At a Glance:
- 7.8 oz (Men’s size 9), 6.8 oz (Women’s size 8 )
- 6mm Heel to Toe Offset
- 29 mm heel, 23 mm forefoot
- With a soft and quick feel, the Clifton delivers maximum cushioning with HIP CMEVA Midsole.
- At faster speeds, transition to the forefoot feels effortless due to the Early Stage Meta-Rocker Geometry
- With a full Ground Contact design, a stable ride is achieved without feeling overly bulky
- The SpeedFrame upper design offers a snug fit during runs no matter what pace you run
Verdict: The HOKA Clifton is in a class of it’s own. This ultra-lightweight shoe partners well with efficient runners looking for a suitable tempo shoe while the large midsole shape and high ride height provide a soft forgiving experience on the roads at any pace.
The union of speed and cushioning
In the midsole, wear testers immediately noticed the HIP CMEVA technology which created a feeling of maximum shock absorption which was uncommon in such a lightweight shoe. While not quite as durable as the RMAT midsole seen in the HOKA ONE ONE Huaka and Conquest models, the HIP CMEVA provided a soft cushioning that did not feel mushy as paces increased. The midsole helps create a plush ride that feels substantially more cushioned than other trainers with similar weights. The Clifton also utilizes the Early Stage Meta-Rocker Geometry to encourage a fast transition through your gait. With a transition zone placed directly in front of the metatarsal heads, testers felt the rocker encouraged them to strike on the midfoot.
Feeling stable on the roads
The Clifton continues on with the tried and true HOKA ONE ONE design by utilizing a Full Ground Contact design to provide increased traction and a smooth transition. Testers found the broad surface area resulted in a stable feel without being cumbersome. The shoe’s low weight is partly due to carved out sections within the outsole and into the midsole, which act as flex grooves, providing a versatile feel when moving quick on the roads. While fast on the roads, testers felt the shoes durability was not adequate for trail use.
Performance Weight. Performance Fit.
To keep weight minimal, an ultra-lightweight SpeedFrame upper is used to create a comfortable fit with ample breathability. When first trying on the shoe, testers did note the upper fit slightly loose but after adjusting the laces, each runner was able to create an optimal fit. Weight was also reduced on the upper by adding a very thin neoprene-like tongue which was a noticeable feature to the overall upper feel. While not gusseted, the tongue provided a perfectly wrapped, anatomical fit that makes up for a lack of plushness.
Weighing in at 7.8 oz (men’s size 9) and a 6 mm heel-to-toe drop, the Clifton is in the lightweight trainer category similar to other shoes such as the Saucony Kinvara 5 and the Brooks PureFlow 3. While the Clifton seems to provide superior cushioning, both the Kinvara 5 and the PureFlow 3 are going to provide a similar feel underfoot when paces increase. The Kinvara 5 weighs in at 7.6 oz and provides a soft, somewhat squishy feel on the roads. The Kinvara 5 is going to have a slightly lower heel to toe offset at 4mm and offers a more plush upper in comparison to the Clifton. The PureFlow 3 weighs in slightly heavier at 9.0 oz and provides an even softer feel than the Kinvara 5. With a 4mm heel to toe offset and tight anatomical fitting upper, the Pureflow 3 will provide a performance fit . While the Clifton seems to be in a category of its own in terms of weight and cushioning, the Pureflow 3 and Kinvara 5 are going to be close choices for runners looking for a lightweight trainer with low heel to toe offsets.
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