Monday, September 18, 2017

Hoka One One Clifton 4 (Wide) Review



Hoka One One was the first company to release an oversized foam midsole running shoe in 2010 and the trend has been gaining popularity ever since.  Now most companies have some variation of a highly cushioned shoe.  The founders of Hoka One One wanted to create a larger sweet spot, much like on oversized tennis racquets or skies.  There have been statements both for and against these highly cushioned shoes. 

While they might not be for everyone, there some benefits that the shoe companies are claiming.  They claim that the extra cushion provides a softer ride, which you cannot disagree with.  They also claim that the extra cushion lessens the impact on your joints and can reduce the amount of recovery time needed after long or higher intensity runs.  Another claim is that the extra cushion provides an increased energy return, meaning that the shoes will provide more of a spring than lesser cushioned shoes. 

I have reviewed several shoes from Hoka One One in the past.  Click the links below to read my reviews.


Hoka One One has been winning awards for many of their shoes.  The original Clifton won multiple awards while the Clifton 2 won the Summer 2015 “Editor’s Choice for Best Ride” from Competitor.com.  The Clayton won the September 2016 “Editor’s Choice” award from Runner’s World and the Clifton 3 won the 2016 “Best Update” award from Competitor.com.  I really liked the Clifton 2 when it first came out, but the more I ran it them, the more I realized that they were too narrow for my feet.  They made some improvements with the Clifton 3, which were much better in terms of the width of the toe box, but it was still just a little too narrow for my feet (which are wider than most people’s feet).  I do wear my Clifton 3’s every day because they are extremely comfortable, but because I have wider feet, I just need something a little wider to run in.  The Clifton 4 that just came out within the past few months is even wider than its predecessors, but is a little too narrow for me still.  The good news though is that the Clifton 4 is now available in a wide version.     

My favorite features of the Clifton line of shoes are that they have tons of cushion, but don’t feel like you are running on a wet sponge.  They are really light weight and just feel great (unless you have unusually wide feet like me).  Even with my wider foot, the width was more of an irritation than anything else.  That irritation would turn into pain after 18+ miles.  They have made some improvements with the new Clifton 4.  The shoe is more adaptive, meaning that it molds to your foot, providing a more consistent and comfortable ride than previous versions.  They used new materials including an engineered mesh with 3D puff printing in the upper.  It stretches much more than the previous versions and is more breathable.  The difference is noticeable both in the fit and comfort, especially on hot runs. 

Clifton 4, Clifton 3, Clifton 2 (Left to Right)
Clifton 4, Clifton 3, Clifton 2 (Left to Right)

The foam that they use has been improved as well.  Hoka wanted to provide more rebound and a longer life of the foam.  I feel that they succeeded in both areas, but they are a little stiffer than the Clifton 3.  While they are still really soft and cushy, they are more firm than previous versions.  The commercials compare it to running on marshmallows.  I felt that the Clifton 3 had more of a feeling like running on marshmallows, but I do like the Clifton 4’s fit, feel, and cushioning better.  The Clifton 4 weighs in at 9.3 ounces with a stack height of 29mm in the heel and 24mm in the forefoot.  That gives it a 5mm heel drop.  Here is a chart that shows the progression of the Clifton line of shoes.


Weight
8.3 ounces
8.6 ounces
9.3 ounces
Heel Drop
5mm
5mm
5mm
Forefoot Width
Narrowest shoe in the Clifton line (Not available in wide)
More wide than Clifton 2, more narrow than the Clifton 4 (Not available in wide)
Widest of the Clifton line (also available in wide)
Type of Shoe
Neutral
Neutral
Neutral
Cushion
Balanced (Middle of Plush and Responsive)
Balanced (Middle of Plush and Responsive)
Balanced (Middle of Plush and Responsive)
Cost
$130 (as low as $99)
$130 (as low as $75)
$130

All of the Clifton shoes include an Early Stage Meta-Rocker that is made to propel you forward while promoting a natural gait.  Your foot rolls smoothly from impact to off.  They are all are well cushioned, with the Clifton 3 being more plush, and the Clifton 4 having a different feel, but plenty of cushion.  Different people will prefer one of these shoes over the other for their own personal reasons.  My favorite Hoka road shoe is the Clifton 4 Wide though.  I put in 28 miles in three days before my long run this week.  I was able to do 17 miles in the Clifton 4 Wide with no foot pain, which was common with the Clifton 2 and Clifton 3 because they were a little too narrow for me.  I simply love how the Clifton 4 Wide feel.  I could run in them all day! 


There has been a gradual increase in weight over the last three iterations of the shoe line, which has added a full ounce since the Clifton 2.  I am absolutely on board with the increase though as Hoka has really improved this shoe.  I can use the Clifton 4 on long runs, easy runs, and even faster tempo runs or races.  It really is an all-purpose shoe.  Thank you Hoka One One for making a wider shoe for big footed fellows like myself.

