Hoka Clifton 9 VS Asics Novablast 3: What Should I Buy?

If you’re looking for a comfortable, cushioned daily training shoe, the Hoka One One Clifton 9 and the Asics Novablast 3 should be at the top of your list. Both are neutral shoes with highly cushioned midsoles and wide, stable bases.

In this in-depth comparison, we’ll look at the key specs, features, and performance of these two popular models to help you decide which is the better choice for your needs. Read on to see how the Clifton 9 and Novablast 3 stack up!

Similarities And Differences Between Hoka Clifton 9 And Asics Novablast 3:

SpecsHoka One One Clifton 9Asics Novablast 3
Launched In20232022
StabilityWide base and midsole rim provide stabilityWide base provides stability
FlexibilityFlexibleFlexible
SizingRuns small, size up 0.5True to size
Weight8.7 oz9.1 oz
CushionHighly cushionedHighly cushioned
OutsoleRubber outsoleRubber outsole
MidsoleSoft CMEVA foam with Meta-Rocker technologyFF Blast+ foam
UpperEngineered meshEngineered mesh
Retail Price$145$140

Features Comparison

Materials

The Hoka Clifton 9 uses a lightweight, breathable engineered mesh for the upper. It has a rubber outsole with strategic grooves to offer traction on different surfaces. The midsole uses CMEVA foam for a soft, cushioned ride, and it is sculpted with a Meta-Rocker design to promote smooth transitions.

Clifton 9
CLIFTON 9

Asics Novablast 3
NOVABLAST 3

The Asics Novablast 3 also has an engineered mesh upper for breathability. The outsole is high-abrasion rubber with a grippy tread. The highlight of this shoe is the FF Blast+ midsole foam, which provides responsiveness and shock absorption without packing out over time. The Novablast 3’s materials are designed for comfort on easy and long runs.

Durability

Testers found that the Clifton 9 has improved durability over past versions, with firmer foam and a more rugged outsole rubber that doesn’t wear down as quickly. The Meta-Rocker design also helps reduce wear on the forefoot. Many runners got over 500 miles of use out of the shoe.

The Novablast 3 also has durability improvements, with ASICS using data from prior models to reinforce high-wear areas on the outsole. Testers were able to get over 300 miles out of the shoe before signs of midsole compression set in. Both are durable options, but the Clifton 9 seems to have the edge for high mileage.

Fit

The Clifton 9 runs small with a narrow toe box, so sizing up half a size and trying on first is recommended. Once you get the right size, it has a comfortable, secure midfoot hold and a roomy forefoot. The flat, moderately wide shape accommodates most foot types, but it may be too narrow for wide feet.

Clifton 9 Top View
CLIFTON 9 TOP VIEW

Asics Novablast 3 TOP VIEW
NOVABLAST TOP VIEW

The Novablast 3 fits true to size in length and has a roomy toe box with no squeezing or pinching. The midfoot has generous volume and moderate hold, while the heel has a comfortable, secure lockdown. The wide shape and accommodating upper work for a variety of foot shapes. For the most precise fit, try on the Novablast 3 in-store.

Stability

Despite being a neutral shoe, the Clifton 9 provides some inherent stability due to its wide base, midsole rim that acts like a cradle for the foot, and Meta-Rocker design promoting smooth transitions. It’s a good choice for neutral runners who need a touch more stability due to overpronation or injury history.

However, severe overpronators may still want a dedicated stability shoe. Like the Clifton 9, the Novablast 3 has a wide platform that provides foot control without being too rigid or cumbersome. The responsive FF Blast foam compresses in the right areas to guide the foot through the gait cycle.

While not a true stability shoe, the Novablast 3 offers enough support for mild to moderate overpronators. Both shoes offer some subtle stability but are best for neutral runners.

Cushioning

With its plush CMEVA foam midsole and rockered geometry, the Clifton 9 provides incredibly soft cushioning that makes it feel like you’re running on clouds. The full-length foam absorbs impact and keeps legs fresh even on longer distances.

However, the softness isn’t very energetic or propulsive. If you want a pillow-like ride for easy miles, the Clifton cushioning is hard to beat. However, performance-minded runners may find it too mushy.

The Novablast 3 utilizes ASICS’ FF Blast+ foam, which delivers cushioning that falls right between soft and responsive. It has enough bounce to keep your cadence quick during faster runs but enough compression to absorb shock on slower days.

Testers found the cushioning versatile for both easy training and picking up the pace. It’s not as soft as the Clifton 9, but it provides a nice balance of protection and energy return.

Value

The Clifton 9 costs $145, while the Novablast 3 retails for $140. Considering the technologies and materials used, both shoes deliver great value at their price points. The Clifton 9 does cost slightly more, but its ultra-soft cushioning makes it worth it for some. Overall, both are great values for well-cushioned trainers.

Performance Comparisons

For Walking

The Clifton 9’s soft, generous foam feels great for walking and provides ample cushioning without being too mushy or unstable. The smooth, rockered gait cycle also helps reduce fatigue on long walks.

The Novablast 3 has responsive cushioning for walking, but some testers found it didn’t isolate impact forces as well as the Clifton. Both work for walking, but the Clifton 9 will likely be the more comfortable choice for extended time on your feet.

For Running

The Clifton 9 excels at daily training runs and long runs where protecting your legs is the priority over speed. The plush cushioning allows you to log miles at an easy pace without pounding your joints. However, the soft foam sensation isn’t very energetic or propulsive. Uptempo runs lack snap.

While the Novablast 3 isn’t as soft as the Clifton 9, its responsive FF Blast+ foam provides a lively sensation at a variety of paces. It has enough bounce for faster days but enough cushion for easy miles. The versatile ride makes it suitable as a do-it-all trainer for most runners. Unless you crave an ultra-soft feel, the Novablast 3 is more versatile for running.

For Plantar Fasciitis

The Clifton 9’s soft, thick cushioning does an excellent job absorbing impact and reducing pressure on the feet, which can provide relief for plantar fasciitis. The Novablast 3 is also sufficiently cushioned but not quite as soft. For maximizing comfort with plantar fasciitis, the Clifton 9 is likely the better pick.

For Standing All Day

Similar to plantar fasciitis, the Clifton 9’s plush foam cushioning helps reduce fatigue and pain when you have to be on your feet all day. The rockered geometry also promotes smooth transitions from heel to toe. For extended standing or walking, the Clifton 9 is the more comfortable choice.

Final Verdict:

For a soft, pillow-like cushioned daily trainer, the Hoka One One Clifton 9 is hard to beat. The plush CMEVA foam protects your legs mile after mile, though the squishy ride lacks snap. It’s an excellent choice for easy long runs and recovery days.


For plantar fasciitis sufferers and those on their feet all day, the Clifton 9’s ultra-soft cushioning helps reduce pain and fatigue better than the Novablast 3.

Unless you need a super soft feel, the Asics Novablast 3 wins out as the more versatile cushioned trainer that can pick up the pace when needed. But for pure cushioned comfort, go with the Clifton 9.

Let me know if this summarizes the key differences clearly! I’m happy to clarify or expand on any part.

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