Hoka One One Clifton Review (2021)

Buy these shoes if…

  • You’re a beginner runner looking for a comfortable multi-purpose sneaker that gives you a lot of bang for your buck
  • You’re training for a marathon and want a light but cushy shoe for those “time on the feet” long, slow runs
  • You’re intrigued by Hoka’s shoes and want to try out the brand’s most well-known model

Keep reading for the Run the Shoes’ full review of the Hoka One One Clifton.

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$140 at Zappos


Offset: 5mm

Weight: 7.2oz (Women) // 8.9oz (Men)

Price: $130

The Clifton has done a lot for the Hoka One One brand. From my vantage point, it was the first shoe that made non-mountain runners take the brand’s products seriously for road running. It also made Hoka well-known outside of the running community; its collaboration with Outdoor Voices in 2018 introduced the brand to a whole new consumer, the millennial athleisure crowd. But we’re not here to talk about great marketing. Let’s focus on why the Hoka Clifton is the best daily trainer I’ve worn in my 15 years as a runner. 

I’m trying to avoid using the word “marshmallow” to describe the Cliftons because almost every other review site does, but they’re not wrong. This is an extremely soft shoe, and that cushyness is one of the first things you notice when you put them on. When I first tried on a pair of Hoka Cliftons back in 2018, I had never worn a running shoe that felt so soft but firm. You’d expect a well-cushioned shoe to feel clunky, and though these do look clunky, they’re quite light. (I’ve also worn the Hoka Bondi, which look and feel clunky. The Cliftons do not.)

These are my go-to daily running shoes that I wear for long endurance-building runs, recovery runs, easy runs—basically any run that isn’t speed-focused. They’re also a great shoe to wear on runnable dirt-based trails. I personally wouldn’t wear them for super-technical trails but I should note that I ran the 100-plus mile Tour du Mont Blanc with a woman who wore a pair of Cliftons instead of trail-specific shoes.

In terms of technical details, the Clifton has all the hallmarks of a Hoka shoe: full-compression EVA foam to create that well-cushioned ride, an extended heel crash pad for easy landing, and the brand’s Meta-Rocker technology, which is meant to literally move you forward as you run. 

The last thing to note, which might not be important to many people but is to me, is the color scheme. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I want my running shoes to look nice! Every iteration of the Clifton brings an exciting new array of colors that will make you excited to get out the door in the morning. I’m currently working my way through the navy Clifton 7 with orange and pink accents after I maxed out the mileage on the light blue model with a yellow base. Next up for me will likely be the “outerspace/Atlantis” combo.

Hoka One One Clifton review

What to love about the Hoka One One Clifton

Aside from the fact that the Cliftons nail the art of being well-cushioned and light, they’re quite durable in the sense that they can take on a variety of terrain and they last a long time. Almost all Hoka shoes have that cushy lightness, but some feel heavy on the feet (the Bondi) and others max out their springiness relatively early in their tenure (the Rincon). 

What not to love about the Hoka One One Clifton

There’s not much to dislike about the Hoka Cliftons, other than the fact that they aren’t great for running fast. That’s not really something to dislike as much as a fact worth noting; it’s virtually impossible to find a shoe that is good for both speed training and recovery runs. I will note, however, that the mesh upper is a little heavy, so wearing these in the summer months leaves your feet feeling overheated.

The bottom line

The Clifton line made Hoka One One a name brand, and for good reason. These shoes embody the brand’s unique value proposition of “maximum cushion, minimal weight,” so no matter if you’re Hoka-curious or a diehard for the brand, these shoes belong in your weekly running repertoire. 

$140 at Zappos

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Elaheh Nozari

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