Hoka Clifton 9 Review (2023): The Most Comfortable Shoes?
Published on: 08/03/2023The Hoka Clifton 9 is a lightweight running shoe combining comfort, versatility and cushion.
A great daily trainer with soft cushioning. A timeless classic!
Don’t have time to read the full review? Here’s what you need to know.
The Hoka Clifton 9 is a successful update of the previous model, continuing the brand’s quest for softness and comfort. The brand made significant changes, with more stack (3 mm) and a new CMEVA foam midsole proving lighter. The cushioning is softer but lacks some bounce, according to testers.
This new Clifton features the company’s Meta Rocker, as effective as ever to propel forward and ensure smooth transitions through the gait cycle. The upper has been both streamlined and padded without adding weight. The engineered mesh (100% vegan) is breathable and provides ultra-comfortable, secure lockdown.
In short, the Hoka Clifton 9 are for runners looking for lightweight, comfortable daily trainers that can do anything.
For more information, please read our full review of the Hoka Clifton 9.
- Great overall comfort with good shock absorption
- Lightweight, breathable upper, 100% vegan!
- Nice mid-foot locking system
- Excellent stability for a max cushion shoe
- Modern design with attractive colors
- Spacious toe box for people with narrow feet
- Lacks a bit of response
Hoka Clifton 9 Complete Review Analysis
The Hoka Clifton is beginning to have its own little history. Over the years, the brand’s flagship running shoe for daily training has undergone a number of happy changes, as well as a few disappointments for fans. It has put on a little weight here and a little firmness there, and gained in reliability too. At the same time, it has also become a little less fun on the asphalt compared to the lightweight, max cushion competitors that have emerged on the market.
The Hoka Clifton returns today for its 9th edition. What updates does it include? Will it consolidate the improvements made to version 8 (smooth ride, effective rocker)? Is it still in the run to confirm its status as a Hoka mainstay? Find out the answers to these questions in the rest of this article!
Hoka One One’s efforts to update the 9th iteration of their Clifton focused on this part of the shoe. The general consensus among reviewers is that the new formulation of the compression-molded EVA foam, both softer and lighter, is a notable improvement. It provides soft shock dispersion but little energy return.
As if by magic, the Clifton’s midsole comes with added stack height (+3 mm) while remaining lightweight. Comfort on asphalt is undeniable.
For the rest, the intrinsic characteristics of the model remain. The combination of a high stack sole (32 mm at heel – 27 mm at toe) with a low drop (5 mm).
Above all, Hoka’s Meta Rocker geometry continues to embody the Clifton, delivering a pleasant ride with a rapid heel-to-toe transition, compensating for the Clifton’s low-drop configuration.
Foot lockdown (upper)
The upper construction of the Hoka Clifton 9 focuses on breathability and comfort. The knitted mesh made from recycled materials has been refined and stripped of its unnecessary overlapping. This makes it more breathable but also less stretchy (be careful when choosing your size).
Hoka’s generous padding in the gusseted tongue and rear area of the Clifton 9 results in a comfortable fit around the ankles universally appreciated by runners, and excellent heel lock. Flat, stretch laces help keep the foot locked down in the shoe.
So much for consensus. Other subjects divide the runners:
- weight: Hoka claims a weight reduction of 0.2 oz / 4 g (8.7 oz / 248 g vs. 8.9 oz / 252 g), but some conscientious runners who have used their scales report a slight weight gain. With a weight of around 8.8 oz / 250 g, the Clifton 9 remains a model of lightness;
- toe box: some find it too spacious, others too narrow, even in the wide version. Try before you buy to make up your own mind!
The outsole of the Clifton 9 uses the same Durabrasion technology as the previous model. However, it benefits from a new design that strategically positions the rubber in the forefoot and heel for improved traction on asphalt.
This new sole configuration provides extra protection, which means you can count on good durability. Initial tests by runners have been promising, with none reporting any wear after 50 miles / 80 km.
The only minor drawback noted by runners is the limited grip on wet surfaces – but who wants to run on asphalt on a rainy day?!
The overall feeling of the runners out of the box is very pleasant. The feeling of a smooth, fluid ride dominates, without the impression of sinking into the ground. More than ever, the combination of compression-molded EVA foam and Hoka’s trademark Meta Rocker works wonders. It enables efficient, energy-saving transitions while encouraging a natural midfoot strike. A good point if you like to roll out the easy miles without wanting to draw too heavily on your doubts.
A feeling of great stability also emerges, despite the stack height of the sole and the softness of the cushioning. So you can look forward to long runs without worrying about your ankles.
The Hoka Clifton 9 remains the brand’s flagship model for daily training and easy long runs. For faster kilometers, testers recommend other, more suitable models (e.g., the Hoka Mach 5).
The Hoka Clifton 9 follows in the footsteps of its illustrious predecessors, with soft and comfortable cushion, an effective rocker, a comfortable fit, excellent stability, and colorful style.
It’s a simple, lightweight shoe that’s as reassuring as the softness of its sole. Although we would have liked to see more energy return finally, it will work very for you if you’re a long-distance runner looking for easy mileage regardless of your level. Or if you’re just an overall fan of Hoka shoes.
|Heel height||40 mm|
|Forefoot height||35 mm|
|Weight (men)||248 g/8.7 oz|
|Weight (women)||205 g/7.2 oz|
|Features||Vegan, Recycled materials|
|Midsole||Compression-molded EVA foam (CMEVA), Early Meta-Rocker Geometry|
|Upper||Breathable technical mesh, gusseted tongue|
|Speed||Slow, Moderate, Fast|
|Distance||Mid, 10K, Half marathon, Long, Marathon|
Reference: Hoka's official site
Comparisons – Hoka Clifton 9 vs.:
Hoka Clifton 8
The updates may seem minimal at first glance, but they are nonetheless substantial:
- a 3 mm thicker sole
- a new, modified CMEVA, lighter and softer
- a redesigned outsole for enhanced traction
The Hoka Clifton 9 offers a smoother, more comfortable ride than its predecessor, with enhanced cushioning for longer runs.
If you were comfortable in your sneakers in the Clifton 8, there’s no doubt you’ll be even more so in the Clifton 9 and for even longer distances! Version 8 offers a little more bounce, however, and is better suited to faster speeds.
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