Hoka Clifton 8 VS Brooks Ghost 14: What Should I Buy?

The Hoka Clifton 8 and Brooks Ghost 14 are two of the most popular neutral daily trainers on the market. Both shoes provide comfort and support for a variety of runs and training goals.

But how do they really compare when it comes to features, performance, and value? Read on for a detailed comparison of the key similarities and differences between these two great running shoes.

Similarities And Differences Between Hoka Clifton 8 And Brooks Ghost 14:

FeaturesHoka Clifton 8Brooks Ghost 14
Launched In20212021
StabilityNeutralNeutral
FlexibilityModerateModerate
SizingMen 7-14 D, Women 5-11 B DMen 7-14 D 2E 4E, Women 5-11 B D 2E
Weight9.1 oz (M), 8.2 oz (W)9.3 oz (M), 8.3 oz (W)
CushionMaximumMedium
OutsoleDurabrasion RubberSegmented Crash Pad
MidsoleCMEVA FoamDNA Loft v3 Foam
UpperEngineered MeshEngineered Mesh
Retail Price$180$120

Features Comparison

Materials

The Hoka Clifton 8 uses a durable rubber Durabrasion outsole, a CMEVA foam midsole that provides maximum cushioning, and an engineered mesh upper for breathability.

The midsole is designed to be soft and responsive while providing a smooth ride. The upper uses an open-engineered mesh material that allows good ventilation.

Hoka Clifton 8
CLIFTON 8

Brooks Ghost 14
GHOST 14

Comparatively, the Brooks Ghost 14 has a Segmented Crash Pad outsole providing flexibility and traction. The midsole utilizes DNA Loft v3 foam for a soft, adaptive ride.

The Ghost 14 also uses an engineered mesh upper for breathability and flexibility in the forefoot. Both shoes use high-quality materials to deliver a comfortable ride.

Durability

In terms of durability, both the Hoka Clifton 8 and Brooks Ghost 14 are built to last. The Clifton’s Durabrasion rubber outsole provides good traction and longevity, while the CMEVA foam maintains cushioning for the life of the shoe.

The upper mesh holds up well over time. Brooks uses a segmented rubber outsole in the Ghost 14 that is also quite durable. The DNA Loft foam retains cushioning even after many miles of wear.

Testers found both shoes can easily log 300+ miles before signs of wear. The Clifton 8 may have a slight edge for long-term durability, but both are dependable options.

Fit

The Hoka Clifton 8 runs true to size for most runners, with a snug midfoot wrap and roomy toe box. The upper mesh provides flexibility and the flat laces help dial in fit.

Hoka Clifton 8 Top view
CLIFTON 8 TOP VIEW

Brooks Ghost 14 Top View
GHOST 14 TOP VIEW

The Brooks Ghost 14 offers a more generous fit, especially in the forefoot. It has a wider toe box to allow natural toe splay. Both shoes are offered in a variety of widths, with the Ghost 14 having more width options. The Clifton 8 has a lower instep area that some found to pinch, while the Ghost 14’s higher instep suits high arches better.

Overall, the Ghost 14 will work for more foot shapes thanks to more sizing versatility. But the Clifton 8 works well for average feet wanting a secure midfoot lockdown. Those with wide feet or high arches may prefer the Ghost 14.

Stability

Since both models are neutral shoes, they aim to provide a natural, stable ride without excessive motion control. The Hoka Clifton utilizes a lower heel drop of 5mm compared to the Ghost’s 12mm drop. This provides a more natural foot strike position through the gait cycle.

The Clifton also has a rockered profile to guide the foot gently through the transition. However, testers found both shoes to be quite stable for neutral runners. The Ghost 14’s midfoot saddle gives a slight hug on the medial side for subtle support. But neither shoe has exaggerated arch support or dual-density foams.

The Ghost 14 may suit heavier runners better due to its firmer density foam. However, both deliver a smooth, stable ride for neutral runners during easy miles and long runs.

Cushioning

There is a distinct difference in midsole cushioning between these shoes. The Hoka Clifton prioritizes soft, plush cushioning by using a thick layer of compressed EVA foam from heel to toe. This CMEVA midsole delivers a pillowy soft ride that absorbs impact forces very well.

Comparatively, the Ghost 14 uses a firmer DNA Loft foam that provides medium-density cushioning from heel to toe. While soft initially, the foam compresses less over time than Clifton’s CMEVA and is meant to provide a balance of responsiveness and shock absorption.

