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SHOEPORN: HOKA ONE ONE – CLIFTON EDGE

The newest update to Hoka One One’s prominent Clifton Line is undoubtedly one that will (again) raise some eyebrows. If you thought Hoka saves that enormous heal portion exclusive to its Trail running sector, think again. The Clifton Edge give the impression of a lesser street-brother of the attention seeking off-road downhill monster Ten Nine. 

With the Clifton Edge the company remains to push its pioneering boundaries. After the trails, Hoka now takes on the roads with its cutting-edge resole geometry. A development history the company is known for.
The core of a suitable running shoe is undoubtedly the sole. At least for me, and at least for Hoka as the originators of colossal foam usage. The engineers use a new style of more buoyant foam and shape it to a distinguishing outsole. A space-age but supportive base. 

Hoka One One pushes its lightweight road shoe unit even more with this trifling new adding that comes with more less the same heft as the preceding Clifton 6.
The Edge’s climax is the heel – no doubt about that. A few months back Hoka throw down the downhill trail shoe Ten Nine and triggered noise on message boards and social media. The massive heal is meant for a smoother downhill ride and, in the case of this specific shoe, to aid heal strikers on the road. 

As a non-heel striker, a circumstance that I cannot really access. However I used The Edge during some hill repeats and the big surprise to me was not the energetic uphill ride (which I’m describing later..) it was the super relaxed downhill jogging that pleased my beaten up limbs.
A solid base is everything. With its early-stage Meta-Rocker structure the shoe provides precisely for this. The sole building is wide and massive compared to other shoes. It feels steady, yet not boring and ungainly. The extensive base feels naturally reliable, hinders any side-to-side movement through the entire heel-to-toe transition. The snap and sense while toeing off generates a receptive ride that the Clifton series is known for. With the up-to-date adding to the Clifton family Hoka accomplished to apprise that feeling evidently.
A hi-tech designed heel neck stops the shoe from putting burden on the Achilles tendons. Notwithstanding the super easy access (“Hello Triathlon!”) it creates a very relaxed overall sensation in a region of the shoe that, in the past, caused me some difficulties. Until now, this creation works perfect for me and it also, theoretically, makes sense.
While talking about this shoe, a key feature that has to be stated is the tongue and the comfortable overall sense. A thin and casually padded tongue snugs around the foot courteously and glove-like. Two inner adaptable straps on the side hold the whole thing together and generate a very smooth feeling. On top of that Hoka engineers came up with a thin mesh upper that is super breathable and robust. It certainly is fun to wear this shoe.
A shape to stand out. Well, by any means really.
An appropriate quantity of the newest Hoka-patented foam is built underneath this shoe. It feels a bit firmer than older Clifton models but this could be the reason why this shoe feels a bit snappier than other Clifton models. 

The midsole is engraved into an early stage Meta-Rocker shape which helps the runner to move the individual foot strike further forward in the shoe.
The rubberized EVA outsole adds to the lightweight tactic of the Edge. While running on the road and light trails, the construction felt safe and reliable.
A front view in the direction of the padded neckline that is built for more relief at the ankle section. 

Like seen before with the latest Nike Vaporfly models, Hoka added a slight but really clever feature to this model. Some stability lining on the heel generates a super safe and relaxed feeling while snug around the heel bone. I had no issues with rubbing or heel slippage and generally enjoyed this feature as an add-on for more comfort.
With a weight of 260 grams in US13, the Edge did not cut much weight off his older brother, the Clifton 6. It is still a light shoe for the amount of cushioning it has to offer.

The heel to toe drop comes in with 5.00mm.
It did not take me much time to get hooked on terms Hokas latest style – the Clifton Edge. It adds on where the preceding models stopped. A elegant, safe and lively ride that is reinforced by proper cushion. An agile training shoe, a mileage beater and a shoe that enjoys to move fast up hills and on roads. Not much more to ask for a everyday training mate. 

As always there are numerous feelings about the design. As long as Hoka shoe exists, there will be. But one thing is for sure, Hoka drives modernization and is not afraid to push limitations. The Clifton Edge just shows precisely this and sums it up with three characteristics printed on the insole of the shoe: light, soft and smooth!

