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Clifton 6 is my first pair of Hokas, and boy, have I been missing out. The Clifton 1 was one of the highest-rated shoes ever amongst the running community.
The next four versions of the shoe were not as widely acclaimed as the first version. I was excited last year with news that the Clifton 1 would be re-released. However, all the reviewers said that it didn’t feel the same as the original, so I skipped it again.
Buying a new running shoe from a brand you haven’t used before is a scary thing. Shoes are expensive, and I have a very particular taste in running shoes.
This year, everyone said that the Clifton 6 is the best version of the Clifton since the original version, so I finally decided to take the plunge.
Upper and materials
The upper construction is simple. It consists of breathable soft engineered air mesh in the forefoot and midfoot. There are fused overlays around the toe box and embroidered reinforcement for support and midfoot lockdown. It’s a very comfortable, plush upper.
The air mesh is thick but breathable.
The tongue is thick and padded. I experienced no tongue slide. The heel collar, which is lined with soft material, is generously filled with foam for a secure heel lockdown.
The built-up heel counter does its job and provides a comfortable, secure heel lockdown.
The ungusseted tongue is thick and short.
I bought my pair in a wide version and a half size too big by mistake. I ordered a US 9, which is usually a UK 8, but Hoka uses half-size conversions. I got a UK 8.5 instead of an 8.
I use thick socks, and I haven’t had any issues. This demonstrates how narrow the Clifton 6 is because I have really narrow feet.
The toe box is nice and spacious in the 2E wide version. Hokas are known to be narrow-fitting.
Midsole and ride
I’m not exaggerating when I say that this is the most cushioned midsole in the world. I get a sense of deep, bottomless cushioning, which keeps my legs feeling energised and fresh during runs longer than 15 miles.
I was surprised at how light and bouncy the foam is. The first run in them felt magical. The combination of bounce, lightweight and high cushioning make it a very well-balanced shoe.
The ride is incredibly smooth because the midsole is one solid block of EVA foam. There are angular grooves cut into the sides of the midsole. During loading, these grooves or gaps compress, and the midsole acts as a crash pad.
These gaps in the yellow part of the midsole contract when pressure is applied, acting as a crash pad.
The midsole rocker promotes rearfoot strike instead of heel strike and the stiff forefoot helps roll me forward, making my stride feel efficient.
The midsole curves upward, promoting a rocker effect.
The midsole flares under the foot and there is plenty of ground contact, so the Clifton 6 feels extremely stable for a neutral shoe. I have flat feet, and I pronate, but this shoe provided adequate arch support.
I was worried about the bucket seat arch when I first tried on the shoe because it poked into my arch. However, when I started running in the shoe, the poking sensation disappeared, and I forgot about it.
The walls around the heel shoot up around the foot resulting in a cradling sensation, adding stability to the shoe’s already stable base. These walls ensure that it feels like you are running inside a shoe instead of on top of a shoe, a la Ultra Boost ST.
The heel sits inside the midsole. The blue part of the midsole is where the wall shoots up and cups the foot.
The Ortholite insole is removable and of medium thickness. It adds a perfect layer of extra cushioning without being so thick that it mutes the feedback from the EVA midsole.
It sits on a lining of holey strobel. I prefer strobel lining with holes because it increases the softness of the midsole.
Ortholite insoles are anti-bacterial and odour-fighting, according to the company.
Outsole and wear
Overall, I estimate I will get 800km of use out of the Clifton 6 before the midsole cushioning is shot or the outsole rubber has worn out.
Traction is great on dry road and pavement, and on wet surfaces.
The exposed EVA midsole shows slight wear after 50 miles. The rubber looks unsullied.
For long-distance runs, there is no other shoe I want on my feet. The Clifton 6 ticks all the long-distance boxes, being light, cushioned, stable and responsive.
I now understand why the Clifton is such a popular line in the Hoka range, and I am a big fan.
My only complaint is that it’s a very chunky shoe and makes me feel like I’m wearing moon boots. Hopefully, over time, I will learn to embrace the chunkiness. Now, all I have to do is go back in time and buy the Clifton 1.
- High levels of cushioning from the thick EVA midsole
- Very comfortable upper
- Nice bounce and responsiveness
- Lightweight for such a high-volume midsole
- Higher levels of cushioning than other shoes in a similar price range
- The shoe looks like the offspring of an orthopaedic medicinal shoe and a 90’s platform shoe.
- Sizing is tricky if ordering online and you have not tried the shoe on.
I’ve heard great things about the Hoka Clifton series, but me and Hoka shoes haven’t always gotten along great. But since everyone kept raving about the Cliftons, especially the first version, I decided to give the brand another go.
Overall consensus was that the first version of the Clifton was great, but the opinions on the last few versions varied a bit. So, let’s see what the Clifton 6 has to offer.
But it feels like something is pushing underneath the arch of your foot, like the more traditional stability shoes from a few years back. At first, I thought it might be the sockliner, I had that happen before with a pair of Brooks and in that case, managed to resolve the issue by switching the sockliner.
