Meaghan: The HOKA Clayton is a lightweight, ultra-cushioned neutral running shoe. I believe they actually consider it a racer. Right off the bat, I loved the fit. The toebox is roomy, both in width and height. There is plenty of room for toes to spread out. The upper is a mesh construction with flex film overlays that offer some decent support. Despite the roomy build, my feet felt secure. The shoes come with flat, semi-stretch laces that allow for a snug fit. It’s a simple lacing system, but it works. The tongue and collar have just enough cushioning to make the shoe comfortable. HOKA used an “Active Foot Frame” midsole geometry which basically means your foot sits deeper down inside the shoe for a cup-like fit. It helps keep the foot in place and feeling secure. What might be my favorite aspect of the Clayton is the weight. You get a heck of a whole lotta shoe for a mere 7.3oz (W7.5). There’s no rubber on the outsole. I was worried about wear issues, but after 75+ training miles and a marathon, they’re holding well. The RMAT outsole layer has minimal wear and continues to provide some nice grip.
Thomas: HOKA has done a great job of making the shoes that used to look like moon boots, look pretty darn cool. Even better, they are making them more conducive to speed. The Clayton promises faster-cushioned miles than the previous HOKA models. The upper looks fragile, but it isn’t. It is light, thin, breathable, and has flex film overlays to create the structure of the upper. There are no signs of delamination or cracks in the materials. The tongue is just thick enough to provide comfort under the laces. The wide flat laces have a little bit of give that helps you find the right fit over the arch. The midsole has a nice roll-off provided by the rocker shape. I weigh 165 lbs, and under that weight, the outsole has proven to be durable and shows very little wear, after over 100 miles of road running.
Meaghan: I had issues with the Foot Frame. I have wide, flat feet and the material by the inside arch rubbed against my foot, causing a pretty gnarly blister. I removed the original insole and put in an Ortholite insole (a bit thicker) which pretty much fixed the issue. The only other complaint I had is with the tongue. When I tightened up the laces it caused the tongue material to pucker and jut out.
Thomas: The following complaint has more to do with the way I run than the design of the shoe. I supinate, which means I land on the outside (lateral) edge of my foot. When my foot comes in contact with the pavement the wide flat bottom slaps down in a clunky way. I believe this may have contributed to some hip discomfort. For this reason, I may not recommend this shoe to a runner that supinates. Conversely, this may be a good shoe for a slight pronator (lands on the inside of the foot). Originally, I had some rubbing behind the ball of my foot behind the big toe. It is sort of odd because it was only on one foot, my left. I had heard a few people on different forums complain about the same issue. Most remedies included switching out the insole or using a Dremel tool. I switched to a minimally thicker Ortholite insole and the problem was resolved.
Meaghan: I chose to wear the HOKA Clayton for the Coastal Delaware Marathon. The course is a mix of asphalt, boardwalk, and packed gravel trail. The shoes felt great on all of it. The HOKA Clayton, despite its gargantuan looks, feels like a light racing flat. While this shoe does not have that same “bounce” you find with the HOKA Clifton, the firm ride is perfect for race day. I would recommend this shoe to anyone who likes a roomy toebox, big stack height, and a firmer ride.
Thomas: The HOKA Clayton was one of the shoes I was really looking forward to trying out this year. I may have hyped these up too much in my head movies. I wanted the Clayton to be a faster feeling Clifton. While I really like the Clayton, I still like the Clifton better. I ended up running a marathon in the Clayton. I can’t tell if it was me or the shoes that just felt dead the last few miles. Meaghan ended up wearing them too and took 2nd place overall female. My guess is, it was me that fell flat. Trying the Claytons out makes me want to get the HOKA Tracers to see if they are the fast HOKA I am looking for.