Select BITR Apparel On Sale. Shop Now
top pick icon
Road Running Shoes • February 23, 2023

Hoka Clifton 9 Review: Magic Number Nine

hoka clifton 9 cover

We independently review everything we recommend. When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission.

What You Need To Know


9.1 oz. (258 g) for a US M9,

7.3 oz. (205 g) for a US W8

Stack Height / Drop

Men: 32 mm in heel, 27 mm in forefoot (5 mm drop)

Women: 29 mm in heel, 24 mm in forefoot (5 mm drop)

Best For

Daily training

Key Features

Lighter, thicker bed of plush EVA foam, breathable mesh upper, meta-rocker design

On The Run

🟢 Easy to run in, even easier to run easy in

🟢 Solid midfoot lockdown with the gusseted tongue

🔴 Toebox might be roomy for non-wide-foot folks



The Intro

MEAGHAN: The HOKA Clifton is back in its 9th iteration and continues to be a mainstay for the brand. This year’s updates are minimal but impactful — notably, a thicker, more responsive midsole. Hoka added another 3mm of foam underfoot and adjusted the foam compound (now a compression-molded EVA) to provide a smoother, bouncy ride. The stack is 29 mm/24 mm in the forefoot for the women and 32 mm/27 mm for the men with the same 5 mm drop. More padding and reflective properties have been added to the heel, along with a streamlined, gusseted tongue to round things out.

Fans of the previous iteration will be happy to find the overall plush design, breathable engineered knit upper, and early-stage meta rocker remain for that classic Clifton feel. A thin layer of durabraision rubber covers key parts of the outsole for traction and durability.

The Clifton has always been a favorite among daily trainers for me, but with brands adding carbon plates and peba foams to their everyday lineups, does the classic Clifton still compete? Let’s dive in.

THOMAS: Meg and I have run in every Clifton available to the public. Before the Vaporfly hit the scene, we used the Clifton as a marathon race day shoe. It was relatively light, and the cushioning was unrivaled. Running shoes have come a long way since then, but the Clifton has remained a reliable cushioned trainer. There have been a couple of duds in the nine iterations, but overall, the Hoka Clifton has delivered for almost a decade.

The Clifton has even transcended running and become a Hollywood casual shoe, seen on tastemakers like Kylie Jenner and Gwyneth Paltrow. That reminds me, I gotta get a refill of Goop.

WIDE-FOOT JARRETT: I’ve had my gripes with Hoka in the past. Their wide shoes just weren’t that wide. Sure, they may have had more upper material, but I found the midsoles to be pretty narrow, and that caused uncomfortable blisters.

Hoka is finally heading in the right direction for us larger-footed runners. My pair of Mach 5 was a pleasant surprise, and now the Clifton 9 is a daily trainer I’d recommend to anyone.

Hoka Clifton 9 in New York sports teams colorway

RUBY: You know them, you love them (or not); Hoka has a new Clifton out. While it might not look that different from previous models, the Hoka Clifton 9 sure packs a punch, a new CMEVA midsole, and 3mm more stack height, to be precise. Despite the extra cushioning and stack height, the Clifton 9 doesn’t leave you feeling unstable or anxious about rolling an ankle. The Clifton 9 remains a fan-favorite neutral stability shoe best suited for easy runs.

Just as we’re told not to judge a book by its cover, don’t let the lack of apparent updates lead you to believe that the Clifton 9 isn’t a significant upgrade to the Clifton 8 — it is. With minimal upper and outsole alterations, Hoka has channeled its energy into the new CMEVA foam midsole. Lighter yet more cushioned than previous models, the Clifton 9 packs a punch. The shoe wizards at Hoka have added more foam to the midsole while taking away weight, 0.2 oz to be precise.

Available in various widths and colorways, the Clifton 9 appeals to both Hoka die-hards and mileage junkies and newer runners and walkers looking for a safe and reliable ride.

hoka clifton 9 upper

The Good

MEAGHAN: The HOKA Clifton 9 arrived about the same time my Achilles tendonitis cleared up, so it was pretty much love at first run. The updated EVA foam paired with the rocker geometry provides a smooth ride, and the simplicity of this shoe shines. While I love the fun, bouncy ride of shoes like the SC Trainer and Adidas Prime X Strung, there’s something nice about a simple shoe that you forget entirely on the run.

The extra padding around the collar and heel offers a plush step-in feel, and the stretchy, flat laces provide a nice fit through the midfoot. There’s ample room in the toe box… maybe too much, but I’ll cover that later. While the specs say there’s less than 30mm of stack underfoot (for the ladies), it feels like plenty. Hoka suggests that the Clifton 9 is lighter, but my US W7.5 came in at 8 oz, about a half ounce more than its predecessor.

THOMAS: Meg covered all the details between the intro and her good section, so I’ll cover my impression of the Clifton and throw my weight around, which is 10 oz./256 g for the US M10.5.