But when I put the Clifton 6 on without the sockliner, I still had the same issue. It’s the midsole that comes up underneath the arch.
I don’t know if that is just because the midfoot area of the sole is wider than on your average running shoe, or maybe it’s just that I notice it more since I have a pretty flat arch.
The Hoka One One Clifton 6 is, as already mentioned, a neutral running shoe with a 5 mm drop. The women’s model weighs 216 grams, which isn’t a lot for a pretty cushioned shoe. It has a 30 mm heel stack and a 25 mm forefoot stack.
The upper is made out of a pretty seamless engineered mesh. There is stitching in the midfoot area to provide a better midfoot lockdown and an internal heel counter for stability. The shoe is reasonably breathable.
There is medium padding in the detached tongue and a bit more padding in the heel for a secure fit. And there is a pull tab, and there are extra eyelets so you can tie your laces the way you want to. The upper isn’t super exciting, but it does what it has to.
Hoke One One describes this shoe as balanced, and that is the right description. They are pretty cushioned, but there is also a definite bounce to the midsole. No weird dual-density things going on here, just a solid EVA midsole.
This shoe also has the Hoka Active Foot Frame, which means your foot partially sits within the midsole, rather than just on top of it. It has the characteristic meta-rocker shape, which helps with the heel to toe transition.
The Hoka One One Clifton 6 has the early meta-rocker shape, which is a more gradual taper compared to the late meta-rocker shape of some of the other Hoka shoes.
For such a light shoe, there is a decent amount of rubber on the outsole. There are some rubber pieces underneath the forefoot and heel of the shoe.
They do provide just about enough traction. The shoe does well on roads and okay on easy trails.
The shoe does surprisingly well when you pick up the pace. And it’s surprisingly bouncy. The midsole is pretty soft, so it’s a good shoe for some longer distances, and due to the wider platform, it’s also a stable shoe.
At the same time, it’s also bouncy enough to help you pick up the pace a little during interval training. It’s not a super fast shoe, but it doesn’t slow you down either.
This is the first Hoka shoe that actually seems to work with me instead of against me. I can see why the Clifton series is so popular.
It’s a nicely cushioned shoe that also allows you to pick up the pace once in a while. There is nothing spectacular about the shoe, no weird new technology or material.
It’s just a good shoe with good cushioning, and some bounce for those longer (interval) runs, or some recovery runs where you would like to pick up the pace a little from time to time.
I bought the Clifton 6 when I was on a work trip and needed an extra pair to run in due to some unfortunate downpour that left the shoes I brought in a very moist state.
The folks at the running store in Fort Lauderdale were very helpful. A lot of the employees at the star were singing the Clifton’s praises, so I thought I would give it a go. Below is my review after 50+ miles running on various terrain.
Design & fit
According to Hoka, this shoe features a full-length EVA midsole with an early stage meta rocker and strategically placed rubber in the outsole to save weight, but still have some durability.
The upper is an engineered mesh with embroidered reinforcements to aid in the lock down of the shoe. Also, according to Hoka, the women’s version of this shoe weighs in at 7.4 ounces.
When I tried these on in the store, they actually felt a lot lighter than 7.4 ounces. I think that had more to do with my expectations than the actual weight. I was running in the Nike Vomero 14, and those were starting to feel very heavy.
I also thought that these would weigh a lot more because of the volume of the midsole. The shoe not only feels light compared to its size, but it also felt light when I tried them on in the store.
I will say that the fit of the shoe runs true to size, and there wasn’t a need for me to size up at all in this shoe. In fact, I could’ve probably gone half a size smaller in the Clifton.
However, I opted to stay with an 8.5 (instead of the 9 I normally wear) because I was planning on wearing these on my long runs, and I wanted to account for foot swell. After several weeks and 50 miles, the size still feels good.
The upper is an engineered mesh which actually feels softer than a lot of other mesh materials. The mesh is also really ventilated, which has been really useful during the California summer and work trips to some very hot and humid places.
The upper also features the embroidered enhancements that tie into the lacing system. I think that the stitching does a really good job of allowing the laces that it is attached to really lock down the foot.
I wish that this feature extended down one more eyelet, but it didn’t affect the overall performance. I was a fan of the flat laces; they didn’t come undone like a lot of those round laces tend to do, and they stayed put after I tied them.
The ankle collar, tongue, and the heel counter were padded, but not too much that it felt bulky like what I have experienced with shoes like the Saucony Ride ISO.
The collar also sat a bit lower on the foot than I am used to, which might have contributed to some heel slipping that I encountered later down the road. The design of the upper was ok, but performance-wise, it wasn’t as good as the midsole.
The full-length EVA midsole was as smooth as butter! The design uses an early stage metarocker, which is supposed to help guide your foot through the gait cycle.
As I ran in this shoe, I didn’t think it was noticeable, but I did notice that my legs were not as tired as they are when I run in less cushioned shoes. The outsole rubber is just enough to prevent significant wear on the exposed midsole and also helps with grip on the roads and dirt.
