With the sixth generation of the Hoka Clifton, Hoka has made some tweaks from the Clifton 5. The Clifton 6 has a redesigned midsole, outsole, and upper, but the overall formula hasn’t changed for 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 6 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.
Hoka Clifton 6 vs Clifton 5:
The revised upper really has changed the Clifton’s fit a little bit – it remains pretty true-to-size in terms of length but has become pretty wide in the toebox while narrowing up a little in the rest of the shoe. The narrowness of the 6 is something to consider when moving from the Clifton 5 or other HOKAs. The toebox, however, is huge – and can accommodate as much toe splay as you can throw at it.
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 6 is deceptively light as well. It’s clearly not a racing flat due to how soft the foam is, 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 6 continues to provide some inherent stability due to how low you sit in the shoe and its wide, supportive base. It’s not enough support for runners or walkers who have high amounts of pronation, but for those needing a moderate amount of support they are deceptively supportive for a neutral shoe.
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Hoka Clifton vs Hoka Bondi:
Both the Hoka Clifton and Bondi have the typical Hoka One-One rocker feel and marshmellow-soft midsole foam, with the new Clifton continuing to provide a little less softness, a little more rocker, and a little more feel of the road. The Bondi has slightly more inherent stability, and with the latest Clifton you feel a little more on top of the shoe vs the Bondi’s wide, dug-out platform. You feel much lower and lighter in the Clifton, with the Clifton being a couple of ounces lighter on the scale and feeling lighter on-foot. Overall width is narrower on the Clifton, but it now provides more room in the toebox.
Hoka Clifton vs Brooks Ghost
While the Clifton isn’t quite as tall or plush as the Bondi, comparing it to Brooks’ standard weight/softness trainer isn’t completely fair to the Ghost. The Ghost is wider overall, but doesn’t have as much room in the toebox. Obviously, the feeling on each shoe is quite different, with the Ghost having a traditional feel while the Clifton has Hoka’s rocker and huge stack of foam which is much higher and creates a unique transition. Despite how they look, the Clifton is lighter than the Ghost – and the rocker transition helps it feel lighter when you’re actually running. Each run pretty true-to-size in terms of length. The design of the Clifton gives it some inherent stability that the Ghost lacks, so runners with a slight amount of flexibility in their ankles might be able to get away with the Clifton while the Ghost wouldn’t be as supportive.
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 the marshmellow feel. Step-in feel is a little plusher in the Glycerin. Walking around, the Glycerin feels just as soft as the Clifton, but once you get running the Clifton does feel a little softer. This is likely due to the Glycerin’s really soft sock liner. 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 Mizuno Wave Sky
Mizuno has recently been amping up the cushion throughout their lineup, and the Sky delivers on the maximum-cushion design goal. The Sky and Clifton, actually feel remarkably similar until you take a step. They both really provide a soft, pillowy ride with not much pretense of performance. They do differ when you start running, however – with the Clifton feeling a little less soft but much lighter. The Clifton also had the rocker design that the Mizuno lacks. You really feel the considerable weight difference between the shoes on-foot. Width is about the same overall on both shoes, with the Clifton having a more generous toebox. The Sky 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.