There is no denying that the competition in the running shoe industry is fierce.
Every year, there are new products, lines, and even entire companies that emerge to try and capitalize on the burgeoning running, fitness, and athleisure industries.
A byproduct of this fight for market share is that some companies can sort of create competition among their own products.
This appears to be the case with the Hoka Mach 5 vs Clifton 8.
While the Mach 5 is positioned as a lightweight distance racer and the Clifton 8 is marketed as a multi-purpose daily trainer, many runners feel like there is a lot of overlap between these two shoes, with some long-time Clifton wearers making the switch to the lighter Mach 5.
Hoka undoubtedly prefers keeping these customers in-house over defecting to a competitor, but the multiple lines offered by the company may not result in as many distinct market segments as Hoka would hope for.
For more details on the minutiae that separate the Mach 5 and Clifton 8 (and whether it is worth considering both shoes for your arsenal), keep reading for a detailed breakdown of these two popular Hoka products!
Hoka Running Shoes At A Glance
Founded in 2009 by Nicolas Mermoud and Jean-Luc Diard, Hoka One One is a French-American running shoe company known for its exceptionally cushioned and lightweight footwear.
The name “Hoka” is derived from the Maori language, meaning “to fly over the earth.” Inspired by the natural running style of indigenous New Zealand tribes, Hoka set out to create running shoes that would provide an ultra-cushioned and responsive ride.
Hoka running shoes are designed with a unique combination of oversized midsoles, increased cushioning, and a rocker-shaped sole. This design philosophy, often referred to as the “maximalist” approach, aims to minimize impact on joints and provide a smooth and efficient transition from heel to toe.
Hoka shoes feature a wide range of proprietary technologies, including the Meta-Rocker, which promotes a natural rolling motion, and CMEVA foam, which offers exceptional cushioning and energy return.
Hoka running shoes have gained popularity among runners of all levels, from casual joggers to elite athletes thanks to their exceptional comfort, cushioning, and performance. The brand has a diverse lineup of shoes tailored to various running styles, including road running, trail running, and recovery. Some of Hoka’s most popular models include the Clifton, Bondi, Mach, and Speedgoat. Hoka shoes have also been praised for their bold and distinctive designs, setting them apart in the running shoe market.
In summary, Hoka running shoes are synonymous with unparalleled comfort, cushioning, and performance. With their innovative design philosophy and commitment to delivering a unique running experience, Hoka has established itself as a leading player in the running shoe industry, catering to runners seeking a smooth, cushioned, and responsive ride.
In today’s review, we will analyze two of the most trending shoes in their catalog: the Mach 5 and the Clifton 8.
Hoka Mach 5: What Are You Getting?
The Hoka Mach 5 is a lightweight, responsive running shoe designed for runners of all levels. It is a favorite product for runners who want low-impact support during distance races on controlled surfaces.
It features a new creel jacquard engineered mesh upper that is thinner and more breathable than previous Mach uppers. This further cements the Mach 5 as an ideal option for runners looking for a fast, comfortable shoe for everyday training or racing.
In addition to the creel jacquard engineered mesh upper, the Mach 5 has some other top-notch engineering that appeals to those distance runners in search of a lightweight, highly cushioned solution.
Its redesigned midsole is made from Hoka’s proprietary PROFLY+ foam, which provides a soft, cushioned landing and a responsive takeoff. The midsole is also wider than in previous models, providing a more stable platform for runners of all sizes.
Finally, the unprecedented amount of exposed outsole foam makes for some of the softest landings in the running shoe market, making it a premier choice for runners looking to eliminate impact over long distances.
So who should wear the Hoka Mach 5?
While the Mach 5 is a decently versatile running shoe that is suitable for a wide range of runners, it is ideal for runners looking for a fast, comfortable shoe for racing or everyday training. Due to the high amount of exposed outsole foam, it may not be the best solution for cross-country runners or those seeking optimal durability in their trainers.