The stack height on the midsole is not as high as other shoes, but the volume of the midsole definitely screams high cushioned trainer. The only thing that I didn’t care for in the design of the midsole was the “built-in arch support.”
As someone who needs arch support on her shoes, it was exciting to have a shoe with arch support built into it. Unfortunately, this feature ended up being really uncomfortable, but I was able to easily solve it by using an orthotic insert with a stiff heel cup.
When I tried these on in the store, they felt great! The cushioning was soft, the upper was ventilated, and I thought I would be able to get plenty of traction with the rubber on the outsole.
After I bought them, I ran in a couple of shorter runs in the Cliftons, and they felt fine for the first week. During my first long run in the shoe is when I started to question whether I liked them.
The heel kept slipping after about 5 miles, and when I tried to tighten it down, it felt the upper was cutting off circulation to the rest of my foot, and the arch in the shoe felt like it was digging into the bottom of my very flat feet.
I continued this pattern a couple more times, and I contemplated giving these away because I was so uncomfortable in them on my longer runs… I am really glad that I didn’t do that.
I decided to change out the inner liner to my Superfeet inserts (I am now using Dr. Scholl’s in them now). I also changed the lacing and also started using the extra eyelets for the runner’s lace pattern.
Tweaking those things made all the difference in the world. Suddenly I was able to appreciate the amazing cushioning of the shoe and enjoy my long runs. I really started to feel and enjoy metarocker that Hoka is famous for, and it really helped me keep a good running motion when my legs were really tired.
Now, I always reach for these when I am heading out for a longer run because of how comfortable they are. The cushioning absorbs a lot of the pounding from the roads.
What’s even better is that I am able to use these shoes for tempo runs as well as my easy runs. The cushioning is plush enough, but you still have a fairly responsive shoe that allows you to go a little fast. It’s not a racing flat, but it still feels good.
In the mid/outsole, the Cliftons still look brand new, and they even feel better now than when they were new. The outsole shows minimal signs of wear, other than all the dirt that is on the shoe from running in them for the past several weeks.
The beveled edge toward the heel really prevented the “dragging” wear pattern that I tend to see on some of the other shoes that I use for my long runs.
I noticed some minimal compression on the midsole, but nothing that is affecting the overall performance and feel of the shoe when I run in it. Even the exposed foam at the bottom of the shoe still looks good and just some minimal wear.
On the upper is where I start to notice a lot of wear. The forefoot has a permanent crease on both shoes, and there is some bunching in the forefoot from having the pull the laces really tight.
I have also noticed that the ankle collar and heel counter area is starting to look worn. Overall, these signs of wear are not concerning as they haven’t affected the overall performance, but I do think that the upper on the Clifton will start to look floppy pretty soon.
- Lot’s of room in the toe box
- Pull tab is a nice addition
- Cushion… Did I mention cushioning?
- The outsole is really durable
- There was plenty of ventilation
- Lightweight for a daily trainer
- Decent price point for a solid shoe that will last
- Accommodates a wider foot, but the midfoot design (sole) made it uncomfortable at times
- The heel slipped quite a bit necessitating the need to use the extra eyelets
- The “arch” in the shoe was uncomfortable
- The shoe felt a little long; there shouldn’t be a need to size up
The Clifton, unlike other Hoka shoes that I have run in, took a little while to break in, be prepared for that. The midsole felt good on my longer/easy runs, and when I picked up the pace, it didn’t feel sloppy.
It is a well-cushioned shoe that would work for most runners as a daily trainer. Be aware that this shoe is rather narrow in the midfoot with plenty of room in the toe box.
When it comes to running, I usually stay on the trails, but I will run on the road occasionally. I also tend to prefer shoes that have more ground feel compared to a maximum cushion shoe.
However, I will give any shoe a chance, thus enter the Hoka One One Clifton 6.
Does the Clifton live up to the hype? Or does fall short and end up being getting annexed out of my rotation? Let's find out.
Specifications & fit
- Weight: 9oz or 255 grams
- Heel to toe drop: 5mm
- Heel height: 30mm
- Forefoot height: 25mm
- Overall cushioning: High
- Arch support: Neutral
The Clifton has long been a fan favorite of the Hoka lineup, and the newest, the 6th edition of the shoe, was just released with a few updates and new features.
The shoe was also released with a new Hoka creation of a shoe, called the Rincon. The two combined are supposed to make a great training/race day combo.
The shoe is lighter than previous models and even offers a wide version, which is fantastic, as Hoka is notorious for creating narrow shoes.
The Clifton 6 model was compared to the original Clifton for being an all-around great shoe, so I was excited for the opportunity to review the famous Hoka One One Clifton 6.
When I first received my pair of Cliftons, I was shocked to see the bright orange and black color. I think this color is the least desirable out of all the options available.
I know my preference for color is subjective, and some may like the bright orange color. However, I think it is by far the least attractive option. That being said, I believe Hoka offers many fantastic colors and has an option to suit anyone.
The Clifton 6 uses an engineered air mesh technology in the mid-foot and forefront of the shoe, which allows the upper to be lightweight and seems to have decent durability.
The tongue offers enough cushioning to keep the laces from irritating your foot with the tightening the shoe. I appreciate how the tongue stays locked down when running and does not slide.
The Clifton 6 also does an excellent job of locking down the heel area of the shoe, and I have never had any problems with the heel sliding. I also have become a fan of shoes, which offer pull tabs on the heel to help slide them on.
Unfortunately, that is about all of the positive feedback I have to say about the Clifton 6 upper. The upper, as well as the narrowness of the upper near the arches of the foot, is my main complaint—more on this later.
I will say, without a doubt, that this is the most cushioned shoe I have ever worn, and I am impressed. Not only is the cushion plush, but also bouncy, lightweight, and surprisingly very responsive.
Hoka uses EVA foam, which will help get you through the long road miles and can also be used as a recovery shoe.
A new piece of technology Hoka implemented is the use of a meta-rocker. Meta-rockers have been used by many companies to propel you forward and provide the downhill feel.
Well, I am here to tell you that I have used the meta-rocker technology of other shoe companies and noticed the difference. However, with Hoka’s, I did not notice the same effect.
Full discloser: The outsole of the Clifton is primarily still the midsole. To keep the weight down of the shoe, Hoka uses high abrasion rubber in sections that come into contact with the ground.
Ironically, I am seeing wear on the outsole in many spots that the rubber is not present, while the rubber itself remains almost 100% intact.
The traction of the Clifton is adequate. It performs well on dry paved surfaces and is lackluster in wet conditions, which is to be expected considering the limited amount of outsole rubber.
Hoka has been known to produce narrow shoes that can leave some wider feet cramped and hurting. However, they now offer a wide option in many styles, including the Clifton 6.
Unfortunately, mine was not the wider option, which may have suited me better.
Most shoes that are too narrow usually cause problems at the forefront of the shoe. While that is narrow too, my main problem is in the arches of the foot.
The upper material combined with midsole is so narrow, my foot does not rest on the midsole of the foot. It sits along with the upper material, which can form hot spots or blisters over time.
The arrow is pointing where my foot rests alongside the rim of the shoe
I feel this shoe could work for many people who have a narrow foot, but for myself, it becomes too uncomfortable. I would be eager to see if the wide version of this shoe would eliminate the problem.
- Heel locking
- Low drop
- Narrow in the mid-foot and forefoot
- Outsole durability
- Lateral stability
- Lack of outsole
Should you buy the Clifton 6? Well, that entirely depends on what you are looking for in a shoe. If you like heavily cushioned shoes, I will give them a try.
However, if you have wide feet and like a shoe that offers more ground feel, then you are better off going a different route.
The Clifton remains one of Hoka’s most successful shoes due to its max cushioned midsole that reduces the strain on your feet.
The shoe did not work for me due to its narrowness. However, maybe going the wider option of the Clifton could have been my saving grace.
While the shoes may not be in my rotation this new year, I have no doubt it could be a great fit for many other people.
You have probably heard of Hoka by now, and you know they offer shoes with extra cushion. At first glance, you may think the shoes are heavy because of all the cushion.
They may look like platform shoes, and just make you look taller. How can you run with all that extra height? If you have never tried a Hoka One One running shoe before, I would suggest to at least try a pair on in the store.
I will admit that these were my first pair of Hoka One One shoes. I run a lot, and usually with shoes with a lot less cushion. I picked the Clifton 6 from Hoka because I wanted a good all-around neutral road running shoe.
Right out of the box, the shoes felt much lighter than I was expecting. I know it is advertised at only 9 ounces, but they look like they would weigh more.
The cushion looked big, as I was expecting. The upper part of the shoe felt very soft.
The upper part of the shoe is comfortable, and there are no pressure points.
The toe box has some room to move your toes up and down. However, the shoes do feel a little narrow. The shoes are breathable and can be worn on hot days.
The toe box has some protection. This should help with the durability of the shoe. Usually, I would like more protection on the front (outer side) of a running shoe, but these shoes do seem to last.
It keeps your heel in place as a good running shoe should. The back of the shoe also has a little strap to hang up the shoes or tie together. This can be a nice added feature.
There is cushion, but this is where I had an issue with the shoe being too narrow. Hoka says they make this shoe in wide sizes, but it is hard to find at a local store.
Also, I was not offered that option. If you have feet that are a little wide, try to find the wide version, or this may not be your shoe.
When I initially put on the shoe, the shoe felt narrow. My feet are a little wider than normal, so my feet felt a little over the edges on each side.
I started running, and it felt fine. But then a few miles in, it started to be a little hard on my feet. There is also not much arch support if you are looking for that.
When I first put on the shoes, I felt like I was bouncing on the ground. If you are not used to a Hoka shoe, this could take a little bit of time to get used to.
I guess the shoes have a lot of responsiveness, but it seemed like too much. The shoes are pretty flexible, and I can bend them in half, but this may not always be a good thing.
When I started running, it started to feel more normal, and I could just run my normal way. Still being higher off the ground feels like you have less traction, and they feel unstable to run in.
From the first look, it looked like the shoe would have good traction, but it may not last. After running over 70 miles in these shoes, the bottom still looks pretty new.
I took these shoes on trails to test them out, and the shoes still seem to have good traction. The outsole has good traction and durability.
- Narrow shoe
- Unstable running
I did not run a marathon in these shoes, and I do not think I could. The shoes are too narrow for me, and they start hurting my feet.
Next time I will make sure I get the wide version. Also, being higher up does not feel normal, and I never fully got used to it.
Overall, I would not recommend these shoes for racing, but they could be a good recovery shoe if you have a narrow foot. There are some good features, like the durability, and they can be a very good shoe for some.
I’ve worn the Hoka One One Clifton 6 for about 220-ish miles. I mostly ran on roads and paved trails with these shoes. I stayed any from mud and water because these road shoes are all white, and I didn’t want to get them super dirty.
The Clifton 6 weighs 7.4 ounces. They look like they would a lot feel heavier and clunky, but they aren’t. They felt very light while running that it almost even felt like I didn’t have shoes on.
Hoka One One utilized their high absorbing rubber zones to help reduce the overall weight of the shoe.
My Clifton 6’s are white and lunar rock, according to their box. But, they basically look like two slightly different shades of white.
Usually, I’m not a light-colored shoe person or really light-colored anything person. Living in New England means unpredictable weather, and normally, mud and puddles.
I went online to Hoka One One’s website and found that the women’s version of the Clifton 6 comes in 11 different color options that include every color imaginable.
It’s almost overwhelming in a way. I didn’t have a choice of color when I got my Clifton 6’s, I got them at a local running store, and they only had the white and lunar rock colored ones in my size.
I am kind of glad that I didn’t have a color choice because it forced me to expand my color pallet and helped me stay out of the mud for once.
I want to start this section by discussing how these shoes made my legs feel. Over the past three years, I’ve had reoccurring Achilles Tendons because of deformed heel bones.
It’s gotten to the point where running helps them more than hurting them, which seems wild to say. These are the first pair of running shoes I’ve had over the past three years that I have been able to run in every day.
Typically, I go between two or three pairs, rotating them every day or so. These shoes are a neutral shoe, and the cushion is described as balanced according to Hoka One One’s website.
I normally wear more responsive shoes that allow me to feel every part of the road, but these shoes have definitely changed that for me. I will be looking for more cushioned shoes in the future.
The Clifton 6’s have many different features to help with the overall feel of the shoes and the run. The midsole has Hoka One One’s signature cushioning, which is made up of a fully compressed EVA midsole.
The shoes feature a Meta-Rocker, which provides a smooth ride and a moderate heel bevel that helps make the heel-toe transition extremely smooth. The Clifton 6’s has flat-waisted geometry that helps give the shoe a lot of overall stability.
I will say these shoes are extremely durable. They don’t look or feel like they have been worn for about 220 miles.
The shoe has a 5 mm drop. I am used to a 4 mm drop or 4.5 mm drop in my Newton Fate 4’s. But, I honestly could not feel any difference in the drop of the Clifton 6, probably because 0.5 mm is extremely minimal.
These shoes definitely run big. I usually wear a 7.5, and I ended up with a 6.5. I felt like the shoe was on the normal in width.
I have a narrower foot and had to pull the laces for the shoe to feel secure on my feet, but once I got the shoe tight enough, it felt completely secure.
Overall, I give these shoes a 98 out of 100. I will be buying another pair, just not in all white. These shoes were extremely comfortable. They come in a wide range of color options, and I didn’t have any Achilles pain while running in these shoes.
This is the second shoe model from Hoke One One that I get to review. The Clifton 6 features the signature thick outsole and, from the outset, carries a promise for comfortable, long rides.
The Clifton 6 is a shoe designed to please: soft cushioning, low weight (266g), and a medium-low heel to toe drop of 5 mm are the main points of attraction for this neutral shoe. List price is affordable, and colour choice is also fairly varied.
The Clifton 6 is a very sleek shoe. The colour pattern and shape are suggestive of a fast yet stable shoe.
The soft cushioning of the Clifton 6 is definitely its strong point; the ride feels immediately very comfortable. Yet, the shoe offers some degree of responsiveness, with each stride assisted throughout the heel to toe transition.
As a result, the foot feels cuddled and looked after, rather than being unpleasantly drowned by a soft midsole. In addition to this, the shoe feels very light, which contributes to a snappy ride, despite the cushioning.
I found that the break in needed some additional mileage, compared to other Hoka One One shoes (Torrent), as the thick outsole brings the foot to a higher position that requires some getting used to.
This is especially evident on uneven ground, where the sensation is similar to having your feet onto a short pedestal, which gives an ever-so-slight sensation of instability. I found this to be temporary and got completely used to the feeling in less than 30 miles.
The Clifton 6 has a very appealing upper. The mesh material provides excellent breathability as well as a lightweight feel.
The midfoot area is also secured by an embroidered reinforcement, while the heel cage features a tightly weaved mesh material, which offers a firm, protective layer.
The laces of the Clifton 6 are perfectly sized. I found them easy to undo after a run, but they are generally very secure and do not tend to come undone while running.
The lacing system threads through the tongue, which helps to keep the foot firmly locked. The tongue itself is very soft, and this provides extra comfort during the run.
The EVA midsole is just awesome. The midsole offers plush cushioning without compromising too much on responsiveness. The ride is extremely comfortable but not sloppy.
The signature Hoka One One cushioning is achieved, similarly to other shoes from the brand, by changing the midsole’s stiffness: softer foam at the rear end for a cushioned feel and firmer material towards the forefoot to provide some degree of energy return.
The outsole is one of the highlights of the Clifton 6. The geometry of this outsole is extremely good at taking most of the brunt of a long run.
The contact surface is relatively wide and flat on the horizontal plane (look at the sole left to right), offering great stability on paved surfaces. This is not true for the longitudinal plane (i.e., rear to front), where the outsole is rounded in shape and slightly beveled at the heel.
This configuration provides support throughout the heel to toe transition. Coupled with the geometry of the outsole, the compound rubber pattern of this area offers a very good degree of traction under most conditions.
What I liked
The Hoka One One Clifton 6 is a great running shoe for long rides on paved roads. It offers a very good level of cushioning, and I can see no signs of wear after nearly 100 miles.
What I would have liked
The midsole is great but falls short in terms of energy return. This shoe is amazing for long, relaxed runs but lacks that ‘something special’ to make this a great racing shoe.
Despite this, the Clifton 6 is still a place in the Olympus for me, and I think this shoe is just the best friend one could possibly have for a long, refreshing ride at the sunset.
The Hoka One One Clifton 6 came into my rotation to phase out another cushioned, daily trainer on easier efforts and long runs. I opted for the Clifton 6 after putting about 100 miles on a pair of Hoka’s Rincons.
The Clifton series has some passionate fans, and I had heard positive things about Clifton 6. So, took the chance on a pair.
At the time of this review, I have run over 100 miles in the shoes primarily on paved and concrete surfaces with some hard-packed gravel running as well.
Comfort & fit
The Clifton 6 feels a little narrow in the midfoot for me. But, after a break-in period of a few runs, it feels much more comfortable. I went with a size 8.5, which is my casual shoe size. The Hoka’s seem to run about a .5 size too big for me.
While not the roomiest toe box in the world, I haven’t noticed any discomfort or issues in the forefoot and feel like my toes have enough room to splay and spread.
The heel collar of the Clifton 6 has been very comfortable thus far (100+ miles), and I’ve not noticed any slipping. For lacing, I have not altered the lacing structure and found the shoes to fit and feel comfortable throughout runs with one exception.
The sock liners that came with the Clifton 6’s had edges that tore up the inside of my arches the first couple of long runs I did. I thought about using the shoes without the sock liner, but ultimately put in a pair of SuperFeet insoles, and that solved the problem right away.
I did not have this issue with my Hoka Rincons, so this may be a one-off issue with the particular liners for this specific set of shoes. I would recommend anyone who tries these on and feels the edge of the insert along the arch of their foot be aware of the potential issue that might cause.
However, once I addressed the sock liner issue, these might be my favorite/most comfortable pair of shoes. And, I do prefer them on most runs that aren’t about speed. I have a relatively high arch and feel the support in the Clifton 6’s is plenty adequate.
I strike in between the heel and the midfoot, and I don’t have any issues running in the Clifton 6. Despite the very cushioned nature of the shoe, it has enough flex and is lightweight enough that I don’t feel hindered by the cushioning at all.
Speaking of the outsole, the tread and traction are superb, and I feel very stable and in control while moving in these. There is a right amount of rubber outsole on the forefoot for excellent traction and on the heel.
I’ve done several 10+ mile runs in this particular pair and really appreciate the cushioning. The slight curve of the midsole promotes a forward rocking/propulsion like effect that is definitely rewarding when you are focusing on that efficient running form.
Looks and materials
I opted for the lunar rock/nimbus cloud colorway, and honestly, they look very nice. Fashionable? Not really. Aesthetically pleasing? To me, yes.
The Clifton 6’s come in at 9 oz with a 5mm heel to toe drop. They feel light, but especially so given the stack height and overall size.
Hoka markets this as balanced cushion, but I would assert they lean more towards the plush/max cushioning end of the spectrum compared to other brands offerings. I began running in higher drop shoes and have wanted to transition to lower drops.
These shoes have been a part of that process, but honestly, I haven’t noticed a huge difference between these and some 10-12 mm drops.
Bonus feature - big old heel pull tab! I’m a fan.
The upper is lightweight, and on the hot, humid runs of early summer so far, the shoes have been really breathable. I appreciate that they seem to dry out quickly after runs in the rain, and they don’t become sweat buckets either.
Through 100+ miles so far, I have not noticed any sign of breakdown on the shoe or excessive wear. The outsole does have a good amount of exposed foam, but it seems to be holding up well, and I anticipate getting 500 miles out of these shoes without a problem.
- Durable through first 100 miles
- Good traction
- The narrow midfoot needed break-in period
- Stock sock liners caused discomfort and blisters
I was able to pick up the Hoka One One Clifton 6’s for about $30 off. However, I would have gladly paid full price and would buy them again so long as I have some alternate insoles.
I bought the Clifton 6 as my new distance shoe to cover long, slow sessions. I quickly discovered that it is much more of an all-rounder than I thought.
It provides excellent cushioning and light feel for speed work.
The Clifton 6's upper is made of engineered mesh—soft, stretchy, and breathable. The tongue and collar are plush and comfortable.
The eyestays are reinforced for durability, while a wide-winged heel counter offers loads of support and stretches around to the H of the printed Hoka logo.
Mid-foot embroidery does a decent job of locking your foot down in the middle. However, peek inside the shoe, and you'll see it is exposed internally, which could irritate sock-less runners.
The Clifton 6 midsole is full compression EVA and extravagantly stacked. Hoka's early stage Meta-Rocker counters the moderate heel to toe drop of 5mm.
Meta-Rocker is the significant rocking chair effect that gives Hoka their distinctive ride. By early stage meaning, it is placed just behind the ball of the foot.
Even just walking along in these shoes, I feel a notable push at the end of every step. While some may find this jarring, the effect really enhances my running.
At slow tempos, the maximalist cushioning provides plenty of protection while remaining responsive.
When I lean forwards during speed work, the angle and positioning of the rocker add a sublime 'downhill' feel on flat ground and an encouraging push on the toe-off.
Hoka strategically strengthened the outsole with high abrasion rubber sections, without getting too heavy.
There's a J-Frame of firmer foam that spans from the heel up towards the ball of the foot. It adds some support along the length without obliterating the flexibility.
I did find the shoe a little stiff at first, and it hasn't loosened up much. After 150k of use, there is no sign of any wear to the material.
It provides excellent traction on road surfaces and gravel paths, and even on slick, damp or mossy running surfaces.
In true Hoka One One style, the Clifton 6 has a rather slim sole. The mid-foot fit is snug to tight.
This issue is exacerbated by Hoka's 'Active Foot Frame'—the 'bucket seat' shape, with the foot being cradled deep within the midsole rather than sitting on top of it.
I have quite a narrow foot, so for me, this is all ideal. Even if it is a little tight, the upper mesh is stretchy enough to accommodate some tightness comfortably.
However, if you have a wider foot, I can imagine this being an uncomfortable fit.
Even when fit perfectly, the slim design does present one notable weakness. If you try to tackle a sharp corner at speed in these, the high stack and slim sole make for a scary ride.
It feels as if your ankle will roll over like a double-decker bus pulling a handbrake turn.
Despite the slim middle, the toe box is roomy. The collar supports the ankle well without feeling too tight. I've had no friction problems, and they ran very comfortably straight out of the box.
In terms of support, there's quite a prominent arch bump which some runners will appreciate. I have a neutral foot, and it doesn't get in the way despite feeling noticeable on first wear.
I love this shoe. It fits me perfectly and feels snug and plush. It is a little heavier than other similar models such as the Rincon. But, it feels feather-light considering the cushioning it provides.
The build quality is excellent, and the overlay on the upper is nicely placed for longevity—no mesh toe-holes here.
The ride is smooth and soft, with a kick. The midsole provides luxurious cushioning but still feels responsive.
During speed work, the meta-rocker gives a fast toe-off and feels like a push in the right direction, especially on tired legs.
The style of the shoe is fresh and striking, and there are some really nice colour combinations available. Those featured in this review are Poppy Red, fading to Rio Red.
These would fit very well into rotation for long training runs and even long-distance road racing, and can also handle speed work capably.
For races shorter than marathon distance they are a little on the heavy side, but for a marathon and up, they will provide ample protection while allowing you to fly.
- Luscious cushioning—a dream for the legs and knees
- Rocking chair midsole shape gives an encouraging toe-off
- Durable and comfortable
- Excellent traction
- Could easily be too slim for some
- Feels unstable when cornering at speed
- Exposed internal embroidery could irritate sock-less runners
- Lacking a little in flexibility for me
Hoka describes this shoe as a road running shoe with neutral stability with a 5mm drop, weighing 266g. I weighed the shoe at 278g for a size UK 10.5, so that sounds about right.
What is most interesting is that Hoka described the suspension of this shoe as balanced in their REACTIVE-BALANCED-PLUCHE scale, but more about this later.
Starting with the upper: It’s nice and comfy—in the middle between being not supportive enough and too heavy. It’s not a super stretchy ‘sock’ kind of upper.
I prefer this kind of upper though, where you get more support, especially in lateral loading like in corners, for instance.
The tongue is padded and not connected to the sides. It’s thick enough for comfort. The laces work fine with the possibility for a runners-knot.
The fit of this shoe is quite narrow. I would think this shoe might not be the best for people with wide feet.
And finally, for the upper, there is the loop at the back. Hoka is strong in triathlon, so I assume that’s where it comes from. I am not sure though why they put on a loop at the back of this shoe.
In a triathlon race where I would need to do a rocket transition in T2, I would go for a quick racer, not the Clifton 6. This one would probably be the choice for the Full Ironman Distance, where I will allow myself more than 3 seconds to get my shoes on.
The midsole…Yes, the midsole. This is why I bought these shoes to start with. And, this shoe really has to perform to justify its horrible appearance.
First few times I saw Hoka shoes, I thought they were like ‘health’ shoes for people suffering from all kinds of foot or leg problems. Nobody thought they looked cool. Believe me.
So, why did I see more and more of these shoes in the triathlon circuit?? It turns out that WE are those people who suffer from all kind of leg and feet problems.
We need more than 120 minutes to run a marathon. And after a certain time, we want cushioning. MORE midsole please to ease the pain.
And, YES, the Clifton 6 delivers. It’s friendly for your legs. The pain just starts a lot later, and the ROCKER technology is your supportive coach that keeps helping you to roll from heel to front food.
This is as comfortable as it gets. This brings me back to the question of how the PLUCHE category from Hoka feels like. Must be like running with your mom and dad lifting you from the side…
Another thing that is quite nice about this midsole/sole is that it’s quite wide in the middle as is visible on the picture. Though it’s not really a stability shoe, this definitely adds stability and gives you a nice supportive feel.
I write this review after 300 km on the shoe. As you can see, the outsole has taken quite a beating.
Apart from that left side on the picture, the shoes are still as new, and the midsole seems not to have lost any of its properties yet.
Since my running technique (read: lack of) just destroys soles, I would say the durability is quite good, and you should be able to get your standard 750 km or so in.
- Comfort Comfort Comfort
- Rocker technology
- Reasonable weight for the amount of comfort/cushioning
- The tough parts of the outer sole could be tougher
Hoka Clifton 6 end verdict
It’s ugly—ugly enough to not wear it. But, it is so good that I wear it on every long run. Clifton is my friend.
I would love to get your thoughts on this shoe and this review. Have fun and train hard!
Good to know
- The Hoka One One Clifton 6 caters to those who enjoy daily running sessions and those who welcome a generous midsole unit that could deliver high-tier comfort for their activities. The foam that’s used for the cushioning system is touted to be softer in this iteration than the one used in the previous one, the Clifton 5. The raised arch and the heel bevel are designs that smoothen the gait cycle.
- The façade has been updated to be secure and form-accommodating. Extra space has been added to the forefoot section to permit the natural spreading capacity of the toes. An engineered mesh that has improved softness and stretchiness graces the silhouette while a mix of printed overlays and embroidery help with the quality of the fit.
The Hoka One One Clifton 6 was constructed to be true to size. Runners are welcome to get a pair using their usual choices of size. When it comes to width, the available variants are D – Medium and 2E – Wide for men, and B – Medium and D – Wide for women.
It is worth noting that getting a pleasant in-shoe experience would be more approachable if one tries on the shoe first or get ideas on the size and fit via consumer reviews.
The outsole unit of the Hoka One One Clifton 6 uses Hi-Abrasion Lightweight Rubber. This layer has been fashioned on the contact points of the platform, ensuring traction and protection against wear-and-tear.
Flex grooves allow the sole to bend in conjunction with the foot as it goes through the gait cycle. The toe-off phase is the part of the movement that benefits the most from this feature.
The Full Ground Contact design involves the rubber pad and the base of the midsole foam being able to touch the ground with ease. Such a configuration could potentially heighten traction and overall balance over the ground.
The primary cushioning unit of the Hoka One One Clifton 6 is made of Full Compression EVA. This feature has a generous thickness which allows the foot to experience a plush yet reactive ride. Though its stack height is noticeable, the weight isn’t as hefty.
The Early Stage Meta-Rocker is a rocker shape that facilitates a smooth heel-to-toe transition. This structure is a staple in many of Hoka’s options, including the well-known Hoka One One Bondi line.
The Moderate Heel Bevel involves a slanted rear portion that allows the heel to rest and stay steady. It works with the upper unit to keep the foot in a locked-in position, thus staving off in-shoe wobbling.
The upper unit uses the engineered mesh. This textile has a soft and stretchy construction to wrap the foot in a sock-like manner. There are ventilation holes on its surface to welcome air into the foot-chamber.
Printed overlays grace the toe box, the instep, and the heel. These synthetic prints are meant to bolster the durability of the exterior fabrics while also helping with the security of the foot.
The sides of the silhouette have embroidery on them. These stitch-reinforcements buttress the structural integrity of the upper unit while also allowing for a well-defined in-shoe hug. They fundamentally act as overlays, but they weigh significantly less than prints or extra layers.
The padded collar and tongue are tasked with holding the foot in place and preventing it from quivering during the run. These parts of the upper also cushion the heel, the ankles, and the bridge of the foot from impact shock during the landing phase of the gait cycle.
A pull tab is stitched onto the back of the collar. This fabric loop is helpful when it comes to widening the opening of the inner compartment and facilitating the foot into the shoe. It can also be used as a strap for stowing the shoe on a hook.
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