In today’s comparison, I’m going to compare the Hoka Clifton 6 vs 7.
The Hoka Clifton 1 was one of my favorite road shoes for the longest time and I still miss it terribly.
Hoka re-issued it, but for some reason, it never quite felt like that original Clifton 1.
Since then, Hoka One One has come out with a number of different versions…
- Clifton 2, which we won’t even talk about.
- Clifton 3 was an interesting remake.
- Clifton 4 was the heavyweight champion of the Clifton series.
- Clifton 5 and Clifton 5 Stretch Knit were so frustrating and confusing.
Entering the Clifton 6 and 7.
In terms of fit and feel, that’s where the testing is really going to come into play to determine whether or not the Clifton 7 is as good as the Clifton 6 or even better.
Is the Hoka Clifton 7 something that I would recommend to you?
Let’s find out…
Hoka Clifton 6 vs 7
The Clifton is certainly designed as a neutral cushion trainer. With lots of midsole underfoot, it’s meant for long road efforts with enough responsiveness to allow you to keep going and pick up the pace on the days when you need to add a little kick to your step.
The Clifton 6 is a resilient, wonderfully soft yet responsive road distance trainer that I really like.
The Clifton 7 had me worried because, in the past, we’ve seen the Clifton really changed from version to version.
But when I pulled the Clifton 7 out of the box, I was relieved because I could see pretty closely how much it resembled the Clifton 6.
If you remember the Clifton 1, every Clifton after that has been pretty dramatically different.
I’m happy to report that the Clifton 7 is basically the same as the Clifton 6 and that the differences between them are fairly negligible.
So, if you’re used to the Clifton 6, you’re going to feel right at home in the Clifton 7.
It is such a nice thing and it’s very reassuring when you see a shoe brand carry over a lot of the wonderful benefits of a shoe to the next version while tweaking ever so slightly some of the things that needed tweaking.
Speaking of tweaking…
The new mesh is not that much different from the 6. The upper is enough different where you will notice a bit more accommodation up top.
There’s a bit more give to it, it’s still very resilient and durable, and it’s still light and airy, which is nice.
You don’t have a lot of overlay along the middle of your foot. So, breathability throughout is still fairly decent.
The Clifton 7 has a gusseted tongue while the Clifton 6 does not.
The Clifton 7 sports a brand-new mesh upper. It’s a new utilization of materials through the upper including the gusseted tongue.
This is a minor detail but it’s something that I certainly notice in shoes that have it versus those that don’t have it these days.
The gusseted tongue makes a big difference. One thing that always drives me up the wall is when the tongue wants to slide one side or the other.
The gusset is just a little easy strip of fabric that’s very light and non-invasive. It attaches the tongue to the Strobel board of a shoe so you’re not going to get a lot of slide-off.
So, the gusseted tongue is an addition and it is welcomed.
In the Clifton 7, you’ll notice this wonderful elf-like pointy heel. A lot of Nike, New Balance, or Saucony running shoes have that right now.
It seems to be the trend making shoes look like elf shoes.
But what I believe is the traditional heel pull tab has been replaced by this Achilles flare allowing you to pull the shoe onto the back of your heel.
I prefer the hook tab because you can actually put your finger through and it really gives you a good opportunity to yank that shoe under your heel.
One thing I always ran into with the Clifton 6 was folding this V-formation down into the heel of the shoe as you put the heel on.
You’re not going to get that same fabric fold over with the 7 by simply having an extended Achilles heel anchor there.
While I welcome the smoothness with which my heel is able to enter the heel cup, I do miss the loop of webbing material to yank that thing on quickly.
Hoka Clifton 6
In the Clifton 3, 4, and 5, the midsole got stiffer, it got a lot more responsive, and the shoe just moved away from that original cushioned long-distance trainer.
But the Clifton is back and the midsole is back to being a little bit softer while still holding some of its resiliency and pop.
So, it’s going to give those of you who enjoy a responsive ride joy as well as those who prefer that cushioned ride.
Hoka Clifton 7
Hoka claims that the midsole and outsole are the same as the Clifton 6.
If you look at the 7, if you feel the 7, and you just compare both shoes, everything is nearly identical.
That being said, the feel underfoot is a little bit different and it feels like the 7 is a bit more responsive.
The Hoka Clifton 7 doesn’t have quite as much soft give as the 6, which was one thing I really loved about the 6.
The earlier versions of the Clifton were definitely leaning into that responsive end of things and the first version of the Clifton was just this wonderful soft road trainer. So, the 6 kind of felt like that.
Again, the Clifton 7 just feels more responsive. It is very slight, but I’ve certainly noticed it on my road runs where the shoe just wants to work a little bit more against me rather than cradling my foot like the 6 did.
Again, it’s so slight and many of you might not even notice it at all, but I certainly did.
Is it a durometer issue? I don’t know. I just wanted to point it out.
You’re not going to see a lot of weight change as the Clifton 7 is just a tiny bit heavier than the Clifton 6, which is a completely negligible number in the whole scheme of things.
However, the Clifton 6 is not light but it is lighter than the Clifton 7.
At 10.4 oz in my size 11, the 6 is .6 oz lighter than version 4 and 5, which just makes me so happy to see that this shoe is finally going back to its lighter weighted roots.
I know when we start talking about these fractions of ounces, a lot of you roll your eyes.
The reality is it all makes a difference. For long runs, distance-wise or time-wise, you want as little weight hanging from the bottom of your legs as possible.
So, it’s nice to see that they’re finally shaving some weight off with the Clifton because it was getting a little hefty.
I’m actually really pleased with how well the Clifton is built up.
The early versions of the Clifton never really lasted very long, but the Clifton 6 has been holding up well and the 7 is no different.