Picture one of your friends that you don’t talk to every day. That friend you text on birthdays and holidays but just never find the time to catch up with. When you get back together, you instantly pick up where you left off. That is how I feel about Clifton; when I get them on foot, it’s like no time has passed. The shoe has a consistent character. The smooth rocker, soft stack of cushioning, light on the foot feel, and a well-fitting upper. The Clifton ticks all the boxes.

You won’t feel anything revolutionary in the Clifton 9. If you’ve run in previous models, you’ll notice the refinements. The upper is built for comfort with a well-padded tongue, collar, and heel, and the engineered mesh breathes and flexes with the foot.

The most significant upgrade is the foam’s new formulation. EVA has been demonized since the introduction of Supercritical and Polyester foams. However, we’re testing a lot of new EVA blends that are kickass. The foam in the Clifton 9 is firm enough to hold the rocker shape but soft and resilient enough to feel more lively than Cliftons of the past.

The new rubber pattern on the outsole achieves better bite than the previous configuration. The Cheerio-shaped lugs grip and send feedback for excellent proprioception.

heel counter of hoka clifton 9 in women's purple

WIDE-FOOT JARRETT: Someone’s scale is broken because my size 10.5 2E weighed 9.0 oz. (255g). It doesn’t make sense Thomas’ would weigh 1 oz. more. Assuming mine is correct, the weight is lovely. I always like a sub-10 oz. wide shoe!

As I said, Hoka is getting better with its wide fits. I had a good lockdown in the midfoot, and I found the forefoot spacious enough to be very comfortable. I know people tend to have an issue with the arch, but I didn’t notice anything.

The Clifton 9 is an easy shoe to run in. It’s also a shoe to run easy in. I wouldn’t use it for fast miles, as it takes a little more effort to pick up the pace, but that job is for another shoe like the Mach 5.

The new EVA formula does feel soft and bouncy. The early-stage meta rocker makes the shoe feel smooth in transition, and I’ve been enjoying the ride. The Clifton 9 reminds me of a slightly firmer and less bulky New Balance More v4. By the way, that’s an excellent comparison!

RUBY: The Clifton 9 sits firmly in the reliable daily trainer category, and with an updated Durabrasion rubber outsole, this shoe is designed to go the distance. I can see myself racking up hundreds of miles in these shoes without noticing much midsole breakdown or loss of traction.

Where other brands have compromised performance for sustainability, the Hoka Clifton 9 maintains all the features of a premium daily trainer while being fully vegan and engineered with recycled materials.

Shop The Shoe – Men Shop The Shoe – Women

The Bad

MEAGHAN: As I noted above, the toebox of this shoe is roomy… I’m talking a stadium for your toes. Don’t get me wrong, I love a roomy forefoot, but I also found my feet moved around, which may have caused some blisters under my big toe. It’s not something that will deter me from continuing to lace these up, but worth noting.

THOMAS: The Clifton ain’t sexy. This shoe is a reliable, if not slightly dull trainer. The Clifton performs well and achieves its goals as a well-cushioned daily trainer but lacks a certain je ne sais quoi. It’s like a good-looking person that exudes no sexual heat.

WIDE-FOOT JARRETT: I did get some heel slip. Heel lock lacing provided a more secure fit and helped with my problem.

I guess I got unlucky with my colorway. The all-black isn’t the worst thing I’ve seen, but it isn’t exciting. Though, the shoe itself isn’t that exciting looking.

RUBY: Given it’s a Clifton, it goes without saying that the Clifton 9 is a soft ride with a lot of cushion. If you are looking for a firm and responsive shoe with good ground contact feel, the Clifton 9 is not the shoe for you.

Shop The Shoe – Men Shop The Shoe – Women hoka clifton 9 side

Hoka Clifton 9 Conclusion

MEAGHAN: The HOKA Clifton 9 is one of my favorite iterations of this shoe, maybe ever. The updated midsole foam makes a difference — the shoe feels much more lively and still just as plush and comfortable as ever. I’ll be keeping this one in the shoe rotation.

THOMAS: I like the Clifton 9, but as a friend. It isn’t you; it’s me, Clifton. We’re a perfect match on paper, and I even like the time we spend together. I’ve been running in other cushioned daily trainers behind your back, and well, I feel more of a connection with the Asics Nimbus 25, the New Balance SC Trainer, and the latest On Cloudsurfer. Can we still be friends? Full disclosure, I’m considering asking your cousin Rocket X2 to marry me. She’s nasty, and I like it.

WIDE-FOOT JARRETT: I’m a fan of the Clifton 9. It’s an incredibly solid light daily trainer that gives a comfortable ride. Visually, it could be worked on, but who cares? I’d rather have a great shoe that’s boring than a hot shoe that’s hot garbage.

Hoka, keep doing what you’re doing and making shoes for the #WideFootFam better. We appreciate you!

