The Clifton line is a longtime favorite among running shoe enthusiasts and hoka clifton 9 It’s the best Clifton yet. What did Hoka do to improve this favorite of runners around the world? Let’s find out.
hoka clifton 9
Men’s weight: 9.1 ounces
Women’s weight: 7.3 ounces
Drop: 5mm (27mm forefoot, 32mm heel)
Sizing: true to size
The Hoka Clifton was basically the shoe that started the craze for high-end running shoes. Back in the day, the original Clifton was something racers hadn’t seen before. Today, the Hoka Clifton 9 doesn’t even qualify as a high-rise shoe. It still has a solid stack of foam, but midsole stacks can be much bigger (see New Balance SC Trainer and Asics Superblast).
But despite not having a big stack, the Hoka Clifton 9 is still smooth and great for easy or recovery days. But Hoka tweaked the typical foam compound and is now more springy and bouncy, a welcome change.
We didn’t love the previous Cliftons for long runs because they flattened out or felt dead by the end of 15+ miles and their overall life expectancy seemed to peak around 120 miles (give or take). But the new foam seems livelier and feels like you’re still bouncing even as you approach 20 miles. The Clifton 9 works great as a long run shoe. I imagine we’ll even see a few pairs on marathon courses due to the forgiving fit and overall comfort.
Another improvement is the rubber sole. Durability in particular. A common complaint about earlier Clifton models (and Hokas in general) was the sole’s tendency to wear out prematurely. But I think this new sole will answer that criticism. The rubber still grips well, but it didn’t take as many hits in our tests. It’s handling the miles better than previous iterations. The pattern is slightly different, not much, but the real improvement seems to be the rubber compound itself. It will withstand a lot of wear and tear.
The upper is still very comfortable, but it feels a bit lighter and more breathable than the upper on the Clifton 8. This year, the tongue is only reinforced on one side, but that’s enough to prevent the tongue from slipping and keep it in place for a long time.
Considering that it comes in a wide version, yes! But the fit on this model is much better than last year’s and unaffected by what many (including us) felt was an extreme narrowing in the toe box.
Is the Hoka Clifton 9 worth $145?
Absolutely. The Hoka Clifton 9 lines up pretty well in terms of performance and attributes with other performance shoes in the $140-$160 price range like Asics Novablast 3, Brooks Glycerin 20, Asics Glideride 3, Nike Air Zoom Vomero 16, New Balance Fresh Foam X Plus v4 and Saucony Triumph 20.
There aren’t many negatives to the Hoka Clifton 9. If you wear the shoe as intended… for jogging, easy running, recovery runs, and long runs, then you shouldn’t have any problems. The arch support feels a bit more exaggerated compared to older models, but it actually complements the ride and roll feel, so while it may seem overly aggressive to some, we think it works.
Hoka Clifton 9 Summary
The Hoka Clifton 9 is 100% the best Clifton ever. It’s not particularly close either. Clifton’s signature squish and plush upper are still included, making them extremely comfortable for running or just walking. But the slightly springier, bouncier midsole takes the Clifton 9 to a new level. Because of that fit, the Hoka Clifton 9 is a more versatile and enjoyable ride than its predecessors.
The Clifton has long been a staple for many runners and one of the best running shoes for beginners. That is still the case… and then some.