Hoka has never been a brand to shy away from innovation or bucking trends. In this Hoka Clifton Edge review we found out how it appears to mix the adventurous flair of the Hoka TenNine with the more traditional coziness of the Hoka Elevon. Its extended heel improves landing for heel-strikers, without going as far as the TenNine, and it shares the Elevon’s penchant for plush, luxurious comfort.
The Hoka TenNine was an audacious experiment — aimed at downhill trail runners, the alien-like extended heel was either a stroke of genius or a comedic misfire. No prizes for guessing it fell into the latter category for most runners. The not-quite “light on your feet” experience ended up making it a niche option rather than a go-to choice.
On the other hand, the Hoka Elevon is synonymous with plush comfort. Its dual-layer midsole construction and deep footbed provide a soft and comfortable ride, while the engineered mesh upper delivers breathability and support. It’s responsive and energetic, making it a reliable partner for long runs or those all-important recovery days.
However, does the Clifton Edge succeed in striking the perfect balance between these diverse influences? Like its siblings, it boasts a noticeable heel, though not quite as outlandish as the TenNine. And it inherited the Elevon’s luxurious comfort. But, does it work? Or did Hoka create a Franken-shoe monster? Lace-up, folks, we’re about to find out.
Hoka Clifton Edge Review
- Innovative extended heel design
- Lightweight, breathable TPU yarn upper
- Balanced foam midsole
- Early stage Meta-Rocker
- Sustainability and vegan-conscious materials
- Comfortable, true-to-size fit
- Smooth, stable ride
- Highly breathable upper
- Versatile, ideal for walking, all-day wear, jogging, and treadmill running
- Unique and innovative Hoka design
- Manufactured with eco-friendly, vegan materials
- Not ideal for very wide feet
- May lack cushioning for ultra-long distances
- Comparatively higher price point
- Long-term durability questions
- Possible lockdown issues for very narrow feet
Who Is This Shoe For?
- Runners seeking a shoe that offers a stable and smooth ride.
- Those who appreciate a breathable and lightweight shoe for their runs.
- Hoka fans who are excited about an innovative and distinct design.
- Runners looking for a versatile shoe that can transition from running to casual wear.
Who Is This Shoe NOT For?
Consider other options if:
- You’re planning on running ultra-long distances, as it might lack the necessary cushioning.
- You regularly clock more than 40km a week and are concerned about outsole durability.
- You have very wide, flat, or very narrow feet, as the shoe may accommodate nothing other than medium foot shapes well.
- You prefer a shoe with a plush, extra cushioned feel.
- You’re on a budget and are looking for a lower-priced running shoe.
Upper Design of the Hoka Clifton Edge
The Clifton Edge has a mesh upper composed of embossed TPU yarn, which offers a unique combination of durability and breathability. Designed for comfort, this upper construction ensures a secure and true-to-size fit — for a very specific foot. The Edge seems to be the perfect fit for a medium foot, and it isn’t all that accommodating to very wide or very narrow feet. Its inherent lack of stretch and relatively low volume definitely narrows its audience.
The minimal and thinly padded performance tongue is not my favorite feature of this shoe. It’s oddly short and while gusseted needs very careful adjustment to stay put and do its job. It’s more the kind of tongue you’d expect in a racing shoe rather than an everyday trainer.
Another feature worth noting is the nicely padded heel counter and exaggerated Achilles notch. This provides a snug fit and enhances stability while avoiding rubbing or causing hot spots. While I really appreciated the heel design, not everyone is equally impressed and some runners have issues with lockdown, warranting the use of the extra eyelet to mitigate heel slippage.
The breathability in this shoe is phenomenal. Thanks to its breathable mesh upper, foot ventilation is excellent, making it an ideal choice for longer workouts or hot-weather running. Despite this, a potential drawback could be the lack of plush cushioning in the collar and tongue, which some runners have described as less comfortable during extended wear or long-distance running.
Midsole Design of the Hoka Clifton Edge
The midsole of the Clifton Edge sports Hoka’s signature lightweight foam. While it doesn’t quite deliver a plush feel, it does a fair job of ensuring comfort. With a pretty significant stack height – 33mm at the heel and 28mm in the forefoot – the shoe keeps you well above ground level, lending to the smooth rolling effect courtesy of Hoka’s early-stage Meta-Rocker design.
