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When Hoka road shoes first hit the running shoe scene, they instantly stood out, recognisable for their high stack heights and renowned for their soft, cushioned ride. The Hoka Clifton, originally launched in 2014, quickly became their most popular road model and garnered a large and loyal following. Since then, each version of the Clifton has been super-soft and protective with an early-stage Meta-Rocker helping runners transition smoothly from landing to toe-off. But as the shoe evolved through various iterations, it developed into a neutral shoe which also supported the foot really effectively, with a ‘bucket-seat’ midsole design that cradled the foot in cushioned comfort. All good so far…but Hoka really wanted to change gear with the latest Clifton… The Clifton 9 retains all the soft protection of previous versions (in fact more underfoot cushioning has been added) but the formulation of the midsole foam has been tweaked to make it more responsive and energetic at steady paces. So they still feel fabulous on long, slow runs but deliver a bit more ‘pop’ when the pace picks up a little! The upper has also been modernised with a clean, fresh aesthetic. And we’ve already noticed during wear-testing that it sits very slightly higher under the ankle and offers some fantastic support, helping to slow and control some excess movement in this area. So, in summary, HOKA have somehow added cushioning, responsiveness and support to the shoe while managing to strip away some weight. What more (or less) could you want? The Clifton really does continue to go from strength to strength!


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