Reviews You Can Rely On

Hoka Clifton 9 - Women's Review

With a thick underfoot stack and an ability to conform to your foot shape, this is a comfortable shoe for moderately-paced daily
gearlab tested logo
Hoka Clifton 9 - Women's Review
Credit: Ally Arcuri
Price:  $145 List
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Manufacturer:   Hoka
By Ally Arcuri ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jun 12, 2024
70
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#12 of 24
  • Cushioning and Landing Comfort - 25% 8.0
  • Responsiveness - 25% 5.5
  • Stability - 20% 7.0
  • Upper Comfort - 15% 7.0
  • Weight - 15% 7.6

Our Verdict

The Hoka Clifton 9 has undergone a transformation in recent years, with its updates culminating in a shoe that provides fantastic underfoot comfort and cushion. Don't let its boat-like countenance fool you; the Clifton is an exceptionally comfortable daily running or walking shoe that will make you feel like you're walking on clouds. With a chunky stack of EVA foam, this shoe is cushy and protective. It lacks responsiveness, so if that is your priority, the Clifton probably won't be your best match. But if a daily runner with good underfoot cushion with a fair amount of tech is what you're after, this might be a great road shoe for you.
REASONS TO BUY
Great underfoot cushion
Secure heel cup
Relatively lightweight
REASONS TO AVOID
Less responsive than some
Collar won't be comfortable on all runners
Basic upper through forefoot

Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award Top Pick Award 
Price Check Price at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
$139.95 at Amazon
Compare at 2 sellers
Check Price at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
$120 List
$89.95 at Amazon
$139.95 at Backcountry
Compare at 3 sellers
Overall Score Sort Icon
70
80
76
73
73
Star Rating
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Bottom Line The big underfoot stack of this shoe provides great comfort and more responsiveness than expected, though the overall fit will not appeal to allThis running shoe offers the performance technology and comfort needed to be your go-to shoe, no matter your running goalsFor epic versatility in a single shoe, we recommend this lightweight superstarWhile not a race-focused shoe, this affordable and bouncy option will keep your legs turning over quickly and easilyThe structure and comfort of this shoe make it a highly recommended option for long distance runners who want a reliable road running steed
Rating Categories Hoka Clifton 9 - Wo... Asics Novablast 4 -... Hoka Mach 6 - Women's Saucony Kinvara 14... Brooks Adrenaline G...
Cushioning and Landing Comfort (25%)
8.0
9.0
8.0
7.5
7.5
Responsiveness (25%)
5.5
7.5
7.0
7.5
6.0
Stability (20%)
7.0
8.0
7.0
5.5
9.0
Upper Comfort (15%)
7.0
8.0
7.5
6.5
8.0
Weight (15%)
7.6
7.4
8.5
9.5
6.3
Specs Hoka Clifton 9 - Wo... Asics Novablast 4 -... Hoka Mach 6 - Women's Saucony Kinvara 14... Brooks Adrenaline G...
Sizes Available 5 - 12 US 5 - 12 US, regular 5 - 11 US, regular & wide 5 - 12 US, regular & wide 5 - 13 US, narrow, medium, wide & extra wide
Style Neutral/maximum Neutral Daily Neutral Supportive
Measured Heel Stack Height 34 mm 40 mm 34 mm 30 mm 34 mm
Measured Heel-to-Toe Drop 6 mm 9 mm 2 mm 5 mm 12 mm
Plate Type None None None None None
Rocker Angle 18.5 deg 22.0 deg 24.5 deg 26.0 deg 26.5 deg
Rocker Apex Location 68.02% 69.48% 65.38% 68.15% 71.43%
Measured Weight 7.16 oz 7.36 oz 6.27 oz 5.55 oz 8.21 oz
Upper Engineered mesh Engineered knit mesh Creel jaqquard Mesh Engineered air mesh
Midsole EVA foam FF Blast Plus Eco Supercritical EVA PWRRUN, PWRRUN+ DNA Loft v2
Outsole Durabrasion rubber AHAR outsole Rubber XT-900 rubber Rubber
Heel Tab Type Extended heel pull Finger loop Extended heel pull Finger loop None

Our Analysis and Test Results

With a 34mm stack underfoot in the heel and a 28mm stack beneath the forefoot, the updated Hoka Clifton is known for its underfoot comfort. If your running takes you on lengthy paved routes most days of the week, the plush protective cushion of this shoe is where it's at.

Performance Comparison


hoka clifton 9 for women - with strong stability, a bit of responsive pep, and prime underfoot...
With strong stability, a bit of responsive pep, and prime underfoot cushioning, the Clifton 9 is a high scorer all around.
Credit: Prudence Amsden

Cushioning and Landing Comfort


This is the metric where the Clifton 9 shines brightest. It is a great daily running shoe all around, but it earns the highest marks for its bouncy landing comfort. Slipping your feet into the higher-than-ever Clifton feels a bit disorienting at first, as this shoe is noticeably higher than your standard road shoe. But after a few quick spins around the block, our testers grew accustomed to the height, which set the stage for long, pavement-laden testing runs.

