Brooks was founded in Philadelphia in 1914 and stands as one of the oldest brands in the running industry. In contrast, Hoka is among the newest and fastest-growing brands in the same field. Today, we’ll be comparing two of the most popular shoes from these brands: the Brooks Glycerin and the Hoka Clifton.
The Brooks Glycerin is the brand’s most cushioned running shoe, while the Hoka Clifton represents the cushioned running shoes that Hoka has built its reputation on. When in search of footwear with ample padding, considering both of these shoes makes perfect sense. Below, you’ll find a breakdown of the quick differences, specifications, images, and more.
Brooks Glycerin vs Hoka Clifton
- The Brooks Glycerin is the heavier of the two shoes, weighing 10.1oz. Compared to the Cliftons at 8.9oz.
- Brooks lists the Glycerin as “most cushioned”. The most cushioned shoe in their running shoe lineup.
- Hoka lists the Cliftons as “balanced”. The mid level of cushioning in their running shoes.
- The Hoka Clifton has a smaller 5mm drop. Compared to the 10mm drop on the Brooks Glycerin.
- Both are neutral running shoes. Making them a great choice for most runners.
- The Glycerin tends to run small and have a smaller toe box. While the Cliftons tend to run true to size with a roomy toe box.
- Both shoes are available in “wide”. But you may want to go a full size up on the Glycerin.
Two of the most well-known brands in running are Brooks and Hoka. Brooks, with over 100 years of history, specializes in traditional running shoes, typically featuring an 8mm+ drop and moderate cushion on their base models, including some heavier cushioned runners like the Glycerin. On the other hand, Hoka is recognized for its very mild drop (typically 5mm and under) and substantial cushioning across all models.
Now, let’s delve into a more in-depth breakdown of the Brooks Glycerin vs Hoka Clifton, including their performance, images, and the model I’d choose between the two.
If you’ve ever run in Brooks before, you’ll notice immediately the substantial cushioning in the Glycerin, evident in its thick soles. Putting them on, you’ll feel the cushioning that you’re seeking, albeit with some added weight. While the Glycerin is on the heavier side, it’s within the norm for a “max cushion” running shoe.
However, a drawback with the Glycerin is its narrow fit and a smaller toe box. Sizing up, at least by half a size and potentially a full size for those who prefer more room, is advisable. On the road, the Glycerin feels surprisingly agile for a heavily cushioned shoe, likely due to the 10mm drop. It provides ample arch support for medium arches and should also be suitable for high arches. The overall build quality aligns with Brooks’ reputation, and with proper form, you can expect to get 300+ miles out of them.
The Clifton embodies the typical features of a Hoka running shoe—plentiful cushioning with a light, breathable mesh upper. One notable advantage of the Clifton is its true-to-size fit, offering moderate support and ample room in the toe box. Some may still opt to size up if they experience swelling during longer runs.
Running in the Clifton, or any Hoka shoe, may require an adjustment period due to their spring/rocking feature that propels you forward. This can be particularly noticeable if you’re transitioning from another brand and may cause minor stabilizer muscle tightness initially. Once accustomed, you’ll likely miss running without this feature. On the road, the Cliftons stand out as one of my favorite shoes to run in, with the cushion requiring a few runs to break in and soften up. They may not feel particularly “fast” due to the moderate drop, but compared to the Glycerin, they exhibit a significantly lighter feel, especially during long runs. Overall, I’ve consistently been a big fan of the Clifton line.
Brooks Glycerin 20
Hoka Clifton 8
Below you can see that there slightly more padding area towards the rear mid foot, and front to box of the Clifton.
Brooks Glycerin 20
Hoka Clifton Top View
The show shoes actually have a similar shape from the top.
Brooks Glycerin 20
Clifton 8 Soles
Conclusion – Brooks Glycerin vs Hoka Clifton
If you’re in search of a cushioned road runner, it’s easy to see why you would consider the Brooks Glycerin vs. Hoka Clifton. The Glycerin stands out as Brooks’ most cushioned road runner, boasting a significant amount of extra padding, coupled with Brooks’ renowned build quality and a medium drop. They’ve been a staple in the market for a long time. On the other hand, the Clifton represents Hoka’s medium-cushioned model, offering a lighter weight with a low drop. Since its release, it has consistently been one of the top-selling road runners on the market.
But the question remains: which one is the right choice for you?
Which road running shoe to buy?
So for my money I’m going with Clifton. Especial until they update the sizing on the Glycerin.