Hoka Rincon 3 VS Hoka Clifton 9: What Should I Buy?

With so many running shoe options on the market, it can be tough to decide which model is right for you. Two of Hoka One One’s most popular shoes are the Rincon 3 and the Clifton 9. Both offer the signature Hoka cushioning and comfort but have distinct features that set them apart.

This in-depth comparison of the Rincon 3 and Clifton 9 breaks down the key specs, materials, performance, and overall value of each shoe. Whether you are looking for a fast, responsive trainer or a cushy daily mileage shoe, this review will help you determine which Hoka is the better fit. Read on to determine if the Rincon 3 or Clifton 9 is the right shoe to meet your running needs.

Similarities And Differences Between Hoka Rincon 3 and Clifton 9:

FeatureRincon 3Clifton 9
Launched In20212023
StabilityNeutralNeutral
FlexibilityMediumMedium
SizingMen’s 7-13, Women’s 5-11Men’s 7-13, Women’s 5-11
Weight7.4 oz (M), 6.4 oz (W)8.5 oz (M), 7.5 oz (W)
CushionHighHigh
OutsoleDurable rubberDurable rubber
MidsoleCMEVA foamCMEVA foam
UpperEngineered meshEngineered mesh
Retail Price$125$145

Features Comparison:

Materials

The Rincon 3 uses a combination of CMEVA foam in the midsole to provide a responsive and energetic ride. The outsole uses durable rubber in high-wear areas for longevity. The upper features an engineered mesh that stretches and adapts to your foot.

rincon 3
RINCON 3

Clifton 9
CLIFTON 9

The Clifton 9 also utilizes CMEVA foam in the thick midsole for soft cushioning. The outsole uses the same durable rubber as the Rincon 3 and the upper is a breathable engineered mesh.

Durability

The Rincon 3 has an upgraded, more durable outsole over previous versions so it holds up well over miles. The Clifton 9 is known for its high durability and most runners can get 300-500 miles out of the shoe. Both models use abrasion-resistant meshes to prevent wear and tear.

Fit

The Rincon 3 fits true-to-size for most runners with a secure midfoot wrap and roomy toe box.

rincon 3 top view
RINCON 3 TOP VIEW

Clifton 9 Top View
CLIFTON 9 TOP VIEW

The Clifton 9 runs small and has a narrower fit, especially in the toe box area. Trying both on in-store is recommended.

Stability

As neutral running shoes, neither the Rincon 3 nor Clifton 9 offers pronation control or stability mechanisms. However, the Rincon 3’s lower profile provides more natural stability for neutral runners. The Clifton 9’s high, soft cushioning results in some lateral instability.

Cushioning

The Rincon 3 provides a good balance of responsiveness and softness with its CMEVA foam midsole. The Clifton 9 offers maximum Hoka cushioning with its thick foam stack height that absorbs impact force. Clifton fans laud the “marshmallow-like” softness.

Value

The Rincon 3 delivers versatility and a smooth ride at a moderate price point of $125. The Clifton 9 has a higher price at $145 but impressively lasts for hundreds of miles, providing good value per wear. Cost per use is similar for both.

Performance Comparison:

Walking

The Rincon 3 performs well as a walking shoe, with its flexible sole and secure lacing. The low-profile midsole keeps you close to the ground for proprioception. The Clifton 9 has a thicker, more cushioned sole that some may prefer for comfort over long walks. Both have sufficient traction for varied walking surfaces.

Running

The Rincon 3 truly shines as a versatile everyday running shoe, suited for tempo runs, long runs, and daily miles alike. The energetic foam and grippy outsole provide a smooth ride at any pace. The Clifton 9 is better suited to recovery days and long, slow runs due to its soft cushioning that lacks responsiveness.

Plantar Fasciitis

The Rincon 3’s firm heel counter and moderate arch support help stabilize the foot, easing plantar fasciitis symptoms. However, the Clifton 9 may be better for this purpose with its well-cushioned heel and plush interior that reduces pressure on the fascia. Those with severe pain may prefer the Clifton.

Standing All Day

The Rincon 3 works well for all-day wear thanks to its lightweight feel and breathable upper that keeps feet fresh. While the Clifton 9 provides ample cushioning, some may find it too unstructured with inadequate arch support for extended standing or walking shifts.

Final Verdict:

For most runners, the Rincon 3 comes out on top as the more versatile and responsive option of the two. It serves as both a cushy trainer and lightweight racer with proven durability.


The Clifton 9 wins for those seeking maximum softness on their runs or who need comfort for plantar fasciitis. Both provide the Hoka cushioning experience with excellent shock absorption.

Test out the fit and feel of each to determine the right shoe for tackling your miles.

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