Shoe Of The Week: Hoka One One Clayton

Hoka One One's first speed shoe is a triumph.

Since inception six years ago, Hoka One One has made a huge splash—especially in the ultrarunning world—with its thickly cushioned maximalist shoes, blowing conventional shoe design out of the water and winning numerous awards along the way. But from the start, the company has said its mission has been to create shoes for all types of running—on the trail, road, track—through innovative, forward-thinking design concepts. While it has continued to refine its thickly cushioned shoes, it is also developed a series of speed shoes that are a bit lower to the ground and built for racing. One of the first to hit stores is the Clayton, a thickly cushioned shoe that has been engineered to offer cushioning, protection and energy return. The result is a category-breaking long-distance trainer/racer that’s both exceptionally wide and very stable but also impressively light, responsive and fast. (The Clayton launched exclusively at JackRabbit Sports stores across the U.S. on March 1, but it will become available at all running specialty shops and online in April.)

There are several key elements that make the Clayton special and unique. The first is a two-part midsole that features a slightly softer foam in the rear for impact protection at footstrike and a firmer, very responsive foam material in the forefoot that results in amazing energy return as the foot rolls forward to the toe-off phase of a stride. The Clayton also retains Hoka’s “rockered” design and its energetic RMAT foam material on the bottom of outsole that work together to help smooth the foot’s movement from heel to toe. The ride feels buttery smooth and well cushioned, but also firm, edgy and fast. Few shoes—and none with this much cushion—have combined all of those different elements so well. (Hoka launched the Huaka shoe as a energetic racing shoe two years ago, but this shoe is much firmer and snappier than the Huaka was.)

While the Clayton provides a snug fit from the heel to the midfoot and slightly wider in the toe box, the shoe’s exterior profile is extremely wide to provide optimal lateral stability. The foot sits low inside the shoe and the medial sidewall extends slightly higher—innovative ways to help reduce overpronation late in a long race or run without being as disruptive as a traditional medial post. (Hoka will also unveil a lighter and less protective racing flat called the Tracer in April.)

This is the shoe for you … if you’re looking for a lightweight, responsive and extremely stable shoe for long-distance training and racing.

Price: $150
Weights: 7.3 oz. (men’s size 9.0); 6.3 oz. (women’s size 7.0)
Heel-Toe Offsets: 4mm, 24mm (heel); 20mm (forefoot)

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