RUBY: Personally, the Hoka Clifton 9 rivals my all-time favorite model, the Clifton 6, and I’m looking forward to many more miles in it. I felt the weight difference, lighter underfoot than the Clifton 8, without losing any of Hoka’s signature squidge. The Clifton 9 is a fun, forgiving, easy-run shoe with enough bounce to pick up the pace. I’ve heard that Olympian Aliphine Tuliamak even runs her workouts in the Clifton. If they’re good enough for a 2:26 marathoner, they’re good enough for me.

Even with the price increase, I still rank the Hoka Clifton 9 well in terms of value for money and price per mile. The new CMEVA foam feels resilient underfoot and unlikely to bottom out; add to that an updated, more durable outsole; this shoe is designed to go the distance. In my opinion, the Hoka Clifton 9 feels like a plusher, more comfortable Hoka Rincon 3 with added durability or a less responsive and more durable Asics Novablast 2. It’s not the most versatile shoe, but it retains its place on top of my easy run shoe rankings.

You can pick up the Hoka Clifton 9 for $145 from Running Warehouse (featuring 2-day shipping and 90-day returns) using the shop link below.

Shop The Shoe


hoka clifton 9 - shop men
Shop Hoka Clifton 9 Men
hoka clifton 9 - shop women
Shop Hoka Clifton 9 Women

Want to learn more about how our review process works? Check out this guide.

hoka clifton 9 close

Watch The Review
Watch BITR on Youtube

Hoka Clifton 9 | Full Review


Have something to say? Leave a Comment

  1. Joe says:

    I just read the Hoka Clifton 9 review on Believe in the Run and I must say, I am impressed with the level of detail and thoroughness of the review. As a runner, I know how important it is to have the right pair of shoes for the job and this review has certainly given me some food for thought. I am a fan of Hoka shoes and I am definitely considering the Clifton 9 for my next purchase. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and insights, Believe in the Run!

    1. Robbe says:

      Thanks for reading! We try to give the most in-depth look at a shoe, glad you liked it.

  2. weuek says:

    The toebox too roomy in a Hoka shoe? That’s clearly the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard/read in your reviews.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


meaghan nyc marathon
Meaghan Murray
Boss Lady
  • Strava
  • Instagram

Meaghan signed up for her first marathon three weeks before the race, because it was $10 more than the half she planned to run. She learned everything in running the hard way. Now a USATF & UESCA certified run coach, she loves encouraging friends to go for big goals as she continues to chase faster times. She enjoys a hot cup of coffee, a cold martini, and making bagels for friends and family.

More from Meaghan
Shoe Size


Fav. Distance


  • 2:47

  • 1:21

  • 18:51

Thomas Neuberger
  • Strava
  • Instagram

As the founder of Believe in the Run, Thomas’s goal is to help runners pick the shoes and gear that will make their running experience the best that it can be. 

More from Thomas
Shoe Size


Fav. Distance


  • 10:28

    50 Mile
  • 5:43

  • 3:20

  • 1:36

    Half Marathon
jarrett 1
Jarrett Weisberg
Wide Foot Lead Reviewer
  • Strava
  • Instagram

Wide Foot Jarrett likes talking about wide shoes. Did you know he wears wide shoes? You should probably know he wears wide shoes. Besides running, Jarrett is a lover of coffee, donuts, pizza, and tacos. Basically, Jarrett is the ultimate race-cation travel companion because he will be on food duty while you’re busy panicking about whether you want to try and break your PR. Will also sleep on the floor. He’ll also answer any question in his DMs.

All-time favorite shoes: New Balance Vazee Prism v2, New Balance FuelCell SC Trainer, Asics Metaspeed Sky.

More from Jarrett
Shoe Size

10.5 2E

Fav. Distance

Beer Mile

  • 3:29

  • 1:41

  • 42:30

  • 19:31

ruby running
Ruby Wyles
Track and XC Reviewer
  • Instagram

Ruby is an NCAA Division 1 student-athlete, running shoe geek and all-around exercise science nerd, originally from the United Kingdom. An aspiring pro runner, Ruby currently competes on all terrains– road, track, and cross country– from the 3000m distance up to the half-marathon. A true mileage junkie, Ruby has plenty of opportunities to test out different shoes and properly put them through their paces.

All-time favorite shoes: Nike ZoomX Vaporfly Next%, Hoka One One Clifton 6, Nike Zoom Vomero 14

More from Ruby
Shoe Size


Fav. Distance

5K & 10K

  • 16:45

  • 34:56

Previous Post
Next Post
Previous Post
Read Article
Trail Running Shoes • February 23, 2023

Asics Trabuco Max 2 Review: Monster Truck Rally This Weekend

Next Post
Read Article saucony blaze tr cover
Trail Running Shoes • February 23, 2023

Saucony Blaze TR Review: Budget Trail Done Right