2 Hoka Running Shoes Review – Maximum Cushioning and Comfort

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By Ed. Ramos

hoka-clifton-2-running-shoes

I know what you’re probably thinking, there is no perfect shoe out there. But, I want you to know that to me the 10 out of 10 is not a perfect shoe, it is merely conveying a message of quality that I believe makes the shoe worthwhile.

2 Hoka Running Shoes Review

The Impressively Light Hoka One One Clifton

Hoka One One has made plenty of great shoes and revolutionized a new movement in running shoes with maximum cushioning, so much so that your common brands like Brooks and New Balance are getting in on their versions of it.

While testing out two other shoes, Altra’s Torin 1.5 and Paradigm, I put on this pair last. When I left the store after trying them on, my words were “that shoe is crazy!”

The Fit

The upper reminds me a lot like the shape of the ASICS brand which has always fit my foot well. I noticed it fit my foot like a glove with zero abrasive spots for potential blisters.

The shoe fits true to size, so you don’t have to play the guessing game with this one.

One thing you notice with the Hoka brand is that your foot will sit down a little into the midsole cradling your foot. I like that about this shoe because I know my foot isn’t going to slip around in it.

The Feel 

Running in them made this shoe stand out. With the Hoka design and special foam that is so soft, yet responsive, I was really surprised how light the shoe was.

The store owner and I were discussing how when Hoka just came out it seemed they needed a special kind of runner to buy their shoe… especially because of the price. But with the sponsoring of middle distance runners such as Mike Rutt and Leo Manzano, you can tell they are trying to expand their market down to the lower distances.

They definitely did that with the Clifton! Coming in at a low 7.7 ounces, you can wear this soft comfortable shoe on long runs, tempo runs, and road workouts. I just find that amazing.

Along with it’s lightweight cushioning, I found that this shoe guided my foot from impact to toe off well. I have no complaints there.

Conclusion

I was really impressed with the Clifton… really impressed. Not only was I impressed, but shortly after taking off the shoes and chatting about it, a guy walked in who noticed I was trying them on. He said he liked this shoe better than Saucony’s Kinvara 4. Now I hear a lot of good things about the Kinvara 4, so it is saying a whole lot if Clifton is considered over it.

Obviously I want others to take my reviews with grains of salt, as shoes fit other differently, and I understand that. But I am really excited about this shoe.

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QUESTION? Do you think differently or have an experience of your own? Share it with us with a comment below!

The Hoka One One Conquest

Recently there has been a resurgence of US Track and Field on the International Circuit where American distance runners have been medaling in distance events in World Championships and Olympics ranging from the 1500m to the marathon. In the 2012 Olympics, the US had Loe Manzano take the silver medal in the 1500m.  Interestingly, he has been unsponsored  for a while now and as a few days ago, he signed a contract with Hoka One One. Not a lot of runners know about Hoka and I find it amazing that this sponsorship will bring this shoes company to the spotlight.

The Hoka One One Conquest is a newest version of their “maximalist” shoes. The term “maximalist” was given to these shoes because of their maximum cushioning and how high they sit above the ground. They look like they sit higher than they actually do. Your foot actually sits down in the midsole. This I believe causes some lateral support for the foot. In essence, it is a cushioning shoe that is made for both neutral runners and able to provide some support for pronators.

The cushioning is the premier feature on this brand. This is the softest shoe you will find in both the forefoot and heel. The Conquest is a little more stiffer than previous models, but still very soft. What a lot of runners use this shoe for is recovery runs. The day after you have a hard workout or on days you want to go long,  these shoes are rotated in. Runners have reported that, because of the reduced impact forces from the cushioning, they actually recover a little faster.

This shoe has only some durable rubber only in key point on the bottom of the shoe where the foot heel strikes and toes off. The rest of the bottom, the midsole actually makes contact with the ground. The midsole has been found to be more durable than believed but this could wear quicker than expected depending on the surface you are running on.

Pros:

  • Very soft
  • helps recovery
  • designed for runners of different pronation types

Cons:

  • durability may be an issue
  • kind of pricey

Conclusion

I don’t have the money pockets for a shoe like this but I really want to give them a go. The only reason why I gave this shoe a 9 out of 10 was because of the price. Jason Fitzgerald of Strength Running had Hoka’s in his rotation of shoes and he has coached many people to running injury free. I have heard many good things about this shoe! I tried them on in the store and they feel wonderful on the feet. They feel like running on clouds. Though they are soft, they are still responsive.

Because of the recent sponsorship of Leo Manzano, I wonder if they are going to make some road racers and spikes if they are sponsoring a miler.

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