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  • Hoka Clifton - Featured 2

Review: Hoka One One Clifton

The Hoka One One Cliftons are a lot of shoe. When I first pulled one out of the box and turned it over in my hands, it almost felt like I was holding a football at the park, preparing to throw it. But, that look and feel is exactly what makes Hokas, well…Hokas.

Hoka One One emerged in 2010 and turned the tables on the minimal shoe craze that was raging strong with their head-turning “maximalist shoes,” designed to provide the foot with maximum protection against the ground underneath. Since they hit the market, runners wearing Hokas have consistently been performing very well at both trail and road races throughout the years. They’ve been doing especially well in the last two years in ultramarathons, worn by such notable racers as Sage Canaday, Karl Meltzer, Dave Mackey, Darcy Africa, and Jen Benna (who recently placed first female at the American River 50-miler whilewearing Cliftons!).

With all that in mind, Hokas seem like they would be a fantastic shoe for run commuters. We run consistently throughout the year over terrain that, while not usually woodsy trail, can be quite similarly irregular, jagged, rough, and variable. And, unlike a nice soft trail, our commutes are spent pounding bone-shaking pavement day after day, usually with an additional 8 – 10 pounds in our packs.

So, when Hoka One One sent me a pair of their latest model Cliftons to try out, I was pumped. Here’s how they performed for run commuting.

Hoka One One Clifton

The Hoka One One Cliftons (US Size 10)

Initial Wear and Walk

Since the drop in these shoes (5 mm) was a bit more than what I normally run in, I wanted to start off by wearing the Cliftons for a short one-mile walk.

The shoes fit snugly and were slightly tighter in the midfoot region, with more ample space in the toe box. The first few steps were surprising; it was like walking across couch cushions on my living room floor – springy, bouncy, comfortable.

The midfoot region pushed up into my arch at first, but relaxed after about a half mile.

The tread pattern is grippy on flat surfaces and very functional on rough terrain

Quick Facts

5 mm Drop

7.7 oz. Weight

24 – 29 mm Sole

Meta-Rocker Geometry

Six Color Options

The Clifton’s thick sole provides impressive protection and comfort

Things I Noticed on my Run Commute

  • When running, the shoes felt like they caught my foot as I landed, rocked it forward, and then pushed me off again. I’m not used to having such full foot movement, and it was cool to feel. 
  • Hills were the Clifton’s strong game. I felt like I had a distinct advantage, both in comfort and leverage, while running up and down hills. The Meta-Rocker geometry they tout actually works very well.
  • I felt almost nothing underfoot. It took a while to get used to, but the sole thickness provides a ridiculous amount of protection, allowing me to run over large broken rock, pushed-up sidewalk, and a litany of other rough surfaces without discomfort. 

Pros

  • Great for running up and down hills
  • I felt nothing underfoot, even while running over large broken rock
  • Extremely comfortable
  • Excellent tongue material
  • Excellent overall construction
  •  Minimized surface impact

Cons

  • May require an adjustment period if you were previously using a higher drop shoe

Summary

Overall, a great shoe with a unique design that feels like it gives the runner an advantage. A bit bulky at first, and may require a gradual build-up period, but it is worth it. The Cliftons are great on long runs and should have a long use-life (500+ miles?). Perfect for those looking for more foot protection in a shoe. Ideal for run commuters who regularly carry heavy loads.

* Disclosure: Hoka provided us a pair of Cliftons for this review.

By |April 19th, 2015|Categories: Gear|Tags: , , , , , |0 Comments
  • Meb For Mortals - Featured

Meb for Mortals: A Run Commuter Book Review

In his new book, Meb for Mortals: How to Run, Think, and Eat like a Champion Marathoner, Meb Keflezighi, three-time Olympic medalist and winner of both the 2009 NYC and 2014 Boston Marathons, tells us in his introduction that he is ‘not the most talented guy.’ I scoffed aloud when I read it.

It was an ugly sound, and I was embarrassed I’d done it. But I kept reading. I ran Atlanta’s AJC Peachtree Road Race with him last year.  Ok, so maybe not with him, but we were both running the race at the same time. Actually, not even that, if you want to be technical about it. Due to the number of start waves needed to accommodate the more than 60,000 runners, he had not yet crossed the starting line as I was finishing. He began at the back as part of a fundraising challenge. However, as deflating as is to be effortlessly passed when I am sucking wind, I looked for him, listened for his entourage to be coming behind me shouting ‘Make way!’ or whatever it is they yelled.

I really hoped he’d pass me. One runner said, “It was like you’re on (Ga.) 400 going 55 and he’s doing 95.” [sic]. That would have been a sight to see; a once-in-a-lifetime running memory.

Meb is infinitely more talented than I am, and after reading this book, what is basically his training diary, I can see how he got that way. The book is divided into nine chapters, and in every one you see just how hard this guy works to be a champion.

