In today’s article, I got a shoe battle for you, the Hoka Clifton vs Nike Pegasus.
For the sake of this comparison, I’m going to compare the Hoka Clifton 8 and the Nike Pegasus 38.
Both the Clifton and the Pegasus are really popular running shoes and they’re considered to be flagship shoes for each of the respective companies.
They both have a lot of similarities as well as some differences, and we’re going to talk about all of those things.
So, we’re going to go in-depth in comparing these two running shoes to see which one might be right for you. Then at the end of this comparison, I’m going to give you my pick as my favorite.
Without further ado, let’s dive right into it…
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Hoka Clifton vs Nike Pegasus
Both the Clifton and the Pegasus are considered to be neutral road shoes. I ordered mine true to size and they fit me great.
The Hoka Clifton 8 is the more expensive of the two options and costs $10 more. You can check today’s price here:
The Clifton 8 comes in at 8.9 oz for men’s size 9 or 248 grams while the Nike Pegasus 38 checks in at 10.3 oz or 291 grams.
So, although the Clifton looks bigger and bulkier, it’s actually lighter than the Pegasus 38.
The Clifton 8 uses an engineered mesh material, but up in the toe box, the Clifton has a little bit less room than the Nike Pegasus 38.
However, the Clifton does have a little more room across the midfoot section of the shoe.
The shoe does have a well-defined heel pocket so I didn’t have any heel slippage, and that’s true of both of these shoes.
Taking a look at the side profile of the Clifton, you can see that they have lots of perforations that go all the way basically from the toe box back to the heel counter.
The Hoka Clifton 8 do run a little bit cooler on foot than the Nike Pegasus 38 does. The Pegasus 38 has more room up in the toe box and has less room or a more snug fit across the midfoot section. This gives you a nice solid lockdown feeling there.
I would say that the heel cup is about the same in each of these and, again, I didn’t have any heel slippage in either shoe. So, I think they did a good job in both cases, and both shoes are able to keep your heel in place and give you a nice stable feeling when you’re out running.
As we look at the profile of the Pegasus, you can see that they do continue these perforations back but maybe not quite as far as in the Clifton 8.
The Hoka Clifton 8 has a pretty simple eyelet chain that gets the job done. I was able to get locked in and secure across the midfoot section, but I just didn’t feel like I was wrapped up like a burrito like I do in the Nike Pegasus 38.
The Cliftons do have some plastic overlays on the outside to give a little extra durability. Both shoes do include that extra eyelet in case you want to run with the runner’s knot.
The Pegasus 38 has a completely different system. Pic 6.18. It has this banded system and the bands just wrap around and down into the midsole of the shoe where they’re sewed in.
So with the Pegasus, you get this really cinched-in feeling across the midfoot section, which is why I feel like I get a better lockdown feeling in the Pegasus 38 than I do in the Hoka Clifton 8.
Also on the Pegasus, the tongue is padded enough that I don’t feel those laces cutting across the midfoot section of the shoe either. So, this system is still really comfortable and gives you that solid lockdown feeling without any of the discomfort.
The tongues on both shoes are really well-padded. The Hoka Clifton 8 has a semi-gusseted tongue, but it’s really comfortable and you don’t have to worry about it migrating around.
What’s nice about that is that they only have that extra gusset material up around the eyelet chain so you don’t have that extra material running around the toe box, which is why I feel like these run a little cooler on foot than the Pegasus 38 does. I didn’t have any issues beyond the laces across the Clifton 8.
But as we look at the Pegasus 38, the tongue is, again, well-padded but not as padded as what you find in the Clifton 8. It has a full gusset so it gives you a nice booty-type feeling to it as you slip these on, which makes it feel super comfortable.
However, because it’s a full gusset and that material goes all the way up around into the toe box, the Pegasus does run quite a bit warmer on foot.
Toe Box Depth
To demonstrate a little bit about the room in the toe box as well as the snug lockdown feeling you get across the midfoot section of the shoe, I pulled the insoles out. Doing this can sometimes give us an indication of the volume of the shoe that we’re looking at.
Aligning both insoles, I found the insole of the Hoka Clifton 8 is quite a bit more narrow up in the toe box compared to the Pegasus 38.
Checking out the padding around the heel collar and the tab of each of these shoes, I didn’t notice a big difference in the amount of padding or in the comfort level. They’re both really comfortable to run in and I didn’t have any hot spots in either shoe.
Neither shoe has a pull tab, but the Hoka Clifton 8 has this extended heel flare that you can grab ahold of to get your shoes on should you wish to do so.
The Nike Pegasus 38 has no Achilles heel flare or at least not an exaggerated one. I’d say the heel flare is more of a traditional heel counter really in terms of its design.
If you want to use that to help get your shoes on, it’s not as easy as it is in the Hoka Clifton 8 because there’s a lot of material there to grab a hold of.
However, I didn’t have any issues getting the Pegasus on.
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Doing the pinch test, the heel counter of the Clifton has a lot of resistance. There’s a lot of structure to help hold your heel in place and give you some stability.