The Ghost 14 has plenty of cushioning for long miles, but the Clifton 8 wins out with its superior plushness and shock-absorbing qualities. The maximal cushioning of the Clifton helps reduce fatigue and joint pain.

Value

At $180, the Hoka Clifton 8 costs slightly more than the Ghost 14, which retails for $120. However, testers felt both shoes deliver very good value considering their proven performance and durability.

The Clifton provides exceptional cushioning and comfort in a lightweight package, making the price justified for runners wanting those maximum cushion benefits.

The Ghost 14 is also lightweight for a daily trainer and provides above-average comfort and support at moderate prices. Priced lower than many competing premium trainers, the Ghost 14 is a particularly good value for high-mileage training.

Ultimately, both shoes are well worth their retail pricing. The Clifton 8 costs a bit more but does provide the superior plush ride that Hoka is known for. Overall, runners looking to invest in a durable, everyday trainer get great performance for the money with either option.

Performance Comparison

For Walking

The exceptional cushioning of the Hoka Clifton 8 makes it an excellent choice for walkers who want comfortable, low-impact walking shoes. The soft CMEVA midsole absorbs shock effectively while the rockered profile encourages smooth heel-to-toe transition.

The Brooks Ghost 14 is also a good walking shoe with its medium-density cushioning attenuating impacts well. The segmented crash pad allows flexibility for natural foot motion.

Both shoes have breathable uppers to keep feet cool on long walks. However, the Clifton 8 may have the edge for all-day walking comfort thanks to its superior cushioning.

For Running

As daily trainers designed for logging miles, both shoes are well-suited to medium to long-distance running. However, the extra plush Clifton 8 is favored by runners wanting maximum impact protection over long distances.

The CMEVA midsole cushions are better than the Ghost’s firmer DNA Loft foam. But some runners appreciated the moderate firmness of the Ghost 14 for a more responsive ride during faster-paced runs and tempo workouts.

The Ghost 14 also provides a touch more midfoot support from its saddle. So while the Clifton excels at long, easy miles, some runners preferred the Ghost for its blend of cushioning and midfoot hold during varied training. It comes down to personal preference for softness versus moderate support.

For Plantar Fasciitis

The exceptional cushioning and shock absorption of the Hoka Clifton 8 makes it a great choice for runners with plantar fasciitis. The soft CMEVA midsole and rockered profile help reduce pressure on the feet and joints. Testers with plantar fasciitis found it relieved pain very well.

The Brooks Ghost 14 is moderately cushioned so also does a decent job attenuating impact. However, its firmer midsole doesn’t reduce forces quite as much. Runners reported the Clifton 8 provided superior comfort and pain relief for plantar fasciitis due to its plush cushioning system better-absorbing shock.

For Standing All Day

For occupations that require standing for prolonged periods, both shoes provide cushioning and support to reduce fatigue. However, the Hoka Clifton 8 is better optimized for all-day standing comfort. The ultra-soft CMEVA midsole and rockered contour shape distribute weight evenly in the shoe, taking pressure off the heels and forefoot.

The mesh upper keeps feet ventilated as well. The Brooks Ghost 14 has adequate cushioning for lengthy standing with its DNA Loft foam, but some found it not quite as shock-absorbing as the Clifton after many hours. Overall, the Clifton 8 is the top choice for standing all day thanks to its superior cushioning and comfort.

Final Verdict:

In the end, choosing between the Hoka Clifton 8 and Brooks Ghost 14 comes down to weighing your priorities for fit, cushioning, support, and intended use. If you want the absolute best cushioning and shock absorption for comfort, the Clifton 8 is the clear choice.

Its soft, marshmallow-like midsole provides unmatched impact protection for long distances and recovery runs. The smooth, rockered ride also makes it a great pick for plantar fasciitis and all-day standing or walking.


However, some runners may prefer the Ghost 14’s moderately cushioned, more responsive ride. The Ghost provides a touch more midfoot hold and stability for varied paces, making it more agile if you want to pick up the tempo. The Brooks also fits many more foot types thanks to multiple width options. So the Ghost 14 gets the checkmark for versatility.

In the end, prioritize plush comfort and you can’t go wrong with the Clifton 8. But if you want moderate softness with responsiveness, the Ghost 14 hits the sweet spot.

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