Verdict from 18 experts and 100+ user reviews

10 reasons to buy

  • Many runners mentioned that the Hoka One One Clifton 1 is the best Hoka shoe they have ever worn.
  • A lot of runners admired the shoe’s lightweight design.
  • Many users appreciated the breathable coverage of the Hoka Clifton 1.
  • Runners with wide forefoot admired the shoe’s wide toe box; they said it gives enough room for toe splay.
  • A significant number of runners remarked that the cushioning of this road running shoe is very comfortable.
  • According to some satisfied runners, the Clifton 1 has a very responsive cushioning.
  • Several testers highlighted the shoe’s responsive cushioning.
  • The shoe runs true-to-size, said some wearers.
  • Some users mentioned that the running shoe is great for half and full marathons.
  • A few who got the shoe agreed that buying it is getting value out of their money.

3 reasons not to buy

  • A few narrow-footed runners were disappointed because of the shoe’s sloppy forefoot fit.
  • Some runners were unhappy with the shoe’s flimsy tongue unit.
  • The insole of the Hoka One One Clifton 1 is too thin and keeps on sliding around, according to some purchasers.

Bottom line

The Hoka One One Clifton 1 managed to get high marks from runners. Many users positively accepted the shocking come back of the first ever Clifton running shoe. It received few criticisms, but the users believe there is still room for improvement for the Clifton 1. Overall, as a lot of people considered the Hoka One One Clifton 1 as the best Hoka running shoe of all time.

Tip: see the best running shoes.

Our reviews

/100 by , posted on .

The Hoka One One Clifton is a great shoe if you want to feel fast, especially as you get deeper into longer runs.

Although their famed cushion faded significantly after the first 200 miles or so, these shoes feel incredibly light, fast, and protective. The upper leaves room for improvement, and don’t get a ton of style points either with their chunky neon bulk.




The upper is a weak link on this shoe. It feels flimsy and cheap compared to the cushioned bottom half of this shoe.

The tongue feels like thin cardboard, and wrinkles if you pull the laces tight. Pulling the laces tight is a requirement by the way, otherwise, the laces come loose on their own.

Nevertheless, the material holds up (better than the cushioning at least) and the shoe has little wear after 300 miles. 


Great on any paved surface, these shoes are energetic and bouncy despite being impossibly light. The outsole very much feels like a continuation of the foam midsole - soft to the touch while still being very stable. 




On occasion, I’d end up offroad on these. Definitely it's not their forte, but that’s a fair play for a lightweight road shoe.

Having run a couple of half-marathon distances in these, they are forgiving and keep my legs fresh even as the miles tick up.


Compared to my previous daily trainer (the Asics GEL-DS Trainer 24), it was a revelation. The Asics’ lacked the type of cushioning that I prefer, leading me to avoid them on longer runs.

I assumed this was just a reality of lighter weight trainers, but the Cliftons have shown me otherwise. These are the ideal running shoe if you want fast, lightweight everyday trainers with plush cushioning.

That being said, I sensed a degradation of the cushioning as I passed 150 miles or so on these shoes.


The design of this shoe is a bit different. While a lot of shoes have become sleeker and more aerodynamic over time, Hokas, with their huge outsole cushioning and loud colors, look very clunky and noticeable.

While not ugly, they are probably better left solely as running shoes versus something you’d wear around town.

Test run

13.1 Miles, Upstate New York, Spring, Overcast and 60 degrees

Since COVID wiped out my plans to run a half marathon last May, I decided to do a long run (not necessarily a half though) on my own.

The path was primarily roads and rail-trail, which kept this run nice and fast. I started out nice and easy, planning to just complete the run without killing myself.




As I got into the first few miles, I felt good and decided to push it. Surely, it wasn’t entirely due to the shoes, but I did feel like I was cruising and about 8 miles in decided to push through for a half marathon. 

Despite pounding paved roads and some serious hills the entire way, it felt great. While my legs were tired from the distance, I didn’t have any additional soreness after my run or in the following days. I finished it up at 1:31, which is quick work for me.

The shoes are so light that you just feel faster, even if they’re only a few ounces lighter than other shoes that I run in.


The Hoka One One Clifton 1 is a great shoe if you want a lot of cushion while still feeling fast. Despite their chunky appearance, they are featherweight and comfortable.

However, their upper materials and design leave a bit to be desired. And as a result, it feels a bit flimsy for a shoe at this price point.

| Level 3 expert Verified
I'm Brendan, an avid trail and road runner in New England. Having lived and run all over the world, from the East Coast, Southwest, and West Coast of the US, to South America to Europe, I've run in every climate condition and terrain imaginable. I've run handfuls of half marathons, 10K's, 5K's, XC races, and more. But, primarily, I enjoy the peace and zen-like quality of running every day. It helps me be present, relaxed, and happy.