Tune of the day: Special Request – No Other way To Say It X Four Tet – New Energy

RACEREPORT-03 / Långholmen SwimRun

Distinct times are calling for diverse procedures. Even though Sweden wasn’t excessively restrictive concerning the Covid-19 pandemic, all mass gatherings have been shut down. Apparently this contains racing happenings. Stockholm’s classic and constantly innovative SwimRun around Långholmen was one of the first races in the calendar to start back up. 

The organization did a clever job that followed to all restrictions and shaped a special day with everybody respecting the new procedures. A withdrawal of the long course event meant that different starting waves were offered over the sprint distance.
Långholmen SwimRun organizers accomplished to produce a contactless event – Online race briefing, a course description via Vimeo, race bib self-pick-up and isolated start boxes. Super well prearranged and appreciated by all competitors.
I was privileged to race with my friends daughter and last year’s women champion Ebba Kindgren.
More of my Långholmen SwimRun race chatter can be found HERE and HERE
We gave it all from start to finish. So much fun to race alongside Ebba. I was more than impressed by her performance. She dug deep and we pushed all the way.
Grinding on some technical trail early on.
Leaving the last swim segment and on the way to a second place finish. Only giving space on the podium to ÖTILLÖ World Champ Annica Ericsson and her companion. “Next year we go for the win.” was Ebba’s final announcement after the competition – You bet!
Only one photograph from my second excursion of the day. With training companion and friend Johann and I raced the 2nd heat. So much fun to escort him throughout his first SwimRun. We went way faster than anticipated and he was entirely hooked when arriving at the finish line. “This was the toughest thing I ever did. So much fun…”
Undoubtedly Långholmen SwimRun does know how to run the show. Even thru pretty unusual times. For my part I wonder how they accomplish to organize these nice and sunshiny race days. Until next year!

All pictures courtesy by Henrik Kindgren for Långholmen SwimRun

Tune of the day: Lady Saw – Serious Allegations X Peshay 1996 Studio Set
Podcast of the day: Boris Stein meets Clemens Coenen (German Only)

Friendly Fire

All-out midweek racing with the gang. Threshold and fun at a peak level at the YO Super Sprint Triathlon.

Beautiful captured by Henrik Kindgren.

Tune of the day: Lady Saw 1990s Mix

shoeporn: Adidas SL 20

Adi Dassler hits the market with a brand new model – the SL 20. SL stands for “Super Light” and that is no lie. Straight from the get go this shoe supports a dynamic stride purely by its lightness. My US13 pair weights in with 235 grams.
I received this shoe a few weeks ago. A couple of minutes prior to a 10.000 meter test race on the track. The pure feel of the shoe was so convincing that i put my trusted adidas Adios aside and used the SL20 straight out of the box. I just dipped under 37 minutes with a nice threshold effort and the shoe certainly played its part. While being dynamic enough the sole might not be springy enough for harder track efforts and performs better on the roads.
Yes, im german. So it is kinda nice to see two big german players pairing up. In this case Continental, a German multinational automotive parts manufacturing company that is famed for its tires and other parts for the automotive and transportation industries. On the SL20 they provide a nice grip that almost can feel a bit sticky from the start. I really like the traction and the grip – Solid german engineering.
The Adidas Torsion System, in the case of the SL, the red plate in the middle of the sole, was released in 1991 and still remains one of the most iconic features that has been released by adidas. In the SL20 it provides structure and control to the shoe. There has obviously been some sort of development process and one can feel that, compared to other lightweight trainers, the SL20 feel very stable for a neutral running shoe.
It has been a while that the Herzogenaurach based brand came up with some sort of foam development. With the latest Lightstrike material, adidas released a lighter and more responsive foam. Im not sure how this material stands towards the well known Boost material when it comes to the springiness. What is pretty obvious is that adidas can now provide more cushion without scarfing on the weight of the shoe. The style of the SL20 sole provides great all-round cushioning but it does not transport that direct toe-off feeling that the boost material is known for.
The SL20 can be describes as a lightweight trainer for uptempo runs. The cushioning certainly benefits the muscular stress level. I took the shoe to several paces. East runs – no problem. Faster road workouts – i like it. Track – the sole would be too soft and not direct enough. Despite the soft sole, the shoe is easy to accelerate which makes the SL20 a real fun shoe.
The SL20 comes with a 10 mm Midsole drop (heel 24 mm / forefoot 14 mm). This caters for a lot of different strike styles. As a mid and forefoot runner i had enough cushion to feel comfortable.
A classic mesh upper can be found on the upper. The material is super comfortable but misses a bit of breathability to me. A nice surprise for was the nice and wide toe box. Pretty unusual for a shoe of that style. The laminated panels that can been seen in the picture above, provide quite a great support while running.
So where does this new Adi shoe stands? As a user of several adidas models i would put this one somewhere in the Boston lineup. It certainly has the same feel to it with the additional cushion but i think it is more comfortable in a nice way. After several runs the SL20 reminds me of a the recent Nike Pegasus Turbo, only a bit firmer and less bouncy. A great allrounder that provides a lot of fun in several tempo segments.

