After a lot of thought and consideration -- I have decided to retire One Foot in Reality and leave it as an Archive. I will still monitor it to keep the trolls at bay, but will not be posting here any longer.

If you are looking for my new posts, please go to www.haroldlshaw.com .

Thank you for all they years of following One Foot In Reality.


Sunday, August 30, 2015

Hoka Clifton V1 versus Altra Torin 1.5 Review

Yes, this is one of the things that I do enjoy about blogging - writing about the gear I am using and how it works for me. I am going to continue doing this on One Foot In Reality, although I probably will be doing "it" a little differently than I have in the past.

The reviews will be less about the stats, numbers and brand's marketing speak, and more about what I liked or did not like about the product. I am going to get out of the long - drawn out canned blog posts and move to a more summary style of review. There are several other sites that go more in-depth about a particular product and they do that better than I do, so I will link to the better ones, especially when it comes to running shoe reviews.

Enough talk and yammering on about nothing, let's get to talking about Clifton V1's and Torin 1.5's.

Some background on my experiences with both Hoka's and Altra's.

Hoka One One

Honestly, I made fun of runners who were running in Hoka's until I started running in them in April. I really loved the first pair of Clifton V1's that I got, enough that I got another pair 3 weeks later to add to the rotation and found another pair in July that I am currently running in.

So I have had had 3 pair of Hoka Clifton's and have tried on several other styles. However, a common theme that I have found with the line-up so far is the snugness/narrowness in the toe box area. I am not a big fan of heavy-weight, inflexible shoes, which they have a lot of in their lines and prefer the lighter styles that they offer.


I have run in several models of Altra - starting with the first Instinct and loved the wide toe-box, but the inconsistent sizing issues, the firmness of the ride and thinking that the flat zero-drop didn't help my Achilles or hamstring problems, caused me to stop running in them last year. So I haven't run in their newer models and I am seeing a bit of a change in their products - or at least I think I am.

They seem to be moving towards higher stack height (thicker) soles and softer EVA type materials, but that is from the outside looking in and I have not tried any of their 2015 models to know if that is accurate or not.

So while I have run very well in the past with Altra running shoes, I just didn't believe that they were the solution I was looking for. However, with my unhappiness with narrowness of the Clifton's I needed to try something else and with my birthday gift certificates, I bought a pair of Torin 1.5's, because I knew that the toe box would work for me.

The Present

Which brings me to the present.

I now have about 70 miles on the Hoka Clifton V1's #3 and over 60 miles on the Altra Torin 1.5's and would usually to do a 50 mile review for both.

Last night I got this crazy idea about comparing my likes and dislikes about these two shoes that I put in the same category (so-called light-weight cushioned trainers), even though the brands might not look at them as being comparable - for the way that I use these shoes they are.

At some point we do not run in stats, we run in the shoes and that is what really matters.

So here goes.

How have they worked out for me?

I am not going to get into the specifics of each shoe, they both are last year's models and have been reviewed by many other bloggers. So going through the whole review process to simply add my voice and two cents is really of limited value to other runners.

Instead I am going to focus more on how these two light-weight daily trainers work for me.

Hoka Clifton V1

Unfortunately Clifton's #2 didn't fit the same on my right foot as #1 did and Clifton #3 fits somewhere in between the two. Which meant that 2 out of the 3 pair of Clifton V1's that I have run in were/are just a little too narrow for my right foot and that frigging Tailor's Bunionette thing that causes all my fit issues. 

While I still run well in the Clifton V1's that I am using now, I still don't wear them and forget about them being on. They are right on the edge of what I can comfortably wear, due to their narrowness and if they were any narrower, I wouldn't run in them at all. 

Even so, I love the feel of the Clifton's when running, quietness, the rockered design, lightness and cushioned feel are exactly what I want from my running shoes and I compare all the shoes I wear to their ride. So far, I have not found any shoe that comes close to it.

I still run well in them, but my focus is not running, but more on how my right foot is feeling or might feel as I run further in them. Not what I am looking for in my shoes.

If they were a bit wider in the toe box, I wouldn't look elsewhere for my running shoes and would be running in them without reservation as my primary daily trainers - alas they are not. 

Hoka needs to make the Clifton's in an EE width - then I would love them (as long as the heel cup was kept narrower - hehehehe).

Altra Torin 1.5

The first time that I put the Torin's on my right foot I went ahhhhh. I immediately knew that the width in the toe box was not going to be an issue, the 8.5's fit just right and the upper melded to my foot. On the negative side the Torin's heel cup felt sloppy and I had to mess around with the lacing system to get my heel locked in - a problem I have had with other Altra models.

