HOKA Mach 4 VS Clifton 8: What Should I Buy?

The Hoka Mach 4 and Clifton 8 are both popular lightweight running shoes from Hoka One One. With responsive cushioning and breathable uppers, these shoes are designed for neutral runners looking for a comfortable and smooth ride.

But how do they compare when it comes to features and performance? Read on as we break down the key differences between the Mach 4 and Clifton 8.

Similarities And Differences Between Hoka Mach 4 and Clifton 8:

FeaturesHoka Mach 4Hoka Clifton 8
Launched In 20212021
StabilityNeutralNeutral
FlexibilityModerateModerate
SizingMen’s 7-13, Women’s 5-11Men’s 7-13, Women’s 5-11
Weight8.5 oz (men’s), 7.4 oz (women’s)9.1 oz (men’s), 7.8 oz (women’s)
CushionProfly+ foamCMEVA foam
OutsoleDurable rubberDurable rubber
MidsoleProfly+ foamCMEVA foam
UpperEngineered meshEngineered mesh
Retail Price$200$180

Features Comparison: HOKA Mach 4 vs Clifton 8

In this section we will analyze how the features of Mach 4 stand against he iconic Clifton 8.

Materials

The outsoles on both the Mach 4 and Clifton 8 are made of durable rubber to withstand miles of road running. The Mach 4’s outsole utilizes a Swallowtail geometry to promote smooth transitions while the Clifton 8 uses a rockered geometry for the same purpose.

Hoka Mach 4
MACH 4

Hoka Clifton 8
CLIFTON 8

Inside, the shoes differ in their midsole technologies – the Mach 4 uses Profly+ foam while the Clifton 8 uses CMEVA foam. Both are lightweight and responsive. The Profly+ foam in the Mach 4 provides soft cushioning with energy return, while the CMEVA foam in the Clifton 8 aims to deliver enhanced responsiveness and durability.

For the upper, both shoes use an engineered mesh material that is breathable and flexible. The uppers provide a secure and comfortable fit.

Durability

The Mach 4 and Clifton 8 are quite evenly matched when it comes to durability. The rubber outsoles and engineered mesh uppers are designed to handle up to around 300-500 miles of running before signs of wear.

The Profly+ foam used in the Mach 4 midsole retains its cushioning and bounces longer than standard EVA foams. This helps the Mach 4 maintain its responsive and smooth feel for an extended period.

Similarly, the CMEVA foam in the Clifton 8 midsole aims to have increased durability over standard EVA foams, helping the shoe maintain its cushioning and energy return for more miles.

So both shoes should easily meet the durability demands of most runners without breaking down prematurely. With some care and rotation, runners can expect to get a good lifespan out of the Mach 4 and Clifton 8.

Fit

In terms of fit and sizing, the Mach 4 and Clifton 8 are fairly comparable, following standard running shoe sizing conventions. They both cater to narrower feet best, with the available widths being D for men and B for women.

Hoka Match 4 Top View
Mach 4 Top View

Hoka Clifton 8 Top view
CLIFTON 8 Top View

The engineered mesh upper of the Mach 4 provides a snug and personalized fit. Some had issues with the heel collar being too stiff, but breaking them in helps. The Clifton 8 upper is also engineered mesh for breathability and it provides a secure midfoot lockdown while allowing some flexibility through the forefoot.

Both shoes fit best for neutral runners with medium to high arches. The Mach 4 may work for mild overpronators while the Clifton 8 is strictly for neutral pronation.

Runners noticed no length issues with either shoe but the toe boxes run narrow. Trying both to assess fit is recommended. Sizing up a half or full size can give more wiggle room if needed.

Stability

As neutral cushioned shoes, the Mach 4 and Clifton 8 are not designed to provide pronation control or stability.

The Mach 4 has a Swallowtail geometry outsole which is intended to promote smooth transitions, not correct overpronation. There is no guidance rail or medial post, so stability relies purely on the foot balancing on the neutral cushioning. Mild overpronators can run in the Mach 4 but support is limited.

Similarly, the Clifton 8 is a flexibility shoe made for neutral runners. The rockered geometry aims to facilitate heel-to-toe transitions but does not address overpronation. Additionally, the full ground contact outsole and broad platform give an inherently stable base without control features.

For those needing stability or pronation support, the Mach 4 and Clifton 8 would not be ideal choices. Neutral runners and mild overpronators will feel comfortable in the Mach 4 while the Clifton 8 suits strictly neutral feet best. Those wanting maximum flexibility without control will get it from these models.

