A while ago, I was sent a pair of Hoka One One Clifton 2 shoes to try out.
I usually wear a size UK6 and requested these in a UK7, in line with what I wear in other running shoes. And I loved them, how I loved them. Despite their chunky appearance, these shoes were comfortable, light and like running on air.
I wore them in a 10k and they were great. I wore them in a 10 mile race. I wore them in a half marathon. As they were worn in, I decided to wear them in a marathon.
Mistake. I discovered the hard way that the toebox was just a little bit too narrow for me. It hadn’t been a problem in the shorter distances, but by 14/15 miles, my toes were blistered agony.
I gave the shoes the benefit of the doubt and wore them in another half marathon, but by the end, my toes were blistered again. This presented me with a dilemma. I honestly loved these shoes. No foot pain, no ankle pain, pure comfort. Apart from the small problem of a narrow toe box. I had planned to start out wearing them in my ultra attempt, so I got online to see if anyone else had the same problem. Turns out that the narrow toebox is a common complaint in these shoes.
I know it sounds strange to sing the praises of shoes that blister, but I really didn’t want to give up on them. I’ve had problems with plantar fasciitis in the past and I’ve had no pain with these. Finally, I decided to cut the toe box open.
First of all, I put the shoes on and drew a line from the base of my little toe round to the top of my fourth toe.
Next, we took a sharp craft knife and cut out that segment of the shoe. I made my husband do that because I’m a bowler and value my fingers.
Repeat on the other shoe. Finally, I was left with two butchered, but oh-so-comfortable, shoes.
Maybe this is an unorthodox approach, but what a difference. I successfully ran 20 miles with these just two days later, with no blisters. And as an added bonus, my feet were able to breathe. It was comfortable. My feet felt free. There was no rubbing at all from where I’d cut.
If you do have a pair of Hoka One One shoes and are struggling with the toebox, don’t give up on them if you otherwise love them. Cutting them open has really made a huge difference and they are back to being my go-to shoes. And in other news, I paid the stand a quick visit at the London Marathon Expo and have been informed they’ll be released with a wider toebox this summer. I’ll buy another pair then, but for now, I’ll happily don my holey trainers for a run.
Let me know if home shoe surgery works for you!