Running on Cloud 9. {Hoka One One Clifton Review}



And good luck to all the wonderful people running today. I’ll be thinking of you and following some of you online! (AMBER! TANTRA!)

Now it’s time to talk about shoes again.


Please meet my new Hoka One One (pronounced o-nay o-nay just in case you all were saying it like the number…which I did for a very long time).


They are the Clifton model. I’ll be honest…when I found out I was going to be reviewing this shoe, I was hoping I would receive this color. Aren’t they awesome?

This is not my first go around with Hoka. I purchased my first pair of Clifton awhile back after posting on an online running message board asking for opinions. I had heard that they are a great neutral shoe for runners with various aches and pains and if you’ve been around my blog for awhile you’ll know that I’ve got the market cornered on aches and pains.

First let’s look at the stats.


  • Ultra-Lightweight No Sew SpeedFrame Construction
  • Early Stage Meta-Rocker Geometry
  • Full Length HIP CMEVA Midsole
  • Full Ground Contact Design
  • Strategic Hi-Abrasion Rubber Zones


The Clifton has a heel/toe drop of 5mm (28mm heel/23mm forefoot) and weighs in a whopping 6.6 oz. I was completely astounded the first time I picked one up. At a glance, the midsole, which is up to 2.5x the volume of a standard running shoe – they call it “maximalist” rather than “minimalist” – makes the Clifton appear to be heavy as a brick. Instead the lightweight, greater-rebounding foam makes you feel like you’re running on a cloud. For a runner with wonky legs, the extra shock absorption is a welcomed thing.

The little arrows on the shoe illustration up there refer to the signature meta-rocker geometry. One of the things that the Hoka One One design is known for is transitioning a runner away from a heel strike. I am not a heel striker so right out of the box running in them feels pretty natural for me although getting used to having so much shoe under my foot was a bit of a learning curve. See also: this post from the other day when I talk about falling down. There was a little bit of a break-in period with the Clifton as well, but that’s because the more I wore them the more my foot formed into the cushiony midsole. That is one of my favorite features of this shoe; it almost feels as if they are made specifically for your feet. I didn’t realize how worn out my old Hoka were until I put on the new ones.


I think this progressive run is a pretty great illustration of how versatile the Clifton can be.

Due to all that aforementioned cushioning, the Clifton has quickly become my long run shoe of choice. Interestingly enough though, because they are also so lightweight, I have also done intervals in them (after getting  used to the size of the midsole of course…that would NOT have been hilarious to take a spill on the treadmill during one of my repeats). Since I’ve been dealing with my lower back injury and subsequently keeping my fingers crossed for some kind of miracle recovery before this weekend, I’ve been wearing the Clifton a lot because they are the most comfortable shoes in my closet.

One other thing to consider…I’ve found that for me personally, the Clifton runs large. I typically wear an 8.5 in running shoes and after sliding around in my first pair of of Hoka for a couple days I realized that an 8 would be the perfect fit for me. (And they were nice enough to let me exchange them.)

I think I’m a Hoka One One fan for life. They even look good with dress pants.


The Clifton retails for $130 on

 Have you tried Hoka? What do you think of them? Are you following the marathon today??



Runner’s World provided me a pair of Hoka One One Clifton for review. All opinions expressed in this post are my own. These shoes are fabulous!

30 thoughts on “Running on Cloud 9. {Hoka One One Clifton Review}

  1. Mar on the Run! says:

    I really wanna try these! I was supposed to receive at pair at an event last fall but then had to cancel. I haven’t been happy with any shoes in the past year. It’s frustrating when you find one you like and they change it (for better or worse) I wish I could run in the same pair forever and ever. But, not possible. Definitely want to check these out!

  2. Sweaty Mess says:

    I’m totally streaming Boston right now at work – I know I’ll get in trouble at some point. “Why is all that bandwidth being used in Sara’s office?” LOL. Hoka’s intrigue me, because I am a fan of cushioning. I just haven’t wanted to drop the money on them yet, not knowing.

