I could continue to bore you with facts and figures, stack heights and drops, no sew speedframes and early meta rocker technologies. If you have been purchasing running shoes for at least a year you have probably heard enough taglines and gobbledygook about this or that companies foam: speedfoam, freshfoam, lunarfoam, boost, blah, blah, blah.
After you have listened to the ads, read the company blurb and found yourself cross-eyed as your shoe fitter extols the virtues of the current shoes they are showing you, take a deep breath, lace em up and run out of the store and really concentrate how those shoes feel. Also don’t be afraid to take a couple of days and some short runs at home to make sure your initial choice was correct. The specialty shoe stores will accept a return.
That all being said, let’s get back to the Hoka. After six months and around 350 miles, this shoe has remained an all-time favorite for me. They aged pretty well and don’t really look any worse for the wear (see picture). The uppers have remained in excellent condition will little obvious wear. The insole that was provided has had some issues, sometimes climbing up the heel which could cause a hotspot or blister if you don’t stop and adjust. What I didn’t realize is that two insoles are provided to adjust fit even further. I have opted to use the second insole with great result. I noted the second insole when I purchased my second pair of Cliftons (red).
You could go back and read the previous review (100mi) and update (220mi), but simply stated, this shoe has been a game changer for my training. It was great out of the box and maintained its feel for over 200 miles. In the last 120 miles or so, it began to lose its resilience but was still adequate for long hilly runs in Annadel, though not quite as responsive as when new and a little less capable on those long rocky downhills.
Would I buy another pair? Yep already have, and my first runs in them have been excellent. Besides the flashy new red color and the insole choices, these are just as I remember my very first run in the original Cliftons — they make me want to lace them up and get out there. They feel great. Think about them, try them on and give them a shot. You might be amazed.
“The Hoka Challenger ATV”
My lastest choice from the Hoka line is the Challenger ATV, a lightweight trail shoe based on the Clifton last. It is now available in better running stores locally ( it was only available locally at REI until March 15).
Putting on the ATV in the store, it felt much like the Clifton in every way with a slightly stiffer feeling sole. I took them out the very next day for an Annadel 10-plus miler and the shoes were great. My feet and joints were painless after. A complete 100 mile review will be in future issues. Hope we get some rain so I can review the lug pattern.
Challenger ATV Tech:
No Sew Speedframe/MetaRocker/Stability Pods/4mm Lugs.