It’s a consensus that Hoka One One Clifton 7 is “the best Clifton Hoka has produced.” Experts struggled to find something seriously wrong with the shoe. Disclaimer: Previous disappointing Clifton models might have set the bar too low.
We usually see comments like “most stable shoe ever,” “1st choice for easy runs,” etc. in the reviews. However, experts weren’t vocal about Clifton 7 as a standalone shoe (outside the Clifton family). This raises a red flag and makes us wonder: What is the best Clifton ever lacking so it’s not the best shoe ever?
Fits true to size
Not for speed runs
Not responsive enough
No heel tab
Experts have also reported for the Clifton 7 to offer minimal to no ground feel.
Who should buy Hoka One One Clifton 7
This is a lightweight maximalist shoe, made for everyday runs and walks. It's a trainer ideal for runners looking for a soft ride during longer road runs.
you’re a heavy overpronator. Then, Hoka One One Arahi 4 is worth looking at as it’s a stability shoe that looks and weighs similar.
Clifton 7 vs. Clifton 6: Clifton exemplary
Hoka One One sticks to what works, but do you need to upgrade to Clifton 7? Only if a gusseted tongue and breathability are important to you. Otherwise, go with Clifton 6. Its price tag is more favorable as well.
While experts say Clifton 7 was “slightly improved” and “hasn’t strayed far from 6,” they also find it “spectacular” and “as great as it has ever been.” This is because Clifton 6 was already good. Even with the slightest improvements, it was easy for Clifton 7 to be the best Clifton ever.
Here’s how the 7th iteration differs from the 6th:
Heel pull tab
No heel loop
Negligible weight reduction
No major improvements
Improved upper, improved breathability
The upper feels comfortable and provides a structure while also allowing for foot flex. This is a very breathable shoe or, as experts described it, “incredibly breathable” and “super breathable.”
Tongue stays put
“No more side migrating tongue.” Finally a gusseted tongue. No more moving around mid-run.
Smooth & stable ride
“it rides very smoothly,”
“encourages an efficient gait cycle,” and
“the rocker feels just amazing.”
The base of the shoe is wide, so the shoe feels and is more stable.
“Hugs your foot,” “your feet are going to thank you,” “incredibly comfortable,” are just some of the phrases used by the experts to describe the comfort level of Clifton 7.
This is a comfortable shoe, but not the softest Hoka. If you’re looking for a maximally cushioned and soft Hoka One One shoe, check out Bondi 7.
Heel loop is gone
No more good-old hook tab. Hoka’s Clifton 7 has a vertical pull tab that goes up high against the Achilles. Experts refer to it as “elf curl.”
This curl allows for an easier entry and helps keep chafing at bay. Those who questioned the comfort said “has a little padding for comfort” and “adds some Achilles support.”
Overall, experts miss the pull tab but find this extra lip useful.
So long, speed runs!
This is a plush daily trainer. Clifton 7 was not made for fast runs and races. It’s not responsive enough and if you want to pick up the pace, you’ll have to work harder than in other shoes.
There are other running shoes in Hoka One One family made for these kinds of runs: Rincon 2 for fast runs and Carbon X for races.
Weight you should not worry about
Experts noticed how lightweight Clifton 7 is and said it’s “very light” and “perfect balance of lightweight and max cushion.”
While maximalist running shoes tend to weigh more, Clifton 7 weighs (8.7oz or 247g) significantly less than other popular shoes in the same range:
There were comments praising the shoe saying it’s “as responsive as ever” and “springy on the toe-off.” And there were comments sharing critique: “feels like it’s working against me,” ”could use more pop,” “doesn’t give off a high-energy, bouncy sensation.”
True to size + ample toe room
Hoka’s Clifton 7 fits true to size with a relaxed toe box. Overall, this is a snug shoe so look for a wide option if needed. As one expert said, it “envelops your foot and holds you snugly.”
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.