Published on October 23, 2014
Hoka One One Clifton
RunningMonkey is no stranger to the Hoka One One brand having previously dabbled with, and greatly enjoyed, both the Rapa Nui and Bondi B iterations. But ‘dabbled’ really is the operative word – we’ve tested them out, found advantage in the ‘oversized’ design (more on which below) and had plenty of fun in them, but somehow never really been able to take the full leap of faith and ‘go long’ in them. The release for the new Hoka One One Clifton gave us the prefect opportunity to right that wrong.
Like all Hoke One One shoes the Clifton – very much a road shoe – employs considerably more underfoot cushioning than traditional shoes, the enormous wedge of EVA foam gives the shoes a distinctive look guaranteed to attract attention from other runners and, if our experience is anything to go by, you’ll spend a lot of time trying to explain or justify them to others. But stick with it because there’s sound logic to this aesthetic madness.
Despite the disco stack look the curved wedge provides an incredibly naturalistic forward rock between strike and toe-off that helps propel the runner forward with greater ease – they may look the antithesis of a barefoot shoe but the technique and benefit is very similar. The Hoke Clifton also has a mere 5mm heel to toe differential (drop) so, again, close to a barefoot or transition shoe.
The sensation of running in the Clifton is initially odd to say the least, though not necessarily in a bad way. They feel fast and the rocking roll gives the impression of almost falling forward – something true barefooters and ‘chi runners’ will already understand. The best way to deal with it is simply to go with it and reap the benefits. On test we repeatedly found an easy 10-15% increase in pace without any increase in either perceived effort or heart rate; RunningMonkey thinks that’s the kind of result that speaks for itself.
And ‘going long’? Well despite the size the Hoka Clifton is exceptionally lightweight at 215g (430g pair, UK8) not much more than some true barefoot shoes – with the stripped-back mesh upper and thin (removable) inner bed all contributing. To really test their ability RunningMonkey wore them for both the Warsaw and Abingdon marathons; in each case the lack of weight, comfort levels and the natural gait that’s encouraged made for easy running that felt as effortless at mile 26 as it had at mile 1.
It may still take a leap of faith for some runners to buy into the oversized concept and the Hoka brand, but it’s one worth taking and with the Hoka One One Clifton retailing at £100 the previously high price points (upwards of £130 for some iterations) is no longer an excuse not to give these a go.
The Clifton is available in three colour options for men – blue/black/lime, black/grey/neon and lime/black/white – and three for women – plum/fushia (sic)/white, coral/white/yellow and aqua/grey/white.
Further details of the Hoka One One Clifton at hokaoneone.eu
Read the RunningMonkey review of the Hoka One One Rapa Nui here.