Like any shoe that’s been around awhile, the HOKA ONE ONE Clifton has seen its ups and downs. Version one, along with the first Bondi, was a shock to the old guard of running and a big middle finger to the minimalist movement. Haters hated, and now they’re eating humble pie for breakfast, lunch, and dessert.
Along the way, the Clifton went from great to meh and back again. They even re-released the original Clifton (probably because versions 3-5 were underwhelming). Last year was a return to greatness with the Clifton 6, and we’re happy to report that they didn’t f*ck things up.
If you have no idea what we’re talking about, here’s the deal: The HOKA ONE ONE Clifton 7 is a lightweight, max-cushioned, daily trainer with full-compression EVA midsole, early stage Meta-Rocker, and an engineered mesh upper. Overall, it’s a pretty simple shoe built for long miles.
We had three reviewers on it this go-around: Thomas and Meaghan, who have run in every single version of the shoe, and Jeremy, who’s put in over 180 miles on the shoe in the last three weeks.
MEAGHAN: The HOKA Clifton has been through a lot since V1, but I feel like we’re on the up and up with this shoe. The Clifton 7 kept all the great qualities of the Clifton 6, and added a little flair/flare. Literally.
Probably the most noticeable update is the heel collar, which now tapers around the Achilles tendon. The padded tongue remains the same, but HOKA added a mesh gusset to keep it from moving around mid-run. I never had much of an issue, but it’s a nice feature. The upper, in general, appears more streamlined–just a soft, stretchy mesh that’s light and breathable.
The midsole/outsole hasn’t changed. You get true HOKA cushioning, with an early stage meta-rocker design. It’s a smooth ride, great for easy days and long runs. Also worth noting: my W7.5 came in at 7.4 oz, just a hair lighter than the previous model. I’ll take it.
THOMAS: The Clifton line remains a favorite of mine. For a plush daily trainer, you can’t ask for much more. With 29 mm of the stack in the heel and 24 mm under the forefoot, your feet are well-protected with soft landings. The way the rocker works keeps the shoe from feeling too mushy. While it wouldn’t be my first choice for speed days, you can pick up the pace in the Clifton 7 if necessary.
With all that cush you probably think the Clifton would weigh a ton, it doesn’t. My size 10.5 weighs 9.4 oz./269 grams. You won’t find many shoes with this much cushioning that are as light as the Clifton 7.
The upper is the update for the 7. HOKA ONE ONE does a very clean job on with the engineered mesh. Not only is the upper sleek and clear of too many overlays, it breathes well. For a secure foot, I love a gusseted tongue. HOKA gives us one in the Clifton 7 and adds just the right amount of padding as well.
JEREMY: To start things off, I’m going to declare my bias. The HOKA Clifton has been one of my favorite shoes for a while now, and the newest iteration further reinforces my love for this cushioned daily trainer. While I would consider the updates in the Clifton 7 to be minor, they do a great job of making improvements and not messing with the winning formula.
The first thing I noticed is that this is a good-looking shoe; the Moonlit Ocean/Anthracite colorway is a pleasant blue/green combo that’s easy on the eyes. Beyond just notes on the appearance, the functionality of this shoe was improved in several ways.
As Meaghan noted, this shoe continues to get lighter (the Clifton 6 was already a half-ounce lighter than the Clifton 5) while retaining the same level of cushion that made it popular. The upper is a soft engineered mesh that feels comfortable and is breathable.
The heel loop pull tab from the Clifton 6 is gone in this version and instead there is a vertical pull tab that goes up high against the Achilles. Not only did this function well to help you take your shoes CliftON and CliftOFF (that sounded better in my head) [EDITOR’S NOTE: this guy isn’t even a dad], it actually provided some support against the heel which feels quite comfortable.
The ride is essentially the same as the Clifton 6, with a nice and cushioned strike, yet retains enough firmness in the EVA midsole to get into a nice rhythm and pick up the pace.Shop HOKA Clifton 7 – men’s Shop HOKA Clifton 7 – women’s
MEAGHAN: Where is that white on white fire!? I enjoy the Black Iris/Blue Haze colorway I received, but I really want to see HOKA bring back that white on white colorway they had for the Clifton 6. Outside of that, I don’t actually have much to complain about.
THOMAS: We lost a pull tab and gained an elf curl off the heel. The padding in the heel counter also seems a little sloppy. Let’s tighten that up on the Clifton 8, team.
JEREMY: No complaints whatsoever with this shoe, V7 is a solid shoe and a slightly improved iteration of the already great V6.Shop HOKA Clifton 7 – men’s Shop HOKA Clifton 7 – women’s
MEAGHAN: The HOKA ONE ONE Clifton 7 hasn’t strayed far from V6, and that is exactly how I like it. If you’re a Clifton fan, you won’t be disappointed. I will say, however, I tried the HOKA Rincon for the first time this year and I might prefer that model. I know, it feels wrong even typing that out, but the slightly firmer cushioning and lighter build has me catching feels.
Honestly, you can’t go wrong with either HOKA model. I will continue to get plenty of miles out of Clifton and the Rincon 2.
THOMAS: The Clifton reigns supreme as my favorite HOKA, just edging out the Rincon. I am confident recommending the Clifton 7 to almost any runner at any ability. Comparable cruisers like the Saucony Endorphin Shift, adidas Ultraboot PB, and the ASICS Glideride all weigh ounces more. My top competitors for this shoe at a lighter weight would be the New Balance 1080v10, ASICS GEL-Nimbus Lite, and the Nike React Infinity.
JEREMY: HOKA took the classic saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” to heart with this shoe, making only minor improvements. I know that I’ve been loving it for easy days, long runs, and just about every other non-workout day. This should be a good companion to HOKA’s faster shoes: the HOKA Rincon 2 and the HOKA Carbon X for workout and race days (until the Rocket X is finally released, anyway).
As of now, the HOKA ONE ONE Clifton 7 will be available August 1 for $130. You can pick it up (or grab the Clifton 6 now) at Running Warehouse (featuring free 2-day shipping and returns) by using the link below.Shop HOKA Clifton 7 – men’s