  3. Chaitali says:

    I’ve been streaming Boston all morning 🙂 I really want to try out some Hokas, I keep hearing great things about them. I’m going to research them a bit more and probably give them a try at some point.

  4. Lauren @ ihadabiglunch says:

    Those would make me so tall! Haha but honestly for me, when it comes to running shoes, the more cushioning the better. Thanks for reviewing these — are they at typical running shoe stores? I’d love to try them on. I keep hearing “Hoka” all over the place haha

  5. Lisa @ Running Out Of Wine says:

    I’ve never tried these but they sound awesome! I know a lot of runners swear by them. They do appear heavy and bulky and I think it would definitely feel weird at first since I am used to light and more minimal shoes. I have been pronouncing them wrong in my head forever even though I am sure I have been told the proper way to pronounce them before- thanks for the reminder!

  6. Meranda@Fairytalesandfitness says:

    I am have been having such horrible pain lately in my IT baand/knee area. I thought perhaps it was brought on by the zero drop shoes I have been wearing, but I love them. They are not minimalist shoes, but maximilist like you were saying. They have so much cushioning but I still thought they were contributing to my pain. I knew that the Hoka also sold very cushiony shoes so I went to take a look at them the other day an the salesman actually talked me out of it. Can you believe that? He said that they are not zero drop but a very low drop and not good for injury prone people. I was so disappointed. And yes, I totally thought it was pronounced “one” like the number. Thanks for the clarification!

  7. sarahdudek80 says:

    I love Marathon Monday! It’s like Christmas for runners. I even saw one of my blogging buddies at the start on the live stream. Rock and I were so excited to see her. I haven’t tried Hokas but I am considering giving them a shot. They certainly look cool. I just get nervous switching shoes around given my past experience.

  8. DarlinRae says:

    I’ve had a lot of foot issues over the last year, so I’m definitely interested in the Hokas. I’m just a little gun-shy, because last time I tried a “maximalist” high cushion type shoe, it made my toes go numb, and $130 is a LOT of money to spend on a shoe that might not work for me.

  9. Nora @ 2 Generations Running says:

    I absolutely have been following the marathon! I was sad that Desi didn’t win for the women, but it was definitely exciting. I personally prefer a more minimalist shoe, but I’m glad that the Hokas have been working well for you!

  10. charissarunning says:

    I loved watching bits of the marathon today! The Hoka sounds like a great shoe and would probably be an amazing fit for me too. But it’s on the pricey side. Since you owned a pair before do you know how many miles you got on them?

  11. wendyistakingthelongwayhome says:

    This weekend on our drive into the city, Sara, Marcia, and I talked Hokas. Seems like everyone is jumping on the bandwagon. I’ve been a cushy runner girl for year, running in my Asics Gel Nimbus. Curious how much better the Hokas would be?

  12. klregan says:

    Oh man, I followed the marathon on twitter during a meeting today. I was so sad to see Desi and Meb loose it at the end. I’ve tried on Hokas in the store, but they don’t come in narrow and they are way too wide on my feet. 😦 I’ve heard such good things about them.

  13. ambertherunner says:

    Ahh thank you for your support Salt! Kept me going in the tough later miles ❤
    I'm glad I'm not the only one that had been pronouncing the shoe brand incorrectly 🙂 also- I'm shocked at how light those are! Glad they are working out well for you!

  14. Sue @ This Mama Runs For Cupcakes says:

    I want to try these so bad, but my calves can’t handle the low heel/toe drop 😦 Super cute though!

  15. Sun says:

    I haven’t tried Hoka shoes yet but I do like the idea of feeling like I’m running on a cloud! The shoes do look like they’d weigh a ton so it’s interesting that they are actually lightweight. I’m sure I’d do more than my share of falling in them while getting used to more shoe under my feet :0

  16. Sara @ lifebetweenthemiles says:

    I have been seeing Hokas everywhere lately. I am one of the people who subscribes to the if it ain’t broke don’t try and fix it, especially when it comes to running shoes. I run in Brooks Ghosts (a neutral shoe) and it works great for me so I am always hesitant to try other brands since when I tried Newtons it was disasterous. I love your new shoes those and loke that they feel so great!!

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