- Lightweight and breathable upper
- Cushioned and responsive midsole
- Stable platform
- Hoka midsole technology promotes a smooth, efficient stride
- Good for runners of all ability levels
- Some runners may find the Mach 5 to be too cushioned
- The Mach 5 is not as durable as some other running shoes
Hoka Clifton 8: What Are You Getting?
The Hoka Clifton 8 is a late generation iteration in Hoka’s popular Clifton line. This shoe is designed for those looking for a comfortable and cushioned running shoe that is slightly more durable than other Hoka products, making it the company’s flagship shoe for everyday training.
The Clifton 8 features a plush midsole made from Hoka’s signature CMEVA foam and a breathable mesh upper. It also has Meta-Rocker technology that promotes a smooth and efficient stride.
Runners note that the Clifton 8 is slightly more cushioned and lightweight than previous Clifton models, allowing the company to increase the stack height of the shoe without weighing it down. They also feel like a slightly tweaked upper gives the Clifton 8 a more secure fit than earlier editions of the shoe.
So who should wear the Hoka Clifton 8?
The Hoka Clifton 8 is a great choice for runners who are looking for a comfortable and cushioned running shoe. It is also a good option for runners who want a shoe that promotes a smooth and efficient stride. While these are all general characteristics of a standard Hoka shoe, the Clifton line will provide a bit more durability than other highly cushioned Hoka products.
- Extremely comfortable
- Very cushioned
- Smooth and efficient ride
- Breathable upper
- Adequate durability
- Not as responsive as the Mach 5
- Can be a little too cushioned for some runners
Hoka Mach 5 vs Clifton 8 Design Comparison
Hoka’s Mach 5 and Clifton 8 are two of the brand’s most popular running shoes. Both models offer a high level of cushioning and support, but there are some subtle differences in engineering between the two that may make one a better choice for you than the other.
The Mach 5 has a more breathable and lightweight creel jacquard engineered mesh upper than the Clifton 8. It has a thin, gusseted tongue that retains the light, airy sensation of the upper unit without moving around during runs.
The Clifton 8, on the other hand, has a more traditional upper made with a double-layer jacquard mesh. This material is also breathable, but it is not quite as lightweight as the mesh used in the Mach 5.
Both shoes have a traditional lacing system with flat laces. Runners do note that the laces in both shoes can be a little on the long side, which can be mildly distracting during sessions and create a greater risk of coming untied.
The Mach 5 and Clifton 8 both feature Hoka’s signature CMEVA midsole foam. This foam is lightweight and resilient, providing a high level of cushioning and energy return. The Mach 5 specifically uses Hoka’s latest formulation of its specialized PROFLY+ product, which runners feel gives the shoe a strong degree of responsiveness without feeling too “bottom heavy.”
The Clifton 8 has a thick stack of CMEVA foam, providing excellent cushioning on a day-to-day basis. It also employs the company’s signature Meta-Rocker design, helping runners effortlessly roll through strides.
Both shoes have a stack height of 29mm in the heel and 24mm in the forefoot. This gives them a relatively low heel-to-toe drop of 5mm, which is ideal for runners who want a shoe that promotes a natural running gait.
The outsole of the Mach 5 and Clifton 8 is one of their greatest points of distinction.
The Mach 5 has no outsole rubber in crash areas. While this gives the shoe unprecedented comfort on foot strikes, it makes it susceptible to poor traction and low durability.
The outsole on the Clifton 8 is much more traditional than the outsole on the Clifton 8, which makes it a better choice for runners who want a shoe that can handle more challenging surfaces. While it has its own share of exposed outsole foam, it has textured outsole rubber throughout the forefoot and heel, giving the shoe greater traction and durability on a variety of terrains.
Hoka Mach 5 vs Clifton 8 Feature Comparison
Now that you know how these two popular Hoka products are specifically designed, let’s take a look and see how they actually perform along key purchase consideration points.
Hoka shoes will never be at the top of anyone’s list of rugged products.
However, the Clifton 8 is definitely more durable than the Mach 5.