Giving the Pegasus the pinch test, the heel counter does not have as much resistance there. So in the Pegasus 38, there’s not quite as much structure in the heel, but I didn’t have any issues with the stability in either shoe for my heel.
With that well-defined heel pocket, I felt like I was pretty safe and secure when I was out running.
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The Clifton has 37 millimeters of stack height in the heel and 32 millimeters up in the forefoot. This gives the Clifton a 5mm offset from the heel to the toe.
The Clifton has a slight heel bevel but it has an early-stage metal rocker. This means that they start sculpting that EVA foam right about at the start of your metatarsal heads, which gives you a nice easy roll through from your foot strike through to your gait cycle.
The shoe has a rounded heel and it has a lot of landing platform up in the forefoot and they continue that width all the way through to the heel.
Because this is an Air shoe, the Pegasus does feature an Air Zoom unit up in the forefoot, which gives you a little bit of extra pop off the toe as you move through your gait cycle.
React foam is highly cushioned, soft yet still responsive, and fun to run in.
As we look at the geometry of the shoe, you can see it has a slightly more aggressive heel bevel, but it’s a little more flat through the midfoot of the shoe and not quite as much of an aggressive arch up in the forefoot.
The Pegasus features more of an hourglass design to it. It has somewhat of a pointed heel rather than a rounded heel. Then in the midfoot area, the shoe does get a bit more narrow. However, the forefoot does have a nice big wide landing platform.
The nice thing I think about having a more snug or narrow midfoot section is that the upper does seem to fit a bit more snug across my midfoot.
So, I do feel a little bit more locked in and secure in part because of that banded system than we looked at earlier but also because of the simple geometry of that midsole.
With this hourglass geometry, that upper material really wraps your foot more like a burrito does to help hold you in place and make you feel nice, safe, and secure when you’re out running.
To compare the midsole foam to see the differences between the cushion or the softness in each shoe, I just used my thumbs.
I understand that this is a bit of a subjective test rather than objective, but nonetheless, it does give us at least some indication of the cushion or softness that you have underfoot.
So, using my thumbs to try to compress that Hoka midsole foam, I found it compresses fairly easily, which means it’s pretty cushioned and it is soft to run in.
Doing the same test with the Pegasus 38, the React foam feels just more dense to me and not nearly as soft or cushioned to run in as what I found in the Clifton 8.
Also, with the Air Zoom unit, it feels really comfortable and quick for the first 5 or 6 miles, but then after that, I start to feel or notice that airbag just a little bit more and it’s not nearly as comfortable as it was when I started to run.
Next, let’s check out the flexibility or the stiffness of the midsole of both shoes.
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To do that, I just pressed on the toe box to see how easily the midsole flexes. With the Clifton 8, there’s a lot of resistance and so it is pretty stiff up in the forefoot.
Also, doing the twist test, there’s a lot of resistance when I try to twist that midsole as well.
Replicating the same test on the Pegasus 38, I’d say it’s about the same. So, both the Clifton and the Pegasus are pretty stiff up in the forefoot.
However, one of the biggest differences I noticed is in the twist test. It’s far more loose on the Pegasus 38 than it is in the Hoka Clifton 8.
I think you’re going to find that the Hoka Clifton 8 is going to be a slightly more stable ride than you’re going to find in the Pegasus 38.
Let’s flip these over and take a look at the outsole and see how they’re protecting all the soft midsole foams…
The Hoka Clifton 8 does have plenty of rubber, but they used it more strategically in just the areas that would be considered high abrasion. I think they got it just about right and you can see that they have it running on somewhat of a diagonal pattern.
I’ve had the Cliftons out in all kinds of conditions and environments and I found that the outsole has done a really good job in helping me feel safe and secure.
Taking a look at the Pegasus 38, there’s really not much comparison because Nike has the outsole covered in rubber from heel to toe.
Frankly, I think they got probably more than what you really need there and so they’re adding some extra weight that you probably don’t necessarily have to have.
But in terms of durability, you can’t beat it. These running shoes are going to last a long time and that rubber is going to protect that React foam really well.
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Running out on pavement, both shoes did a really great job. Oftentimes though, I kind of go off-road and I run on some gravel and sometimes on some trails that might be a little bit wet or have a little bit of mud to them. I found that the Hoka Clifton 8 actually did a little bit better and not sliding quite as much as I found with the Pegasus 38.
Hoka Clifton vs Nike Pegasus – Which is my favorite shoe?
Overall, both the Clifton and the Pegasus are terrific daily training running shoes. I don’t think you could go wrong with either one. I think they’re both worth the money that they’re asking for them and it’s really no surprise to me that they’re so popular among runners.
However, there was a clear winner for me and that’s the Hoka Clifton 8. The Clifton is a little lighter and a lot cooler to run in but most importantly it fits my gait cycle the best.
The real bottom line here is the best running shoes for you are going to be the one that fits you the best.
Thanks for making it to the end of this Hoka Clifton vs Nike Pegasus comparison. I really appreciate it.
I hope you enjoyed it, but I enjoyed making it for you. See you on the next one.