Hoka One One Clifton 4
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Overview of this review
I bought the Hoka One One Clifton 4 after retiring my Hoka Clifton 5 due to issues with the fit, particularly I felt with the shoe width. The Clifton 5 were standard width and had given me blisters on the instep.
So, when I saw I could buy Hoka’s in a wider fit, I jumped at the chance to get them. I was so interested in having a nice pair of Hoka’s, as I loved their funky look, and I thought the extra width would solve the fitting issue for me.
As it turned out, the wide fit didn’t solve my problems with Hoka’s, and I’ll talk through this during my review.
On the whole, this shoe is upper is okay. It’s probably the best part of the shoe for me.
The shoe looks pretty good. It has that unique Hoka style, with the excessively chunky sole and a nice colourway, blue with green flashes and green laces. The official colourway for mine is true blue/jasmine green.
The laces are good quality and never gave me any problems, in that they always stayed tied up well. They are not as flashy as some Hoka shoes, though.
For example, Clifton 5 is a definite upgrade in terms of style and look. Although uniquely Hoka, the Clifton 4 is quite plain.
Breathability and flexibility
The breathability of the Clifton 4 is just okay, really. The front of the shoe made with breathable mesh does exactly as it says—no issues there, but the mesh quality is firm. It doesn’t allow the shoe to move with your foot very well.
This ties in with the overall flexibility. I found that the shoes felt stiff. And even though Hoka shoes are famed for their comfort, I didn’t get enough of it with the Clifton 4.
This is the area where I seem to struggle with Hoka, and from talking to other runners, some have had similar issues. This time I bought a 42 EUR, which matched my normal UK size 8.
I mistakenly believed my blistering problems were due to shoe width, so I tried the extra width ‘E’ size Clifton 4. I found that this wasn’t the problem, though, as I still blistered in exactly the same area as my previous Hoka shoes with these.
The extra high instep, which is pretty standard in Hoka shoes, just doesn’t agree with me. Whenever I did mileage of over 5 miles, I felt them pinching my instep.
The heel to toe drop is 9mm, with heel height 37mm, and forefoot height 28mm. These measurements are very high when compared to many other running shoes.
Although I did have a lot of issues with these shoes, the performance wasn’t really one of them—at least not over shorter distances.
They weigh 275g but run fast, feeling much lighter. The huge sole is very cushioned although it feels firmer than the Clifton 5. I liked them for anything up to 5 miles, but couldn’t use them for longer runs due to the high insteps.
Hence, this is a big problem for this shoe as its main market is runners doing longer distances like half or full marathons.
As touched upon, they are comfortable but only up to a point. The sole is very soft when compared to other brands. These would suit a lot of runners, and many would find them ideal—just not me.
The picture below shows the shoes after 100-150 miles.
I had big problems with the shoe in this department. They didn’t wear well for such a low amount of mileage. Some have lauded the rubber sole as being ultra-durable, but I didn’t find that.
The sole wore really quickly, and I don’t think I would have got 300 miles out of them. When compared to other branded shoes I have owned, the durability of these is low.
I also felt this to be a weak area. I bought them in summer and wore them primarily on road or gravel, and mostly they were fine. Whenever it did rain though, I found them a little slippery.
On the plus side, the upper coped well in the rain, feet not getting particularly wet.
Overall, there are too many issues and problems with the Hoka One One Clifton 4 for me.
I got them for £60, which I felt like a good price but sold them three months later for £25. The high insteps and lack of durability on the sole were the biggest detractors for me.
I decided to try the Hoka One One running shoes, after reading a lot of reviews and asking a friend who has one. I bought the Hoka One One Clifton 4, with a really good price. I believe because they don’t produce it anymore or they are producing another version.
At first sight
Honestly, when I opened the box, I found it really ugly and is actually really ugly (hahaha). But, we don’t want to perform it in a fashion show.
