Hoka Clifton 9 VS Saucony Triumph 21: What Should I Buy?

The Hoka One One Clifton and Saucony Triumph series have long been staples for runners looking for soft, cushioned shoes that can go the distance.

The Clifton 9 and Triumph 21 are the latest iterations of these fan favorites, both featuring updates to make them lighter and more responsive while maintaining the signature cushioning.

While they share many similarities, there are some key differences that may make one shoe a better fit for certain runners. Read on for a detailed comparison of these two neutral, high-cushion trainers.

Similarities And Differences Between Hoka Clifton 9 And Saucony Triumph 21:

FeaturesClifton 9Saucony Triumph 21
Launched In20232023
StabilityNeutralNeutral
FlexibilityModerateModerate
SizingTrue to sizeRuns small, order 1/2 size up
Weight8.7 oz9.2 oz
CushionHighly cushionedHighly cushioned
OutsoleDurable rubberDurable PWRTRAC rubber
MidsoleMeta-Rocker geometryPWRRUN+ foam
UpperEngineered meshEngineered mesh
Retail Price$145$160

Features Comparison:

Below we have compared the features of Triumph 21 against the classical Clifton 9 to see which can be your best best.

Materials

The Clifton 9 uses a durable rubber outsole, a compressed EVA foam midsole, and an engineered mesh upper. The midsole utilizes Hoka’s signature Meta-Rocker geometry to enable a smooth transition.

Clifton 9
CLIFTON 9

Saucony Triumph 21
TRIUMPH 21

The Triumph 21 has a PWRTRAC rubber outsole, a PWRRUN+ foam midsole, and an engineered air mesh upper. The PWRRUN+ foam provides responsive cushioning.

Durability

Both shoes are quite durable for high-mileage trainers thanks to rugged rubber outsoles. However, the Clifton 9 may have a slight edge with its compressed EVA foam retaining cushioning longer than the PWRRUN+ foam. The uppers are both breathable engineered mesh that resists abrasion well.

Fit

The Clifton 9 runs true to size for most runners but has a relatively narrow toe box.

Clifton 9 Top View
CLIFTON 9 TOP VIEW

Saucony Triumph 21 TOP VIEW
TRIUMPH 21 TOP VIEW

The Triumph 21 runs small by about a half size and has a wider toe box than the Clifton. Trying both on is recommended.

Stability

These are both neutral shoes best suited for neutral pronators or mild overpronators. The Clifton 9 has a wide base and midsole rim for guidance.

The Triumph 21 has a slightly wider platform for inherent stability. Most runners will find both to be stable enough for daily training.

Cushioning

With their plush foam midsoles, the Clifton 9 and Triumph 21 provide soft, responsive cushioning that absorbs impact.

The Clifton uses compression-molded EVA while the Triumph uses PWRRUN+; both deliver a comfortable ride. The Clifton has a slightly plusher feel underfoot.

Value

At $145, the Clifton 9 costs $15 less than the Triumph 21, making it a slightly better value. However, runners report the Triumph 21 outsoles have great durability, helping justify the $160 price tag.

Overall, both deliver features advanced runners expect for their price points.

Performance Comparison:

In this section, we will see how the performance of Clifton 9 and Triumph 21 differ. This will help you make the final decision without having any doubts.

For Walking

Both the Clifton 9 and Triumph 21 make comfortable walking shoes thanks to their well-cushioned midsoles.

The Meta-Rocker geometry of the Clifton 9 creates a very smooth heel-to-toe transition while walking. The Triumph 21’s PWRRUN+ foam provides all-day comfort and energy return with each step.

Overall, while both are great, the Clifton may have an edge for walking comfort.

For Running

For easy daily training runs, you can’t go wrong with either shoe. The Clifton 9 offers a soft, cushioned ride that helps absorb impact forces. The rockered geometry encourages smooth turnover at slower paces.

The Triumph 21 has a lightweight, responsive feel during miles. The PWRRUN+ foam provides a good balance of cushioning and energy return. For faster workouts, the Triumph 21 would likely be the better choice of the two.

For Plantar Fasciitis

Runners with plantar fasciitis will appreciate the ample cushioning in both models, which helps minimize pressure on the feet. However, the Clifton 9 seems ideal for this use case, with its softer feel that really absorbs shock effectively.

The Meta-Rocker midsole also encourages a smooth transition from heel strike to toe-off, minimizing strain on the plantar fascia.

For Standing All Day

The plush cushioning also makes both shoes a comfortable option for all-day wear if you have a job that requires a lot of standing.

Of the two, the Triumph 21 may have a slight edge for this use case. Testers note that the responsive PWRRUN+ foam has excellent energy return, reducing fatigue during extended periods on your feet. The engineered mesh upper is also highly breathable during all-day wear.

Final Verdict:

For runners seeking a well-cushioned daily trainer, both the Hoka One One Clifton 9 and Saucony Triumph 21 are excellent options.

The Clifton 9 offers a softer, more cushioned ride that excels at slower paces and recovery runs. Its rockered profile makes it ideal for conditions like plantar fasciitis.


The Triumph 21 is equally cushioned but has a more responsive feel that handles tempo runs and all-day wear well.

I hope you now have all the important information to make an informed decision. So, consider your intended use, preferred fit, and any foot issues when choosing between these two neutral trainers.

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