Thursday, August 18, 2016

170 Mile revisit of the Clifton 3 - not as good

I think I might have spoken too soon at my 100 mile review about the Clifton 3s. At that point, I was seeing some premature heel wear. Over the next 70 or so miles (granted, this took place during scorching, drippingly humid Washington DC August running), the shoes visibly deteriorated.

First, the foam on the outsole started to degrade a bit in the places where there is no rubber. It's not a wholesale failing of the material, but it definitely is starting to show its age earlier than I'd expect. 

Second, the uppers really stretched out on me. I thought this was happening, and put in an order for a new pair since I thought I was getting to the useful end of the shoes. You can see in these photos how stretched out the 170 mile grey pair is compared to the new blue pair. The toe box looks more cylindrical than oval in the new unused pair - hope its visible in this pics.







Running in the new pair feels like a completely different shoe than in the 170 mile pair - the old ones are now sloppy and loose, and are getting moved to elliptical duty.  We will see how the second pair does in the cooler weather as we get closer to September and some relief from the excess moisture from my feet and from the air. But the first round experience with the Clifton 3s shows that Hoka hits a home run on fit and ride but grounds into a double play on wear issues.

Update at 200 miles:

After washing and air drying the grey/green shoes, they did firm up a bit and become less sloppy. However, the midsole at this point has really lost its pop and is quite dead, ready for retirement/slash/gym use only.

But its clear with the summer sweat and heat, the new blue/yellow pair is following the same course - starting to loosen up and develop a sloppy feel. Hopefully the Clifton 4s will make an adjustment to the mesh to perhaps be a tighter upper fit that lasts through the wear cycle, and a midsole that holds up past the 200 mile point.

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