Hoka is known for its shoes being uber comfortable, soft, responsive, and lightweight. The Clifton 2 takes that to the extreme!
At 8.3oz in a Men’s size 9 the Clifton 2 weights in about a half an ounce heavier than the original version. With that extra weight comes three pretty big improvements. Clifton customers of the past loved the performance of the shoe, they loved how light it was, they didn’t always love the durability of the shoe or the fit. So, these are the issues that Hoka One One chose to address.
To make the original Clifton as light as it was, Hoka needed to sacrifice some durability. These sacrifices came in the form of a very thin, lightweight, breathable upper that tended to wear out quickly. In the Clifton 2, Hoka increased the amount of overlays on the shoe, which greatly increased the structure and durability.
While an unpadded tongue definitely cut down on weight, in a relatively ‘unimportant’ part of the shoe, it is surprising just how much a small change can affect comfort. Hoka found in a number of models, notably the Bondi 3, and the Clifton 1 that a thin tongue is good in theory, but uncomfortable on a human foot. “We want our padded tongues!” With a padded tongue, the Clifton 2 is better able to fit a wider variety of feet. While never the widest of toe boxes, someone with a slightly narrow foot (yours truly), would be sliding all over the place in a Clifton 1. How do you fix that? Tighten down the laces, no padding on the laces? Ouch! So great update!
The last change from the original Clifton is fairly small, but something that is increasingly more important. An additional eyelet. Working in run specialty for the last five years I have seen a number of different ways to tie a shoe. The most common way to tie shoes (using extra eyelets) is the butterfly loop. I don’t know how many customers I’ve had come in the store the last six months and tell me they’ve seen this new way to tie shoes on the internet/facebook/Instagram/twitter/etc. When a person familiar with this method of tying shoes wanted to try a Hoka, they were out of luck. The combination of the non-padded tongue and the missing second eyelet was a tragedy for the people of the world with narrow heels (every single woman or man in existence). The addition, that second eyelet greatly increases the relevance of the Clifton 2 (what shoes don’t have that eyelet?) for a much greater number of customers, which is scary to think about, with how popular the first version was.
In conclusion, the original Clifton was a very popular shoe, it boggled the minds of most people who tried it on. “What?” “THAT is lightweight?” “THAT shoe is soft yet responsive?” And now it fits better and is more durable? What’s not to like?
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-Posted by Corey Towle on Jun 25th 2015