Hoka Clifton 8 VS Gaviota 4: What Should I Buy?

The Clifton and the Gaviota hold key places in the Hoka lineup. The Clifton 8 is the newest update to the beloved neutral Clifton series, while the Gaviota 4 replaces the popular stability-focused Gaviota 3.

Both shoes provide the maximal cushioning Hoka is famous for by using an extra thick layer of compressed EVA foam in the midsole. This delivers a soft, protective, and comfortable ride that is enjoyable for racking up the miles.

However, there are some important differences between the two models that will help you determine which is the better choice for your individual needs and running gait.

The Clifton 8 offers a lightweight, flexible fit designed for neutral runners looking for a natural ride. The Gaviota 4 integrates medial support rails and GuideFrame technology to provide stability and prevent excess inward foot rolling for overpronators.

Similarities And Differences Between Hoka Clifton 8 And Gaviota 4:

FeatureClifton 8Gaviota 4
Launch Date20212018
Weight10.9 oz (M)<br>9.2 oz (W)11.1 oz (M)
Heel Drop5mm5mm
StabilityNeutralStable (Guide rails)
CushioningPlush, SoftPlush, Soft
FlexibilityFlexibleSemi-Flexible
UpperAirflow engineered meshAirflow engineered mesh
Toe BoxAlmond shape, medium-high volumeAlmond shape, medium volume
MidsoleFull-length CMEVA foamCMEVA foam, J-Frame plate
OutsoleRubber lugsZonal rubber lugs
Fit NotesTrue to size, accomodates wider feetSnugger fit, size up for wide feet
MSRP$180$153

Feature Comparison:

Materials:

The Clifton 8 utilizes a thin, seamless engineered mesh material in the upper which provides ventilation and breathability while maintaining good foothold and structure.

The single-layer midsole uses soft, flexible CMEVA foam which runs the entire length of the shoe to cushion your foot on impact. On the outsole, strategically placed rubber lugs offer grip on various surfaces while providing high abrasion resistance in key wear areas.

Hoka Clifton 8
CLIFTON 8

Hoka Gaviota 5
GAVIOTA 5

The Gaviota 4 also uses an engineered mesh upper material for breathability while giving foot stability and structure. The midsole has a thick layer of CMEVA foam combined with a J-Frame medial support plate which provides dynamic stability guidance from heel to toe strike. For the outsole, Hoka places durable rubber lugs in strategic areas for traction and durability exactly where needed.

Durability:

Both the Clifton 8 and Gaviota 4 are built to provide high mileage with normal training use. The Clifton 8’s rubber outsole lugs and full-length CMEVA foam midsole will maintain their cushioning and bounce for approximately 300-500 miles for most runners before signs of packing out or wearing down.

The Gaviota 4 may last slightly longer, around 500-600 miles, thanks to the J-Frame plate providing midsole stability and reducing foam breakdown.

Fit:

The Clifton 8 runs true to size for most runners, according to Hoka’s size charts. It offers a little wider toe box and will fit neutral to slightly wider foot shapes the best. The engineered mesh upper material creates a smooth, irritation-free feel. It provides a secure midfoot hold by integrating thin overlays in key areas.

Hoka Clifton 8 Top view
CLIFTON 8 TOP VIEW

Gaviota 4 Top View
GAVIOTA 4 TOP VIEW

The Gaviota 4 runs true to size but has a more snug midfoot and heel fit compared to the Clifton due to the integrated GuideRail support system. This shoe will best suit neutral runners who need just a touch of stability help, as well as mild to moderate overpronators who want a secure fit. The toe box has ample room for toes to splay. You may want to size up a half-size if you have a very wide forefoot.

Cushioning:

Both the Clifton 8 and Gaviota 4 utilize Hoka’s signature thick, soft-compressed EVA foam midsoles. The Clifton provides a little more bounce and flexibility, resulting in a smooth, energetic toe-off.

The Gaviota feels slightly denser underfoot due to the stability plate but still delivers plush comfort mile after mile. Either option will give your feet sufficient cushioning and protection from impact shock and pavement pounding.

Stability:

The Clifton 8 is designed solely as a neutral shoe, without any pronation correction features. The flexible cushioning allows your foot to move naturally throughout the gait cycle.

In contrast, the Gaviota 4 integrates Hoka’s J-Frame technology, a firmer medial midsole post that extends from the heel to the toe area. This provides dynamic stability and gentle guidance to prevent excess rolling of the foot during initial pronation after a foot strike. An additional GuideRail along the inner midsole further helps to correct overpronation.

Value:

At its retail price of $180, the Clifton 8 represents a good value for runners looking for premium cushioning and comfort in a daily training shoe. The price aligns with the performance level and technology offered.

Similarly, the Gaviota 4 hits a reasonable price point at $153 for the stability features and plush cushioning provided. Both models deliver excellent quality and tech for the investment compared to similar shoes from other brands.

Performance Comparison:

Walking:

The Clifton 8 performs well as a walking shoe, offering continuous comfort lap after lap thanks to its responsive cushioning and breathable upper that keeps feet fatigue-free. The flexibility of the midsole also allows a smooth, natural walking gait and stride.

For mild overpronators, the Gaviota 4 can also excel as a walking shoe. The plush cushioning keeps feet happy while the integrated stability plate and rails offer support and reduce inward foot rolling.

Running:

As an everyday neutral running shoe for high mileage training or racing long distances, the Clifton 8 is an excellent choice. The soft cushioning absorbs impact while the bouncy foam provides a smooth transition to toe-off.

The Gaviota 4 is also a great pick for runners who need stability features to prevent overpronation during training runs. The ample cushioning keeps feet fresh as the miles tick by.

For Plantar Fasciitis:

The thick, shock-absorbing cushioning and soft landings provided by Clifton 8 help reduce pain and inflammation from plantar fasciitis. Likewise, the Gaviota 4 can also provide relief from heel and arch pain thanks to its plush foam cushioning system. The stability plate offers additional arch support and pronation control as an extra benefit.

For Standing All Day:

With its lightweight feel and responsive cushioning, the Clifton 8 makes an excellent work shoe for occupations that require many hours on your feet, such as nurses, teachers, retail workers, etc.

Similarly, the Gaviota 4 has the comfortable underfoot platform needed for all-day standing comfort. The stability features also keep your feet supported and reduce overall muscle fatigue.

final verdict:

For neutral runners searching for a flexible, smoothly cushioned daily trainer, the Hoka Clifton 8 is an excellent choice. It provides an enjoyable, well-protected ride over endless miles of roads or trails.


However, runners who tend to overpronate and require more arch support and midsole stability will likely benefit more from the Hoka Gaviota 4. The J-Frame and GuideRail technology integrated into this model prevents excess rolling of the foot after footstrike while still delivering signature Hoka plushness.

Both shoes make use of Hoka’s famous expanded EVA foam midsole material to provide soft, pillowy landings. So if you want that recognizable marshmallow-like cushioning feeling underfoot, either model is a good pick.

Just make sure to evaluate your gait, foot shape, running needs, and preferences before deciding if the Clifton 8 or Gaviota 4 is the better daily trainer for you.

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