Tune of the day: Kemal & Rob Data ‎– The Encrypter

Ötillö Testimonial

I answered some questions for the recent Ötillö Testimonial series.

Check out the feature on their website.

Tune of the day: Chevron – Chippy Chips

shoeporn: Hoka One One – Elevon 2

Here we go with the first update of Hoka’s Elevon Series. If you just look at the shoe it seems that this one fills the gap between the popular Clifton and Bondi modells. Quite some cushion but still with a very dynamic approach that you probably wouldn’t expect. The stack height is something else and something that raises some eyebrows. A shoe that certainly ticks all the boxes that Hoka is knows for. I personally like the slick and simple design of this one. This shoe is the most cushioned modell in the lightweight segment of the product range, the Fly Collection.
A detail that sticks out – by any means. The rear part of the Elevon 2 is particularly bulky and a true eye catcher. Something that has been seen in the latest Nike releases as well. Hoka was one of the first companies that used such a design feature and as the masters of bulky soles, they have been copied by several players of the industry.
Sometimes it is the simple stuff that counts. The design of the tongue and the placement is something that i really liked and that is extremely well made at this one. While being super thin, it still feels very comfortable. The asymmetrical tongue is lightly padded with a cutout to provide more comfort.
To create a dynamic running sensation, Hoka designers put flex grooves in the forefoot and placed springier foam in this part of the shoe for a more responsive toe-off. These are the parts of the sole that i cherish a lot. A vital part for my running style.
The Elevon 2 comes with a 5 mm drop. The center of the sole is a well cushioned dual-foam that is placed between a stiff rim and core construction. This is the center of the shoe and creates a quite unique sensation that is not something that i have experienced before in Hoka shoes. It took me quite some runs to get used to this. While having plenty of underfoot cushion, it feels firmer than the Clifton. Eventually this makes the Elevon 2 a shoe that responds easier to speed sessions and uptempo runs.
A look at the outsole design displays crystal transparent rubber with strategic placed forefoot grooving that are meant to increase the flexibility while toeing off.
During the 160 kilometers that i put on these shoes until now, the crystal rubber did not show much wear and tear. It is a firm outsole that offers plenty of traction and makes this shoe a great work horse, especially on the road.
If you have used this Elevon in the older version you will find the core update in even more support in the shoes midfoot and forefoot part. Together with the asymmetrical internal support wings, the Elevon 2 offers a better fit with more cushion. The extended heel is meant for a smoother transitions but as i have a forefoot to mid foot stride, i couldn’t really judge this feature.
To create a light shoe, Hoka not only saved some weight within the sole design, furthermore they used a comfortable and breathable mesh upper that provides some proper air flow that surprised me.
Some more detailed picture on the upper of the Elevon 2 to highlight the material and show the nicely knitted structure.
While this shoe helps you quite a bit to develop and maintain a dynamic stride, it is possibly a heel strikers best friend. The back part of the shoe is softer with extra cushioning while being firmer in the forefoot.
Another picture of the heel, a feature that is hard to overlook on the Elevon 2.
As stated above – If you are used to the classic Hoka feeling. You will be disappointed. The Elevon 2 is less softer cushioned as you might expect. This could create an odd feeling if you expect a certain sensation from this shoe. Nevertheless, the Elevon 2 is a proper shoe that likes to play with speed while providing firm cushion.
The Elevon 2 weights in with a mere of 288 grams. Quite some weight for shoe like this. To makes this good shoe even better i expect Hoka to shave off some grams for the 3rd version. This would make this shoe even more fun that it is now.
To me the Elevon 2 is a great daily trainer. Often enough i even got carried away playing around with some uptempo speeds. Paired with plenty of cushioning this is a shoe that kept my legs safe and recovered during longer runs and tempo workouts. I can see myself running even more miles with it.
Hoka One One’s Elevon 2 is a proper and very positive update. If you are still not a 100% sure if Hoka has a shoe for you as you are not a fan of the massive cushion, then this one might be a good choice. The Elevon 2 is a dynamic shoe with enough cushion to make the beaten up legs happy. Long runs, tempo runs and also daily jogging routines is the blazing field of this model.