What really catches your eye, though, is the elongated heel. You might think it’s a bit out there, but when you run in it, it doesn’t really register. But what it sneakily does is create a sense of rock-solid stability. Although the Clifton Edge isn’t marketed as a stability shoe, that extended heel acts like a silent guardian, directing your foot smoothly through the stride cycle and preventing any excessive roll or tilt.
Despite being a little firmer underfoot than some might expect, the Clifton Edge strikes a nice balance between comfort and stability. It’s versatile enough to handle various types of runs, from speedy 5Ks to relaxed, longer hauls. That said, for ultra-long distances, you might find the midsole firmness to be less than ideal.
Compared to other Hoka siblings, the Clifton Edge sits towards the firmer end of the midsole feel. It helps when you want to pick up the pace, but if you’re a fan of the marshmallow-like cushiness, it may fall a bit short.
As for how long this midsole will keep its bounce, it’s still early days. But so far, it seems to hold its shape and responsiveness fairly well.
To wrap it up, the Clifton Edge’s midsole is tailored for those who like their run to be stable and responsive, with a touch of firmness. The extended heel not only gives it a unique look but also contributes to a surprisingly stable ride. The midsole may not be the plushest, but it certainly packs a punch in terms of performance.
Outsole Design of the Hoka Clifton Edge
The Clifton Edge’s outsole sports rubberized EVA, which is engineered for a blend of grip and cushiness. Sounds like a smart strategy, right? Well, I’m less convinced about the durability factor. The tread shows signs of use after a handful of runs, and I’m skeptical about the long-term resilience of this shoe over hundreds of miles. The EVA’s grip is adequate for your typical road run, but as it wears, the fear of skidding becomes more real.
Men’s: 253g (Size 9) / Women’s: 206g (Size 7)
Heel height: Men 33mm | Women 30mm
Forefoot height: Men 28mm | Women 25mm
The Clifton Edge, though not labeled as a stability shoe, surprisingly offers a very stable ride. The extended heel design seems to work wonders in guiding your foot throughout the stride cycle, reducing lateral movement. Despite not having typical stability features, it seems to prevent excessive pronation or supination. Fast-paced sprints or agility drills might not be its strongest suit, but for regular road runs, it does a splendid job. If you need a shoe with more robust stability features for dynamic workouts, consider options like the Hoka Arahi or the Gaviota.
For more on stability shoes go here .
Alternatives to the Hoka Clifton Edge
If the Hoka Clifton Edge doesn’t quite tick all your boxes, don’t fret! There’s a world of running shoes out there that might better cater to your specific needs. Here are some alternatives to the Clifton Edge that are worth considering.
Brooks Ghost 15
Continuing its legacy as an all-around fan-favorite, the Brooks Ghost 15 stays true to its comfort-driven and reliable reputation. With some mild tweaks to the midsole and upper, this version runs even smoother and hugs your foot better than before. Standout features include excellent heel cushioning – a godsend for heel strikers and those favoring a higher drop. While the breathable upper is a big plus, the shoe holds onto water when you’re out splashing in the rain.
- Stellar Comfort: Feels like slipping your foot into a plush cushioned cloud, making it the go-to choice for lengthy runs and day-to-day jogging.
- Gliding Ride: The revamp to the midsole makes you glide while maintaining that stability we all crave. Ideal for practically any type of running workout you’re up for.
- Solid Grip: They didn’t mess around much with the outsole and the grip is still rock solid, keeping your strides confident on a variety of terrains.
- Long-lasting: Built like a tank, the Ghost 15 easily clocks 500+ miles, which is nothing to scoff at.
- Bit on the Hefty Side: Weighing in at 286g, it’s a bit heavier than I prefer. I wouldn’t mind shedding a few grams for a lighter experience.
- Could Use More Bounce: Even though it’s protective and keeps your stride steady, I wouldn’t mind an extra dash of responsiveness.
- Soggy in Rain: Its upper, though breathable, soaks up quite a bit of water in the rain, making for a squishy, damp run.
