Retiring The Clifton 3’s and on to Hoka Clifton 4’s

Hoka clifton 3 recap

Like all you my friendly Strava-ites (or stravites?) 2017 was a pretty good year from an activity standpoint. I walked, I ran, I rode, and did all kinds of other stuff that had me out off the couch and moving around, so check that off the “health” column at least. The purpose of my post here today is to share some insight on my Hoka Clifton’s as they have had a pretty big impact on my ability to exercise at all.

Some of you may be able to sympathize with this story, but roughly 5 years ago while training for my first Olympic distance triathlon I partially tore my achilles tendon at the insertion point on the back of my foot. I know exactly the day I did it but I never felt the tearing itself… I simply woke up the next morning and couldn’t move right foot without pain. The next two years proved to be the biggest pain in the ass/mental test any athlete can endure. Without getting to far down the rabbit hole on that, 2017 was the first year I could return to action. I could handle large training volumes and do all the things I was previous to my injury. I still have some pain but I largely credit the Hoka Clifton 3’s for this. Hopefully my info here can help you make some gear decisions for 2018.

Hoka One One Clifton 3: Retirement Summary

I purchased my Clifton 3’s the day after Christmas 2016. They were the new models and an obnoxious orange. Previously I have run in Asics, Brooks, and Nike’s but I had mowed through 5 different physical therapists around this time and many of them were wearing Hokas. I thought they were goofy as all get out but one of my PT’s was an older guy, probably late 50s early 60s, and still running marathons. He told me he will never run or walk in anything but his Cliftons because the cushion left him less sore and without injury. Of course after that I was sold and couldn’t wait to get back to triathlon, so I bought’em.

I initially had issues with the shoes. My feet would fall asleep and I could never get the laces tensioned the way I wanted. They were either too tight or too loose. Eventually I found the middle ground and all was well. I ran a ton in these shoes. My goal for the year was 500 miles. I ended up somewhere in the 470 range but am nonetheless super happy about getting that distance in. Over the course of 2017 I accomplished a lot in these shoes

  • Actually got back to running
  • Did my first Sub 1 hour sprint Triathlon
  • Pushed my baby girl in her stroller for over 100 of those miles
  • Crushed Ragnar with 6 other badasses and more.

In the end, they fit really well once broken in and I really like the cushion. It wasn’t super spongy and felt really responsive.

Hoka One One Clifton 4: Excitement and Dread

As per usual, the week after Christmas I ventured into the running store and bought me some new running shoes. I fear change and had read that the Clifton 4’s got a fairly large update over the 3’s. It was love at first try-on.

My immediate feeling was that the fit was waaay better and the sole was a bit firmer. All things I was hoping for.

So far I am 15 miles in on this pair and it really is a mixed review. Like the 3’s I am struggling a little to find the right lace tension that doesn’t cause my feet to go to sleep. I’m sure by mile 50 I will have figured it out. The other issue I have had is my forefoot sliding around. In the left shoe, my foot when I push off was sliding to where my big toe was on the edge of the insole and causing a huge amount of pain while running (see photo). I have since tightened the lower laces a bit to keep my foot from moving but I also think this is the downside of a shoe with an almost entire mesh construction. That mesh stretches and it’s stretching a way it shouldn’t. Aside from that issue everything else is pretty normal.

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