By my second run in these shoes, I already knew that these were my favourites among my frankly ridiculously large shoe collection – the shoes in question are the Hoka One One Clifton 6, and this is my shoe review after running over 300km in them.
- Super plush with cushion
- Smooth ride
- Wide toebox
- Not the most responsive shoe
- Durability is on the lower side
The Hoka One One Clifton 6 is the sixth iteration in the Clifton family and has lots to live up to, particular with the much loved Clifton 1 seeing a re-release recently because it was so loved.
The Clifton 6 continues to carry the maximalist cushioning flag, with a EVA foam midsole standing 29mm in the heel and 24mm in the forefoot, leaving an overall 5mm heel-to-toe drop.
Size & fit
One of the reasons why I’m a Hoka believer now is because they have a wide version of most of their shoes – being one of wide feet, I love this.
I wore the Clifton 6 in US size 10.5 in the 2E width which fit me perfectly – I normally wear 10.5 but have to go up a size sometimes to get that width in the toe box, but the Clifton 6 fit really nicely true to size.
The upper of the Clifton 6 is relatively simple and unassuming with not much fanfare compared to some of the Clifton’s of old with fluoro colourways. There’s some nice stitching on the side walls, presumably to give the shoe a bit more stability. The simplicity extends to the front of the shoe where there aren’t many overlays covering what is a simple (but decently thick) engineered mesh over your foot. The lacing system is great and provides great lockdown on the forefoot.
Towards the back of the shoe, there’s a relatively rigid foot cup which keeps the shoe locked onto your heel, and a giant pull tab, which seems to be on all of Hoka’s shoes this year. To be honest, I don’t really use pull tabs, but if you like them, you’ll probably like how large and functional this one is. The heel cup is nice and plush too, providing a nice snug fit for your ankle when your foot is in the shoe. Unfortunately, this also means it’s a bit of a sponge with sweat over time, but it’s not a huge issue for me since sweat is just a normal part of running and it doesn’t seem to retain too much.
The midsole of the Clifton 6 is the most heavenly of EVA foam formulations that, for me, is the real highlight of the entire shoe. Every Clifton since the first has had to live in the shadow of the original, never quite living up to that beloved shoe for one reason or another. However, the Clifton 6 is supposedly (this is my first Clifton) the closest to that original shoe in terms of overall plushness, but with the added benefits of all the improvements that Hoka has come up with in recent years.
What makes this midsole so good is how well it takes impact. You feel it as soon as you put on the shoes – at first, it feels like your feet are sinking into a sponge with every step. But finish a long run and you soon realise that these shoes do a fantastic job of absorbing the pounding from your run (or at least that’s what it feels like).
(Disclaimer: I know there are studies out there that say maximalist shoes actually increase the forces on your legs, but I’m just sharing my thoughts and experiences rather than a scientific take)
To be honest, it’s not clear how long the shoe will be able to take this kind of pounding – there are certain shoes that will last you years if you treat them right, but I don’t feel the Clifton 6 is going to be one of them. They are just too soft (I say it like it’s a bad thing…) which means to me that the foam will start to feel tired quicker than a more hard-wearing foam. After 300km, at least, I’m glad to report that I’m not at that point yet.
To make the Clifton 6 lighter and more versatile, Hoka went with an efficient rubber pattern on the outsole to protect the most likely sources of wear. This is mostly concentrated the front of the shoe and the corners at the back of the shoe.
These pads aren’t big or particularly thick, however, and after 300km you can really see how quickly you start to eat into the foam itself. Having said that, I think I might still be able to get 500-600km out of the outsole, even if it will look very ragged by then.
The Clifton 6 features an early stage Meta-Rocker which is also featured on many other Hoka One One shoes. If you’ve never seen or heard of this before, basically it’s the shape of the shoe which curve upwards and essentially tries to rock you forward with every step. In my honest opinion, the Rocker sensation of the Clifton 6 isn’t as significant as that which I’ve experienced on something like the Carbon X, but it’s definitely still there.
Combining the Meta-Rocker and the midsole makes for a super smooth ride – this shoe took me to my longest distances and it was rarely my feet that were the most tired part of my lower body. I daresay it made long runs enjoyable as I didn’t have to worry about other things besides my hamstrings fatiguing the latter stages of runs.
While I really enjoyed the Clifton 6, I completely understand that maximalist cushioning isn’t for everyone, particularly the sensation of sinking into the shoe rather than feeling the ground pushing you back.
If you’re looking for something that has a lot of cushion, a smooth ride, that can go long distances, you definitely want to give the Clifton 6 a try – I can’t recommend it enough if this is the kind of shoe you’re looking for.
That’s enough from me – have you tried the Hoka One One Clifton 6 and what are your thoughts? If you have, feel free to drop your thoughts in the comments below!