Hoka One One Clifton 2 Long Term Test
I've made two decisions about product reviews.
Firstly, I only want to write about products that I've used for a decent period of time... stuff that I've really worn out.
Secondly, I want to stick to my "Five By Five" rule: five important pieces of information or opinions, that you can read in five minutes. I'm not going to go on and on about the minutiae, just the important stuff so you can get a handle on the product and whether you want it. So in that spirit, on with the test.
I'll admit it, I bought a pair of Hokas because everyone else said I had to try them. I held out for about a year, and secretly laughed behind my friend's backs when they wore "those weird shoes with the big soles". I bought them as trainers, not racers, with the idea they'd be a little more gentle on my feet and help prevent injury.
2. The Facts.
Shoe: Hoka One One Clifton 2.
Shoe weight: 218g - quite light given the size of the sole.
Shoe drop: 5mm - so they're pretty flat, they just look very built up
Pronation support: Neutral
Shoe purpose: I only used for road running training, apparently also usable as a racer
Durability: Ok not great
Unique features: Hoka One Ones have a very thick sole that is designed to cushion and absorb energy.
3. The Feel.
I'll be the first to admit I was very dubious, but they actually feel really good when running. You can certainly feel the cushioning in the sole - very soft and comfortable, and a nice relief for the feet - although I normally run in relatively lightweight racers. I used for 150+ km on the treadmill, and about the same on the road, and they were equally comfortable on both. Grip was good, but I did find them somewhat prone to twisting ankles due to the built up nature. Again maybe that was partly due to being used to running in very light, minimal soled shoes.
4. Best Purpose.
For me this is definitely a training shoe. Put it on and it wraps around your foot in soft, happy goodness. On my feet they felt too bulky for racing shoes, despite the fact that they're light, and the large soles did at times feel like they slowed down my foot turnover. Subjectively, running with friends I worked harder to keep up in the Hokas than in something like New Balance 1500RC's or Adidas Adios Boosts. When I was on a recovery run though, they were my go to shoe.
5. Would I buy them again.
Simple answer - yes. They're good shoes. But they're not without their negatives. They're expensive, they wear out rather quickly (the soles on mine felt compressed after about 300km), they didn't feel fast and they're a little unwieldy, at least for me. I personally wouldn't use them as a racer, but as a cushioned protective shoe for those non-tempo training run days, they're a luxury my feet could get very used to. 4 stars. Note that Clifton 3's are now available - but it seems like a minor update.