Hoka Clifton 9 VS On Cloudstratus 2: What Should I Buy?

Two of the most popular neutral cushioned trainers right now are the Hoka Clifton 9 and the On Cloudstratus 2. Both offer high levels of cushioning and comfort in a lightweight package, but they differ in their ride, fit, and overall running feel.

This in-depth comparison reviews all the key features and performance aspects of the Hoka Clifton 9 and On Cloudstratus 2 to help you determine which shoe is the better option for your running needs and preferences.

Similarities And Differences Between Clifton 9 and Cloudstratus 2:

FeatureHoka Clifton 9On Cloudstratus 2
Launched In20232021
StabilityNeutralNeutral
FlexibilityModerateModerate
SizingMen’s 7-15, Women’s 5-12Men’s 7-15, Women’s 5-12
Weight9.2 oz (men’s), 7.9 oz (women’s)10.2 oz (men’s), 8.8 oz (women’s)
CushioningHighHigh
OutsoleDurable rubberDurable rubber
MidsoleCMEVA foamHelion foam
UpperEngineered meshEngineered mesh
Retail Price$145$130

Features Comparison:

Now we will see how the features of Cloudstratus 2 and Clifton 9 differ and which is ideal for you.

Materials

The upper on both shoes uses a breathable engineered mesh that provides a secure, comfortable fit. The Hoka Clifton 9 incorporates Meta-Rocker technology in its midsole, which uses a curved shape to help propel your stride forward. The Clifton 9 midsole uses lightweight CMEVA foam to deliver a soft, plush ride.

Clifton 9
CLIFTON 9

On Cloudstratus 2
CLOUDSTRATUS 2

In contrast, the On Cloudstratus 2 midsole is made of Helion foam, which aims to provide soft cushioning along with increased energy return compared to standard EVA foams.

On the outsole, both shoes use durable rubber in high-wear areas to resist abrasion. The outsoles also feature grooves and flex lines to allow natural flexibility in your stride. The Cloudstratus 2 has a slightly wider outsole platform while the Clifton 9’s outsole utilizes strategically-placed rubber for lightweight traction.

Durability

The Hoka Clifton 9 and On Cloudstratus 2 are both durable shoes that can handle high-mileage training. The rubber outsoles resist wear and tear while the engineered mesh uppers are resilient.

However, some runners have reported the Cloudstratus 2’s outsole rubber wearing down more quickly than expected under high mileage. The CMEVA foam midsole of the Clifton 9 is known for retaining its cushioning properties and bouncing even over hundreds of miles.

Fit

These shoes both fit true-to-size for most runners. The engineered mesh uppers adapt comfortably to the shape of your foot. The Clifton 9 offers a more spacious toe box while the Cloudstratus 2 has a slightly more tapered toe shape.

Clifton 9 Top View
CLIFTON 9 TOP VIEW

CLOUDSTRATUS 2 TOP VIEW

If you prefer a snug midfoot hold, the Cloudstratus may fit you better, but some find it too narrow. The Clifton 9 will work well for wider feet needing more toe room.

Stability

As neutral cushioned trainers, neither shoe offers pronation correction or stabilizing features. Both the Hoka Clifton 9 and On Cloudstratus 2 give you a natural, unsupported ride. The low, flexible 5mm drop of the Clifton promotes midfoot/forefoot striking while the 8mm drop Cloudstratus has a more traditional heel-to-toe cushioning transition.

Cushioning

Runners looking for maximum cushion comfort will appreciate both of these trainers. The Cloudstratus 2 offers plush, pillowy softness underfoot thanks to its high-rebound Helion foam. The Clifton 9 is similarly known for its soft, marshmallow-like CMEVA cushioning.

The Cloudstratus 2 has a slightly firmer ride while the Clifton 9 emphasizes flexibility along with its signature ultra-plush feeling. The Clifton excels at absorbing impact while the Cloudstratus combines good shock attenuation with energy return.

Value

With a retail price of $130, the On Cloudstratus 2 costs $15 less than the $145 Hoka Clifton 9. For some, the extra cost may be worthwhile to gain the Cloudstratus’ responsive Helion foam cushioning and premium construction.

However, Clifton also delivers excellent comfort technologies like Meta-Rocker along with proven CMEVA cushioning at a more affordable price point. Ultimately, the value comes down to your budget and preferred performance features.

Performance Comparison:

After the features comparison we will see how both shoes deliver in performance department.

Walking

Both shoes provide excellent cushioning and support for walking. The plush midsoles keep your feet comfortable mile after mile while allowing natural foot flexion.

The Cloudstratus 2’s firm yet responsive cushioning gives a propulsive feel with each step. In contrast, the Clifton 9 offers ultra-soft cushioning that absorbs shock effectively during walking. For all-day wear, Clifton’s roomier toe box gets the edge for providing a more relaxed fit.

Running

As versatile daily trainers, the Clifton and Cloudstratus are both great for running anything from short to long distances. The Cloudstratus provides a stable platform with a nice energy return for maintaining efficient turnover on runs.

The Clifton’s soft CMEVA foam absorbs impact to help reduce fatigue over the miles. Its rockered profile gives a smooth transition through each step. For recovery days or long runs, the Clifton 9 offers the more forgiving ride while the Cloudstratus has a snappier, uptempo feel.

Plantar Fasciitis

The substantial cushioning of both models helps alleviate pressure on the plantar fascia ligament for runners with plantar fasciitis. The Cloudstratus’ firm midsole stabilizes the foot well while its plush Helion foam softens the impact.

The Clifton 9 provides exceptional shock absorption and soft heel cushioning to reduce strain on the plantar fascia. The roomy toe box and Meta-Rocker design of the Clifton also promote a comfortable stride for plantar fasciitis.

Standing All Day

Cushioned running shoes can provide relief for people who need to be on their feet all day. However, some may find the ultra-soft Clifton 9 midsole compresses too much during prolonged standing compared to the firmer On Cloudstratus 2.

The Cloudstratus offers better stability and support for all-day wear while still retaining plush cushioning. Its responsive Helion foam also helps keep your feet feeling energized even after hours of being upright.

Final Verdict:

The Hoka Clifton 9 and On Cloudstratus 2 both deliver premium cushioning and comfort in a lightweight package. The Clifton 9 stands out for its ultra-plush CMEVA midsole, Meta-Rocker design, and roomy fit best suited to recovery days and long mileage.


The Cloudstratus 2 provides a firmer yet lively ride with its responsive Helion foam along with excellent stability for tempo runs or all-day use. Overall, the Clifton 9 gets the edge for runners focused on softness and shock absorption while the Cloudstratus 2 is ideal for those wanting a more responsive and energetic feel.

Considering your foot type, mileage needs, and running preferences will help determine whether the signature marshmallow-like ride of the Clifton 9 or the propulsive cushioning of the Cloudstratus 2 is the better choice for you. With their excellent construction and technologies, you’re sure to enjoy logging the miles in either of these great neutral trainers.

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