The Tech Team encourages those who need a bike worked on before a big race to get it in asap — we fill up fast prior to big events!
No technical jargon in this short review. Just my thoughts on how they felt running. I’ve run in a few different models: Bondi Evo Tarmac, Clifton, Challenger. All nicely cushioned and pretty light. The Clifton is my favorite running shoe ever. And yet, it is not perfect. It wears out quickly and the sole shows wear in less than 50 miles. What is cool about Hoka is they are always trying to improve their shoes. The new Clayton addresses my issues and more.
Usual Hoka cushioning in heel
Improved sole (more resistant to wear)
Might not be enough forefoot cushioning for previous Hoka users
Transition from soft heel/midfoot to harder forefoot isn’t very smooth despite a significant rocker plate
Gravel gets stuck in grooves on sole
How do the shoes feel when they are first put on? They feel light and cushioned. However the cushioning does not feel as soft as I’m used to. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, just a noticeable difference from the other models I’ve worn. The shoe seems to be more stable than other Hokas. There is no side to side rocking movement that I’ve felt in other models.
They kind of wrap around rear of the foot and then expand out to a very roomy forefoot. I’d say the forefoot is a lot like the Altra. There is enough room for your toes to spread out.
How do they feel on the run? Again, they feel light, cushioned and stable. But, there is something different happening here. Whereas running in a pair of Hokas is like running with a pillow wrapped around your foot, the Claytons have a dual personality. The cushioned heel feels like every other Hoka, but, the forefoot cushioning is very firm. I can actually feel the ground when my foot strikes the ground. For me, this is a good thing. For others, maybe, not so much.
Here is why I like the firm forefoot. With other Hokas I feel as though the cushioning absorbs much of the force of my push off. With the Clayton, I don’t feel this way. The shoe seems to be very responsive. Force in = speed out.
My longest run in these shoes was 16 miles. My feet never felt tired, there were no new aches or pains and my lower back which sometimes is sore after a long run was fine. I attribute this to the extra stability of the Claytons.
One of the concerns I mentioned at the start of this review was how quickly the sole of the Cliftons wears out. The Clayton sports a new outsole layer that Hoka calls RMAT. Sorry, that’s a little jargon that I had to use to explain why the Clayton outer sole is going to last a much longer time. It is the yellow nubs you’ll see at the bottom of the shoe. I’ve noticed that any part of the sole not covered with this stuff showed wear.
So, what is my conclusion? The Claytons were designed with speed in mind. They are fast. They are responsive and they are cushioned. These are perfect shoes for the runner that is a heel striker and wants to go fast. These are a good shoe for a mid/fore foot striker who is looking for a responsive, light shoe. If you haven’t been able to wear Hokas because they were too narrow for your foot, you should try these shoes out. Because of the added durability of the shoe, I can see them as a daily trainer. I’d, also, use them for running half and full marathons.
An excellent addition to the Hoka line of running shoes.