HOKA ONE ONE Clifton 6 Review
Cons: Runs narrow, prominent seam structure
Manufacturer: HOKA ONE ONE
Our Analysis and Test Results
We love variety, and an occasional maximalist shoe really keeps us on our toes, ha-ha. We aren't ready to write home about the Clifton 6 just yet, though. We enjoyed the ultra-plush landing but found the stiff seams through the arch to be more aggravating than anything else. However, if you're looking for a lightweight AND maximally cushioned trainer, this could be the shoe for you. The arch support makes these guys great for people who are on their feet all day, but their strange sizing leaves something to be desired.
The Clifton 6 gets a low score in this metric because they are exactly as responsive as we would expect a maximally cushioned and somewhat clunky shoe to be. You won't be winning any speed races in these shoes, but your joints will thank you as you pad your way across most unforgiving surfaces.
HOKA has cornered the market for ultra-plush, luxury distance trainers. While the pillowy soft landing is what we'd expect from a neutrally cushioned HOKA, the intrusive arch seam majorly takes away from overall landing comfort. While running, this awful seam was all we could feel! As previously mentioned, this pair's midfoot to toebox transition is steep and a little too aggressive for our tastes.
We double, triple, and quadruple weighed these puppies and are shocked by the result! Despite the fluffy EVA foam inner soles and durable rubber exterior soles, these pups are one of the lighter options in our entire review. We maintain that the shape makes them feel clunky and somewhat comical, but for the size, they are virtually weightless! Each individual shoe weighs in at just over 7 ounces, less than half an ounce heavier than our lightest. Compare that to our heaviest shoe (9.38 per shoe women's size 7), and it's pretty obvious that HOKA is on to some sort of wizardry.
HOKA shoes are known to hold up well, that's a fact. The lugs on these shoes aren't as durably made as others we tested, but they hold their own. The padding doesn't squish down, which is a major win for a luxurious runner. A few sporadic online reviews we came across stated complaints about the shoes not holding up in the long term. We didn't see this in our testing period, but that spans just a couple months, not an entire season. And, when used for long recovery runs or slower distance slogs, we found them to be delightfully durable.
The Clifton 6 is pretty average in this realm. The upper is acceptable, neither bothersome nor glorious. The midfoot and arch are very narrow, though, which is why the seams cut into the arches of our feet. The toe box is wider than expected, and together, these two things create a disjointed and clumsy feeling. HOKA does make a wide option of the Clifton, but since the toebox is already extra-wide, we surmise that the wide version might increase the level of awkwardness. Bottom line, for a shoe with a wide toe box, we thought the midfoot and lace bed were too narrow. The tongue, however, is cushioned enough to protect the upper foot, which we like.
The Clifton is minutely more breathable than the average running shoe, but it doesn't impress us that much. Breathability is definitely not a make or break issue when it comes to this pair of kicks.
HOKA prices are incredibly predictable. The Clifton 6 costs around the same as its competitors and is equally as durable. When shelling out this much cash, however, we prefer a more comfortable shoe, but this is a relatively subjective thing. If these fit you right, we feel the cost is very fair.
The HOKA Clifton 6 is a lightweight, middle of the pack type shoe. We recommend it for LSD (long slow distance), and recovery runs on days when your joints are asking for a little extra love. The maximally balanced cushion holds up over the long term, and the less-than-average weight is a pleasant surprise. Sadly, the stiff (and rude!) arch detracts from their overall landing comfort, so they end up with an unimpressive score.
— Ally Meller