Hoka Clifton 8 Review

February 21, 2023

One of the best things about running is that you can do it at almost any time, anywhere. Provided you have the right shoes, you can go for runs on concrete roads or dirt tracks, depending on where you live.

While many companies will produce very different shoes for cross-country or road running, there are plenty of all-purpose trainers out there as well.

The Hoka One One Clifton 8s are a multipurpose running shoe that aims to provide good traction on a variety of different surfaces.

In this review we will be looking at the benefits and the drawbacks that the Clifton 8s have to offer as well as how they compare to other multipurpose shoes on the market.

Hoka: Company History

Hoka is a French company that was one of the first shoe manufacturers to use extended outsoles which are designed to aid runners traveling down hill.

They were founded in 2009 by two ex-Salomon employees, Nicolas Mermoud and Jean-Luc Diard. The company’s products were initially popular amongst ultra marathon runners for their enhanced stability and comfort underfoot.

Now Hoka produces shoes for all types of race, and for all shapes and sizes of runner.

Clifton 8 Overview

Much like their predecessors, the Clifton 7s, the Hoka have significantly improved the design of the Clifton 8s.

The multipurpose running shoe is now more versatile than ever before and performs well on a variety of surfaces, in a variety of conditions.

In this part of our review we will cover all the ways in which the Clifton 8 is better than previous iterations of this trainer, as well as all the ways they fall short.

Comfort

The Clifton 8s are possibly one of the most comfortable pairs of running shoes in their price range. They have plenty of cushioning both in the midsole and the upper to make running on concrete feel as easy as running over turf.

The tongue is much more padded than it was on the 7s, which makes the upper hug your foot more securely.

This not only improves stability, but it also helps to prevent injuries such as sprained ankles. They aren’t the softest shoe, since they use a slightly outdated midsole made from EVA foam.

However, this can be seen as an advantage as well, since the firmer midsole helps you to feel the terrain beneath your feet for better responsiveness.

The extra padding also has a slight drawback in that it makes the upper less breathable. As such, you may find that your feet get hotter than they normally would, so it is a good idea to wear a nice thin pair of socks with these shoes.

Speed & Responsiveness

The Clifton 8s offer a relatively poor energy return compared to other similar running shoes. This is down to the EVA foam midsole material, which is now quite outdated. As such, don’t expect these trainers to propel you forward like some other running shoes.

They are also marginally heavier than the Clifton 7s, which means you may be slightly slower when running in them.

That said, the difference in speed won’t matter too much for casual running, and the firmer midsole will help to soak up impacts when running over concrete.

The Clifton 8s fix one of the large problems with the previous version of this shoe, since the outsole is a bit larger.

This prevents the exposed foam midsole from being eroded during long runs, ensuring the trainer is more durable and likely to last much longer.

Traction

Another thing that has changed from the Clifton 7s, is the lugs and grooves on the outsole, which are diagonal instead of horizontal.

This makes the forefoot region of the shoe slightly stiffer, which offers more pop during transitions. The good news is that the Clifton 8s still provide good traction in a variety of conditions, and in many respects they are more versatile than any of their predecessors.

The shoes perform well over gravel, concrete and some dirt tracks in dry conditions. They aren’t the right shoes for deep mud, or snow, but a multipurpose trainer can only do so much.

What they do excel is wet roads, or other slippery smooth surfaces. The arrangement of lugs on the outsole offers great traction, even in wet conditions that would cause other shoes to slip.

Protection

When it comes to protection, the Clifton 8s are a bit of a mixed bag. The underfoot protection offered by the midsole and outsole are both very good, absorbing most impacts so that your feet won’t get tired during long runs.

However, the mesh upper is not the most protective, which means that these shoes will struggle with very rough terrain.

As such, if you frequently run down dirt tracks or through other rural areas, you may want to invest in a proper cross-country trainer instead. On roads, however, where flying pebbles and protruding roots are not an issue, the Clifton 8s offer more than enough protection.

There are even reflective accents on the front and back of the trainers that will make you more visible when running at night.

Stability & Durability

These shoes offer very good heel lockdown, which means that your foot can’t slide around inside them while you are running. This will make you more stable and help to lower the risk of spraining or twisting your ankle.

The rockered design also helps to improve stability while also, pushing your feet forward, so you can cover longer distances without expending as much effort.

When it comes to durability, the Clifton 8s have a firm outsole that can withstand a fair bit of wear and tear. They won’t wear down quickly even when mainly used on concrete, which makes them perfect for training as well as race day.

Who Are The Clifton 8s For?

The Clifton 8s are suitable for runners who are looking for an extremely comfortable shoe, even if that means sacrificing speed.

They are incredibly versatile and will work very well for people who run over different types of terrain, from concrete to the dirt tracks in parks.

They aren’t the best for people who have wide feet, as they are quite narrow, but thankfully the company also sells a wide version of this trainer as well.

In the next few sections, we will compare the Clifton 8s to other popular multipurpose trainers to see how well they hold up.

Clifton 8 vs Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 39

The Air Zoom Pegasus trainers are so popular that they are now on their 39th iteration. These classic trainers aren’t as cushioned as the Clifton 8s, but they do succeed in providing a more balanced running experience.

They do this by having a more breathable upper layer that prevents your feet from getting too hot during long distance runs.

They also have a more flexible midsole, offering a smoother transition when rolling from one foot to the next. While these trainers aren’t super bouncy and won’t necessarily propel you forward. Despite this, they are still a very good multipurpose running shoe.

The Pegasus 39s are overall more durable than the Clifton 8s, which means that they are better for long distance running.

However, if you are looking for a more cushioned shoe that will help you during recovery from an injury, the Clifton 8s remain the much better choice. They are also slightly lighter than the Nikes, which is good for improving your speed.

Clifton 8 Vs Saucony Triumph 19

Saucony is another excellent brand when it comes to high quality running shoes, and the Triumph 19s are amongst the most comfortable shoes they offer.

This extra padding does mean they are heavier than the Clifton 8s by a fair margin. For this reason,they may not be as good for long distance runners.

However, apart from the higher weight, these shoes do a lot of things right and offer a secure and snug fit with full heel lockdown. This makes them equally stable as the Clifton 8s, is not a little more so.

Where the Saucony Triumphs excel over the Clifton’s is in terms of ride quality. The Triumph 19s have an excellent padded midsole that is great for long distances and very responsive.

This means that the shoe can propel you forward as you run, helping you to reach much higher speeds. This in turn will help you cover greater distances without your feet getting tired.

Overall, the both pairs of shoes are evenly matched, with the Clifton 8’s being lighter and possibly more cushioned. The Triumphs being smoother and more reliable.

Overview

The Clifton 8s offer excellent value for money and are a great multipurpose trainer. They are very versatile and will be able to handle a variety of different terrain types without the soles wearing away.

While they may run a little hot for some people, they are a durable and reliable trainer that is perfect for anyone who needs a little extra cushioning.

Pros:

  • Lots of cushioning for maximum comfort.
  • Firm outsole that grips concrete very well, even when it is raining.
  • Provides a good fit with lots of heel lockdown.
  • Reflective highlights for running at night.
  • Snappy forefoot for improved speed.

Cons:

  • These shoes lack breathability and can get too hot.
  • EVA foam midsole material is now slightly outdated.

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