Friday, February 13, 2015

Hoka One One Cliftons and Challenger ATR Review - one for the road, one for the trail

I was wrong about the Hoka One One Cliftons.  Size 10 was the wrong choice.  Too small.  Got a nice blood blister on my small right toe.  If I had been motivated, and I wasn't, I'd measure the toe box of the Cliftons (size 10) and compare to the Nike Pegasus (size 10.5).  I'm betting the Cliftons are narrower, based on my visual observation.

I returned the Cliftons to REI.  Had 100 miles on them.  REI asked no questions and gave me my coin back.  Got to love it.  Interesting thing.  REI gave me a $20 gift card when I bought the Hokas.  As a result, I ran 100 miles in the Cliftons and got paid twenty bucks to do it.  Cool.

I'd get a size 10.5 in the Cliftons, but due to the longshoreman v. ship owners thing happening at the L.A. ports, they are no where to be found.  I straight up love this shoe, even if it made me bleed.

I was able to get a size 10.5 Challenger ATR, which is the trail version of the Cliftons. They're 8.6oz, with a 5mm offset, heel at 29mm and forefoot at 24mm.  Meta-rocker, whatever that is, is "early".  These shoes are an ounce heavier than the Cliftons.  Since I ain't got no Cliftons, I've been running the ATRs on the road.  I love them.  I've now written "love" twice, it must be close to Valentine's Day.  Got your flowers for the wives, boys?

I'd like a physicist to do a comparison with a pressure plate or some such device and measure the force returned on foot strike between the Cliftons/ATRs vs. the Pegasus.  Which aids the runner more?  You'd think this would be part of the specs for a running shoe.  I guestimate the Pegasus, which feels a bit more solid, returns more energy, but who knows.  At times, the Hokas feel a bit, now this is technical, squishy.

Let's talk names.  "Clifton"?  Really?  Sounds like I'm buying a pair of chinos from the Gap.  Challenger is better, but why add "ATR", that just detracts from the name.  I'm assuming ATR means All Terrain Runner or some such thing, but I couldn't be bothered to look it up.  I told you, I'm not very motivated right now.  My problem with the Challenger name, is for me, its sacrosanct.  I was 14 when the Challenger blew up, so there can only be one Challenger.  Have some respect.

Conclusion?  The Cliftons and Challengers rock.  They are the illegitimate love child of the Nike Free 5.0 and Pegasus, only better than their parents.  Light-weight and plush.  It's like carbon fiber for the feet.  I enjoy running more while wearing the Hokas and feel less beat up when done.  Buy these shoes!

Caveat #1:  the foot strike based on the rocker, takes a few miles to get used too.  If you can, alternate between your old shoes and the Hokas for a few days, so that your muscles adapt, otherwise, you may get sore.

Caveat #2: due to the design of the shoe, it's like you're running in high heels, not that I'm familiar with wearing women's footwear or underwear . . . 
 
 
On the road, it's no big deal, but on trail, I think, at the very least, until you get used to the shoe, the chance of rolling your ankle is increased.

--John

1 comment:

  1. great post, John. I think the Clifton name is a nod to ultra running legend Eric Clifton. He sets lots of records in the 80's and 90's and is known for his kamikaze approach to racing--go out hard and risk blowing up. Seems an appropriate association given the Clifton is Hoka's foray into a lighter weight and not as maximally cushioned shoe...Eric Clifton lives in Temecula and still races...I ran behind him for awhile at Noble Canyon before he pulled away. He's also known for wearing loud and colorful tights.

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