Thomas: I wasn’t sure how they would improve the popular shoe, but Hoka One One did. The midsole and outsole were left untouched and is still super light and incredibly cushy. The shoe comes in at 9.55 oz. for a men’s 10.5. That is pretty insane considering how much shoe is under your foot. To improve the Clifton, Hoka focused on the upper. At first look, you might not even notice that much of a difference, at least I didn’t. It was when I ran in them that I felt the difference. In the original Clifton, the upper fit well enough, but the Clifton 2 really dials it in. I noticed it most when turning or cornering. Before, you felt the divide between the upper and the midsole. Now, the Clifton 2 feels like a single unit. Your foot feels secure on the high stack height of the shoe. I was provided the black version of the shoe, and at first look I was not excited by them. Now they are one of my favorite looking shoes. They remind me of stealth fighters. When I look down on the Clifton 2, I just dig them.
Meaghan: Ah, the Hoka Clifton. My favorite of the max cushioned shoes. The updates to Clifton 2 are minimal (as they should be). There was not much I didn’t like about the original. So, what’s the Clifton 2 all about? This shoe gives you the same plush, bouncy cushion underfoot with some updates to the fit & feel. The air mesh material remains throughout the upper, but HOKA added some padding to the tongue and collar. They also swapped out round laces for flat ones, and added an extra lace-hole for a super snug fit. All GREAT improvements. Those few updates alone make this shoe a million times more awesome; something I didn’t think was possible (high-five, HOKA… high-five). I’ve heard complaints that the forefoot isn’t roomy, but as someone with stupidly-wide feet, I had zero issues. The shoes feel wide throughout and the new lacing/upper structure provides a snug fit through the midfoot. The insole was updated slightly, but besides a little added weight, I can’t tell the difference. I didn’t have issues with rubbing, slipping or irritation with either model.
Thomas: I have nothing bad to say about the Clifton 2. I wish I could think of something to improve the shoe, but I would have had a hard time telling them what to improve on the first Clifton. Hoka figured it out, I’ll have to wait for the 3s to come out. It is kind of a bummer that the first version was 8.45 oz. and the new version is 9.55 oz. for the size 10.5, but honestly I didn’t notice it until Meaghan pointed it out.
Meaghan: We all have our flaws, right? I had two “complaints” about the HOKA Clifton 2. First and foremost, I wasn’t super excited to see that the weight went up (by nearly an ENTIRE ounce). My original Clifton’s weighed in at 6.55oz and these guys came in at 7.5oz. I suppose the extra padding is worth it… They’re still extremely light considering all. that. shoe. The other issue I encountered is purely aesthetic. After a few sweaty outings and a rain-run in this shoe, the dye around the laces has bleed everywhere. Basically, the yellow padding around the collar and heel is now a weird green/blue. It’s not the prettiest look.
Thomas: The original Clifton did not leave much to improve on. It is a masterful combination of light weight cushioning and a comfortable fitting upper. The Clifton is the best looking shoe in the Hoka One One line up. When I first started seeing Hoka shoes I pretty much swore them off. They looked like a platform disco sneaker. The Clifton’s look won me over. The Clifton 2 is a good looking shoe that performs fantastically. I found myself pulling them out for all my long runs. I have run several double digit long runs including a 22 miler in them and probably tallied up over 150 miles on them before writing this review. In a year that has had more good shoes than bad come out, the Hoka Clifton 2 are at the top of my list of favorite shoes. I like mixing the Clifton with a shoe like the New Balance Vazee Pace. Faster harder workouts in the Vazee, longer grinders in the Clifton 2. I highly recommend the Hoka One One Clifton 2.
Hoka One One has shifted the shoe market by thinking differently and is creating unique products. They started the max cushion shoe. The rest of the companies are trying to figure out how to get a “Hoka” like product in their line up. None of the models beat Hoka yet. This quote comes to my mind…
“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” – Albert Einstein
Starting from a traditional shoe concept and adding cushion does not do the trick. Hoka started with a new concept, new thinking and then built a shoe around it.
Meaghan: I applaud HOKA for this update. I think they truly listened to the feedback of runners; kept all the good stuff and made updates accordingly. Even with the slight color bleeding issue I saw, these shoes remain a go-to for long runs. Put a pair on your feet and try not to smile.
Shoes were provided by Hoka One One