Hoka Clifton 8 Review Analysis (2022)
Last update: May 2022
The Hoka Clifton 8 is a versatile lightweight running with a soft and comfortable cushioning.
First of all, the Clifton is famous for its soft and flexible cushioning within the Hoka series. In this respect, the Clifton 8 is even softer than its predecessor! It’s particularly noticeable under the forefoot. According to the American brand (formerly French), the foam is new, lighter, and more springy. However, in practice, the weight remains similar (250 g/8.8 oz for the men’s model), and the energy return is satisfactory without being breathtaking. According to some testers, the Clifton delivers a smooth ride. Still, it suffers from the comparison with the last generation of foams (ZoomX by Nike or PWRRUN PB by Saucony, for example) which decided to abandon EVA for Pebax. Last but not least, the famous Meta-Rocker of the brand enables quick transitions from heel to toe by compensating for the low drop (5 mm).
Next, the upper is the part where we find the most significant changes. First, let’s appreciate that the mesh is now 100% vegan! The story doesn’t say if the sole is also vegan (so we assume it’s not), but it’s already a good start and shows that the industry is heading in the right direction. The mesh is thinner, which gives better breathability. Also, the new padded gusseted tongue locks in the foot securely and comfortably. The only tricky part is the size of the upper: wide-footed athletes will be happy to know that the upper is higher and wider. However, people with thinner feet may have fit concerns (no pun intended). So be careful if you’re in that situation!
Finally, the outsole packs a good amount of rubber in sensitive areas to protect them from abrasion. Traction is adequate, but runners note that the Clifton may not be as stable as the Mach 4, which offers a wider heel (Swallow Tail). Testers report that the stability is better than with the early versions, but there’s still room for improvement.
All in all, the Hoka Clifton 8 is a very good running shoe with a soft, high-stack, and flexible platform that packs sufficient bounce to have fun during your daily runs. Plus, the added softness of the midsole makes it more versatile so that you can use the Clifton for any speed or distance. A solid reference that lives up to its reputation!
- Great comfort
- Soft, high-stack cushioning, which is responsive enough for daily runs
- Bigger upper suitable for runners with wider feet
- Breathable (and vegan!) mesh
- Lightweight shoe
- Lack of stability, according to some testers
- The looser fit of the upper can be tricky to adjust for athletes with thin feet
- Zonal rubber offers a safe grip on city terrains and enhances the durability of the sole.
- The flex grooves help runners to transition more quickly by allowing the shoe to better follow the movement of the foot.
- CMEVA equips the midsole. It stands for compression-molded EVA, a single-density padding layer that gives comfortable cushioning.
- The Meta Rocker Geometry offers a natural rocking movement for enhanced propulsion.
- OrthoLite increases step-in comfort and helps with regulating moisture.
- The upper of the Hoka Clifton 8 is an 100% vegan engineered mesh that comfortably and securely locks in the foot in the shoe while letting it breathe, especially in the summer.
- The heel counter enhances foothold and softly craddles the Achilles for less irritation.
|Heel stack height||29 mm|
|Forefoot stack height||24 mm|
|Weight (men)||250 g/8.8 oz|
|Weight (women)||215 g/7.6 oz|
|Softness (1-5)||4 – Soft|
|Bounce (1-5)||3 – Moderate|
|Outsole||Zonal rubber, flex grooves|
|Midsole||CMEVA, Meta Rocker Geometry, OrthoLite|
|Upper||100% vegan engineered mesh, heel counter|
|Distance||Mid, long, 10k, half marathon, marathon|
|Workout||Daily runs, recovery|
Comparisons – Hoka Clifton 8 vs.:
Hoka Clifton 7
The Clifton 8 brings some improvements over the previous model but nothing major. For example, there is a new CMEVA foam, a roomier upper with thinner mesh, and overall softer cushioning. The bounce is very similar. In other words, if you liked the C7, you should enjoy the C8!
Hoka Mach 4
View the side-by-side comparison.
Hoka Bondi 7
View the side-by-side comparison.
Hoka Elevon 2
The Hoka Clifton 8 is lighter than the Hoka Elevon 2 (36 g/1.3 oz less) with a slightly lower stack (29 mm heel stack height vs. 32 mm for the Elevon). Both shoes offer soft cushioning, but the Clifton’s has the advantage of being more springy, which is better suited if you intend to do speed workouts. Secondly, the C8’s upper is ample, which is better suited for runners with wide feet but can be tricky for thin-footed runners. In contrast, the E2 is relatively narrow. So we recommend the Hoka Clifton 8 if you’re not sure which shoe to choose.
Brooks Ghost 14
The Ghost is very similar (stack, feel, and ride) but with one important difference. Check out our analysis.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
This model fits true to size. However, note that the upper is a bit loose, which can be more complicated to adjust if you have thin feet. So, ideally, try it on.
Yes, this is a neutral running shoe. Thus, it’s for all runners independently from your type of pronation. However, some testers note that the shoe is not as stable as they would like it to be, which can be a problem for people who need stability. If so, the Hoka Mach 4 is a good alternative.
This model should be suitable for all body types with their thick (29 mm heel stack height) and comfortable sole. Note that the cushioning is soft, while many heavy runners prefer to have more structure, which generally means firmer cushioning. It’s best to try it if you’re not sure.
This Hoka road shoe is excellent for different types of distances and training. So you can use it for your daily workouts, whether they focus on distance or speed. As for the marathon, it depends mainly on your experience. If you can comfortably accumulate long runs with these shoes, then there should be no problem. All in all, it’s undoubtedly a model geared towards long distances like the marathon.
Kevin is the founder and editor of Runner’s Lab. He started running in 2015 and completed his first marathon in Rotterdam in 2016. He’s also worked for Under Armour from 2016 to 2018 and helped launch their running collection in Europe (in particular the HOVR shoes). In addition, Kevin is a 300-hour certified yoga teacher (Sivananda) and uses this experience to run more mindfully with a focus on well-being over performance.