Tune of the day: Vale-Smith – Cassia Topaz

42.195 kilometres

The marathon is one of the original modern olympic events. Introduced in 1896 as a tribute to famed greek soldier Pheidippides.

Since the 1924 olympic games in Paris, the distance is standardized to 42.195 kilometers and ill-famed ever since. An iconic distance that never fails to amaze.

Good friend Johann hailed the distance with an amazing effort. On a Saturday morning. With some friends.


Tune of the day: Bicep – Glue

shoeporn: Hoka One One – Cavu 3

While Hoka One One seems to have certain trademark models such as the iconic Clifton and the Bondi, the Cavu seems to fly a bit under the radar. Usually Hoka is known for massive cushion, with the Cavu they come up a thinner approach to the sole design.
Cavu product descriptions vary quite a bit. The shoe sometimes is described as a performance oriented sneaker. Personally i have never felt that way. The Cavu is a clean and simple running shoe that, to me, offers a lot I’m looking for in a reliable, performance oriented running shoe.
A feature that certainly sticks out and makes this shoe special, is the nicely knitted, tongue-less and extremely comfortable stretch knit upper. The sock-like fit is amazing and creates a nice snug feel to the feet. Enough to just easily slide in and enjoy the ride without being too loose.
A more detailed look at the well placed zonal perforations with some structured sections that provide good breathability. Nevertheless does the structure of the shoe paired with the knit material offer a proper stability while running.
A close look at the heart of the Cavu – the Profly midsole. A midsole design that is pretty unique in the Hoka range. The sole offers a very responsive toe-off and very nice direct feeling that i treasure a lot on longer tempo runs.
One more detailed look at the updated EVA midsole that provides significantly more comfort to the underfoot than the one that was provided in the 2nd generation model of the Cavu.
No worries readers. This shoe is a 100% Vegan and weights in with 198g and an extra springy rocker profile while a deeper Active Foot Frame delivers added support. Nice one!
A front view of this light and speedy powerhouse. Simple does it with the Cavu and that is what i realize appreciate with this one, a fast and efficient transition!
This is the heel section of the shoe. From here to the toe section, there is a 6.00mm drop. Enough to create some nice dynamic within the stride.
The Profly sole that is used in the latest Cavu 3 keeps on offering a nice and soft landing while having a nice and springy toe-off. The redesigned midsole and outsole provide a smoother, more comfortable running experience than the previous model.
On the outsole and rubberized EVA material offers some more cushioning and now, after about 150 kilometers with this shoe, is still in a pretty good shape. This shoe is resilient.
The 3rd update of the Cavu is a proper one and a significant step in the development of this shoe. This shoe comes in the lower price dement but i have to say it offers was more than the price suggested. To me, this is not a sneaker, it is a running shoe that provided me a great range of services. From dual commutes to tempo runs and a few track session, the Cavu was a reliable and fun partner.

