Hoka One One Clifton 8

9.8
9.8 score
[Editors rating (9.8)] = Runnerclick score (9.8)/10

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Editor rating: 9.8 / 10
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Editor’s Conclusion
Hoka fans everywhere (myself included) were anxiously awaiting the drop of the Hoka Clifton 8, and it’s finally here! If you are new to Hoka and shopping around for the very best mid-cushioned neutral running shoe, the Clifton is the way to go. It provides something for just about all styles of runners, and it’s great as a daily trainer or even a race-day shoe.

What I love most about the Clifton 8 is that it brought back the max cushioning that was lost in previous versions to bring it back to its former glory. While it’s not the most cushioned trainer from Hoka (that title belongs to the Bondi), it is the softest underfoot.

If you have ever dreamt of running on marshmallows, the Clifton 8 is the closest that you can get while still providing that classic Meta-Rocker for a nice even gait cycle, and modest stability to help with pronation issues.

Below, I wanted to take a deep dive into some of the advanced features that make the Hoka Clifton 8 well worth the wait.
Hoka One One Clifton 8 Review Facts
Editor's Pros & Cons
Pros

Meta-Rocker for added stability

Insanely durable

Plush step-in cushioning

Breathable mesh upper

Stiff heel counter for excellent lockdown

Runs true to size

Great for speed or distance

Cons

Slightly expensive

Not great for agility workouts

Key Features

Key Features

MIDSOLE

As with all Clifton trainers, the design of the midsole remains largely the same. It is composed of compression EVA foam that is able to hold up to hundreds of miles of continuous use without smashing down into a pancake over time. What I love most about the midsole of this shoe is that it is one of the softest shoes in the Hoka lineup.

Simply slipping your feet into these shoes causes angles to sing, and 2 miles on the sidewalk feels natural and cushioned. If you are a sucker for a squishy and marshmallowy midsole, the Clifton 8 really delivers.

This midsole is also built with Hokas patented Meta-Rocker technology. The Meta-Rocker is a stiff TPU plate that has a slight curve to it that transforms your feet into tiny rocking chairs.

If you have any stride issues, such as under/overpronation or you are recovering from an injury, the blend of compression EVA foam with the addition of the meta rocker strikes that perfect balance between neutral running and stability.

OUTSOLE

Hokas are known for their durability when compared to other trainers out there on the market, and the same can be said for the Clifton 8. What makes Hokas so incredibly durable is that they boast a very thick and tough rubber outsole.

The rubber on this shoe is insanely durable, and even after 100 miles, the outsole shows little signs of wear and tear. It’s built for casual everyday runs, but it also is made to tackle long distances as well.

The traction along the base of this outsole is modest, which makes it ideal for running on sidewalks, treadmills, or even some basic trailheads. The rubber used in this design is what gives your stride that classic bouncy that helps to mitigate the impact when running on hard surfaces to help protect your knees and joints.

Whether you are a heel striker, a heavier runner, or a forefoot striker, the design of this rubber outsole is designed to give you a little extra boost where you need it most.

UPPER

With so many supportive features in the midsole and the outsole, I expected the upper of the Clifton 8 to feel heavy and stiff. Surprisingly, the upper of this design is incredibly lightweight as well as breathable.

It is composed of a light mesh material that stretches over your foot for generous lockdown. Many users found that this shoe is great to take out when the temperatures start to climb, and won’t overheat their feet.

Modern design features in the heel and the tongue also help to boost lockdown and provide a soft and cushioned fit that you will have no problem wearing on those longer running sessions. It has a flared ‘elf’ collar that may look a little odd, but it helps runners easily slip on their shoes as well as prevent heel slippage.

I also appreciate the slim and gusseted tongue that won’t shift around on you as you run. Overall, the upper of the Clifton 8 has a sock-like feel that is super light and breathable.

PERFORMANCE

The Clifton 8 is built for almost anything. If you are new to the Hoka lineup of trainers, many runners will benefit by starting out with the Clifton. It’s like the Goldilocks of running shoes. It has the heightened durability found in most Hokas, but it also provides modest cushioning and support in the midsole and outsole.

This mid-cushioned neutral runner is a great option for short and easy tempo runs, or for days where you really want to put miles behind you.

If you are a new runner, carrying a bit of extra weight, or recovering from an injury, the Clifton 8 is a great shoe that lends support without feeling too heavy or hot.

The downside of the Clifton 8, however, is that it’s really only built for running. If you like to blend your running schedule with WODs, CrossFit, or weight lifting, this shoe doesn’t provide much support for quick and snappy movements.

The stiff Meta-Rocker is designed to support your traditional gait cycle, so lateral movements may feel a bit awkward.

FIT

Overall, the fit runs true to size. If you wore a size 8 in other Hoka trainers, the same can be said for the Clifton 8. What I love most about Hoka trainers is that they boast a wide toe box that allows for natural toe splay (and prevents your toes from jamming in the end when running up and down hills).

It also has a wide frame that hugs the natural shape of your foot without feeling too tight. The Clifton 8 is also offered in wide sizes, which really makes the Hoka stand out from the pack.

If you have never tried on a pair of Hoka’s before, I suggest heading down to your local shoe store to give them a spin! The initial fit of the Clifton is slightly unusual when compared to other neutral trainers, and they may not be for everyone.

If you can’t try them on before you buy them, be sure that you take ample measurements of your feet and compare them to Hoka’s detailed sizing chart.

STYLE

The styling of Hoka isn’t exactly a trendsetting shoe, but the design of the Clifton 8 is a step in the right direction. Compared to previous versions of the Clifton, the style of this shoe is slightly slimmer than previous versions.

It also boasts a trendy flared heel and minimal padding on the upper for a more streamlined style that feels less bulky and clumsy. I also love that it comes in a few unique color options that are bound to generate some compliments while out on your run!

PRICE

The price of the Clifton 8 is slightly higher than similar mid-cushioned neutral runners out there on the market, but I feel that it is well worth every penny. These shoes are designed to take a beating, and hold up quite well over hundreds of miles. It can sometimes be a little difficult to find reliable shoes for long distances, which is why this shoe is considered to be an excellent value!

If you can swing the slightly higher price point, the Clifton 8 is worth every penny for runners that are hard on their shoes.
Comparisons to Previous Versions

Comparisons to Previous Versions

The Clifton series is one of Hokas best-selling trainers, so changes made to the overall construction of this shoe remain minimal. It is still composed of a highly durable outsole and cushioned midsole with a Meta-Rocker, but there have been some slight changes to the style and performance of this shoe that are worth noting.

While the materials are all the same, Hoka slimmed down the overall bulk of this shoe and dialed up the cushioning. Over the years, the cushioning on the midsole started to get firmer over time, and the Clifton 8 is a call back to those early days where it felt like you were running on a cloud.

The upper boasts a slimmer silhouette that is a little less bulky than previous versions such as the Clifton 7. It’s important to note that the increased cushioning makes the Clifton 8 just a few ounces heavier then.
Verdict

Verdict

In my humble opinion, the Clifton is one of the very best neutral running shoes out there on the market. It’s technically considered to be a neutral running shoe, but it is packed with supportive features to keep your joints and feet happy on those long runs.

The highly cushioned midsole feels like running on marshmallows (who wouldn’t love that?), and the Meta-Rocker technology helps keep your gait cycle nice and even. Overall, I would recommend the Clifton 8 to new runners, or runners that are giving Hoka a try.

These shoe hosts almost all of the coveted features from the Hoka brand, making it a functional, durable, and insanely comfortable ride. It may cost a little bit more than most, but it is well worth it!