With the fifth generation of the Hoka Clifton, Hoka hasn’t changed much from the Clifton 4. The Clifton 5’s midsole and outsole are identical to the 4, and while the upper has changed a little it really doesn’t effect the overall feel of the shoe. Overall, Clifton fans should like the update and it will continue to attract new runners and walkers who want the rocker feel that Hoka provides.
The Clifton 5 follows the same formula as the Cliftons that have come before it – a pretty soft EVA foam molded to provide Hoka’s rocker feel, which is intended to create a super smooth transition and soft overall feel. The only real change is to the upper, and even that is a pretty insignificant tweak.
Hoka Clifton 5 vs Clifton 4:
The revised upper really hasn’t changed the Clifton’s fit – it remains pretty true-to-size with no notable quirks or sizing issues. It might be a little tighter than other Hokas, but not enough to warrant changing sizes from previous Cliftons or another standard-fitting shoe. The width is pretty standard – it might be a little more accommodating than the 4 but wider feet will need a wide.
The Cliftons continue to have the typical Hoka rocker feel and maximal, soft cushioning. While not as tall or soft as the Bondi, the Clifton feels very much like a Hoka. Softer than almost any other shoe on the wall, the Clifton 5 is deceptively light as well. It’s clearly not a racing flat, but the chunky midsole is constructed with a very lightweight foam that allows Hoka to keep the overall weight down. About as soft as a Nimbus, Glycerin, or Vomero – the Clifton isn’t the over-the-top plush ride that the Bondi provides, but it rivals pretty much any non-Hoka on the market.
The Clifton 5 continues to provide some inherent stability with how low you sit in the shoe and with its wide, supportive base. It’s not enough support for runners or walkers who have the need for high amounts of pronation, but for those needing a moderate amount of support they are deceptively supportive for a neutral shoe.
Hoka Clifton vs Hoka Bondi:
Both the Hoka Clifton and Bondi have the typical Hoka One-One rocker feel, with the Bondi being dialed up way higher than the Clifton. The Bondi also has slightly more inherent stability. You feel much lower and lighter in the Clifton, with the Clifton being about half an ounce lighter on the scale and feeling lighter on-foot. Width is about the same, but you have more room in the toebox with the Bondi.
Hoka Clifton vs Nike Vomero
The Vomero is designed as Nike’s premiere cushioned shoe and the most recent version has been softened up a little to be about as soft as the Clifton. The feeling on each shoe is quite different, with the Vomero having a traditional feel while the Clifton has Hoka’s rocker feel which is much higher and creates a unique transition. Despite how they look, the Clifton is lighter than the Vomero – and the rocker transition helps it feel lighter when you’re actually running. Each run pretty true-to-size and have similar widths.
Hoka Clifton vs Brooks Glycerin
The new Glycerin gets surprisingly close to the softness and smooth rocker transition of the Clifton. Obviously the Clifton is much higher overall and remains slightly softer than the Glycerin, but (intentionally or not,) Brooks has gotten as close as anyone to mimicking the Hoka soft feel in a more traditional shoe. The Glycerin is lighter and less substantial, with only slightly less of a “plush” feel. The Clifton does have some inherent stability due to its cradling midsole while the softer foam of the new Glycerin pretty much removes any inherent stability that it had in the previous couple of versions.
Hoka Clifton vs ASICS Nimbus
Despite being ASICS’ most cushioned mainstream offering, the Nimbus really doesn’t come close to the softness of the Clifton. Compared to the Clifton, the Nimbus feels incredibly low and responsive. That responsive feeling renders the surprising weight difference between the two shoes moot – even though the Clifton weighs considerably less than the Nimbus, you don’t really feel that on your foot. The Nimbus lacks the inherent stability that the Clifton provides, so the Clifton is going to be suitable for a little broader audience of runners and walkers