As you know, HUF is led by San Francisco legend Keith Hufnagel, who has put 16 years of blood, sweat, and tears into transforming the brand into a global company. That’s right. 16 years ago, HUF was created. Over these 16 years, HUF has built an impressive roster of team riders, introduced a huge product line of new innovative shoe models, and opened 7 brick and mortar retail stores in New York, Los Angeles, and Japan. Yet the most impressive aspect of HUF’s expansion is that the brand has remained consistent with their “Made by skateboarders, for skateboarders” ethos over these 16 years; nothing is watered down, there aren’t wack product designs trying to win “skate innovation”, and HUF’s collaborations are always focused on the true street/skate culture pushers. When a new product and shoe model is released, the silhouettes are always clean and sleek from the outside, but have technical features embedded inside to ensure optimal performance, which is also the case with the new HUF Clive model. The new sleek Clive model was introduced through HUF’s riders Tyler Bledsoe and Dick Rizzo, which is a small indication of the performance to be expected. Fortunately enough, we were able to get our hands on a pair of the new shoes, read on below to see how they lasted.
The HUF Clive fits slightly bigger, so we recommend to go half size down.
There are certain design elements that influence the durability of a skateboard shoe, with seams and foxing tape thickness being the most important for vulcanized models. The clean and minimal look of the HUF Clive is a result of the minimal seams designed in the hot spot Ollie and Kickflip area. After skating the shoes, we noticed this particular characteristic elevated the shoe’s durability. The HUF designer did a great job in fusing the upper panels together instead of stitching seams. Similar to the HUF Hupper 2, the Clive’s 3D foxing tape profile is much higher than other vulcanized models, which helped by directing most of the griptape abuse towards the foxing tape itself and away from the kickflip hole area. It basically acts as a rubber shield reinforcement in the Ollie and Kickflip attack areas. Although it’s a small detail, we’ll always mention how the laces ripped extremely fast in our reviews. But in the case of the HUF Clive, the lace line is designed quite narrowly and hardly comes in contact with the griptape, which resulted in our laces lasting throughout the whole test duration. All these mentioned features from our evaluation led to the shoe’s overall impressive durability.
The shape of the Clive is a narrow fitting shoe that still offers enough breathing room and space for the feet. The extra wiggle room for the feet is a result of their inner bootie construction, which we will explain more about in the Comfort section. The feet are quite secure and hug tightly to the shoe. The toe area is a nice element of the shoe; it tapers to a pointy shape, which also creates less surface area for abrasion. Although the HUF Clive is a classic vulcanized design, it is heavier than most. The sidewalls of the shoe are also much higher than most, which makes for a deeper fit and better protection.
Most of the vulcanized models we have tested opt for better boardfeel, which in turn sacrifices a bit on the performance side of cushioning protection. As you can see in the cross sectional picture, the Clive has a very thin sole which provides great boardfeel and flexibility. The cushioning comes from the insole, which is made out of EVA foam. The minimal padding can protect the heel and toe area only from minor impacts; the shoe is quite suitable for jumping down 5-7 stairs but trying tricks down anything more will leave your toes hurting.
As a vulcanized model, the Clive’s internal construction has a heavy emphasis on boardfeel. Due to the thin sole, as well as the thin foam insole, there is almost no material that can decrease boardfeel and flexibility. A flexible sole can adapt very well to the concave of the board and has a bigger surface and contact area between board and foot. As for grip, the shoe uses HUF’s newest “Infinity Rubber” for the outsole, which is a rubber compound that is more durable and grippy than standard rubber formulas found in the market. When it came to the weartest, the shoe proved to be extremely grippy, however, we saw first signs of blow out spots in the sole.
Comfort has three main elements: breathability, fit and weight. The breathability is good due to a perforated HUF logo on the lateral panels that allows for consistent airflow. The fit is also improved due to an inner bootie construction that hugs the foot and offers good snug fit, stability and also support. The weight of the shoe however, is average. In terms of stability the Clive turned out to be very stable and kept its shape over the test. The shoe’s high foxing tape provided the sidewalls and feet more stability so the chances of ankle rolls are minimized.
The HUF Clive is a perfect addition to the HUF portfolio. Underneath its clean and simple silhouette turns out to be a well thought layout of technical elements. In summary, durability, boardfeel and grip are all above average but one element of the shoe that needs improvement is the cushioning.