Last year I reviewed the Speedgoat and I was undecided whether the maximal new age was for me. The midsole was a little soft for my liking for technical descents, but on the flats and climbs, I could see the benefit and they also worked wonders after I injured myself on a running trip to Chamonix.
The second generation of Clifton, the Clifton 2 are aimed to deliver a lightweight yet comfortable ride from 5km to ultra road distances.
But where to begin. The thing that my head still struggles to get around yet understanding the reasons behind it is the weight. They’re Tom Cruise shoes, yet weigh less than a lot of the competition! For something so large, they are light and if anything feel lighter due to their size. So despite making me 5ft 10”+ over my normal 5ft 7”, its not like walking or running in a pair of traditional divers boots. They’ve nailed it!
So the elephant in the room, the sole. Oh, you get a lot for your money. The bottom of the outsole has a combination of blown EVA and rubber in the key wear points. They grip well and the rubber shows little show of wear. Having experienced wear in shoes with full EVA outsoles, this is a small detail, but one which makes a genuine difference. It has the potential to significantly increase the lifespan of the shoe.
Now, the midsole. My arch nemesis and one area where I’m like a child with a 50 tubs of 1 penny sweets, and only 5p to spend. I prefer the midsole to the previously mentioned Speedgoat’s. For me, it feels more stable, predictable and like goldilocks is just right (only this time it only took me 2 bowls of porridge). The geometry provides greater stability and this time I felt there wasn’t a slight pronation when standing still. The entire sole is constructed from compression molded EVA and the feeling is consistent throughout the full gait. The early stage meta rocker does its job well and keeps you fluidly moving through the gait cycle with each step.
Now, I know by this point you are trembling with intrepidation, holding onto your smart device with the grasp of an excited teenager seeing their idol, wondering is this the one? I’m not 100% sold, but once again this is a very personal opinion. I am finding I am starting to get more used to them and I can see the benefits for many runners out there. I’ve been programmed to run for 26 years one way and sometime my brains stubborn to change. Do I prefer them? Yes.With an outsole gripping and a midsole more to my liking, the upper is next. The No Sew Speed Frame Construction is great. The Clifton 2 is comfortable with and without socks, and its one of the best uppers I have wrapped around my feet. With ventilation all over, feet are able to breath and sweat is managed well. The overlays, which help give it its styling provide enough support to the lateral and medial sides of the foot, whilst not getting in the way of the much wanted ventilation. The toe box, whilst not the roomiest, is by no means narrow and means you can spread your digits on those longer runs.
The heel cup hugs your heel, with a soft, supple and comfortable cushion to rest into. I experienced no slipping and didn’t find the need to use the little hook on the rear. A nice touch though.The tongue has a change, soft and lighter, it sits well underneath the laces and isn’t noticeable. The laces, well they are laces and that’s the best credit I can give them. They perform well and the shoe holds the foot securely when tightened.Overall, there is a 5mm offset, in an age of even numbers which I still love to know how they come up with them. Its comfortable, I never thought it was too aggressive or relaxed, and for those who normally require something higher, the midsole can alleviate this issue.
The Clifton 2 was something of a surprise. Light and responsive, despite its 4×4 looks, it drives more like a stripped back mustang, all the appearance, yet none of the unnecessary. The styling is strong and you couldn’t mistake it for another brand. If I could change or tweak anything? I’d like to see more midsole/outsole colours as I am a fan of their yellow upper/grey midsole version and Id be interested to see how low they could make it whilst retaining the now famous ride. I’m slowly getting there, I’m coming round to the maximal shoe, but I haven’t quite found the perfect temperature for me yet.