Nitpicking aside, the Brooks Ghost 15 stands its ground as a dependable pick for a wide spectrum of runners. Delivering on durability, cushy comfort, and a consistently steady ride, it’s definitely bang for your buck and a top pick in my book. It’s no wonder this series remains a crowd-pleaser for both newbies and seasoned runners.
Saucony Kinvara 12
The Saucony Kinvara 12 truly shines as a lightweight daily trainer. This gem hits the sweet spot of minimalist design and weight, so much so that you might forget you’re even wearing shoes. Though newer models have hit the market, the 12 is unbeatable in my book, acing everything from long hauls to tempo sessions, making it a great all-around choice.
- It Fits Like a Glove: The shoe fits perfectly snug around your foot, a perfect match even for wider feet.
- Balanced Ride: It rides the line between a springy bounce and a firm stride, hitting that sweet spot of balance and reliability.
- Superior Foot Lockdown: The shoe has a fantastic lockdown, keeping your foot secure and in place throughout your run.
- Flexibility: This shoe is seriously bendy, adapting to your stride and giving you the flexibility you need on the road.
- Lightweight: At a feathery 215g, it’s like running on air.
- Not a Winter Warrior: The Kinvara 12 doesn’t hold up well in the cold, the flexible PWRrun foam hardens up in freezing conditions, becoming a hindrance rather than a help.
- Durability of the Outsole: The outsole isn’t the most durable part of this shoe, showing noticeable wear and tear even after just a few dozen miles.
Despite its quirks, the Kinvara 12 has a certain charm that’s hard to ignore. Its simplicity and lightness are its main selling points, offering a smooth, balanced ride that’s comfy on the foot. Though not quite as cutting-edge as some of its contemporaries, its lightweight design and outstanding performance make it a winner in my book. This shoe gets the job done with no unnecessary frills, making it a top pick for any runner who values simplicity and efficiency in their gear.
FAQs About the Hoka Clifton Edge
How does the Clifton Edge perform for long-distance runs?
The Clifton Edge is a solid choice for long-distance running. It features Hoka’s signature thick midsole, which ensures a plush, cushioned ride that absorbs impact and reduces foot fatigue during long runs up to full marathon length. It’s not the most responsive but enables you to keep up a consistent pace throughout your run, providing the energy return necessary to keep you moving forward efficiently. While it excels on longer, easy runs, it’s versatile enough to comfortably pick up the pace a bit. Overall, it’s a great shoe for a variety of running workouts.
How durable is the Clifton Edge?
The durability of the Clifton Edge seems to be a concern. The shoe lacks a rubber outsole that is typically seen in other Hoka shoes, leaving the EVA foam exposed. This design choice might cut down on weight, but it has led to concerns about the longevity of the shoe, with some users noticing signs of wear and tear faster than expected.
How does the Clifton Edge fit?
The Clifton Edge is known for offering a somewhat unique fit. Compared to other Hoka models, the toe box in the Edge is slightly narrower. Some users have noted that it is snug in the forefoot area, which might be an issue for runners with wider feet. However, the midfoot and heel fit seems to be quite secure and supportive. This shoe runs true to size for most, but if you have wide feet, it may be beneficial to consider going half a size up for a more comfortable fit. As always, individual comfort is key when choosing the right shoe.
Is the Clifton Edge suitable for trail running?
They primarily designed the Clifton Edge as a road shoe and it may not fare as well on trails. The absence of a rugged outsole and aggressive lugs typically seen in trail shoes could limit its effectiveness on loose or uneven surfaces. While it can handle light trails, for more technical terrains, a dedicated trail shoe like the Hoka Speedgoat might be a better choice.
Final thoughts on the Hoka Clifton Edge Review
All in all, the Hoka Clifton Edge has a unique and innovative design that offers outstanding comfort and stability, making it an attractive choice as an everyday trainer. However, its durability can be an area of concern for those who log heavy mileage. Despite these issues, the well-balanced performance and eye-catching design of the Clifton Edge make it worth considering. If you’re not convinced, shoes like the well-cushioned Ghost 15 and the speedy Kinvara 12 are worthy contenders.