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.

Review of the next update - the Clifton 4

Monday, August 8, 2016

100+ mile revisit - review of Hoka OneOne Clifton 3

I fall out of love with shoes as easy as I can fall in love with them. After 100 miles, the basic limitations or defects of a shoe make themselves clear in a way you don't see after 2 or 3 runs in them.

I just hit 135 on the Strava odometer for my Clifton 3s. This includes average runs of about 5 miles, long runs 10-12, and weekly mileage of about 35. And happily, nothing much has changed from the point I first reviewed them here.

The fit has continued to be excellent. I did have a bout of black and blistered middle toes on both feet (I'll spare the pics because feet should be heard and not seen on the Internet), but that happened during a very sweaty half marathon where the rubbing was due to the sloshing in the shoe. I can't blame the mesh - the sweat was oozing out - it just was one of those 70+ dew point race days.

The upper is not wearing out at all.

And as you can probably see, the midsole seems to be holding up well also. It does feel like a little bit of the cushioning is shot, but in line with what I would expect 135 miles in - almost at the halfway point for these kind of cushioned shoes for me.

The only spot where there are some wear issues are on the rubber part of the outsole on the outer heel of my left shoe (the bottom right of the next photo), a spot where I do get some excessive wear normally. While the Clifton 3 has some rubber on that spot, it's clearly not enough to handle my heel strike on that spot. This became noticeable at least 40 miles ago; I would expect that the heel will hold up until 300+ miles at this rate.

You can see how the rubber held up on the right shoe:

Finally, one important post publish add: I have noticed that the foot pain (dull ache in the midfoot/ball of foot area xray negative) that has plagued me for the past two years - despite rest (or lack of it) - has finally disappeared while running with these shoes over the last month or so.