per Running Warehouse). It has a stack height of 29mm heel, 23mm forefoot, and the You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login to view. CMEVA midsole is quite soft, particularly under the midfoot and heel. Along with the Skechers GoRun Ultra, the Clifton is probably one of the softest shoes I have run in.
I’m going to start by talking about the ride, since this is where most of my personal problems with the Clifton arose. My first run in the Clifton was a seven miler, and my immediate reaction was that I felt I was working much harder than I should have been. Over the next several runs this feeling persisted, particularly when running on a uniform surface (road/sidewalk). For some reason they actually felt better to me on trails, not sure why, maybe the greater variability You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login to view. of the surface underfoot. But on almost every run on the road I finished feeling like I was expending more energy than necessary. I’m puzzled by this as I don’t think the total stack height You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login to view. is my issue – I enjoyed running in the Nike Pegasus 31 which has a fairly similar stack (29mm heel, 19mm forefoot), and last night I went for a first run in the Brooks Ghost 7 (28mm heel, 17mm forefoot) and they felt really good. My suspicion is that the softness of the Clifton sole combined with the stack height is my issue. The combo doesn’t seem to be a good match for my stride, and I’d bet that this has to do with concepts like muscle tuning and leg stiffness adaptations (this probably goes beyond the scope of this review, but if interested you can read more about muscle tuning and leg stiffness here).
I want to again emphasize that You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login to view. this is my experience, and that I know a lot of other people who love running in this shoe and don’t feel the same way. It really seems to be a highly individual response as might be expected for You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login to view. any shoe given to a range of people who vary in anatomy, running form, physiology, etc. So don’t let this turn you off from trying the Clifton if you are intrigued by it – it might just be a great ride on your feet.One of the interesting things about the Clifton ride is that because of the rockered sole, I felt like it encouraged me to get more up on my midfoot than other shoes do. In fact, if you look at the wear pattern  (see photo below) you will see You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login to view. almost no abrasion on the heel, and quite a bit on the exposed EVA near the midfoot. And when I pick up the pace this effect seems even more pronounced – the ride felt more responsive as You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login to view. I pushed faster than my easy pace.
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