Cushioning

Cushioning is a strong point for both the Mach 4 and Clifton 8 models. The Mach 4 uses ProfFly+ foam which delivers soft, resilient cushioning with plenty of bounce. The foam provides shock absorption and energy return that runners find ideal for daily training miles.

The Clifton 8 utilizes CMEVA foam that aims to provide soft cushioning with enhanced responsiveness compared to standard EVA foams. Testers noted plush cushioning that had more bounce and spring than previous Clifton versions.

The Mach 4 has a 5mm drop while the Clifton 8 is 5mm for men and 4mm for women. The low drop facilitates a smooth, natural ride. The cushioning gives enough softness for hard roads while still feeling responsive.

In comparing the two models, the Clifton 8 offers slightly softer cushioning while the Mach 4 feels more responsive and energetic. The Profly+ foam in Mach 4 provides a bit more pop than the CMEVA of the Clifton 8. But both deliver ample cushioning for neutral runners during miles of road running.

Value

With a $200 and $180 retail price, the Mach 4 and Clifton 8 come at a premium cost, typical for Hoka shoes. They deliver features like lightweight, breathable mesh uppers, meta-rocker geometries, and responsive cushioning from high-end midsole foams.

For serious runners training for everything from 5Ks to marathons, the performance value is there. The durable materials and smooth, well-cushioned ride make them suitable as daily trainers for moderate to high mileage. Recreational runners may balk at the price tag when more budget-friendly options exist.

Compared to each other, the Mach 4 and Clifton 8 are evenly matched in price and deliver similarly high-level performance attributes. So choosing between them comes down to weighing preferences like the Mach 4’s energetic ride vs. the Clifton 8’s softer feel. Overall, neutral runners investing in either model can expect excellent comfort and responsiveness for the price.

Performance Comparison:

Now we will compare the performance of both shoes to see who outperforms the other.

Walking

For walking, the Mach 4 and Clifton 8 both perform well thanks to their responsive cushioning and smooth transitions. The Profly+ foam in the Mach 4 provides a soft yet energetic feel with each step. The rockered geometry facilitates natural foot motion through the walking gait cycle.

Similarly, the Clifton 8’s CMEVA foam absorbs shock while providing good energy return on toe-off. The meta-rocker design allows smooth progression from heel to toe when walking. Neither shoe offers pronation control, which is fine for casual walking. So whether you prefer the Mach 4’s livelier ride or the Clifton 8’s plush feel, both work great as walking shoes.

Running

As daily trainers designed for the roads, the Mach 4 and Clifton 8 are both excellent options for running. The Mach 4 provides a responsive and lightweight feel that excels at faster-paced running like tempo runs or fartleks. The soft yet energetic Profly+ foam and Swallowtail geometry make it a highly nimble performer.

For runners wanting more cushioned comfort, the Clifton 8 has the edge with its plush CMEVA foam absorbing shocks while providing a smooth and stable platform to pick up speed. The meta-rocker geometry promotes fluid transitions. So runners get a well-cushioned yet natural ride at various paces. For neutral runners, either shoe will deliver miles of enjoyable running.

Plantar Fasciitis

The ample cushioning in both the Mach 4 and Clifton 8 helps reduce pain associated with plantar fasciitis during activity. The soft Profly+ foam in Mach 4 absorbs shock and eases pressure on the feet, especially in the heel and arch areas where plantar fasciitis pain often occurs.

Similarly, the plush CMEVA foam in the Clifton 8 provides impact protection and cushioning under the heel to alleviate discomfort from inflammation. However, those with severe plantar fasciitis may benefit more from shoes with pronation control, arch support, and motion control features.

Standing All Day

Cushioned running shoes like the Mach 4 and Clifton 8 can provide comfortable alternatives to standard work sneakers for those on their feet all day. The responsive midsoles in both models help reduce fatigue from standing on hard surfaces, along with absorbing the impact from walking around. The mesh uppers remain breathable and the low heel-toe drops promote natural foot positioning.

For even greater comfort, swapping in more cushioned insoles like those from Superfeet or Dr. Scholl’s can optimize the Mach 4 or Clifton 8 for extended periods of standing. Just be aware that the running shoe design may look slightly more casual than a traditional work sneaker.

Final Verdict:

For neutral runners seeking responsive, lightweight trainers, both the Hoka Mach 4 and Clifton 8 deliver impressive comfort, cushioning, and enjoyment. The Mach 4 offers a more responsive and lively ride for faster-paced training and races while the Clifton 8 prioritizes softness and shock absorption for high-mileage comfort.


While similarly matched in price and quality construction, choosing between the two comes down to personal preferences in cushioning feel and intended use. Either way, Hoka fans are sure to log mile after mile in these well-crafted models.

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