What’s “HOKA ONE ONE”?
In case you’re curious, HOKA ONE ONE is a French company launched in 2009 by two former Salomon employees. According to Marketwatch.com, it is the fastest growing premium running shoe brand in the world. HOKA specializes in lightweight shoes with extra-thick midsoles and maximal cushioning. The name, (pronounced Hoka O-nay O-nay) is a Polynesian phrase taken from the Māori people of New Zealand. Roughly translated, it means “fly over the earth”.
|Our review of this product|
|9.1 / 10|
The pros are:
Extremely light weight
Highly ventilated upper
The cons are:
May not be stable enough for some runners
Durability is a question mark
The Clifton is a terrific shoe. Hoka’s describes it as “quite possibly the smoothest-riding shoe on the market” with “incredible cushioning at an almost impossibly light weight”. I think that’s a pretty fair assessment.
I’ve always worn stability or motion control shoes, and they tend to have a firm ride. In recent years I started to feel more wear and tear from running and decided I needed a more forgiving shoe. During the course of my own research, the Clifton seemed to be close to the top of every list. It was a big departure from the type of shoe I’ve always worn, but I decided to give it a try.
The fit of the Clifton runs true – no need to size up or down, and is sufficiently generous to accommodate my wider than average foot. The shoe also comes with two sets of insoles – one thicker and one thinner – that can also be worn so that the fit can be adjusted 3 ways.
Weight and Ventilation
The Clifton scores top marks in both categories. A single shoe (size 10.5) weighed in at only 243 grams on my scale.
That’s extremely light for an everyday trainer, let alone one with so much cushioning. An unpadded, minimalist tongue also helps keep the weight down. The perforated upper is thin, light, and highly breathable.
Cushioning, Support and Comfort
This Clifton has a remarkable amount of cushioning that effectively absorbs shocks without adversely obscuring road feel.
However, Clifton is not a support shoe and has no stability features built into the sole, arch or upper. As a runner who tends to pronate slightly, transitioning to this shoe did require some adjustment as I initially had to concentrate on maintaining good mechanics. Overall this a remarkably comfortable shoe that feels more like a slipper than a runner.
Construction & Durability
The Clifton’s materials are all good quality and the finishing work is precise.
Intuitively, the weight, combined with the soft sole and minimalist upper leads me to speculate that it won’t be the most durable of products. Even if that proves to be the case, I’ll happily trade added comfort for less durability
Since getting the Hoka One One Clifton shoes a few weeks ago, I have run with less pain, recovered more quickly, and, perhaps as a result, have run faster times. To put it into perspective, the slowest time I logged in the Cliftons is faster than the fastest time I logged in my old shoes I’ll let you draw your own conclusions.