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Product Review: Hoka ONE ONE Clifton 4

IMG_0337The long awaited update to Hoka ONE ONE’s flagship shoe, the Clifton, has finally arrived!

From the initial iteration of the Clifton, to the current form of the series, the shoe has received a massive overhaul.  From the first roomy edition, to its narrow predecessor, Hoka has found its stride with the 3rd & 4th editions of the Clifton.

So without further ado, let’s dive in and take a look at the all-new Clifton 4!!

The Upper
The biggest change within the latest version of the Hoka ONE ONE Clifton can be found in the upper. Not only does Hoka introduce the use of 3D puff print around the upper, but a brand new open engineered mesh maximizes breathability while offering support and structure around the foot. Not only will the complete redesign of the upper help with adapting to your foot, but it will also aid with durability.

As popularity of the Clifton has skyrocketed – and Hoka in general – we now see the introduction of wide widths (2E for the men and D for the ladies) with the launch of the Clifton 4.  Those with wide feet can now rest easy!!

IMG_0344The Midsole
This is simply what Hoka ONE ONE is known for – their quintessential marshmallowy ride. The EVA midsole material received a slight tweak this go around as HOKA needed to address durability concerns from previous models. In addition to their continued use of an early Meta-Rocker for a smooth transition from from rearfoot to forefoot, Hoka also adapted a bevel to the heel to the latest iteration of the Clifton – this should help those out there that are heel strikers!

Borrowed from versions past, Hoka continues to utilize a straight last with the Clifton 4, providing a wider fit through the arch, making the shoe inherently stable. This is perfect for those needing a touch more support, or those rockin’ those orthotics!

Let’s talk about the elephant in the room – the weight.  While the original Clifton weighted in at the mid-7 oz. range for the men, the Clifton has bloated over the years, checking in currently at 9.3 oz. on the men’s side and 7.5 oz. for the ladies.

Personally, I do not over analyze the weight of my every day training shoes. If the shoe feels comfortable and has the proper fit, I couldn’t care less if it is .5 oz. lighter or heavier.  I’m sure that the weight increase will be a point of concern with those loyal to early versions of the Clifton, and those that stress on the slight weight differences in footwear, but for me it is overblown.  If the shoe is comfy, get it on my feet!

OutsoleThe Outsole
One of Hoka’s main initiatives with the Clifton 4 was to address durability issues that came along with previous models – time and miles will tell how successful they were in doing this.  By tweaking the midsole material, and strategically applying hi-abrasion rubber zones along the lateral side of the outsole, the Clifton 4 should last longer than its predecessors.

That being said, the Clifton will generally wear a little quicker than most traditional running shoes due to the exposed EVA midsole material (the white stuff pictured left).  There is a trade off there. By not using a full blown rubber outsole, Hoka saves on some weight, however leaving the midsole uncovered throughout the underbelly exposes the shoe to wear quicker than than a more traditional option.

The Who
The Clifton 4 is designed for that runner who is looking for a little more cushion, but still wants a lightweight feel.  In our experience, we have customers that absolutely LOVE their Hoka ONE ONE kicks, and on the opposite side of the spectrum we’ve seen customer write them off completely as “moon shoes”.

You are reading from a guy that has embraced the “maximal movement” and can’t part with his Hokas.

IMG_0339The ideal person for the Clifton 4, you ask? Note the use of the word “person” and not “runner”.  We see all sorts of walks of life coming through our doors asking to try on Hokas let alone the Clifton specifically.  For runners, those pounding the pavement and looking for a little bit of extra cush, or those battling with injury – the Clifton 4 is right up your alley. That brings me to me next point…

Injuries. The Clifton, and Hoka shoes in general, are great for those battling injuries – runners and non-runners alike. We see a high number of podiatric and orthopedic practitioners referring patients in for Hokas.  Main ailments that we see – plantar fasciitis, neuromas, and hallux rigidus – arthritis of the big toe joint.  These are injuries and issues that effect all people – not just runners!!

Tech Specs:
Weights: Men: 9.3 oz./Women: 7.5 oz.
Geometry: Offset: 5mm/Heel: 29mm/Forefoot: 24mm
MSRP: $130.00

And there it is – our take on the all-new Clifton 4 from Hoka ONE ONE. Got questions or comments? E-mail us directly at craig@runnershighnj.com!!


Screen Shot 2015-06-13 at 4.14.55 PMCraig Segal, Co-Owner of Runner’s High-Freehold has been running since his days as a youth navigating the trails at Holmdel Park.  He competed at the prep level at Holmdel High School and moved on to run for Villanova University before competing for Monmouth University as a graduate student.  Since graduation, he can be found on the roads, racing anything from the 5k to the marathon.  He holds a half marathon best of 1:08:20 and a marathon personal record of 2:25:09. He is admittedly a running shoe geek.

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