In this review, I will be talking about the Hoka One One Clifton 2 shoe. Now, when I first see the Hoka shoes in general, I instantly broke the rule of "never judge a book by it's cover". Just by looking at them, they looked huge, silly and heavy. When I finally agreed to put on a couple pairs, I instantly felt foolish for my pre-judgement. The Clifton 2 weighs about 8 oz. If you're like me and don't like your feet feeling heavy during runs, the Hoka brand in general is something to look into.
The next part that made me really like the shoe was the amount of cushion. I don't think I have ever put on a shoe that felt this good on my feet. Even more so for my knees and back. Any one who knows me, knows of my back problems since high school wrestling. These shoes definitely help my legs and back feel better post run. Now, I will admit that the first two or three runs in these shoes were frustrating. I definitely had to slightly adjust to them but I expected it. I've run about 60 miles in them so far and the last 15 have been easier now that I am used to them. The best way I can describe it is that it felt like I was running barefoot on the sand at the beach the first few runs. Especially afterwards, I felt more of the fatigue in my upper legs than it normally being in my lower legs.
Another feature that took a bit of getting used to was the slight rocking feeling. You can definitely feel how the shoe is encouraging you to land on your midfoot and forefoot but as a known heel striker, I actually have not experienced any issues with this and got used to it fairly quickly as well.
The shoe is considered a road shoe but I recently took it on 2 trail runs that including constant 50+ feet inclines and declines, rocks, grass and mulch and the shoe handled it all well. My foot felt very stable and because of the amount of cushion in the shoe, I really didn't feel the difference in terrain. The other good thing about the amount of cushion is that you should be able to get more mileage/use out of the shoe than most others. You also have to consider that this brand is used by a lot of the ultra distance runners.
Overall I really like this shoe. I was afraid after the first run that they were going to be too soft and that maybe there was too much cushion for running, but thankfully I learned to test out a shoe for a couple of runs. The first couple of runs felt slow and tough but since adapting to them I have felt light and faster each time. My feet have felt comfortable and secure. They feel even more amazing to walk in. So again, whether it's the Clifton 2 or any other model by the Hoka brand, find a local running store that carries them and try them on. Even if you end up not liking them for whatever reason, you will be shocked at how soft and light they feel despite how they look. Because it is a lot different from the running shoes most of us are used to there will be a period of getting used to them but I am almost certain that you will like them once you do get used to them.