Hoka Gaviota 5 VS Clifton 9: What Should I Buy?

If you’re a runner searching for your next pair of shoes, you may be trying to decide between the Hoka Gaviota 5 and the Hoka Clifton 9. Both are popular stability running shoes from Hoka One One, but they have key differences that are important to understand before making your purchase.

Read on for a full comparison of the Hoka Gaviota 5 vs the Hoka Clifton 9 – from weight and cushioning to performance for walking, running, plantar fasciitis, and more.

Similarities And Differences Between Hoka Gaviota 5 And Clifton 9:

FeatureHoka Gaviota 5Hoka Clifton 9
Launched In20232023
StabilityModerateNeutral
FlexibilityLess flexible than previous versionsFlexible
SizingMen’s 7-15, Women’s 5-12Men’s 7-13, Women’s 5-11
Weight10.9 oz (M), 9.2 oz (W)9.5 oz (M), 8.8 oz (W)
CushioningPlush, softNeutral cushioning
OutsoleRMAT rubberRubber
MidsoleCMEVA foam, H-Frame designCMEVA foam
UpperEngineered meshEngineered mesh
Retail Price$175$145

Features Comparison:

Materials:

The Hoka Gaviota 5 utilizes a plush CMEVA foam midsole with an H-Frame design for stability and support. The engineered mesh upper provides a secure and breathable fit. The outsole is made of durable RMAT rubber with extended durability zones in high-wear areas.

Hoka Gaviota 5
GAVIOTA 5

Clifton 9
CLIFTON 9

The Hoka Clifton 9 has a softer CMEVA foam midsole without any stability features. The engineered mesh upper is highly breathable while the full-coverage rubber outsole provides traction.

Durability:

The Gaviota 5 should be quite durable thanks to the rubber RMAT outsole which has zones of extra reinforcement in high-wear areas. The mesh upper resists abrasion well. Overall, runners can expect the Gaviota 5 to last for 300-500 miles.

The Clifton 9 has a softer foam midsole that may compress and lose its bounce over time. However, the outsole rubber maintains traction even at higher mileage. The upper is also durable. Overall, the Clifton 9 should last for 300-400 miles.

Fit:

The Gaviota 5 runs slightly small so sizing up half a size is recommended for a comfortable fit. It has a wider profile through the midfoot and forefoot to accommodate stability features, so it works for medium to wide feet.

Hoka Gaviota 5 Top View
GAVIOTA 5 TOP VIEW

Clifton 9 Top View
CLIFTON 9 TOP VIEW

The Clifton 9 has a more snug fit in the heel and midfoot. It works best for runners with narrow to medium-width feet. The toe box has ample room for toes to splay. Sizing up a half or full size is recommended if you have wider feet.

Stability:

The Gaviota 5 is specifically designed as a stability shoe to provide moderate support and correction for overpronation. Features like the H-Frame in the midsole and extended support through the arch offer improved stability.

The Clifton 9 has a neutral platform with no pronounced stability features. It allows the foot to move more naturally through the gait cycle and is best for neutral runners who don’t need correction for overpronation.

Cushioning:

The Gaviota 5 offers plush cushioning from the softer CMEVA foam midsole. It provides shock absorption and a smooth transition without feeling too mushy. There’s enough cushioning for longer distances.

The Clifton 9 has Hoka’s signature marshmallow-like cushioning from the thick CMEVA midsole. The softer foam absorbs impact while providing a plush and comfortable underfoot feel. The ample cushioning makes it well-suited for long distances.

Value for Money:

At a retail price of $175, the Gaviota 5 provides great features like plush cushioning, a stable and supportive platform, and excellent durability at a moderate price point for a stability shoe.

The Clifton 9 delivers ultra-cushioned comfort in a lightweight package for $145, which is very good value for a high-quality daily neutral trainer. The $30 price difference between the shoes is reasonable given the additional stability features in the Gaviota 5. Overall, both shoes are competitively and fairly priced based on their technologies and materials.

Performance Comparision:

Walking:

The Gaviota 5 has the plush cushioning and support needed for extended walking sessions. The wide forefoot area allows natural toe splaying while the arch support keeps your foot aligned when walking mile after mile.

The Clifton 9 may feel too unstructured and flexible for all-day walking comfort. The soft cushioning starts to compress after a few hours of wear. The low-profile design doesn’t provide much arch support either.

Running:

The Gaviota 5 is capable of a daily running shoe for easy and recovery days. The cushioning absorbs impact well and the upper secures the foot over any distance. The stability features help control overpronation. However, the shoe feels a bit heavy for fast training or racing.

The Clifton 9 shines as an everyday neutral running shoe that can go the distance. The responsive cushioning and smooth transition make it great for easy runs, long runs, and even some tempo sessions. The flexibility allows a natural foot strike while the upper locks in the foot securely.

Plantar Fasciitis:

The Gaviota 5 offers ample underfoot cushioning and arch support which helps take pressure off the plantar fascia. The stability features also control overpronation which can aggravate plantar fasciitis if excessive. Overall, it performs well in this condition.

The soft cushioning of the Clifton 9 does help absorb shock which is beneficial if you have inflamed plantar fascia. However, the flexibility of the platform may allow more arch collapse, so additional orthotics are recommended for optimal support.

Standing All Day:

The structured cushioning and arch support of the Gaviota 5 makes it a good choice for standing for long hours. The plush foam keeps your feet comfortable while the upper has just enough room in the toe box without letting your foot slide around.

The Clifton 9 is not optimal for all-day standing due to the soft, compressible cushioning. Within a few hours, you’ll start to feel pressure build up in the foot. The flexible upper also doesn’t lock the foot in place well when standing stationary for extended periods.

Final Verdict:

The Hoka Gaviota 5 is the better choice if you need stability for overpronation or extra arch support when walking or standing. It also performs well for runners with plantar fasciitis who need structure and cushioning. The durable outsole makes it a long-lasting option.


The Hoka Clifton 9 is ideal for neutral runners wanting a responsive, well-cushioned shoe for daily miles and long runs. The flexible cushioning allows for a smooth, natural ride. It’s best for efficient runners with narrow to medium-width feet.

Consider your foot type, running gait, usage needs, and fit preferences when deciding between these two shoes. Both offer quality construction and technologies like the signature Hoka cushioning, just tuned for different running and wearing needs. If you need a stability shoe, go for the Gaviota 5 but if you prefer a lightweight, cushioned neutral trainer, the Clifton 9 is a top choice.

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