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a few testers felt curved too far in
This is almost a very good shoe. It’s a neutral-cushioned model featuring not just the brand’s trademark impact-absorbing cloud pods underfoot, but also a new type of midsole foam called Helion, which, On claims, provides greater durability without adding weight, and more rebound without sacrificing cushioning. It certainly achieves that, but only under certain conditions. As part of the testing we gave a pair to an ultrarunner, who put a couple of hundred miles into them over a week or two and reported no degradation in the shoe or level of bounce. The energy return and responsiveness came in for universal praise, with runners feeling that they were able to go faster with less effort– but only on smooth roads. As soon as the shoe was taken onto even slightly gritty surfaces, eg canal towpaths, the ride felt flat and soggy, which is not what you want for the price. If you run solely in urban environments, it’s a good half-marathon shoe; otherwise, wait for future iterations.If you're familiar with the Glycerin, there’s little new here. But if you’ve not come across it before, the reason it’s one of the most popular shoes in the Brooks range, despite being at the upper end of the price bracket, can be summed up in one word: comfort. With successive iterations, Brooks has tinkered with the upper, the outsole groove patterns, the lacing, the internal sockliner and more to ensure that during a run the Glycerin feels as slipper-like as possible. Version 17 has its DNA Loft cushioning midsole material, which is the plushest in its stable. The launch-campaign shoe was all about the ‘pillowy’ feeling and we’d agree; the only problem is we think Brooks has slightly overdone it. Injury-prone runners who value the softest experience possible will adore the way your foot sinks into your shoe and how it, in turn, sinks into the ground, but others may find the lack of snap, relatively high weight and slightly smushy ride an indulgence too far. An ideal easy- or recovery-run shoe.Sleek, amazingly light, incredibly snug and fast, this is a shoe aimed squarely at the speedier end of the market. The curved shape and high toe spring (the distance between the tip of the toe and the ground) help your foot to roll through the gait cycle quicker, and while the Revlite midsole cushioning feels moderately soft in the rear to midfoot, it’s a little firmer up front to encourage a snappy toe-off. The knitted upper is wonderfully breathable and wraps around the foot brilliantly, especially with the gusseted tongue. The whole thing puts us in mind of the Nike FreeFlyknit range. What stops the 890v7 being an award contender is the overly snug heel wrap, which a few testers felt curved too far inwards

and caused mild Achilles irritation. Another issue is the lack of arch support – in itself not a bad thing, but it does take this out of the mainstream market and into the realm of fast, biomechanically efficient runners looking for a 5-10K shoe.Hoka likes to say the Clifton was the shoe that propelled the brand into mainstream running consciousness when it launched in 2014: we agree. Its combination of speed, light cushioning, lateral stability and comfort appealed to more than just maximal-shoe devotees. Further iterations have not let the model down, but with number 6, Hoka has done something that was long overdue: it’s made the cushioning a little firmer.

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