Good to know

  • The Clifton 1, tagged as one of the most popular shoes from Hoka One One, has returned in its original form. This road running shoe designed for neutral runners offers plenty of cushioning and light design for long runs and fast-paced trainings.
  • The Hoka One One Clifton 1 uses a full-length HIP CMEVA midsole. It aims to give runners high performance cushioning with great level of comfort and stability. Embedded also in the midsole is the Early Stage Meta-Rocker Geometry, which is designed for a more efficient gait cycle.
  • With a full-ground contact outsole design, the Clifton 1 aims to provides a smooth heel-to-toe transition without compromising traction and durability.
  • Another aspect of the Hoka Clifton 1 that makes it well-liked by most runners is the light, no-sew upper. It provides the foot a comfortable, irritation-free environment.

The Hoka One One Clifton 1 runs true to size. This road running shoe offers a lightweight yet sturdy fit for the foot. It has medium measurement in the heel and forefoot area. The toe-box area is spacious enough for toe splay. The men’s and women’s versions of the Clifton 1 is available in medium width profile.

The original Hoka Clifton has a full-ground contact design. It encourages smooth heel-to-toe transition and stable ride. It also offers added traction on varied surfaces.

Part of the midsole material is exposed in the outsole of the Hoka One One Clifton 1, but durable rubber placements are found in the forefoot and heel areas of the outsole. This Hi-Abrasion Lightweight Rubber offers durability to high-wear areas. It also gives increased traction without adding a significant weight to the overall design.

The Hoka Clifton 1 is designed to help the foot move normally as possible. With a 5mm heel-to-toe drop, the shoe features a balanced level of cushioning, making it a suitable pair for long-distance and uptempo runs.

In the midsole is the HIP CMEVA that provides runners with a soft cushioning, making each step comfortable and well-protected. This midsole technology is designed for maximum shock absorption. Despite being lightweight, the shoe efficiently absorbs landing impact and provides high-energy return.

An Early Stage Meta-Rocker Geometry is also used in the midsole of the Hoka One One Clifton 1. It is engineered to promote efficient running movement. Functioning like a rocking chair, this technology promotes a guided gait cycle. The presence of this meta-rocker encourages runners to strike on the midfoot for a faster transition.

The upper of the Hoka One One Clifton 1 uses a durable mesh material. It has a closed design to prevent debris from entering the shoe, but it remains to be breathable. It still offers efficient ventilation to keep the foot cool and sweat-free. The durable mesh is also stretchable enough to wrap the foot comfortably.

The shoe has a no-sew upper design. It aims to provide the foot a seamless environment for a smooth, blister-free wrap. It goes along with the smooth interior of the shoe, which gives the foot a soft in-shoe feel.

The shoe has a very thin tongue. It is very noticeable and has received mixed comments from users; others like it while others are disappointed. The thin neoprene-like tongue aims to provide runners an anatomical fit without compromising comfort.

The Hoka One One Clifton 1 also features an External Heel Counter. It is designed to provide the foot a comfortable heel lockdown, holding the foot securely throughout the run. The heel counter is lightweight and does not affect the overall comfort of the shoe.

Easy on and removal of the shoe is not difficult because of the thin tongue and heel pull tab. Runners can also easily adjust the laces to achieve the perfect fit.

Lastly, the printed overlays on the upper of the shoe are designed to enhance the overall fit and to provide added durability to the shoe’s structure.

The original Hoka One One Clifton debuted back in 2014. It is one of the successful shoe releases from Hoka One One that made users extremely satisfied. The original Clifton was designed to be lightweight with soft, balanced cushioning. The return of the original version has made the Clifton fans very happy; they can now stock up with more pairs and enjoy the iconic running shoe again.

The brand has answered the request of the consumers - to bring back the original Hoka One One Clifton in its original form. People specifically love this model because it is fast, lightweight and comfortable. Though it is more expensive compared to other road running shoes, the Clifton 1 is still widely accepted.

This running shoe is available in limited edition colors for both men’s and women’s versions. If you are a fan since its first release, the Clifton 1 will surely take you back in time.

The Hoka Clifton 1 has truly made an impression in the running community. Those who tried the shoe have expressed their excitement and happiness over the re-release of this model. The Hoka One One Clifton 5 is not a total disappointment, but there is something with the Clifton 1 that is so special.

Performance-wise, this Hoka running shoe is comparable to other running shoes from big brands like Adidas, Nike, Brooks, and Asics. The shoe is as responsive as the Ultra Boost and Pegasus 35, and as comfortable as the Nike Odyssey React.

The Hoka One One Clifton 1 running shoe is not just for professional runners and Hoka fans; beginners should try purchasing a pair. Also, runners who found the Nimbus and Kayano models satisfying should also give this running shoe a chance.


How Hoka One One Clifton 1 ranks compared to all other shoes
Top 6% road running shoes
All road running shoes
Top 12% Hoka One One running shoes
All Hoka One One running shoes
Top 6% neutral running shoes
All neutral running shoes


The current trend of Hoka One One Clifton 1.
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Jens Jakob Andersen
Jens Jakob Andersen

Jens Jakob is a fan of short distances with a 5K PR at 15:58 minutes. Based on 35 million race results, he's among the fastest 0.2% runners. Jens Jakob previously owned a running store, when he was also a competitive runner. His work is regularly featured in The New York Times, Washington Post, BBC and the likes as well as peer-reviewed journals. Finally, he has been a guest on +30 podcasts on running.