Published on August 13, 2015
Hoka One One Clifton 2
The original Hoka One One Clifton was the first of the over-sized brand’s shoes that RunningMonkey had really put through their distance paces and were certainly a shoe we had been impressed by. But there was certainly something slightly unfinished about them, a sense that they were something of a work in progress that still required a little more R&D. Looks like Hoka felt the same as this year’s Hoka One One Clifton 2 really picks up where the original shoe left off.
First the basics which apply to both the original Clifton and the Clifton 2: This is very much a road shoe although we’ve found them good for a degree of mixed terrain so long as the trail isn’t too close to technical (perfectly happy on dust trail and compact off-road paths.) The heel/toe drop is a mere 5mm – 29mm heel/24mm fore – so getting close to the barefoot experience with good potential for forefoot strike and roll through, which the traditional Hoka curved sole also helps to promote for a smoother ride.
Now here’s what’s new: The upper mesh is now a little thicker, although it seems to breath just as well, which adds to the overall comfort and the seamless overlay has added a more structured feel up top. The tongue (by far the most immediately obvious update) is now a fully padded affair unlike the wafer-thin slither that passed for one in the original Clifton. Whilst we had assumed the thicker tongue would add to comfort – and perhaps it will once these are bedded in a little more – over the first 50k or so there is a little rubbing on the upper foot, just ahead of the toes, from the stitch between tongue and upper. It might just be that RunningMonkey hasn’t yet found the perfect Clifton 2/sock combo to mitigate the problem, but either way it’s a very minor issue so far.
The heel counter – the bit that adds support to the heel cup – is, apparently, now firmer, although there wasn’t really any feeling of difference (but then we had never though of the Clifton, ‘I wish this had a firmer heel counter.’) What is more noticeable is that the minimalist Achilles notch from the original has gone; that’s something of a shame. In a shoe that rolls through so completely and encourages a far more forefoot strike a notch kind of made sense to us. But, again, this is a minor point and something RunningMonkey will get over.
The toe box on the Hoka One One Clifton 2 has certainly upped the game – the original did little more than add some structure, whilst the latest iteration is more substantial and better suited to the job in hand (foot.)
In short, all of the improvements to the Clifton are designed to make the shoe more durable with a secondary benefit of adding a small degree of additional comfort. All this, of course, comes at some cost in weight; whilst the Hoka One One Clifton slipped in at a wonderfully svelte 410g (pair, UK 8.5), the update hits the scales at 480g. That doesn’t sound like a huge increase but as one of the unique selling points of the original shoe was its lack of weight there may be some who resent the slightly plumper new pretender. The jury is still somewhat out on that point at RunningMonkey HQ…
In the final analysis, if you loved the Clifton and you’re prepared to forgive the Clifton 2 for doing the shoe equivalent of eating one too many cakes and putting on a little weight, then you’re likely to love this far more fully-formed road shoe.
The Hoka One One Clifton 2 retails at £100 – further details at hokaoneone.eu
Read the RunningMonkey review of the original Hoka One One Clifton here.