The materials are well-used and they’re well applied and you’re not going to get a lot of breakdown.
The exposed midsole and the outsole rubber spots are holding up really well and they’re not wearing down super prematurely.
Basically, the upper is holding up really well and it’s still very comfortable and soft.
These shoes are going to last you hundreds of miles and they’re going to be good.
I do think the Clifton 6 is more comfortable than the Clifton 7, which is a personal preference.
If you’ve been disappointed with the previous Cliftons being too stiff and too responsive, you’re going to actually find a nice home in the Clifton 6.
The Clifton 6 seems to find that balance of cushioned midsole and responsive midsole.
So, as far as cushioning, I’m going to lean a little bit more towards the Clifton 6.
However, if you’re looking for something super soft and cushioned and just absorbs your foot, you’re going to want to look towards something like the Hoka Bondi 7.
The Clifton series was getting really narrow and they ended up causing a lot of rubbing along the medial side of the forefoot.
But with the Cliftons 6 and 7, we’re back to normal and comfortable.
Hoka Clifton 7
I think the Clifton 7 is a really good-fitting shoe. It fits very similar if not exactly the same as the Clifton 6.
However, I have found I’ve been able to get a bit better fit out of the Hoka Clifton 7 purely because I don’t have to really crank down the laces as I do in the Clifton 6.
So, I haven’t been getting a ton of hot spots or fold-over in the upper, which is good.
Hoka Clifton 6
Fit of the Clifton 6 has is improved but not perfect. Getting a good tie-down on the shoe has been pretty easy most of the time and the tongue isn’t super thick.
The upper is redesigned, the material is different, and it’s a bit more forgiving.
For those of you who have wider forefeet, you get a bit more millimeter width in there. So, the Clifton 6 is just more adaptable to various foot types.
So, the fit of the 6 is getting dialed with some stitching along the upper that’s also tightening in that midfoot holding your foot down, and holding your foot in.
Overall, in terms of fit, I’m going to lean towards the Clifton 7.
While I did say that the fit is improved, and it is, the Clifton is not perfect. Hoka still has to work to make this a comfortable shoe for a lot of people’s feet.
It’s not like the whole shoe needs to be wide, but just having a little bit of extra room up front helps a lot.
So, the Clifton is a wider fit than before but could be a little bit wider still.
Some of Hoka’s trail shoes like the Mafate and the Speedgoat incorporate a flexible piece of fabric across the midfoot and forefoot areas giving an almost automatic sense of adjustability for each foot.
The Clifton is getting lighter, but at 10.4 oz, the Hoka Clifton is still a heavy shoe especially compared to shoes like the Rincon which is almost 2 oz lighter.
The Rincon has softer midsole materials, has a lighter upper, it’s a more flexible shoe in general, and all of that brings the weight down in this shoe.
So, when you have a heavier shoe, a stiffer last, and a midsole material that isn’t quite as cushioned and still holds some of that resiliency, that all combines to keep the weight on.
In terms of looks, the Cliftons 6 and 7 are not my favorite shoes and just the look of the Clifton really hasn’t changed much from generation to generation.
Hoka hasn’t really done anything too dramatic to change the looks of the Clifton.
But I think we’re in the right direction getting towards better-looking Cliftons and there are some good color versions in it as well.
Hoka Clifton vs Rincon
When you have a shoe like the Rincon, which is super light, and a shoe like the Bondi, which is super-cushioned for those long days, where does the Clifton fit into all of it?
And what would make me want to grab this over a shoe like the Rincon, the Mach, or the Carbon X?
With a shoe like the Rincon also on the board in my running shoe rotation…
I would use the Clifton 6 for those long plot days where you’re looking to log 15 to 20+ miles on the roads.
And I would save the Rincon for speed days and days when you just want to have a quick cadence or the race day.
So, you have two tools for your quiver that you can pull out when the circumstances need one or the other.
That’s where I find the Clifton fitting into my lineup and it’ll be really interesting to see where it fits in yours.
We’ve actually done two cool comparisons between the Clifton series and the Rincon series. Make sure you check them out:
The Clifton is definitely tipping that higher end of the price point scale especially when you have shoes like the Rincon on the market for a little bit less than that.
But as far as comparison to previous Clifton’s, it’s right on par with what you would expect.
So, watch for the Clifton 6 to go on sale. It’ll be a great snag to be able to pick up some of those old Clifton 6s.
Prices go up and down and I don’t know when you’ll be reading this Hoka Clifton 6 vs 7 comparison, but you can check today’s prices on Amazon:
In conclusion, I do like some of the modern features of the Clifton 7, but I’m happy to see it not change too much.
The Clifton is going to work well for those of you looking for a neutral max cushion cushioned road running shoe whether for racing or for training but primarily in the training realm.
But, if you want to pick up the pace a little bit, the Clifton 7’s new well-balanced semi-responsive midsole is going to work well for those speed days.
So, the Clifton series got off track for multiple versions, but with the Clifton 6 and 7, there’s…
- A redesigned midsole material.
- A redesigned outsole with flex grooves in different locations.
- A redesigned upper with the material being a little bit softer and a little bit more pliable.
- A bit of additional width through the midfoot and forefoot.
It’s just taking some of the best Clifton elements from the last five generations and putting them all into one package.
This is just a complete revisit to what makes the Clifton great again. I’m happy to say that the Cliftons 6 and 7 are back on my radar.
All in all, you can’t go wrong in either shoe, that’s for sure.
That’s it for this Hoka Clifton 6 vs 7.
Have you tried the Hoka One One Clifton series? What is your favorite version? If you say anything between 2 to 5, we’re going to have to talk about it.