Tune of the day:
Alfa Mist & Emmavie – Epoch (Full Album) X DJ Seinfeld – U

In Pictures: YO Intervals at Stockholm Olympic Stadium

What is better than running some hard laps with the gang around the venue of the 1912 Olympic Games?

Yes, homie Dennis Wernersson capturing it!

Tune of the day: Haze x Falco – No Time For Revolution

Racereport-01 / 01.03.2020 / ÖTILLÖ SwimRun Catalina

Once digging around some thrift store in Dublin I picked up an enthralling book with the title “Swimming to Antarctica: Tales of a Long-Distance Swimmer” by Lynne Cox. Reading this book, was essentially the very first time I found out about this 195 km2 atoll 47 kilometer south-southwest of Long Beach, California – Catalina Island. Since then the isle only came across my courtesy segments when somebody swam a new record time for the well-known channel crossing from Los Angeles to Santa Catalina Island. Correspondingly the odd shark encounter along the Catalina shorelines was something that now and then flashed up to me while reading the news.

Picture: Paddy Mack for Ötillö

Once my befriended Ötillö organization publicized that they are heading Stateside and to Santa Catalina Island for their very first contest in America, I was captivated. But to be frank, although I was charmed and struck by the location, I seemed to have forgotten about the competition. I can’t really recall who made me aware of it but it hit me by surprise that I had to find out that I was in California on holiday anyhow when the race was meant to take place.

After some family internal debates and preparations I contacted my dear friend and fellow SwimRun aficionado Herbert in the quest for a probable companion. It did not take long to get in contact with Robin Pomeroy. Robin and her friend had an brilliant day during Herbert’s SwimRun contest throughout Hanging rock state park (check their website and sign up for next year’s race). It appeared to click immediately between Robin and myself. She was eager to race and we both had a similar “it is early in the season and I’m not a 100% fit” pretext on hand. Paired with the appreciative support by the wonderful dudes of ARK SwimRun, this turned out to be a great little adventure in the making.

Picture: Paddy Mack for Ötillö

My family and I coasted into LA airport, stayed a night in Long Beach and then found us on a ship to Catalina Island the next morning. And what a two hour journey that was. We could not believe our eyes when we saw a troop of 20-30 dolphins playing beside the ferryboat about 20 minutes before we arrived at Avalon ferry port – A fantastic experience.

Avalon is a small distinct community island town. Pretty rare for American standards no fast-food chains or comparable shops are permitted on the island. This in itself creates a great touch and the little town was an remarkable host for this race even though the start was in another town called Two Harbours further down the coast. We spend the days prior to the race relaxing and hiking. For a good reason Catalina Island is labeled “California’s Galapagos Island”. I have visited both places and there are certain parallels for sure. Unhurt landscape harmonizing with wonderful wildlife and incredibly clear waters does not feel like a place that is less than two hours away from a demanding 4 million people metropolitan that goes by the name of Los Angeles.

Sunday morning came fast and we found us on a cruise ship to the start area. Aboard the ship we found a lot of familiar faces and friends (thank you swimrunshop.com for the rope!) and it was entertaining to catch up with everybody prior to the competition. When we landed at Two Harbors Robin and I organized our equipment and relaxed as good as we could. I was more than fascinated by Robins proficient tactic. Never before have I seen someone write down the distances and specialties of each swim and run leg so carefully. Instantaneously I knew that not much could go wrong on this beautiful and sunlit day. After dull month after dull month of Vitamin D withdrawal in Sweden, it was untainted frenzy to sense all these sun rays on my pastel coating.

Picture: Paddy Mack for Ötillö

Some high-fives and sociable hugs later, the race was on. After about 1 kilometer of flat running, the first real test came up on us. A pretty steep climb that immediately stretched the field. We were fortunate enough to arrive at this ascent with the first group and started this battle with a suitable power stroll after roughly 5 minutes of “real” running. As Alan Parsons once sang: “What goes up, must come down.” And how it came down. Fundamentally the very first downhill set the tone of the course character. And that should effect my body for some weeks – a proper aching in portions of my legs that I never knew exist.

