If you have been reading my site for a while, then you will know that I am a big fan of Hoka Clifton. They have been my go to road running shoes for the past 5 years. Giving me a better than average perspective on the shoes overall performance. So when the new ninth edition was released about a month ago, I was excited to get my hands on them. And after 150+ miles of testing, I’m ready to give my official Hoka Clifton 9 review.
My 2023 Hoka Clifton 9 Review
Clifton 9 Specs
Men’s Weight: 8.7oz
Women’s Weight: 7.3oz
Men’s Stack Height: 32mm / 27mm
Women’s Stack Height: 29mm / 24mm
Quick thoughts on the Clifton 9
- They are lighter than the past model, coming in at 8.7oz for men and 7.3oz for women.
- They still feature the same traditional 5mm drop
- The toe box feels larger than in previous models
- The stack height has increased by 3mm, to 32mm / 27mm for men and 29mm / 24mm for women
- The cushion from the mid to front is thicker, and feels firmer at first but breaks in
- While the rear cushioning feels softer. Especially to the very back / outside which almost feels hollow?
The New Release
With my legs starting to feel the impact from even my shorter runs, I knew it was time to get a new pair of running shoes. And lucky me, this also coincided with the release of the new Hoka Clifton 9. So off to my local running store I went to check out the new release. When I arrived they only had two color options available in my size. And as someone that likes to look faster than I actually am, I went with the big bird bright yellow. Not the official name… but it should be.
When I bought them I asked the sales person their thoughts and the new model. And they said the only real difference was a bit firmer forefoot padding. But as soon as I put them on I could tell there was a lot more to this new model. And was eager to put them through their paces.
How They Fit
On the feet there are a couple things that stood out to me right away. First was the stack height and added mid / forefoot cushion. And while it did feel a bit more firm there, the rear crash pad has noticeably more give. With the rear outer heel on each side almost feeling empty. If you look at the sole you even see a circle in that area. And if you push there, it is incredibly soft. I have a feeling this is how they were able to add add cushion while cutting weight.
The next thing that stood out was that the toe box feels wider. I compared the 9’s to the 8’s and they look to be the same size. But I can’t help but feel like my toes have a bit more room. Am I the only one that noticed this?
Hitting the Streets in the Hoka Clifton 9
Getting straight to the point, Hoka has another winner on their hands with the newest Clifton release. The added cushion in the front of the shoe makes every step just that much more comfortable. With an incredible weight to cushion ratio. And while I wouldn’t say the turnover feels fast. There is plenty of rebound to keep you pumping through the miles.
Another thing that I really like is that softer collapsible heel. While it may not make a ton of sense at first. If you find yourself running on uneven or off kilter ground. The softer heel cushion allows you to follow through with a more natural running motion on the higher of the uneven legs. Kind of a cool feature.
As far as build quality goes, after 150 miles I’d say they are on the same level as past models. Meaning I’ll probably get 220-250 miles of road running on them. Hokas are not known for lasting a lot of miles. And the Cliftons seem to be true to form there too.
Hoka Clifton 9 Review – Closing Thoughts
Hoka has done it again. They have taken one of my favorite shoes and managed to not mess it up! Providing a few unique and surprising features along the way. I never thought they would manage to add cushion while reducing weight. The whole, different firmnesses of cushion throughout the shoe is a great concept. With a “collapsible” rear that comes in surprising handy while road running in hilly areas.
Thankfully I don’t think I’ll have to be looking for a new daily runner shoe any time soon. With the Hoka Clifton 9 getting 2 big thumbs up from me.