We’re coming up on the end of October and I’ve got 250 miles on my Hoka One One Cliftons — and they have definitely served me well. Back in April or May earlier this year I started to have some pain in my ankles and shins, and I was almost certain that it was shoe related.

I had been running for a few years (on and off, mind you) in my Brooks PureCadence, and although I really enjoyed how light they were, they really lacked the bounce-back and cushioning support that I needed. So my buddy Jamison took me out to a running store where he had a discount at, and hooked me up with the Hoka One One Cliftons. They revolutionized my run in ways that I didn’t think could be possible. Between its really light weight form factor, the massive amount of cushioning for my feet, and the great deal of support they provide me, I’ve been able to sustain distances that I’ve never run before.

Now that I’m brushing up against 250 miles in those shoes, it was time to move on up, and this time opted for a trail-road hybrid, the Challengers. Moving towards this hybrid will help me a little bit through winter with lighter snow conditions. But when the real shit hits the fan I’ll have to put some sheet metal screws in the bottoms of the soles for additional traction on ice and more slippery snow.

I’ll still use the Hoka Cliftons over the winter, possibly making those my sheet metal screw shoes, but they’re clearly at the point that I need to taper back my usage of them.

I remember first starting out with some Asics running shoes, a more stability-oriented shoe that I bought back in 2005 or 2006ish — maybe later — but those things ran like strapping on bricks to my feet.  They’re far too heavy for my taste, and although they did give me the kind of support I needed, they encouraged more of a heel strike and not the mid-front sole strike that I have developed the habit of running in.

Later on I switched to the Brooks PureCadence to go for more of a forward foot strike, and they did work well for quite a while. But I found it difficult to press beyond the 2-3 mile threshold, and I think that it was likely my weight that contributed significantly to that issue.

But the Hoka’s have revolutionized things for me, allowing me to run further distances and helping me increase my core fitness level and lose about 40 pounds over the course of the summmer. [I feel that it’s important to also acknowledge that most of my weight loss progress is due to counting calories and eating within my means. That said, running and biking has also helped a great deal, too.] I’m sure there’ll be a point later on as I get close to my target fitness level and weight, and increase my mileage, that a different shoe might be appropriate for me. But until then, consider me a Hoka fanboy to the core. I love these shoes!