Team Review: The New HOKA Clifton 9
HOKA has been a major disruptor since joining the running shoe race in 2009. They were among the first brands to adopt 'rocker' technology in their shoe lineup and unapologetically kicked off the thick stack, high-cushion trend. HOKA has built a loyal following over the past decade with a range of diverse shoe models like the ultra-cushioned Bondi, the race-ready Carbon X, the trail-favourite Speedgoat, and their most popular neutral daily trainer - the Clifton.
HOKA Clifton 9 expected Canadian release date: February 15th, 2023.
The new HOKA Clifton 9 builds on the success of its previous versions but adds some important updates that are worth getting excited about. To provide the best review possible, we had a few of our BlackToe Running team members take the Clifton 9 out for some pre-launch miles. Some of them are dedicated HOKA wearers and some tested the brand for the first time. Take a look at their reviews!
User Review: HOKA Clifton Veteran
"After having run in the Clifton 7 and 8, the Clifton 9 definitely builds on HOKA’s previous success as a reliable daily trainer. Straight out of the box, the ride is comfortable, lightweight, energetic, and well cushioned. The added stack height of the latest version is a welcome addition, as is the CMEVA midsole foam. True to its heritage, the latest Clifton 9 is a great option for someone looking for reliable comfort, support, and an effortlessly smooth transition from heel to toe.
Personally, I found the Clifton 8 to be pretty narrow in the toe box, but HOKA seems to have added a little extra room to the Clifton 9. Definitely a plus! Additionally, I wear custom orthotics in most of my running shoes and I can report they fit perfectly into the new Clifton 9 (as they have in all the prior versions that I have owned over the years).
On a 19 km easy run, they held pace and felt like they provided greater energy return than my most recent runs in the Clifton 8. The roads and sidewalks were relatively clear, but the traction on icy sections was sufficient and in no way an issue for me (I can definitely report that I have run in many daily trainers that have been lacking in the grip factor). I eagerly look forward to further testing out the Clifton 9 and putting it through its paces!"
- J.D., BlackToe Midtown Run Club Team Member
Clifton 9 Tech Specs: What's New!
- Extra 3 mm in total stack height (same 5 mm drop)
- The Clifton's most lightweight version yet
- Plusher heel cup and gusseted, more streamlined tongue
- Improved Durabrasion rubber outsole for traction and durability
User Review: HOKA Clifton Dabbler
"I don't run in the Clifton too often as I mostly need to run in a stability shoe, but I have enough experience with the Clifton 8 to make a solid comparison. One thing I immediately noticed was that the midsole didn't dig into my arch like it did with the Clifton 8. The shape on that particular model just didn't suit me well as a flat-footed runner, but the Clifton 9 was a lot more comfortable out of the box.
The new foam is definitely bouncier and noticeably more energetic than the previous model. I couldn't run very far in the Clifton 8 because of the midsole issue mentioned above, but I could run all day in the new Clifton 9!
Personally, I will add these to my rotation for easy and recovery runs, but I would also recommend these to a wide range of runners that I coach, with a clear focus on newer runners, runners with wider feet, or those who are looking for a versatile shoe that can be used for anything from easy runs right up to tempos."
- Andrea, BlackToe Run Club Coach
User Review: HOKA Clifton Newbie
"Admittedly, I have had a hard time branching out from my tried and true shoe brands. I like what I like! So this was my first time taking the HOKA Clifton for a dedicated trial (70 km total testing mileage).
Overall, I really enjoyed the ride of these shoes! They helped me transition through my stride nicely, and I felt like I was conserving energy on my run. I tried adding some pickups during one run and they responded nicely - there's some solid energy return happening here. I felt well-supported in these shoes, and they didn't feel as "chunky" as I assumed they would be based on that big ol' stack.
I splay my toes quite wide when I run so I need plenty of room in the toe box. The Clifton 9 definitely rose to that challenge, but the upper also had a bit of a "hug" feel to it, so I imagine it will fit many different foot shapes. The tongue stayed put on my long run, and I found the construction of the upper provided the right amount of support and comfort.
My only issue with the HOKA Clifton 9 was that the lower 5 mm drop paired with a relatively stiff midfoot design put a bit of strain on my high arches. There is certainly a solid amount of built-in support, but for my particular foot shape it didn't quite hit the mark. I put a pair of insoles inside for any run over 8 km and it fit like a glove.
As someone who recommends shoes to runners every day, I am going to suggest the Clifton 9 to a wide variety of people! From new runners to marathoners, this shoe is super versatile and will help just about anyone get a little more enjoyment out of their runs."
- Sarah, BlackToe Running Shoe Expert and Run Club Team Member
Check Out the New HOKA Clifton 9 at BlackToe Running
We've loved watching the popularity of HOKA running shoes grow over the years and we can't wait to bring the new Clifton 9 to runners across Canada this spring!
You can find the HOKA Clifton 9 running shoe at either of our Toronto retail store locations or online at blacktoerunning.com. We'll have several exciting colourways to choose from, plus regular and wide widths available in both women's and men's sizes.