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Over the past few years, running has experienced a little bit of a comeback, and I am very much one of the people picking up this lonely sport in the pursuit of a personal best. When I first set out on this journey of discovery, I found myself struggling to know where to look for the right shoes. After trawling through the internet, reading review after review, I stumbled across Hoka One One, a relatively new brand in comparison to other but nonetheless worth a look.

Based in California but born in France, Nicolas Mermoud and Jean-Luc Diard started the  company with one vision: producing shoes that are capable of running downhill. Whilst doing this, they attracted the attention of the running industry who were more than interested in the maximalist design they had opted for. Packing plenty of cushioning into the sole whilst keeping   the weight to an absolute minimum, this design, over time, has grown and matured and what  we’re left with today: some of the most technically interesting and well-designed shoes on the market.

Clifton 8

For me, the Clifton 8 is the ultimate cushioned shoe for the neutral runner. It has the perfect balance between softness and responsiveness, enough cushioning underfoot to take the impact but just enough firmness in the foam to give you a nice pop off. Carrying a weight of 250 grams, its easy to forget that you’re wearing such “chunky” looking trainers, and a drop of only 5mm, it feels completely natural on the foot. It’s easy to see why the Clifton is an award-winning shoe.

Ultimately, they may not be on the lips of every runner when it comes to new trainers, but they should certainly be on yours.

Written by Tom Loughran