Hoka Clifton 9 Running Shoes Review


The Hoka Clifton 9 is an everyday running shoe that belongs to the well-populated category of max-cushioned running shoes. It’s the latest iteration of Hoka’s popular Clifton line of running shoes, and it has seen some improvements to ensure it’s not outdone by its competition. This shoe is a mix of familiar and new features that improve comfort and performance.

What’s New in the Clifton 9?

The Hoka Clifton 9 has some notable updates that make it stand out from its predecessor, the Clifton 8.

One of the main changes in the Clifton 9 is the 3mm increase in stack height. This means that there is now more cushioning underfoot, which should translate into a softer and more comfortable ride. Despite the increase in cushioning, Hoka claims to have slightly reduced the weight of the shoe, making it even more comfortable to wear.

Another update to the Clifton 9 is the new midsole foam design and the new durabrasion rubber outsole provides traction for all surfaces and conditions. This new foam is designed to be lighter and more responsive than the previous version. This should help make the shoe feel more nimble and faster, while still providing the necessary cushioning for a comfortable run. 

Finally, the Clifton 9 features an updated upper. The upper now has a more secure and comfortable fit, thanks to changes in the materials and construction. This should help keep the foot locked in place and reduce the risk of slippage or discomfort.

Overall, the updates to the Clifton 9 seem to be aimed at improving both performance and comfort. The additional cushioning and more responsive midsole foam should make the shoe feel better underfoot, while the updated upper should provide a more secure and comfortable fit.

Clifton 9 Running Experience

During the testing phase, the Clifton 9 received positive feedback from runners for its performance in different types of sessions. The maximalist cushioning in the midsole provided excellent shock absorption and helped reduce fatigue, which I appreciated  during longer runs. The rocker profile in the midsole also contributed to a smooth and easy forward movement, especially during heel-to-toe transitions.

The new midsole foam design contributed to a lighter and more responsive feel, which made the shoe feel more lively, even at faster paces. This feature I particularly enjoyed is that it feels like a more responsive shoe compared to its predecessors. Additionally, the extra 3mm stack height and claimed marginal weight shaving did not go unnoticed when I was picking up the tempo and as such appreciated the extra cushioning and slight weight reduction.

The updated upper provided a secure and comfortable fit, which helped prevent any unwanted movement of the foot during runs. This was especially appreciated during high-intensity workouts and sprints, where a snug fit was necessary to maintain optimal performance.

Overall, I enjoyed the running experience provided by the Clifton 9 and found it to be a reliable and comfortable shoe for a variety of different sessions, from easy recovery runs to high-intensity workouts.

Hoka Clifton 9
Hoka Clifton 9

Hoka Clifton 9 Fit

I found the Hoka Clifton 9 to have a regular width fit and found that it ran true to size for most of them. However, some runners might still prefer to going a half size up, especially if they had wider feet or preferred a roomier toe box. The upper of the shoe was updated with a new design that provided a secure and comfortable fit without being too restrictive or tight. The engineered mesh upper was breathable and stretchy, allowing for natural foot movement while still maintaining support and structure.

Review of the Hoka Clifton 9’s Features

The Hoka One One Clifton 9 features a slightly softer feel underfoot compared to its predecessor, thanks to the new midsole foam design. The shoe’s heel collar is also thickly padded, which adds an extra layer of comfort around the ankle. The gusseted tongue keeps debris out and provides a secure fit, while the breathable knit upper adds to the overall comfort of the shoe. The outsole, with exposed midsole foam and durable rubber, provides excellent traction and durability. The shoe also has a smooth rocker that helps with heel-to-toe transitions, allowing for an effortless and efficient stride. The fit of the Clifton 9 is slightly wider, providing a roomier toe box that accommodates different foot shapes.

In conclusion, the Hoka One One Clifton 9 offers a comfortable, cushioned ride for runners of all levels. With updates to the midsole foam and upper, the shoe provides a slightly softer feel underfoot and a more secure fit. Clifton 9 is ideal for easy runs, long runs, or workouts. The shoe’s maximalist cushioning offers excellent impact absorption and reduces fatigue, while the rocker profile allows for easy forward movement and heel-to-toe transitions. The Clifton 9’s slightly wider fit accommodates a variety of foot shapes and sizes, and the affordable price point makes it an accessible option for runners. It is best suited for forefoot and midfoot strikers who prefer a low-drop shoe. Overall, the Hoka One One Clifton 9 is a versatile shoe that offers a comfortable and lively ride for runners looking for a reliable daily trainer.

If you’re looking for a highly-cushioned running shoe like the Clifton 9 but want even more stack height, the Hoka Bondi 8 is a good alternative. With the new Glide+ foam and extended heel geometry, the Bondi 8 provides a plush and comfortable ride, especially for longer runs. However, the tight upper may be an issue for those with wider feet.

Hoka Clifton 9 Verdict

Overall, I am very positive about the Hoka Clifton 9 and found it to be a comfortable and versatile shoe that would work for a variety of running styles and distances. The maximalist cushioning provided excellent impact absorption and reduced fatigue, making it an ideal choice for long-distance runners who prioritize comfort. The shoe’s rocker profile also made for a smooth and easy-forward movement, which was especially appreciated during longer runs. Despite the added cushioning and updates, the Clifton 9 still managed to feel relatively lightweight, which was another plus. Perhaps most impressively, the shoe came in at a relatively affordable price point compared to similar options in the maximalist cushioning category. Hoka Clifton 9 is a solid choice for runners looking for a comfortable and dependable shoe that could handle a range of different runs and workouts.

How is the Hoka Clifton 9 different from the Clifton 8?

The Clifton 9 has an extra 3mm of stack height and a new midsole foam for improved responsiveness and comfort while still being lightweight. The upper of the shoe has also been updated with an engineered mesh material that provides a snug fit without any hot spots or points of irritation.

What is the fit of the Hoka Clifton 9 like?

The shoe fits truer to size and doesn’t feel too narrow in a regular width. 

What is the Hoka Clifton 9 best suited for?

The Clifton 9 is a versatile shoe for easy runs, long runs, or workouts and is best suited for forefoot and midfoot strikers who prefer a low-drop shoe.

Hoka Clifton 9
Hoka Clifton 9 Running Shoes Review
Value for money
Reasons to Buy
Exceptional cushioning and shock absorption for long-distance running
Great fit and comfortable right out of the box
Breathable upper to keep your feet cool and dry
Lightweight design that doesn't weigh you down during your runs
Improved responsiveness due to the use of full FF Blast+ midsole
Eye-catching color schemes to choose from
Reasons to Avoid
High price point
Not ideal for runners who prefer a minimalist or firm ride
Some durability concerns due to exposed midsole under the midfoot
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