Hoka One One Clifton 3
9.7/10

Hoka One One Clifton 3 Review

The Hoka One One Clifton 3 Review
9.7/10

Summary

The Hoka One One Clifton is very similar to last year's model, the Clifton 2. If you've worn the Clifton 2's, just know you're adding more forefront cushion with a small price in an increased weight of the shoe. Other minor updates include a more seemless upper and a change of shape in where the heel opens up (Where your Achilles Tendon rests).

If you're new to running or just the Hoka One One Clifton shoes, you need to at least do yourself the favor of checking them out. With their maximalist cushioning, seemless upper, and creative technology, they have created an extremely comfortable and smooth ride for any type of runner doing nearly any type of running. The sky is the limit for the Hoka One One Clifton 3.

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Hoka One One first released the original Clifton back in 2014. It instantly became a huge success, and helped surge their company into the spotlight. If you haven’t checked out anything in the Hoka One One lineup, I recommend giving them a try. Change can be a beautiful thing. Check out the rest of the review to find out why I love the Hoka One One Clifton 3’s even more than the first two models.

Construction of the Hoka One One Clifton 3

Hoka One One Clifton 3 
Weight8.6 Oz (Men)
Type:Neutral
Use:Road
Previous Models:Clifton (Original) and Clifton 2
MSRP:$130

Features

  • *Newly Featured* Lightweight No Sew SpeedFrame Construction
  • Early Stage Meta-Rocker Geometry: This design’s purpose is to support a smoother and more natural ride for the runner. (Picture the curved legs of a rocking chair). That is exactly how this running shoe is designed.
  • A Molded EVA Midsole consists of the full length of the running shoe.
  • Strategically placed Rubber on the heels and toes provide durability by protecting the heavy-used parts of the shoe
  • Heel to Drop: 5mm

Upper Construction

The Hoka One One Clifton 3’s upper construction is very similar to its predecessor. Both used a Air Mesh material allowing for amazing ventilation through the shoe’s pores.

The difference in the uppers of the Clifton 3 and the past model would be the synthetic overlays. While both versions of the Clifton have the overlays, in the newest model, the Clifton 3, the overlays are fused into the mesh, while in the Clifton 2, they’re stitched to the fabric. This might slightly reduce weight, but more importantly, this reduces any irritation located in the upper region.

Midsole Construction

In simple terms, the midsole is primarily made out of a compression molded foam featuring the entire length of the running shoe (also known as Compression Molded Ethylene vinyl acetate foam  or CMEVA). This material is very common amongst running shoes and has been featured in many running shoes, one example would be the Saucony Cohesion 9’s. What makes the Clifton 3 special, is that its packed with CMEVA and runs a very thick layer through the entire midsole. This adds in a better responsive and durable feel.

One of the greatest features of the Hoka One One Clifton 3 is probably the Early Stage Meta-Rocker Geometry technology. It’s a simple idea that Hoka One One has used to perfection. When you walk, your foot naturally rolls in a curved motion from your heel to your toe. This technology helps naturally support this from within the shoe, creating a very smooth feel while running.

Outsole Construction

The Outsole Construction of the Hoka One One Clifton 3 is 95% similar to that of the Clifton 2. They consist of a high-quality, heavy resistant abrasion material located near the heel and toes of the foot. These are the areas deemed most common to face the impact as runners usually land close to the heel, and step off from the toe region. The only difference between the two models is that the Clifton 3 adds just an additional spot near the toe region. The impact is likely minimal to the performance of the running shoe.

Performance Of the Hoka One One Clifton 3

In my mind, the performance of a running shoe is determined by three key factors. The first and most important is comfort. If you’re not comfortable while running, you won’t sustain your run. It’s that simple. A second factor is how well can a running shoe keep you out of harm’s way? This can include support features (especially in stability running shoes) as well as simple features such as a running shoe having traction, so you don’t slip and fall. Lastly, can the running shoe improve you as a runner in some way? A running shoe that has great flexibility and gets you off the ground effortlessly not only keeps you happy, but can help you push your pace or distances.

Comfort

The Hoka One One Clifton 3 truly represents what a comfortable running shoe can do for a runner. It’s definitely a maximalist cushioned running shoe. To top it off even, the biggest change in the Hoka One One Clifton 3 has to do with two key aspects. Comfort and weight. The Hoka One One Clifton has made a clear trend since its original. And that’s increasing the cushion of the shoe at the expense of the weight. Each model has gained a good significant amount of weight for improved cushion. Most of the added cushion is in the forefront region, allowing for a better balance of cushion. Depending on how you run, you may be enjoyed to have more forefront cushion, or if you need most of the cushion in the heel region, you may rather have a lighter running shoe.

Its important to note that the heel opening region (Where your heel/Achilles areas opens up from the rear of the shoe) has obtained a different shape in this year’s model. In the Clifton 3 it rests at a higher spot, with a slight opening of about where your Achilles tendon would be. If you have had issues with your Achilles Tendon before, this could be something to note and look into more before making a purchase or committing to the Hoka One One Clifton 3 full time.

Breathability

The breathability in the Hoka One One Clifton 3 is pretty superb. I haven’t had any complaints about my running as of yet. In fact, I wish I had the breathability of the Clifton 3 in one of my other running shoes I recently had to stop using because the breathability was so bad. There’s not a lot to say here. Either you have breathability or you don’t, and I like the seamless upper here.