The Mach 5 is all about being lightweight and airy. Its creel jacquard engineered mesh upper and extreme amount of exposed outsole foam make it a great shoe for runners seeking comfort, but it will begin to break down at about 400 miles on controlled surfaces and much faster on rugged terrains.
The Clifton 8 has a more traditional jacquard mesh upper and outsole rubber placement. While it is not a rugged shoe by any means, it is the better choice for runners who want an everyday trainer that will last them for a good while.
The Hoka Mach 5 and Clifton 8 both fit true to size. However, the Mach 5 has a slightly narrower fit than the Clifton 8. This means that runners with wide feet may find the Mach 5 to be a bit too snug. The Clifton 8, on the other hand, has a more relaxed fit that is ideal for runners with wide feet.
The Hoka Mach 5 and Clifton 8 both offer excellent cushioning.
However, the Mach 5 the PROFLY+ midsole and exposed outsole foam make the Mach 5 noticeably softer than the Clifton 8. This makes the Mach 5 a great choice for runners who want a comfortable long distance shoe.
The Clifton 8 is well-cushioned on its own, with an ample stack of Hoka’s CMEVA midsole foam. It just won’t feel quite as squishy as the Mach 5 due to less foam placed on the outsole.
Stability & Support
The Hoka Mach 5 and Clifton 8 are both classified as neutral shoes. However, runners feel like they both offer good stability and support.
Due to its heftier construction, the Clifton 8 will provide a bit more of a lockdown feeling than the Mach 5.
In addition, the modest 5mm of both shoes feels natural to many runners.
The Hoka Mach 5 and Clifton 8 are both usually priced above $150. This makes them both relatively expensive shoes. However, both shoes are worth the investment if you are looking for a high-quality running shoe. In addition, Hoka products hold their value extremely well, with many well-cared-for Hoka products selling for close to $100 on the secondary market.
FAQ – Hoka Mach 5 vs Clifton 8
A selection of common questions about the Hoka Mach 5 vs Clifton 8.
Can I Use the Mach 5 or Clifton 8 for Casual Wear?
Hoka products are extremely popular for casual wear. They are favorites among teachers, nurses, and other professionals who are on their feet all day.
If you are looking for a lightweight, responsive shoe that you can wear for running errands or going to the gym, the Mach 5 is a great option. However, if you are looking for a more supportive shoe that provides solid traction on smooth surfaces, the Clifton 8 is a better choice.
Is the Mach 5 or Clifton 8 Lighter?
The Hoka Mach 5 is lighter than the Hoka Clifton 8. The Mach 5 weighs 8.2 ounces for men’s size 9, while the Clifton 8 weighs 8.9 ounces for the same size.
Is It Okay to Buy Both the Mach 5 and Clifton 8?
You can have both the Mach 5 and Clifton 8 in your closet, but it probably is not necessary.
If you want a more versatile shoe that can be used for a variety of activities, the Clifton 8 is a good option. It’s a well-cushioned, durable shoe that can handle everything from easy runs to long workouts.
The Mach 5, on the other hand, is a lighter, more responsive shoe that’s designed for speedwork and racing. If you’re looking for a shoe to help you push the pace, the Mach 5 is a good choice.
Ultimately, the best way to decide if you need both shoes is to consider your individual running needs and goals. If you’re a runner who does a lot of different types of runs, the Clifton 8 is a good option. If you’re looking for a shoe for speedwork and racing, the Mach 5 is a good choice.
The Final Verdict: Hoka Mach 5 vs Clifton 8
There you have it: everything there is to know about the Hoka Mach 5 and Clifton 8.
Although both shoes conform strongly to Hoka’s theme of well-cushioned maximalist options, the Mach 5 will be better for those seeking a lightweight performance option for long distances, while the Clifton 8 will be the better choice as a comfortable, versatile everyday trainer.
If either of these scenarios describe your running goals, check out the Hoka catalog today and choose one of these leading product lines!