Hoka Clifton 6 – The shoe that works with you instead of against you

I’ve heard great things about the Hoka Clifton series, but me and Hoka shoes haven’t always gotten along great. But since everyone kept raving about the Cliftons, especially the first version, I decided to give the brand another go. Overall consensus was that the first version of the Clifton was great, but the opinions on the last few versions varied a bit. So, let’s see what the Clifton 6 has to offer. 

First impressions

When I first put them on I was wondering if I had made a mistake and ordered a stability shoe, instead of a neutral shoe somehow, but when I Googled it, it clearly said it is a neutral shoe. But it feels like something is pushing underneath the arch of your foot, like the more tradition stability shoes from a few years back. At first I thought it might be the sockliner, I had that happen before with a pair of Brooks and in that case managed to resolve the issue by switching the sockliner. But when I put the Clifton 6 on without the sockliner, I still had the same issue. It’s the midsole that comes up underneath the arch. I don’t know if that is just because the midfoot area of the sole is wider than on your average running shoe or maybe it’s just that I notice it more since I have a pretty flat arch.

The Hoka One One Clifton 6 is, as already mentioned, a neutral running shoe with a 5 mm drop. The women’s model weighs 216 grams, which isn’t a lot for a pretty cushioned shoe. It has a 30 mm heel stack and a 25 mm forefoot stack. 

Upper

The upper is made out of a pretty seamless engineered mesh, but there is stitching in the midfoot area to provide a better midfoot lockdown and an internal heel counter for stability. The shoe is reasonably breathable. 

There is medium padding in the detached tongue and a bit more padding in the heel for a secure fit. And there is a pull tab and there are extra eyelets so you can tie your laces the way you want to. The upper isn’t super exciting, but it does what it has to. 

Midsole

Hoke One One describes this shoe as balanced and that is the right description. They are pretty cushioned, but there is also a definite bounce to the midsole. No weird dual density things going on here, just a solid EVA midsole. 

This shoe also has the Hoka Active Foot Frame, which means your foot partially sits within the midsole, rather than just on top of it. And it has the characteristic meta-rocker shape, which helps with the heel to toe transition. The Hoka One One Clifton 6 has the early meta-rocker shape, which is a more gradual taper compared to the late meta-rocker shape of some of the other Hoka shoes. 

Outsole

For such a light shoe, there is a decent amount of rubber on the outsole. There are some rubber pieces underneath the forefoot and heel of the shoe. They do provide just about enough traction. The shoe does well on roads and okay on easy trails.

Performance

The shoe does surprisingly well when you pick up the pace. And it’s surprisingly bouncy. The midsole is pretty soft, so it’s a good shoe for some longer distances and due to the wider platform it’s also a stable shoe. At the same time it’s also bouncy enough to help you pick up the pace a little during interval training. It’s not a super fast shoe, but it doesn’t slow you down either. 

Conclusion

This is the first Hoka shoe that actually seems to work with me, instead of against me. I can see why the Clifton series is so popular. It’s a nicely cushioned shoe that also allows you to pick up the pace once in a while. There is nothing spectacular about the shoe, no weird new technology or material, it’s just a good shoe with good cushioning and some bounce for those longer (interval) runs or some recovery runs where you would like to pick up the pace a little from time to time.

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