We want to have the best running shoes on our feet, giving us a more comfortable experience, more performance, saving energy and make running as great as it is.
The mesh is pretty good, nice ventilation, breathable and thin, combined with thin flat laces which stayed most of the times. The laces are also a bit of elastic, improving the overall comfort of it.
When you first try these shoes, you can notice that the mesh really hugs your feet, adapting perfectly.
Another small detail I really liked about the upper was the reflective material in the front and at the back of the running shoes. It gives you more security when running at night, so others can see you from afar.
These shoes are light, as the focus of this model on cushioning. Normally those types of shoes are heavy.
Also, when I first try them on, it feels like you are on high-heels (woman shoes), but you feel the cushioning straight away with so much comfort that really hugs your feet.
The only issue I found is the arch. It's a bit higher than normal. With the first 2 running sessions, I felt a bit of pain and discomfort, then I start getting used to this small pressure on the arch, and not feeling it again afterward.
Lastly, the midsole has good responsiveness. This is because it is made 100% EVA material which Hoka One One's top feature for this model.
Lightweight also comes with flexibility. I found the Clifton 4 pretty good flexible especially seeing a big sole on it. The grip does not look so attractive but does a good job.
On the other hand, I felt a bit poor regarding the durability. The rubber dissolves a bit more than normal, looking like a normal stationer's eraser.
Even though you can see on the pictures that the outsole has different types of textures, resulting in a great end grip, and also the energy return while running.
In the end, I really liked the Hoka One One Clifton 4, with a good pricing/benefit made my experience so far so good. I did lots of long runs and the Berlin Marathon with it. I would also like to test other types of Hoka One One to see the difference.
I am going to review the new the Clifton 3s so I will base my comparisons on that model.
Before I get into some of my thoughts, I am 5’8” and about 145 lbs. I have wide feet bordering on very wide.
It has always been very difficult for me to find shoes that fit without making some small adjustments such as sizing up. I have tried several manufacturers that make shoes in wide widths and have had very little luck with just a few brands and lines that I enjoy running in.
The first thing I noticed out of the box was the look and composition of the new Hoka Clifton 4s. The upper looks completely different with a new look & style, which I really like. I always thought the Clifton 3s were terrible looking.
I went with my usual size of 8M and after putting them on in the living room, I got a little concerned because they felt a little snug even though the new design was supposed to have a slightly roomier mid to front foot area.
Luckily, I also ordered an 8.5M as well to compare and those felt a little better. I ended up keeping and running in the 8.5M.
I walked and ran in the living room and the next thing I noticed was the feel. This version did not seem as pillow-like and soft like the previous versions and seemed to feel a little heavier.
I checked the weight and it was a little heavier compared to the previous version. So while the feel was not as soft, the feeling you get is more responsiveness which seemed to propel me forward more even when just walking around the house.
The laces and ankle area fit as expected.
Looking at the sole, I can see the tread and pattern was a little different than the prior version and seemingly strategic additions of rubber material where the wear and tear might happen. And from feel, it felt like the Clifton 4s would be more durable than prior versions.
I have since run about 55 miles on my new Clifton 3s which I didn’t expect as I really liked the pillow-like softness of the Clifton 3s.
This version provided me with more responsiveness for when I wanted to go a little faster the shoe responded and provided excellent support and feel. When I slowed down, I felt like it provided the necessary softness in the tradition of the Hoka brand that I expected.
The upper seems to be pretty flexible and supportive as well and allows my wide feet to comfortably move around in the shoe.
Granted I have only done long runs of up to 10 miles so it's hard to say if my toes will continue to feel this relaxed when upping my long runs. So far so good.
The upper also provides enough support around the midfoot (I have a higher arch) the heel feels very snug and I didn’t get any movement or coming out feeling.
So far the sole has seemed to be only ever slightly worn.
There is almost nothing you can see (I bet I could even return these if I cleaned them up) just to demonstrate that the sole is holding up very well.
