With it’s super-light yet super-cushioned construction, Hoka’s Clifton was the runaway shoe of the year last year, winning numerous magazine awards and taking running retail stores by storm. Believe it or not, Hoka found out to make a great shoe even better. The second edition of this shoe remains super light and amazingly cushioned, but—thanks to a slightly revised upper with a few more structural overlays—it’s also a tad bit more supportive in the upper and offers more of a connective feeling to the chassis under your foot. The one drawback against the first version was that it was a tad sloppy, especially at higher speeds and on downhills, because the upper lacked support. Not this one. It’s very stable, offers quick heel-toe transitions and runs comfortably at any speed from a slow jog to mile repeat pace during a track workout.
Another key upgrade to the new version is more softly cushioned tongue. While that might sound immaterial, sometimes it’s the little tweaks that really improve a shoe, and in this case, the additional padding has helped reduce annoying lace pressure over the top of the foot. Those two changes make this shoe every-so-slightly heavier (by about a half an ounce), but that wasn’t a problem to any of our wear-testers. Like its predecessor, this shoe is ideal for long to ultra-distance training runs and—although not our top pick for shorter distance speed work or races—it is quick enough to race from 10K and beyond (depending on what you look for in a racing shoe, of course).
This is the shoe for you if: You want a lightweight, maximally cushioned shoe for high-mileage training or long-distance racing.
Weights: 8.4 oz. (men’s), 7.4 oz. (women’s)
Heel-Toe Offset: 5mm; 29mm (heel), 24mm (forefoot)
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