Hoka One One - Clifton 2 vs Hupana

Monday, September 11, 2017

One of the great things about being a fitness blogger is the opportunity to try new products.  This year, I was extremely lucky and received a few pairs of trainers (sneakers, for you Americans).  Before the London Marathon, I was hesitant to try any new pairs of shoes before the race (#1 rule- never try anything new).  After the marathon, I continued to attend track sessions with Advent Running and started incorporating more strength training in.

My last six pairs of running shoes have been Asics Nimbus 15's and I am petrified of what to do when my last pair wear out.  Good trainers can cost £100+ so there is a big financial risk and, of course, a possible injury risk.  With a long-term history of Achilles tendinitis and more recently plantar fasciitis, I am always worried that changing shoes will cause me problems again.

Last year, in true American fashion, I met a Hoka One One rep on the Tube last year and discussed becoming an ambassador with him.  I had heard good things about Hoka One One as they are very cushioned.  Originally designed for ultra runners, the unique thick sole provided more protection than other shoes at the time.  I was hoping the extra padding would give me a bit more bounce (rather than relying on my Achilles) and protect my joints with each step I take (yes, I am a heel-striker).  The rep sent me a pair of Clifton 2's to try out.  Here is info about the Clifton 2's for you shoe geeks out there:

Clifton 2
Weight- 203g
Where to wear them- Road (Hoka One One claims that there running shoes have 50% more cushioning that standard running shoes).
Preferred ride- Plush
Type of runner- Neutral
Drop- 5mm offset (24mm forefoot, 29mm heel)
Insides- 3mm Ortholite insole

It took a while to adjust to the shoes because they were elevated (due to thick insole).  I took a few days to gradually break them in and get used to the motion of the shoe.  It felt like I was rocking forward.  I wore them to track, on local runs, and the Women's Running Magazine 10K in Milton Keynes.  They were comfortable enough that I started to wear them to work too (which I normally don't do with my running shoes in order to save the miles for my marathon training).  However, I was still stiff the day after runs.  With a few pairs of Nimbus 15's in my closet, I probably didn't give the Clifton 2's as much time to adjust to as I should of, but I was worried about aggravating my injuries.

This spring, Hoka One One sent me a snazzy pair of Hupanas.  When I first looked at them, I could see the insoles were not as thick as the Clifton 2s.  They seemed comfortable when I put them on for the photos.  Here are their stats:

5mm offset (19mm forefoot, 24mm heel)
Molded Ortholite sockliner

Top view of the Hupana

Sadly, I have yet to run in the Hupanas.  After the London Marathon though, my Achilles have gotten progressively worse.  I took most of June and all of July off from running in the hopes that they would heal.  But they never did.  At the end of July, the osteopath diagnosed me with Achilles tendinopathy, rather than tendinitis (I am not too sure how they are different), and prescribed eccentric exercises to help me heal.  It was a 12 week program but I only had 8 weeks until Chicago Marathon when I started.

When I tried on the Hupanas on for the photos, they were really comfy.  I think that they are urban-sleek too, meaning you could wear them for day-to-day casual.

Huspana on top and Cliften 2's on the bottom

I really like the aesthetic design of this shoe.

As I can't tell you much about how the shoe feels when you run in them, I can try to explain what an offset or 'drop' is.  I have heard this term from many of my running friends who take running much more seriously than I do.  They know about running shoes like my dad knows about cars.  Make, models, specifications, and availability.  I am trying to learn what I can from these experienced runners so I can find the next pair of shoes that will allow me to run pain-free.

I spoke with a friend and fellow blogger, Steve Skinner, who works at The Running Works in London to learn more about these terms.  He explained the offset/drop is the difference between heel height and forefoot height.  If the offset is zero,  the heel and the ball of the forefoot would be at exactly the same height off the ground.  He added "The weight of a shoe is less important for someone running 5k a few times a week to stay healthy compared to someone racing regularly. However, if you are an efficient runner and light on your feet you might not need a huge amount of cushioning and/or support. A lightweight pair could be more comfortable and help you to run more efficiently/quicker."  You can tell from the stats above that the Clifton 2 has a 1/2 cm thicker sole than the Hupanas.  This info is useful for people who have joint pain, run long distances, or prefer sprints on the track.

Steve made a good point saying if you have comfortable shoes to run in, you will want to run more.  He recommends that every runner have a gait analysis to help you understand how you run and what you need in a shoe.  With your perfect match, you can run more efficiently too.

Another view to compare the insoles

As the saying goes, 'give a girl the right pair of shoes, and she can conquer the world.'  That is what I am hoping for with my next pair of running shoes.  After I complete the Chicago Marathon next month, I will be half way through my World Marathon Major quest and ready for more.

If you have run in a the Hupanas, let me know in the comments below how they felt.  As soon as I can, I will update this post too.

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