Flexibility

Some may think with such a thick cushioned shoe, flexibility would be hard to come by, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. While it’s not the most flexible running shoe on the market, it holds its ground against many much smaller running shoes. The outsole doesn’t constrict the flexibility like in some other running shoes. And I think the Meta-Rocker Geometry help the shoe flex naturally. I think the flexibility in the Hoka One One Clifton 3 is a definite plus.

Support/Stability

The Hoka One One Clifton 3 is a neutral running shoe with a lot of cushion. There are plenty of features in this running shoe to support your feet and to prevent aches and pains. Its levels of cushion and its meta rocker geometry help no doubt. However, if you’re looking for stability features or great arch support, you probably shouldn’t be looking at too many neutral running shoes. If you need arch support, check out stability running shoes.

Use

With its levels of cushion, and a still generally light weight, you could use the Hoka One One Clifton 3 for a multitude of things. You can run on most hard surfaces without many problems. You can also probably test these out in tempo speed runs or long distance stamina tests, depending on exactly how you like your shoes.

Weight

8.6 Ounces for Men, which is about a .8 ounce increase over last year’s model. While it may not sound like much, it can be quite a bit for a runner trying to evaluate what is best for all of their needs. It will cause some to shy away, while others it won’t phase at all. The bottom line is most runners find this shoe extremely light despite the increase. And it is still below the average weight of a running shoe, which is a pretty miraculous thing if you considering how much cushioning you receive in the Hoka One One Clifton 3.

Sizing

I found the sizing to be almost an exact fit over last year’s model. This isn’t a shoe that I’ve needed to upsize in. These shoes are considered average in length and width, so if you’ve run in Hoka’s before, you’re probably familiar with the sizing.

Value Check of the Hoka One One Clifton 3

To truly determine a running shoe’s value you need to look at a few key components.

1)Price. A lower priced shoe increases the value immediately.

Sitting at $130, the Hoka One One Clifton 3 is just as expensive as the original. Roughly speaking, it’s near the same price as a lot of high quality running shoes. Some can be found closer to $110, while others easily go up to and sometimes surprass the $150 mark. If you have enjoyed maximalist running shoes or some of the past Clifton’s, you won’t mind the price point.

2)Updates over previous models. Since previous models can often be found cheaper, we need to evaluate if its even worth the time and money to go with the newest model. There should be definite features that improve the shoe with each new edition of the shoe. If you’ve been around running shoes, then you know that this does not happen often.

The updates primarily include the increased weight and the gain in forefront cushion. If you prefer the lighter weight, choose an older model. Check out my reviews of the Clifton original and Clifton 2 if you’re interested in the lighter version. However, if you like the idea of more forefront cushion, this is probably the Clifton you’re most interested in.

3)Pros and Cons. This is simply the list of pros and cons of the running shoe compared closely with similar shoes with a similar market value.

 Pros 
  • Maximalist styled cushioning
  • Added forefront cushioning over previous models
  • Great breathability
  • Smooth ride thanks to the Early Stage Meta Rocker Geometry
  • Versatile to many forms of running
Cons
  • Still a hefty price for some runners
  • A significant increase in weight could turn runners away

4)Durability. Think about it. If you pay $60 for a pair of running shoes that only last 200 miles, but pay $120 for a better, high quality pair that lasts up to 400 miles, which pair of shoes actually comes out to be worth more? If you’re an avid runner that runs a lot, the second pair hands down. However, if you only run a few miles per week, you can make the argument for that first pair still. Look at the durability of every running shoe you look to purchase.

 

Bottom Line

Hoka One One clearly has a direction that they want the Clifton line-up to head in. That direction is finding a superb amount of cushioning throughout the entire running shoe while providing a smooth and easy going ride. In the last few models, they’ve accomplished this by adding weight. Despite these ideals, the shoe itself is still fairly light, just not quite as light as previous models. And to be frank, the success of the Clifton 3 only shows that the design truly works for runners. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a similar Clifton 4 come out later this year, but we will see.

Check out the Hoka One One Clifton 3 at Amazon

Similar Running Shoes

If you enjoy maximalist shoes and the Hoka One One Brand, you should check out the Hoka One One Bondi 5.

The Hoka One One Bondi 5 offers:

  • More cushion in comparison to the Clifton 3
  • The same price as the Clifton 3 ($130)
  • A great weight than the Clifton 3 (about 1.4 ounces)
  • Unlike the Clifton 3, the Bondi 5 is offered in wider sizes.

Offer, if you have wider feet or simply want the most cushion as possible, Bondi 5 may be a better suitable running shoe when compared with its brother, the Hoka One One Clifton 3.

 

Another running shoe that prides itself on a unique shape and offers a maximalist styling shoe is the Altra Paradigm 2.0.

The Altra Paradigm 2.0 offers:

  • A higher arch profile compared to the Clifton 3
  • A slightly greater weight than the Clifton 3 (About .4 ounces)
  • A 0 MM drop from heel to toe, compared to the 5 MM drop in the Clifton 3’s
  • A overall bigger and wider fit than the Clifton 3’s (Are the Clifton 3’s too narrow for your feet?)

Overall, if you’re looking for a running shoe similar to the Clifton 3, but with a bigger toe box region and more arch support, then the Altra Paradigm could be the shoe for you.

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