Hoka Clifton 8 Shoe Review

Hoka Clifton 8 Shoe Review

The Hoka Clifton 8 is one of the most popular Hoka models out there. It’s lightweight and cushioned. I’m so old; I remember when the Hoka Clifton 1 came out. Anyway, since then, the brand and the shoe have only grown in popularity.

I haven’t run in every model, and truthfully I usually like the Bondi 7 or the Clifton Edge a little better. The Clifton 8 has a more padded tongue, slightly better rubber placement, and an overall faster feel.

Hoka Clifton 8 Shoe Review

Hoka Clifton 8 Quick Facts:

Weight: 8.9 oz

Heel to Toe Drop: 5 mm

Cost: $130

Hoka One One Clifton 8 Introduction:

The first year of the Hoka Clifton was lightweight, soft, and not durable. It was (and probably still is) one of the lightest trainers for durability. The first model was so popular they brought it back. Before carbon plated footwear, it was even a popular racing shoe! Since then, Hoka has changed the Clifton a lot. It wasn’t until model 6 of the Hoka Clifton that it showed some similarities with the original again. Change isn’t always bad, but the Hoka Clifton had too much change for a while. 

The Hoka Clifton 8 received a considerable update in almost everything from the midsole to the outsole and upper.

Hoka Clifton 8 Shoe Review

Hoka Clifton 8 Fit:

Before I start on the fit, since I’m so late in the game of reviewing the Clifton 8, I had such a wide variety of colors. Instead of going my usual “all white” in Hokas, I opted for this fun print. The Hoka Clifton 8 has a similar upper to the 7. The big difference is the tongue is more padding, and the inner liner is now more smooth. I’m a fan of Hoka’s padded tongues. When they use razer thin ones like the Hoka Clifton Edge, they cut up my ankle.

With the extra padding, the weight of the Hoka Clifton 8 increases by an additional ounce or so. Not a big deal, except one of the main favorite features of the Hoka Clifton, is how light it was.

The upper is breathable and doesn’t irritate anywhere it shouldn’t. The best uppers on running shoes are those that disappear off your feet, and you don’t notice. For the most part, I feel this way in the Hoka Clifton 8. If every Hoka model had the same upper as the Hoka Clifton 8, I would be happy.

Hoka Clifton 8 Shoe Review

In running shoes, I typically wear between a size 10-11 wide. In Hoka models, I’ve usually worn a size 10.5 for several years. Many models run slightly big, but there isn’t an advantage of going down half a length. (My unpopular opinion is: It’s not *that* big). In the Hoka Clifton 8, I’ve found the size 10.5 to fit well).

Hoka Clifton 8 Ride:

The Clifton used to be known as the king marshmallow shoe (well, that’s not the technical term). It was extremely soft, and your foot would sink far into it. I haven’t run consistently in the Clifton for a couple of years and immediately found it was slightly firmer. While I didn’t run in a few models between, I did try on most other models, and it seems about the same as the Clifton 7.  These days, the Clifton 8 feels like the perfect balance of firm and soft.

What many people don’t realize with the Clifton is that while it “looks like a lot of shoe,” your foot sinks fairly far down into the bucket seat. This means that you aren’t as high up as you think. Many people also ask: “will I fall wearing the Hoka Clifton 8”. Believe me; I’ve fallen many times while out running, but it’s never been because of the shoe.

A big update to the heel of the Hoka Clifton 8 is in the heel section. There are just two vertical sidewall grooves where the Clifton 7 had 3 vertical sidewalls. These sidewall grooves allow the foam under the heel to compress and make it feel “more cushioned.” That in term makes the Hoka Clifton 8 feel firmer.

Durability and Traction: Both durability and traction have always been a “wish I more of” for Clifton. When Hoka did add more rubber to increase both, it made the Clifton heavier, and people complained about that. The rubber now extends further on high wear areas of the Hoka Clifton 8, which increases the durability. I’ve run about 100 miles in the Clifton 8, and it looks to be wearing less than previous versions. If anything, the extra rubber is one of the best updates of the shoe.

Hoka Clifton 8 Shoe Review

The Hoka Clifton 8 now feels more like a daily trainer for almost everything, whereas previous versions felt like a marshmallow and recovery shoe and the original going so far as a marathon racing shoe. Wow, the Clifton has really been around the shoe category game? I’ve since run a few long runs, easy runs, as well as slightly faster work, and the Hoka Clifton 8 has been able to handle all of them. I wouldn’t necessarily use the Hoka Clifton 8 for a speed workout, but it’s a good shoe if you don’t know what kind of run you’ll do for the day.

Hoka Clifton 8 Conclusion:

The Hoka Clifton 8 has gotten some significant updates, and it’s a good shoe. It’s more durable and can handle a lot more different paces. It’s more consistent than years past, and you don’t have to worry about “is my favorite shoe going to be updated to something way different.”

It’s also more cushioned than similar shoes at the $130 cost. The Clifton 8 is a workhorse trainer, but it wasn’t the “brand new” cool technology in 2014. Every running shoe rotation needs an old faithful. The Hoka Clifton 8 is definitely one of my more favorite versions of the Clifton.

My Current Shoe Rotation:

Easy/Daily Runs: Brooks Aurora, Diadora Mythos Blushield Volo, New Balance 1080 v11Hoka Bondi 7, Hoka Clifton 8

Speed Work: 361 Flame, Nike Tempo Next%, New Balance Fuelcell TC Shoe ReviewReebok Float Ride Run fast Pro,

Long Runs: Hoka Clifton Edge,  Under Armour Sonic HOVR 3

Trail Running/Hiking: Hoka Torrent 2, Saucony Peregrine 11, North Face Flight VECTIV

Races: Asics Metaspeed Sky, Hoka One One Rocket X, adidas Adizero Pro, New Balance Fuelcell 5280Nike Next%,  Saucony Endorphin ProNew Balance fuelcell TCReebok Run fast Pro 

You Can See All Current Shoe Reviews Here.

Looking to learn more about running shoes? In my ebook, I talk about why you need a good running shoe, a shoe’s anatomy, neutral vs. stable, and even myths of running shoes.

Questions for you:

Have you tried the Hoka Clifton 8?

What is your favorite trainer? 



  1. I am the all time Hoka Hater of Hoka Haters! Now, with all that said, this shoe has grown remarkably over the past 10 years and made Hola a legit player for some runners!

    That bucket seat analogy is world class, gold standard material.

    Merry Christmas to all, even all you Hoka runners!

  2. I saw you said you wear a 10-11 wide in most running shoes but a 10.5 in the Clifton 8. Is that a standard 10.5 or a 10.5 wide? Just wanted to be sure. Also, is that the size you wear for the Bondi 7? I ask because I wear wides in all my running shoes, Hoka Bondi’s included and I’m wondering if I’ve been choosing the incorrect size this whole time with them.

    1. I wear a standard 10.5 in the Clifton but if you’re wearing a wide Bondi, I would wear a wide Clifton too. (They are very similar fits). Do you find your Cliftons too small? Losing toenails? pinkie toe hurting?

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