I’ve been looking forward to try out the Clifton since reading about the [surprisingly] lightweight shoe on the Running Warehouse Blog earlier in the year. Although I’ve logged many miles in both the Stinson Evo and Bondi 3 over the past 12 to 18 months, I have to admit Hokas are not typically the first shoe I reach for when heading out for a run. I love the cushioned ride, but usually find myself selecting one of the many lighter options in the closet.
Enter the HOKA ONE ONE CLIFTON –
Quite possibly the smoothest-riding shoe on the market, the CLIFTON offers incredible cushioning at an almost impossibly light weight.
Sounds intriguing, but would the CLIFTON live up to all the hype? Only one way to find out – head to the local speciality running store, Running Etc., and give them a whirl. Out of the box, and based on weight alone, the CLIFTON don’t feel like a typical HOKA. For a shoe with so much cushion, they’re deceptively light – 8.1 ounces for the size 10 I purchased to be precise.
Fast forward a couple of weeks and I’ve almost logged 50 miles in the CLIFTON, which should be enough for me to jot down a few initial thoughts:
- They are light. Recovery runs have been very pleasant in the CLIFTON – no more lugging around a heavy shoe to take advantage of lots of cushion. Naturally, they still feel a bit chunky compared to a Saucony Kinvara or a Pearl Izumi Road N1, but the weight is definitely on a par.
- The ride is excellent, which I’ve found is not always a good thing – the shoe likes to go fast! Take note – thanks to the unique rockered geometry, it’s been difficult to stick to recovery pace on my easy runs.
- The upper is described by HOKA as “Ultra-Lightweight No Sew SpeedFrame Construction”. Basically, it’s a flexible, no-seam, closed mesh material that is showing no sign of wear and tear. It vents well from the inside, but keeps dust and debris out. I haven’t attempted a sockless run in the CLIFTON, but have a feeling things would be just fine if I did.
- The heel cup is a little sloppy, but that’s probably due to the fact that I sized up to a 10 from my typical size 9.5. Also, I wish the CLIFTON had a set of those extra top-row eyelets that every other pair of running shoes I own seems to have – that would really help the sloppy-heel syndrome.
- The outsole appears to be plenty durable, with strategically placed lightweight rubber in both the forefoot and heel areas. Again, I’ve only logged about 50 miles on the shoe, but so far there are no signs of significant wear.
- Price – at $130.00, it’s great to see a HOKA with a retail price lower than $170.00.
- Weight – can’t beat an 8 ounce shoe which so much cushion.
- Ride – surprisingly stable, and the rockered profile encourages a smooth, fluid gait.
- Offset – 4mm heel-to-toe offset is right where I like it.
- Colors – blue/black/lime is an eye-catching combo.
- The included inserts are wafer thin and held in place by a few small squares of double-sided tape. Just a few miles into my first run and the left insert started to bunch up at the front of the shoe – a little bit annoying but thankfully not blister forming. I’ve since switched out the thicker inserts from my Bondi 3s, and for the sake of an extra 0.2 ounces per shoe, the bunching issue has been eliminated.
- As mentioned above, I wish there were a set of extra top-row eyelets in the CLIFTON so I can tie the shoes just like in the video below.
From the HOKA ONE ONE website:
“Earlystage Meta-Rocker sculpting geometry provides a fluid, efficient ride and the stripped down SpeedFrame upper leaves no extra weight for you to lug around. If you want to take the feeling of running on grass with you to the concrete jungle, look no further than the Clifton.”
- Ultra-Lightweight No Sew SpeedFrame Construction
- Early Stage Meta-Rocker Geometry
- Full Length HIP CMEVA Midsole
- 4mm Heel to Toe Offset
- Full Ground Contact Design
- Strategic Hi-Abrasion Rubber Zones
Anyone else tried the CLIFTON? Like ’em? Hate ’em? How about the Huaka – another HOKA on my wishlist. Feel free to leave a comment below, and, as always, thanks for reading!
Other HOKA ONE ONE CLIFTON Reviews: