Hoka One One Clifton 6 review
I now understand why the Clifton is such a popular line in the Hoka range, and I am a big fan. The Clifton 6 ticks all the long-distance boxes, being light, cushioned, stable, and responsive.
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.
Plush comfort of the Hoka Clifton
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.
It doesn't get any more cushioned
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.
Clifton is unbelievably stable
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.
Insole is a nice touch
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.
The outsole has a generous amount of high abrasion rubber for such a light shoe. All the strike areas are covered with rubber and signs of wear are minimal unlike the little brother, the Rincon.
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.
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.
One might even call me fussy when it comes to running shoes because I have run in some of the greats (Vomero 3, Adidas Glide 7).
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.
Tip: see the best running shoes.