Perfection with the Hoka Clifton 3

90 / 100 by Samuel Chua • Level 3 expert

The Hoka Clifton 3 is classified as a lightweight performance trainer. It is lightweight at 244g and has an 5mm heel-to-toe drop.



Upper & Fit

The Clifton 3 uses a Lycra ComfortFrame Upper. This is an improvement from the previous version, where the Clifton 3’s upper is softer, more durable and breathable.

The toe box has been made slightly wider to accommodate runners with bigger feet. This allows the toes to spread out for a more natural ride. The tongue has been thinned out from the Clifton 2.

This is a positive change as the tongue in the Clifton 2’s was uncomfortably thick. The tongue in the Clifton 3’s is still padded and offered a more “goldilocks” feel in comfort. The ankle collar is well-padded for additional comfort in the upper.

The shoe runs true to size, but wider-footed runners are recommended to size up half a size.


Midsole Technology

The midsole is made up of a full-length compression molded EVA, with stack heights of 24mm in the forefoot and 29mm in the heel.

This leads to an amazing cushion-to-weight ratio, probably the best in any shoe I have ever tested. The ride felt plush without being sluggish when I picked up the pace.

This is also due to the absence of outsole rubber in the middle section of the outsole, which allows the soft midsole to be in direct contact with the ground for a marshmallow ride.

It also features an Early Stage Meta-Rocker Geometry. This means that the forefoot and heel are curved upwards, and allows a quicker transition from impact to toe-off. The thickness in the midsole resulted in a stiffer shoe that was difficult to flex. However, this did not compromise comfort.



Outsole Durability

As for the outsole, high abrasion rubber patches are placed in the forefoot and heel for increased durability. After 240km, the rubber patches show little signs of wear.

The uncovered part of the outsole wore out quicker, but this could be overlooked as lightweight shoes tend to sacrifice durability.


The sole unit after 240km


Type of Workouts

The Clifton 3 excels on the road and is decent on the trail. It is best used for tempo workouts or long runs ranging from 10km to full marathons.



The first issue I have with this shoe is that it has put on weight compared to the previous versions. It put on nearly an ounce of weight from the Clifton 2. However, the shoe is still very lightweight for the amount of cushion it offers.

I found the Clifton 3 slightly narrow in the forefoot even after the widening of the toe box in this iteration of the Clifton series.

Narrow-footed runners will have no issue with this but it may pose a problem for wider-footed runners such as me. It limited toe splay which resulted in my feet feeling a little constricted while running.



The Hoka Clifton 3 is a lightweight trainer for runners who want a plush ride without sacrificing speed.

Samuel Chua

Samuel Chua • Level 3 expert

I'm Samuel, a recreational runner, and a triathlete. I have taken part in over 30 races and 17 triathlons so far. I have an avid passion for running gear, especially running shoes. This obsession with running shoes has helped me obtain vast knowledge on each brand's technology, which led to me trying shoes from many different brands and giving unbiased opinions on the performance of each shoe.

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