The upper has held up very well as well with very little look of being worn. All good signs.
In terms of responsiveness and performance, while I am mainly running on these during my slower long runs, I have tested the shoe by upping the tempo and even sprinting at times to test the transition to a faster cadence.
The Clifton 4s in this manner really outperforms the previous version. I felt like the transitions were easier and the shoe more responsive.
I effortlessly changed speeds and never really had any concerns with the shoe during runs. So the RMAT and meta-rocker technology really did its job!
So far I am very pleased and impressed with the Clifton 4s. I was able to get them under $100 which makes this an even better value. While the shoe seems a little heavier, I really didn’t feel it that much.
The look and redesign of the new Hoka Clifton 4s and the other lines is a huge improvement (I no longer feel like I am wearing ugly but comfortable shoes).
I love the responsiveness and the ride of the show and I am looking forward to longer distances on my Sunday long runs.
Good to know
- The Hoka One One Clifton 4 has received main updates to its upper. The design on this part of the shoe was redone to cater to a more adaptive fit. The Air Mesh material was replaced with a more durable Engineered Mesh. This material is still breathable but it offers more support on key areas of the foot.
- The standard overlays were replaced with a 3D puff print frame which gives better lightweight support to the dorsal part of the foot. More specifically, the new overlay material and design enhances the foot’s lockdown and aids in retaining the shape of the shoe.
- On the midsole, the full-length compression molded EVA referred to as Hoka’s proprietary HIP CMEVA was replaced with a standard full-length EVA foam package. This switching of the material was primarily for improving the longevity and rebound of the midsole.
- Newly introduced into this new version, a molded Ortholite Sock liner enhances the in-shoe cushioning while providing anti-bacterial properties to the shoe. This feature helps absorb foot sweat and aids in keeping bacteria at bay.
- The former version of the shoe was only available in regular or medium width. Hoka One One found it necessary to provide variations with a widened midfoot. This is why the Clifton 4 now has wide width options for runners with wider feet.
The 4th version of the Clifton comes in standard running shoe length. Those interested in a pair will be able to order the shoe in their usual size preferences. As for the width, both male and female runners will be able to choose from regular to wide width measurements.
The outsole is equipped with a hi-abrasion lightweight rubber that has been strategically redesigned. This material has been placed on key areas of the outsole to improve the traction and heel-to-toe transition the shoe offers. This full ground contact material does not just enhance the grip of the shoe, but it also amplifies the energy return experienced by runners.
Targeted at improving the responsiveness and durability of the midsole, Hoka One One uses a full-length EVA. The upgraded foam package ensures that the signature Hoka cushioning can still be experienced, but with a more consistent feel throughout the shoe’s lifespan.
A key feature of the shoe that encourages more efficient running mechanics is the Early Stage Meta-Rocker Geometry. This technology was engineered with a lower-than-usual heel-to-toe differential as well as a sculpted radius. A transition zone was placed behind the metatarsal heads to encourage a smoother ride and a faster transition to the forefoot.
On the upper, the material was upgraded into Engineered Mesh. This type of mesh still has elastic and breathable properties, adapting to the shape of the foot while allowing airflow within the shoe. The main difference with the former material in the 3rd version of the Clifton is on the upper material’s durability. The Engineered Mesh offers better lightweight support and is more durable. The engineered mesh is also found in other Hoka One running shoes, such as the Bondi 6.
Complementing the durability of the upper is the 3D Puff Print Frame. This design improves the foot’s lockdown, keeping the foot in place during runs. It also assists in retaining the shape of the shoe, as well as providing a sleeker design that makes the Clifton 4 look athletic yet stylish.
A molded Ortholite Sockliner has been added to the shoe to help enhance the in-shoe comfort and environment. Because this insole is molded, it provides premium in-shoe feel by mimicking the plantar foot’s natural contours. The insole’s structure and formulation also help to move moisture away from the foot, while also fighting fungal and bacterial growth.