Although only around for a mere nine years Hoka One One have garnered a fearsome reputation for producing some of the finest trail and road running shoes in the land, having pioneered the 'maximalist' movement.
Building on the maximalist heritage of the Clifton series Hoka bring the latest iteration, the 5, into a new realm of fast, light and highly cushioned road running shoes.
Changes have been made to the upper to maximise breathability, with a reduction in moisture blocking overlays and although sweaty feet are an inevitability when running, these are some of the most airy running shoes we've worn.
The Clifton 5 is classically chunky underfoot with a generous helping of EVA midsole providing sublime but stable cushioning helping the wonky knee brigade (me included) keep fit without the high impact normally associated with road running. Cushioning feels particularly effective as you strike the ground, perhaps not as soft as you might expect given the chunky sole but it feels kind of right and really protects the joints above. There's a slight roll off the heel which feels very natural, this gives way to a springy forefoot helping to put energy into your stride. Stability is fantastic with an almost flat profile across the width ensuring that your ankles stay upright without unnecessary tension.
Despite the vast sea of cushioning the Clifton 5 manages to keep weight down to reasonable levels. Quoted weight is 266g per shoe for a men's size nine, our men's 11 weighs in at 328g per shoe. The Clifton 5 certainly feels light and nimble when you're pounding the pavements.
We found the fit of the Clifton 5 to be absolutely spot on, its flexible upper moulds perfectly to the shape of your feet and on our regular evening runs they soak up the miles with the only limitation being my ageing body.
True to their trail running heritage Hoka have included some deep lugs in the outsole so running on compressed gravel paths works perfectly well and sections of super sticky rubber provide confidence inspiring grip on slick roads.
As a newcomer to the Hoka One One flock and a knee injury sufferer I'm mega impressed by the Clifton 5's. They've allowed me to get back in to road running without the pain I previously associated with it, and aside from the obvious cushioning benefits they're also a great performing shoe.