Clifton 4 Pros:
Plenty of cushion for all types of runners
5mm heel drop
Very light 9.3 ounces
Great price ($140 Hoka One One website)

Hoka One One Social Media Links:

While I loved the idea of the Clifton 3, they weren’t quite wide enough for my feet, although they are probably wide enough for most runners out there.  They made the Clifton 4 wider and even have a wide version, which I absolutely love.  It is my go to long distance shoe right now and my favorite Hoka One One road shoe so far.  Check them out at your local running store (click here for locations), at the Hoka One One website, or at your favorite online retailer.  They are worth checking out and I would love to know what you think.

Note:  I received this product in exchange for a review.  The review is my personal opinion of the product and I was not required to give a particular opinion of it.  I am not a doctor, so please use all of the products that I review at your own risk.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Rollga Foam Roller Review



There are so many options of foam rollers, self-massage tools, and vitamins that claim to help you recover faster or become more injury resistant.  They come in all shapes and sizes, cost anywhere from a little to a lot, and help to focus on different areas of your body.  The use foam rollers as a treatment focuses on a technique called Myofascial Release. 

Myofascial Release is a safe and effective technique that applies (sometimes not so) gentle sustained pressure into your Myofascial connective tissue restrictions to eliminate pain and restore motion (1).  Basically, you use a foam roller to work out knots and stiffness to restore your flexibility and range of motion (mobility).  There is much more to what Mayofascial Release really is, but this is just a high-lever overview.  Typically when you foam roll, you should work the foam roller in a 1-3 inch back and forward motion focusing more intensely over knots.  Most foam rollers are cylindrical, but there are some rollers that have different shapes. 


I got to test the Rollga foam roller and was curious about what I would discover when I tested it out.  The design of normal foam rollers has been flawed in my opinion since they came out. The reason is that when you roll, especially on your back and hip areas, there is no way to avoid putting pressure on vital areas like your spine or possibly bruising or damaging the muscles and other connective tissues in your hip.  I have tried a few shaped rollers in the past and many of them work well.  I was excited to see the difference between them and the Rollga.  Here is a video that explains why the Rollga has contours? 


I have been dealing with Plantar Fasciitis and calf/Achilles pain over the past year.  The Rollga website says it can help reverse the pain caused by shin splints, stabilizing your hips, aligning your back, and increasing range of motion in your shoulders.  The grooves on the Rollga are different depths and can focus on different areas of your body. 

After using my Rollga for a few months, I can say that it is not only better than the traditional cylindrical foam rollers, but it is better than many of the more expensive foam (and other compound) rollers that I have tested, which has been about 10 so far.  I love the cut-outs and the way they don’t crush my spine.  I also really like that you can use the grooves to focus on the outsides of your legs.  The one area which I used this on the most though was on my calves and Achilles.  The center two bumps did a great job of really focusing on breaking down the stiffness in my calves.  It is truly something that you cannot achieve with a traditional roller.


How to use Rollga

Another very important factor in my eyes as to why the Rollga is so great is that it starts at $34.97 and their most expensive version is $49.97 (the main differences are the firmness or how hard the roller is).  I normally use a very stiff/hard foam roller, but the Silver Rollga Genesis ($39.97), which is a standard stiffness, worked great for me.  You can even get a carrying strap for $3.00 if you want to take the roller with you.


Rollga has an awesome YouTube page with a bunch of videos that is continuously updated.  They have a 60-day money back guarantee and a 2-year warranty. With your purchase you get an easy to follow user guide, a downloadable (free) Rollga App, and access to a private Facebook Group of users where you can ask questions or get advice.  This all adds up to a great product that is backed by the company that goes above and beyond to make sure you enjoy their product.  I am thoroughly impressed with it all.

Pros:
Contoured ridges helps workout knots
No pressure on your spine
Awesome 60-Day Money Back Guarantee
2-year warrantee
Rollga App and Facebook Group provides plenty of info
Great price at $34.97-$49.97

Rollga’s Social Media Links

I honestly was just testing another foam roller that made big promises and had fairly low expectations.  While the science and claims seemed great, you never know until you really put these items to the test.  I am happy to report that the Rollga Foam Roller blew me away.  It is by far the best foam roller that I have reviewed and would highly recommend it to anybody, whether you are a runner, cyclist, or just want to roll out the kinks.  The price point is great and the extras can’t be beat.

Note:  I received this product in exchange for a review.  The review is my personal opinion of the product and I was not required to give a particular opinion of it.  I am not a doctor, so please use all of the products that I review at your own risk.

REFERENCES:
(1)   https://www.myofascialrelease.com/about/definition.aspx