While running in the Clifton, we perceived this level of underfoot cushion, but seeing it measured further confirms just how plush the under carriage of this shoe is.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

The EVA foam midsole is thick and bouncy, while the Durabrasion rubber outsole provides an additional, grippy layer between your feet and the road. The insole's build creates a cradle-like sensation for your feet, preventing them from sliding around within the shoe's body. The forefoot of the Clifton is somewhat flexible, which allows your feet and toes to work with your gait.

hoka clifton 9 for women - the clifton is a lighter-weight option that still offers great...
The Clifton is a lighter-weight option that still offers great landing comfort and cushioning.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

Responsiveness


As is often the case in the world of running shoes, comfort and responsiveness don't always coexist perfectly together. While there is nothing wrong with the responsiveness of the Clifton 9, it isn't a shoe we recommend for speed demons looking to push their boundaries. It is, however, an incredible option if comfort is king and smooth strides reign supreme. The semi-flexible outsole encourages you to rely on your muscles and strength more than a shoe with a rigid plate in its outsole. Racers might prefer a more rigid outsole, but there is plenty of pep within the outsole of the Clifton so that you can achieve your next PR. The underfoot foam rides bouncy and has an early-stage meta rocker, which is Hoka-specific tech that allows one footfall to roll right into the next.

hoka clifton 9 for women - just look at that stack. if underfoot cushioning is your jam, you'll...
Just look at that stack. If underfoot cushioning is your jam, you'll love the updated Clifton.
Credit: Jessica Riconscente

Stability


The overbuilt aesthetic of the Clifton renders it incredibly stable for a neutral running shoe. The contoured heel cup and thick heel cushion lock your heel in place, creating stability from the back forward. The midfoot doesn't have extra structures for lateral support, but the engineered mesh upper is strong. The outsole extends upward ever so slightly, which helps feet stay comfortably locked into place. The 6mm drop (our measurement, Hoka claims 5mm) forces the heel to sit on a similar plane as the toes, unlike more traditional road shoes with a 10-12mm drop. This further encourages comfortable stability.

hoka clifton 9 for women - the secure heel cup and wide base of support provide great stability...
The secure heel cup and wide base of support provide great stability without feeling overbearing.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

Upper Comfort


The upper mesh of the Clifton 9 is comfortable, but not necessarily more so than many other shoes. The mesh is breathable, which helps keep feet cool on warm days. The plush tongue is partially adhered, so besides providing comfort, it stays where you want it once the laces are locked down. The toe box is rather spacious but not dramatically so. A wide width-option of the Clifton is available, which allows for a bit more flexibility when choosing a size that serves your feet. Our testers found this shoe comfortable all around, but its highly shaped heel cup might not appeal to all runners. The heel tab extends higher than most, and the thickness on the lateral edges of the cup might not suit all anatomies. The balance between softness and strength around the heel collar is good, so we never had any issues with discomfort, but it is easy to see how different ankle bones might find discomfort with this shape. As per usual, we recommend trying this shoe on before shelling out the cash because of these quirks.

hoka clifton 9 for women - the upper of the clifton isn't silky-smooth, but it remains...
The upper of the Clifton isn't silky-smooth, but it remains comfortable throughout long efforts.
Credit: Prudence Amsden

Weight


With each women's size 6.5 shoe weighing 7.16 ounces, the Clifton 9 is pretty lightweight considering the cushioning it offers. It is not super often that ultra-comfy shoes weigh in on the lower end of the spectrum, but the Clifton is an outlier. Most of the weight lives in the outsole of the shoe, which can feel a bit clunky at first.

hoka clifton 9 for women - for a shoe with pillowy underfoot cushion, the clifton weighs in on...
For a shoe with pillowy underfoot cushion, the Clifton weighs in on the lighter end of the spectrum.
Credit: Prudence Amsden

Should You Buy the Hoka Clifton 9?


For long-distance road enthusiasts or people who spend many hours on their feet, we recommend the Clifton 9. It is a bouncy shoe constructed with underfoot comfort in mind, making it a standout choice for pavement pounding. The responsiveness via the meta rocker lends itself well enough to leg turnover, making some speed work and PRs possible in this comfy road kick. If you are in the market for a stable shoe with bouncy underfoot cushion, the Clifton is a worthy contender. We also crowned it one of our favorites in our best walking shoe review.

hoka clifton 9 for women - the clifton provides everything many runners desire in their running...
The Clifton provides everything many runners desire in their running shoes. We recommend it to those looking for a comfortable shoe with some stability and pep.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

What Other Running Shoes Should You Consider?


The Clifton 9 is beloved for its underfoot cushion. If the cushion is what is speaking to you, the Asics Gel-Kayano 30 is a top recommendation to take for a spin. The Hoka Mach 6 is a slightly more high-tech running shoe but comes equipped with a base of lightweight foam for long-run comfort. The Brooks Adrenaline GTS 23 is another reliable choice with great landing comfort, a traditional fit, and extra lateral support.

Ally Arcuri