The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of gear

HOKA ONE ONE Clifton 6 Review

Fairly priced and moderately performing, we like the cloudlike feel but the narrow midfoot and prominent lower seams don’t make this a good long distance choice
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Price:  $130 List | $104.93 at REI
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Well-cushioned, light-weight
Cons:  Runs narrow, prominent seam structure
Manufacturer:   HOKA ONE ONE
By Ally Meller ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  May 22, 2020
  • Share this article:
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
56
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#11 of 15
  • Responsiveness - 25% 4
  • Landing Comfort - 25% 6
  • Weight - 20% 7
  • Durability - 10% 6
  • Upper Comfort - 10% 5
  • Breathability - 10% 6

Our Verdict

HOKA made drastic changes in this iteration of the beloved Clifton. Narrow footed runners who enjoy a lot of underfoot cushion will surely enjoy the ride in the HOKA ONE ONE Clifton 6. Our team of runners recommends these kicks for recovery runs and for anyone who works on their feet all day. The weight is astonishingly low for a super plush pair of runners, which makes them extra valuable on those days when your legs are feeling fatigued. In many ways, this is still the high performing maximalist shoe that loyal wearers love. However, HOKA double stuffed the sole with EVA foam for a cushy ride and seemingly forgot to create flush, smooth lines through the inner shoe. Also, while the toe box is pretty wide, the juxtaposition of that with a narrow midfoot isn't our first choice when it comes to shoe shape.

Compare to Similar Products

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.

Performance Comparison


Enjoying some warm-up strides in the neighborhood in the new and improved Clifton 6.
Enjoying some warm-up strides in the neighborhood in the new and improved Clifton 6.

Responsiveness


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.

We dig the high heel-stack and aggressive arch support.
We dig the high heel-stack and aggressive arch support.

Landing Comfort


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.

The ill-fitting insole that rubbed our arches every step of the way.
The ill-fitting insole that rubbed our arches every step of the way.

Weight


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.

Light as a feather with  unfortunately  a seam that's as stiff as a board.
Light as a feather with, unfortunately, a seam that's as stiff as a board.

Durability


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 deep tread on the Clifton keeps them going and going and going...
The deep tread on the Clifton keeps them going and going and going...

Upper Comfort


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.

Peep the narrow mid foot and huge toexbox  strangely out of balance.
Peep the narrow mid foot and huge toexbox, strangely out of balance.

Breathability


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.

Our feet didn't overheat in these shoes  even though we ran in black.
Our feet didn't overheat in these shoes, even though we ran in black.

Value


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.

If these shoes fit your feet  the value is fair. If not  look elsewhere.
If these shoes fit your feet, the value is fair. If not, look elsewhere.

Conclusion


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