Are Hoka Clifton 8 Good For Running

The Hoka Clifton is one of the brand’s most popular shoe models, designed specifically for road running. With the recent launch of the Clifton 8, runners have been eager to find out if the latest version lives up to the hype and performs as well or better than the beloved Clifton 7.

In this hands-on review, we’ll take an in-depth look at the all-new Hoka Clifton 8 to see how they stack up for a variety of running needs. We’ll cover the key updates in this version, analyze the shoe’s comfort, fit, ride quality, and versatility for different types of runs and runners. Let’s dig in to see if the Hoka Clifton 8 can maximize your running potential!

Key Updates in the Clifton 8

While retaining the same lightweight and responsive cushioning as before, the Clifton 8 has undergone some notable changes:

  • Refined upper construction for improved breathability and flexibility
  • Reinforced eyelet support around laces for added durability
  • Wider forefoot design in certain sizes to allow natural toe splay
  • Larger EVA midsole and full ground contact outsole for smoother transitions

These updates indicate that Hoka has listened to feedback from long-time Clifton fans and fine-tuned both the upper and midsole in the 8 to optimize comfort across wider range of foot shapes.

Weight and Fit

One of the Clifton’s biggest selling points that persists in the Clifton 8 is its lightweight cushioning at just 8.1oz for women’s and 9.3oz for men’s sizes (for size 9 US in both versions). This keeps the fit sleek, flexible, and hardly noticeable on your foot throughout all types of runs.

In the Clifton 8, Hoka did widen the forefoot and toe box ever so slightly based on consumer feedback. What does this mean for you? An even more accommodating fit with less pressure through the toes, especially if your feet swell on longer runs or tend to splay outward.

I have wider, more high volume feet and found the roomier Clifton 8 fit me better than previous versions, with no squeezing or lost circulation in the toes even after several miles. So those needing or wanting a more spacious toe box will appreciate the tweak. However, people with narrower feet may want to try them on first or size down half a size if you still want a glove-like fit.

Cushioning and Responsiveness

The Clifton 8 utilizes the same full-compression EVA foam from heel to toe to deliver Hoka’s signature pillowy soft, yet energetic ride. This 5mm heel-toe offset shoe encourages an efficient stride and smooth transitions. You’ll feel well-cushioned while still maintaining ground-feel and stability compared to max cushion shoes.

I found the midsole foam in the 8 to have a touch more pop and forgiveness over long miles compared to even the beloved Clifton 7. The addition of the early stage meta-rocker geometry helps guide your foot through the gait cycle smoothly, taking pressure off the calves, ankles, and feet.

This moderately thick foam cushioning manages to stay resilient and consistent too, showing minimal packing down or flattening even through 50+ miles of testing. The expanded rubber coverage in the outsole also enhances grip and traction without sacrificing flexibility through the forefoot.

Performance for Different Types of Runs

With its tried-and-true cushioned and stable ride, the Clifton 8 performs well for nearly any road running need. It can pick up the pace as an uptempo trainer or provide fatigue-fighting comfort for recovery jogs, long runs, and anything in between.

Here’s how the Clifton 8 stacks up for different run types:

Daily Training

The Clifton is built for daily miles, whether you’re logging base miles or running at transitory paces. The smooth, soft ride doesn’t beat up your bones and joints, yet doesn’t feel mushy. An overall do-everything neutral trainer ready to rack up the miles.

Long Runs

On those longer hauls, the Clifton has enough cushion and bounce to fight fatigue as the miles wear on. Lightness helps prevent heaviness and fatigue in the legs too. The meta-rocker will keep turnover smooth when form starts to fall apart.

Uptempo & Speed Work

While not designed as a pure performance shoe, the Clifton 8 can pick up the pace for uptempo training days or tempo runs averaging marathon pace. The rockered profile provides a propulsive toe-off you can leverage for faster turnover.

Recovery Days

Rebounding from hard efforts, the Clifton cushions every foot strike without losing connection to the ground. This will reduce overall muscle soreness and impact while still moving blood to help your body bounce back.

Versatility For Multiple Surfaces

The Clifton performs best on the roads, but it can also tackle lighter trails, non-technical terrain, gravel paths, trodden tracks, and grass reasonably well thanks to its grippy outsole and balanced cushioning.

I found that the wider looking traction pods on the updated outsole of the Clifton 8 provide noticeably better multi-surface traction compared to the 7 without feeling clunky or dead underfoot on pavement. So if your runs vary between road, crushed gravel, and the occasional dirt, the Clifton can likely handle it.

However, with its stack height and emphasis on cushion over stability, the Clifton still isn’t made for true off-road running or aggressive terrain. Check out Hoka trail running shoe models like the Speedgoat or Challenger ATR for rugged trail pursuits!

Ideal Runner Profile for the Clifton 8

The easy-handling Hoka Clifton continues to accommodate a wide range of neutral runners with its versatile and forgiving cushioned ride. Here’s who can get the most out of the Clifton 8:

  • Neutral runners needing soft, yet responsive daily cushioning
  • Athletes logging higher weekly miles who want fatigue and impact absorption
  • Midfoot to mild heel strikers would appreciate the rockered sole design
  • Marathoners and half marathoners wanting trusted race day cushion
  • Persistent pavement pounders seeking longevity from their midsole foam

On the other hand, the Clifton may not fully satisfy runners who need or prefer…

  • A particularly wide or narrow shoe fit
  • Maximum stability for overpronation
  • Rugged traction or protection for intense trail running
  • A very minimal feel underfoot
  • Heavy lifters desiring a weightlifting-focused shoe

So all types of neutral road runners from beginner to advanced can thrive running in the Clifton. It manages to achieve broad accessibility and versatility within the same shoe – which has been this franchise’s secret weapon since the early editions.

Similar Lightweight Trainers

Here are a few comparable shoes in terms of weight, cushioning, versatility, and overall performance if you’re cross-shopping:

  • Saucony Kinvara 13
  • New Balance FuelCell RC Elite V2
  • Brooks Ghost 14
  • Nike Pegasus Turbo 2

If intrigued to take the Clifton 8 for a spin, I’d recommend trying them on in-person to judge the updated fit. Wear your typical running socks too for the best sense of size!

Frequently Asked Hoka Clifton Questions

Here are answers to some of the most common questions runners have about Hoka One One’s Clifton shoe line:

How does the Clifton compare to other Hokas?

It has a more resilient, forgiving cushion than the faster Carbon X series but more dynamic response than the thicker Bondi. Overall, it balances softness and smooth efficiency exceptionally well as an accessible workhorse trainer.

Is the Clifton good for walking?

Yes! With its plush, stable cushioning, curved sole design to ease the roll through your gait, and grippy outsole, the Clifton provides comfortable mileage for walking and even hiking.

What is the current Clifton model?

As of late 2022, the Clifton 8 is the newest update featuring a refined upper, more balanced forefoot, and extended outsole rubber for traction.

Do Cliftons last a long time?

Their durable cushioning holds up for 300+ miles generally. But longevity always depends on your body weight, running frequency, and surfaces. Lightweight runners can usually extend more miles out of Clifton midsoles.

Can you use Cliftons for speed work?

While not made purely for fast days, Cliftons can pick up the pace just fine for tempo runs and steady state efforts below 5K/3.1 mile race pace, thanks to the smooth transitions and snappy foam.

Do Cliftons have a break-in period?

Most runners find them comfy right away as an out of box experience. But the foam does soften and mold slightly after those first longer runs.

We hope this guide has given you a comprehensive idea of how the Hoka Clifton 8 performs and helps you decide if they’re the right match your running needs and preferences! Let us know if you have any other questions.

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