This update on 3 Hoka shoes I have been reviewing over the last year has taken an interesting twist that I certainly did not expect. To begin, my first Hoka, the original royal blue Clifton gave me over 350 miles of fabulous service. If you go back to my original reviews of this shoe you will find I waxed enthusiastically about this shoe; some may say even ‘romantically’.  I called it a ‘game changer’ and a must try for anyone over 40, with or without chronic injuries or those that spend a lot of time in the steep climbs of Annadel or other local hilly trails. As I said, after 350 miles or so I moved these shoes to yard shoes and bought a second pair, the red version(1B?) and as much as I have liked these there was something just a bit off with this pair, I currently have put on nearly 200 miles on these and they have worn very well. I am very happy with them but they just have never had that ‘sweet spot’ that the original pair had. My only complaint with the Clifton has been wet trail traction (you remember that ONE time it rained in the last year?!).

So I went and bought a pair of Hoka Challenger ATV. I had hoped the ATV would be a CLIFTON with better traction, but after 100+ miles on the ATV it has not been so. The rugged sole has made the overall feel seem stiff and non-compliant compared to the CLIFTON. After a hilly uphill-downhill trail run the impact is significantly more in the ATV compared to the CLIFTON. In my case it is significant enough that I am not excited to wear the ATV on a more regular basis. As well, I am still awaiting some significant rain (can you say ‘El Nino’) so I can test out the lug pattern. So at this point I am still excited about the CLIFTON. A new CLIFTON-2 model is now available. The changes have been significant and those changes have added over an ounce to each shoe and per the reviews I have read has been a major negative. I have not slipped on a pair yet so you may buy a pair before I do.

And now the interesting and very unexpected twist to the CLIFTON story begins. About 6 months ago I felt the original blue CLIFTON after 350+ miles had seen better days and as is my practice those shoes moved right into double duty as ‘landscaping’ shoes. Thanks to the lack of rain and my dead lawns, the CLIFTONS haven’t gone through the normal destruction my post running shoes usually achieve. The twist is that about a month ago I did something I have never done in over 40 years of running. I took a pair of shoes that have been (forever) removed from my active stable and put them back on for a run. I don’t have any idea why I would or did attempt this(blasphemy?!). But lo and behold 6 months of little usage seems to have rejuvenated them. I don’t have any explanation for this, but as quickly as you can say ‘Voila’ I have re-fallen in love with my original CLIFTONS and will keep you updated on how many more pleasing miles I am able to enjoy before I come to my senses.

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