Trails in the US are different to the trails at home. Although it seems that some trails line bend after bend after bend, these Jeep trails basically went straight down. And we weren’t used to that at all. The price that we paid was sore legs and a slow performance when it came to jog down the mounts.

So after this first shock for the legs I pretty much looked forward to calm the system down in the pacific with a 1.500 meter swim. Albeit we took it easy, we passed the premier checkpoint in first place in the Mixed category. We did not hold this place for long. The first swim was quite choppy and Robin and I had to find our rhythm as we had never relay trained together before. We managed very well but I was pretty astonished by the swim abilities of the field. Some other mixed teams passed us with pretty imposing speeds.

Picture: Paddy Mack for Ötillö

We went on and looped back to the area where the competition started. The running was fantastic. The grimy jeep thoroughfares were fun and easy to run on. After the 2nd swim section, the first long run to Parsons Landing Bay came up. It started with a long and very steep uphill. We cooped very well and, again, found an effective power hike rhythm that we kept to the top. The ridgeline was something else and it was more less impossible to not soak in the pure attractiveness and solitude of Catalina Island.

We ran on and mainly I had to suffer pretty badly on the downhill slope. What a beast of a steep ramp that lead us all the way down to next swim share of the race. We found out the hard way that the downhill presentation was dreadful. While entering the aid station before the swim another mixed team passed us. We checked sometimes while running on the ridge if somebody was chasing us. We never saw anyone. So they obviously knew how to move their bodies downhill. We clearly didn’t…

But we had no time to think about that. The imminent swim looked like a rollercoaster. We opted to swim without a rope as the hostile surf was rolling to the beach. A good choice but a bumpy swim nevertheless. I was happy to enter solid grounds after what felt like ages in the sea for a 700 meter swim.

A attired set of pleasant single trails was the course makers “thank you” after this wash machine and after a short run we had a 1300 meter swim on tab. This time the water was qualm and left a little bit of time to enjoy the views. Crystal clear waters permitted the observation of the homegrown fish culture and led to another 3 kilometer run on the dirt roads. We used the clean running to gain valuabe grounds and I was particular happy to constantly sync super well with Robin.

Picture: Pierre Mangez for Ötillö

Next up was the lengthiest swim of the competition – 1600 meters. The waves and the light current was a test. But the major challenge we had to face was the cold water. We never really warmed up during the preceding runs and hurt a lot when we stepped back on land. The gales hit us hard and the bodies never really had a chance to warm up. It took us quite a while to get some heat back in the bodies but faster running on the next 4 kilometers certainly helped a bit.

We went on and never really had more teams in sight which made it tough sometimes to go that extra bit out of the comfort zone. But we kept the positive vibe and spirit. When we started the last 1400 meter swim the wind never allowed the bodies to fully recover. We had to take the very last energy reserves to make it through a swim portion that appeared to never really end.

Later than sooner it did and we arrived at the beach and were content about the simple fact that we survived this last stretch of unfriendly water and ran to the finish line. After 5:54:21 we finished as the fifth mixed team. Though the last swim took ages, it all went fast once we crossed the line. Robin was taken care of by Micke Lemmel as she had proper hypothermia. I was also in bad shape and was stuck in the shower without coins for the warm water. What a fight and massive thanks to Johan Carlsson for organizing all these coins to get me back on track. That was a very long time without clothes in that shower…

Once everyone was back to normal we could enjoy a very relaxed and sociable after race hang-out by the beach and drank too much beer and ate too much delicious burgers. When we heard our names at the price giving we weren’t too sure why but it turned out that our performance was good enough to qualify for the Ötillö world champs. That was a positive surprise and we celebrated it on the ferry journey back to Avalon with everybody and a ARK sponsored free bar. That was some way to kick off Ötillö SwimRun in the US.

Tune of the day: Inwards – Bright Serpent

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