Meb states that his game is mostly mental: good goals, commitment, and hard work. The book opens by detailing how to set good goals. This chapter, Think Like Meb, was one of my favorites. Even if you are running purely for enjoyment, or as a much-loathed, but necessary, daily dose of cardiovascular exercise, you set goals for your run – probably time or distance. Wouldn’t you like to know how to set better goals for yourself though? Especially if it increases your enjoyment of your run by making them easier or at least less painful? Maybe learning to set better, more attainable running goals will carry over into other areas of life as well.

The next 8 chapters describe exactly how Meb treats his body to get it to run the way it does: fueling and hydrating, stretching, sleeping, form drills, even recovery. It’s all here. For the form drills, stretches, and strengthening sections there are photographs of Meb doing the movements to help make sure we’re doing it correctly. They are not fancy glossy photos, just simple, monochromatic illustrations of what we should be doing.

My second favorite chapter was Race Like Meb. I don’t run a lot of races, mostly because they cost a lot of money, but I loved reading about how he prepares for a race. This is one of the more tip-heavy chapters with lots of little boxes that contain bits of information. Broken into sections like that, it is easy to read and has loads of interesting ideas for clever racing, even – no joke – how to Lube Like Meb, though it isn’t actually called that. Mixing a GU into a bottle of water or Gatorade to make the GU easier to consume while running is a smart tip. I will be trying that one, because GUs are helpful, but revolting. I might have gone my whole life without thinking of or hearing about otherwise. He also explains how to drink while running fast. I am not fast, but learning to drink while breathing like a ferocious, sweat-flinging beast is pretty much the same thing, I think.

Meb’s tone throughout the book is conversational, as though he is standing next to you (I’m pretty sure he’s not much of a sitter.) He chats and carries on, which makes this book very easy and enjoyable to read. Though, in my mind’s eye, he is probably chatting while stretching, doing core exercises on one of those big exercise balls, like in the Strengthen Like Meb chapter. Meb says that he feels like he’s 80 years old the day after a marathon. It’s little human asides like that which made me believe Meb truly does work incredibly hard, and thereby makes his advice easier to hear.

If you wanted to, if you had the time and money, you could absolutely use this book as a manual to become one hell of a runner, at least way better than all your friends. But even if your running goals and means are simpler, this easy-to-read and apply book will help you learn to make your body move more efficiently and hurt less after a long or hard(er) run, and maybe, just maybe, inspire you to set bigger goals for yourself next time.

  • runner-world-ask-miles.png

Is Run Commuting a Movement?

Did anyone see this question in the latest edition of Runner’s World?

“Ask Miles.” Runner’s World, October 2012:18.

We were asked whether we thought run commuting was a movement earlier this year during the WalkJogRun interview (though it was later edited out).  I said that I didn’t think so.  But since then, it really does seem like it has been taking off.

We’ve heard from some readers who have been running to work for years, some who just started last week, and others who have started running to work with their friends/coworkers.  Many of you are current or former bike commuters.  Some are run commuting to train for marathons and ultramarathons.  All of you are runners…

I want run commuting to be a movement.  I want it to gain momentum and, drawing from Runner’s World poll question, become a “realistic option” for getting to and from work.  Where do we start?

(more…)

  • on-sidewalk-with-traffic.png

Where to Run (or How to Survive in the War Against Cars)

Lately, it seems like there has been an increase in running-related accidents (Tim Nelson of Seattle, and Sophie of TRC) or near-accidents (myself) everywhere you turn, so I thought it would be a good time to talk about where to run.  I’m not talking about the safest or best cities for running – I mean where you position yourself while running in an urban, suburban, or rural environment.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s latest data, 4,092 pedestrians (runners included) were killed in traffic crashes in 2009.  That number has been nearly unchanged for 10 years.  While you are more likely to die in a very specific situation – In an urban environment at night with normal weather at a non-intersection – where are runner’s most safe?

(more…)

Hot Weather Running Tip – Pinch of Salt

Aside from the usual changes we make during scorching summer weather (slower pace, run before it gets too hot), here’s another quick and easy tip for beating the heat.

Adding a pinch of salt to your drink and downing it five minutes before you start running helps you retain fluids better, says Amby Burfoot of Runner’s World.

Sounds good to us!

By |July 25th, 2011|Categories: General|Tags: , , , , , |0 Comments

Getting Started – Part 4: What to Wear

Kyle and I started running together regularly a little over a year ago. I had recently started running to and from work, and shortly after meeting for the first time, we found out that both of us liked to run. We were interested in some sort of adventure. Something off-road. Something different. So we decided to run the proposed Atlanta BeltLine route. And on January 2, 2010, we started running a section at a time – kind of like Appalachian Trail section hikers – until we ran the whole thing in one go, March 20, 2010.

But the reason for this background info (and why it relates to the post topic), is what we wore on our first run… Atlanta BeltLine Running Now I’m pretty sure you’ll have a hard time finding runners looking like this on the cover of Runner’s World, Running Times or Trail Runner magazines, but you know what? It doesn’t really matter. (more…)