Hoka Clifton 6 Review | Max. Cushioning Road Running Shoes
Clifton 6 Review
The Hoka Clifton is the shoe that changed Hoka from a niche Ultra Runners brand to brand for all runners. The original Clifton was a very light 220 grams with a 29mm heel and 24mm forefoot stack, had tonnes of bouncy soft energy and a fast feel due to the rocker increasing the runner’s cadence. However, is felt unstable and wore out quickly.
Over the years Hoka has tweaked the shoe to get more life out of it, made it a touch more stable and last longer. The feel of the Clifton has therefore changed a lot over the years. They’ve tried firmer versions, reversed back to soft and gone back again! All as Hoka search for that magic middle ground between stability, durability and a quick & cushioned ride.
The new Clifton 6 road shoe is softer and more flexible than the Clifton 5. It is 28 grams lighter, weighing in at 252g for a Men’s UK 8. It is also a touch broader fitting in the regular width (D for Men’s, B for Women) than the Clifton 5, which is a big plus for many customers who found that they had to move up to the wide width in the Clifton 5 despite being happy in the regular Clifton 4. The feel is very similar to the older Clifton 3. It has a very soft pillow like heel with a firmer forefoot to help with propulsion.
The upper is super soft and pliable to help fit all shapes of feet. The light mesh is very breathable and gives just enough support to hold the foot onto the midsole.
As you would expect, the ride is soft and you feel the shock absorption with each stride. However, this softness doesn’t make the Clifton 6 a slow shoe. The curve in the midsole rolls you forward onto your toes, which helps keep your cadence quick and stops you slumping at the waist. The broad base to the shoe gives it some natural stability.
The 5mm heel to forefoot drop and the roll of the shoe help reduce heel strike and promote a more midfoot strike. This promotes a more upright posture, which is better for running form.
Although the soft feel isn’t to every runners liking, Hoka’s do absorb a lot of shock. An illustration of this is when a friend of mine, now in his 60’s, was gradually grinding to a halt with ankle problems. He had a lot of miles on the clock, having trained twice a day, and up to a hundred miles a week since he was in his late twenties. At this point all he was able to manage was a 3 mile run every other day. Any more and his ankles got stiff, swollen and he hobbled around for days. The first run in a pair of Hoka’s and he did 7 miles. He then ran the next day and has now been running regularly and racing for a few years.
Personally I prefer a firmer ride with more feel for the ground. However, Hoka’s still play a roll in my shoe rotation. They are ideal for recovery runs and long runs. It is very noticeable that you have less stiffness the day after a long run when you run in Hoka’s.
Charlie @ Northern Runner Newcastle
Altra Torin Plush: A zero drop soft shoes with a rounded foot shaped toe box. The soft feel is very similar but, with less compression. The toe box gives you more room for your feet to function. The Altra shoes don’t have a roll but, zero drop shoes also encourage a more upright running posture and increase your cadence. The difference is that with a shoe like a Hoka that has a rocker the shoe does the work where as in a zero drop shoe you learn to lift your feet up and then fall forward.
On Cloud Stratus: The most cushioned On shoe. These shoes have a double layer of clouds to give a much more cushioned ride than other On running shoes. These have a firmer more stable ride than the Clifton’s but, still has a smooth soft ride.
New Balance Fresh Foam More: A firmer more responsive feel than the Hoka’s. Which makes the ride feel more in control. There is still a lot of cushioning so they are ideal for long training runs as similar to the Hoka’s you feel less beat up the day after.