I also knew immediately that they were heavier than what I had been running in for a while and were a LOT firmer (hell even my race-day shoes feel waaaayyyyyy more cushioned than the Torin's) - Trade-offs. 

Once I started running in them, I had forgotten how much differently I run in zero drop, than I do in a higher drop shoe and that took some adjustment to my stride. Even though I run decently in zero drop shoes, it does not feel as comfortable/natural to me as a 4-6mm drop shoe does and yes, I can tell the difference.

No, they do not have a super-cushioned feeling, even though their stack height is 27mm and while they are heavier, when you run in them, the sum of the whole shoe, seems to run easier than than you would think a 10+ ounce shoe would run. 

They will never be my race day shoe, but due to how comfortable they feel on my feet, I can run and forget about them being there - which is important to me.

Which one comes out on top?

Both have features that I love and both have features that I am not crazy about. 

  • The narrowness in the toe box 
  • The firmness, heel cup being too sloppy and zero drop of the Torin's 

are the primary issues I have with each one.

If I had to pick either the Clifton V1 or Torin 1.5 to run in as my primary trainer and could chose only one. After a lot of thinking, I would choose the Torin's even though I have only run in one pair, compared to the three pair of Clifton's I have run in, because they are more comfortable for my right foot. I can run in them and not worry about how my foot is going to feel during or after the run.

It comes down to which shoe had the fewest trade-off and that I could run the most comfortably in.

If Bennie Chewed Up These Shoes Today, What Would I Do?

I am not really sure that I would buy either one again.

That is saying something, because I have had 3 pair of Clifton V1's and have had the Torin 1.0's, as well as the 1.5's.

Unfortunately, I have had two out of three Clifton V1's be a smidge too narrow and while I am running well in the Torin 1.5's, like other Altra's they are a little too firm for my tastes and I am not completely sold on zero drop for the way that I run.

However, as I get more miles on the Torin 1.5's, I am liking them, it is just that they will never be "faster" shoes for me, which limits their versatility, if I decide to change a workout on the fly

More than likely I would look closer at the Topo Magnify or some other - similar running shoe, if I could get my paws on a pair.

However, after everything is said and done, I have a feeling that based on what I know right now, I would more likely go with the Torin 2.0's or something in the Altra One line and deal with the zero drop.

The Reality is that

Both the Hoka Clifton V1 and Altra Torin 1.5 are last year's models and are good running shoes. However, they going to be quickly phased out by inventory and time, so they are not the real answers to my seeming never-ending shoe search.

Especially, since I know that the Clifton V2's do not work for me. They feel even more snug/narrow than the V1's did, so they are not an option, even though the feel was still fantastic.

Supposedly the Torin 2.0's are lighter, have a softer feel than the 1.5's and have an even wider toe box, so the fit should be even better than the 1.5's. However, they are still zero-drop and with my previous experience with the haphazard sizing and firmness of the Altra lines, I am not confident that the feel would be what I want.

I am running well in my Asics Hyperspeed 6's and almost got a DFA 33's this time, so maybe they will be an option if the Topo's or something else doesn't come out of the woodwork and blow me away.

Which leaves me pretty much at starting over - yet again and settling for shoes I can run in, instead of shoes I want to run in.

Yes, there is a huge difference.

I guess what I am looking for is a shoe that has the upper and shape of the Torin (the fit) and the drop, cushioning and rockered sole of the Clifton (the feel).

To me and my way of thinking the combination of these two shoes would give me what I am looking for. Unfortunately, it doesn't exist or at least I have not found it or heard of one.

I am still looking for a pair of shoes that I want to run in.

Has anyone out there found a pair of running shoes that would more in line with what I am looking for the fit of an Altra and feel of a Hoka? I am asking a lot, but I can't be the only one looking for this combination.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I purchased this pair of Hoka One One Clifton V1's from another runner and the Torin 1.5's from Amazon.com. The opinions I have expressed are my own and your experiences with this product might be different from mine. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Originally published on One Foot in Reality, © 2011-2015 – All Rights Reserved. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Harold Shaw or Mary Shaw and One Foot In Reality with appropriate and specific directions or links to the original content.


  1. I've heard that the Torin 2.0 is VASTLY superior to any other the other Torins. I'd try them out when you start looking again!

    1. I have heard that too, but it is zero drop and I am finding that some of the issues I had with running a lot in that style of shoe is manifesting itself again. Not really what I need/want right now. I will find something that is going to work for me who knows maybe the Lunar Tempo or something similar might find its way here one of these days. I just wish they made the Clifton's in a 2E, would be all over it. It ain't so I will deal with what I got for a few hundred more miles.


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