Hoka One One Clifton 3 Review: Best Running Shoe of 2016 for Long Runs

Hey, what’s up triathletes. Taren here. If you’re looking for a more built-up running
shoe that you can use as you’re putting in some heavy, heavy mileage, maybe you’re training
for a half Ironman, or an Ironman, or you just want to take a little bit of rest off
your body, this is the Hoka One One Clifton 3. We’re going to talk about how I feel about
Hoka’s new addition of the Clifton. This is Hoka One One 3rd edition of their
Clifton lineup. Until they started getting into more racing
style flats, this was their lightest and fastest road racing shoe. Now, the Clifton 3 is nearly an identical
shoe to the Clifton 2. I did a review on that. What happened was in the comments below, a
lot of the issues that I had with the Clifton 2 were issues that other people also had. Hoka made a number of tweaks fixing some of
those issues but also causing others. Now, compared to the Clifton 2, it’s still
a 130 bucks which is a really good bang for your buck because this is a high-mileage shoe. You’re probably going to get two, three, even
400 miles out of it. You’ve still got the five millimeter offset
from heel to toe with 24 millimeter stack height in the front and 29 in the back. It feels basically like a zero-drop shoe. I’m always impressed with how such a built-up
maximal shoe can feel so light and natural. The Clifton 3 is an ounce heavier than the
2 coming in at 8.6 ounces. It’s still light-ish but it’s not nearly as
light as the 2s. Now, the tread pattern and the entire construction
of the sole is basically identical and it felt identical. It has the EVA mid-foam sole and strategically
placed treads in hard rubber to get that high mileage out of the shoe. Now, the front little toecap here now comes
all the way up and it’s just one piece. That’s a change from the Clifton 2. I really liked it. It had a great sensation as I was toeing off
and rolling forward. It really encourages you to get into that
forward aspect of your running stride. The biggest changes in the Clifton 3s happened
in the upper. It fixed a number of issues but also caused
some others that I’m going to get into. Right out of the box, I absolutely love the
design of this stylish shoe. All the other colors of the Clifton 3s are
very meh. Also, coming out of the box, they’re more
less broken in. It only took, I would say, at tops, about
15 kilometers to get this all the way broken in. One of the biggest differences that I noticed
between the 3s and the 2s is how it feels when you put it on your foot that very first
time. Now, for one, the heel cup is almost loose
when you first put it on and the front feels really structured. You can definitely feel the sensation of a
shoe being around your foot up front while this almost feels floppy but as you get running
that goes away. As far as sizing goes, if you’re in between
two sizes, definitely go with a size smaller. That was perfect for me. I started out all the testing with the track
run. They were a little bit stiff. I found that by the end of the track run,
they broke in. On the 400 meter track that I run on, they
were fine. On a 200 meter track, however, there’s probably
a little bit too much going on so that, as you’re coming around the bend, it might be
a little bit too much sole. Sole. Like I said, the sole is that same Hoka Clifton
feel that gets you up to that really nice tempo sort of pace. It makes you want to go fast and it almost
shoots you off the ground, very responsive. I absolutely love that. If you’re looking for a shoe to get you into
that kind of fast run, that tempo run on the road and on the track, these are really good
for that. These shoes happy place is in a very fast
paced with nice high cadence. I went and took these shoes to the trails
to see how shock-absorbent they were and how stable they were. They did really good. If you like the 2s for trail running, you’ll
be fine with the 3s. There’s not much difference there. They’re fantastic on gravel, packed trail,
wood chips, small rocks and roots. It’s all no problem. I wouldn’t necessarily use these shoes if
you’re going for really technical trails where you want a beefed up [burly 00:04:00] trail
shoe. If you’re just doing your average single track
kind of run, these are fantastic for that. They absorb just about everything because
there is two and a half centimeters of cushion to take all that pounding. One thing that I didn’t like on the trail
was taking these on grass. The sole, very squishy. Grass, very squishy. Put them together, way too squishy. One of the big barometers of how comfortable
a shoe is the barefoot test that I do. Can you use these shoes barefoot in a triathlon? For all of us that had a problem with the
Clifton 2 that there was something really strange in the footbed up by the toes that
causes the toes to rub side to side and cause blisters, that is gone with the Clifton 3s. Woo! That said, they completely changed the upper
and it’s pretty rough inside. I blistered a little bit on a long run here
on the inside edge of both of my feet, but it wasn’t crazy. Then the day after when I did the barefoot
run, I knew I was going to be in for trouble because I could already feel as soon as I
put the shoes on that they were rough. You know what, guys? I suffer for you. You know what happened? Blister city. I would probably not recommend these for barefoot
running or triathlons in a sprint or an Olympic where you’re running five and 10K. Here’s the thing about that, if you’re buying
these shoes for sprint and Olympic distance triathlons or short road running races, you’re
missing the point. These shoes are meant for long tempo runs
on the road or if you’re doing a half Ironman or an Ironman and you need all that cushion
to absorb the amount of pounding that’s going into your body. If you’re doing those super long races, you’ve
got a couple of seconds to put socks on. While I could knock them for how rough it
is on the inside and how angry my feet are today, I’m not going to because nobody should
be using these barefoot. Boom. Problem solved. You’re fine. The traction is really good in all surfaces. Even on roads where there was rain, totally
fine. One thing that was a little bit annoying on
that rainy run was that these shoes do carry a little bit of water. It gets a touch heavier, not a lot. They still worked really well as far as the
responsiveness goes. That little bit of water that they carry gives
it a gross like (slurping) as your foot is striking. I got to say that I was really impressed with
these shoes as far as the nice smooth ride that they give. It’s probably one of the nicest rides that
you’ll get in a running shoe whether you’re a triathlete or a pure runner. You’re going to like these for the long runs,
the tempo runs, recovery runs, days when you don’t want your body being beat up, and you
need that little bit of cushioning. There’s probably nothing better than a Hoka. That said, it’s a fair bit of a learning curve
for your entire body because there is so much going on. There you have it. That is my take on the Hoka One One Clifton
3s. As always, happy and hard training. Good luck in your next triathlon. Come on.

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