Thomas: This was a tough review for me to wrap my head around. How can I share my thoughts on the Hoka Clifton 4 as a new shoe, or will the review be mired down by my experience in the first three? Separating the Clifton 4 from its predecessors is complicated. This review will be biased based on the feelings I have for the past models.
Meaghan: I was pretty excited to receive the next iteration of the HOKA Clifton. This has been one of my favorite shoes since it originally debuted a few years ago. Let’s start with aesthetics. I love the colorway I received; blue coral. The Clifton 4 looks more like a typical trainer than the clown shoes they typically resemble. I’m not sure if I’m just used to the look or if HOKA is making a point to disguise all that cush. I think it’s a bit of both.
The upper has changed. It’s now designed with an engineered mesh and 3d puff print overlays. They feel denser than previous models and seem to hug the foot closer. I haven’t had issues with the toe box in any models. That hasn’t changed here.
Another update to the Clifton 4 is a full-length EVA midsole, which incorporates a new foam that feels firmer and denser underfoot. HOKA also added some more rubber on the outsole for durability. This model will last longer than its predecessors.
Thomas: The Hoka Clifton 4 remains a fun shoe to run in especially on days where you need some extra cushion. The new model now comes in widths, so hopefully, we can stop hearing about the how the toebox is too narrow for some runners. I never had an issue with the narrowness of the shoe, and I don’t have a problem with the Clifton 4’s. The shoe fits true to size so stick with your regular running shoe sizing.
Meg covered the durability subject, and I agree with her that the shoes look about as good as a Hoka can.
Meaghan: The HOKA Clifton 4 has increased in weight, yet again. I don’t love it. I prefer the minimal, open, airy upper and bouncy, light cushioning. I think HOKA did a great job of altering the shoe based on consumer feedback, but I’d rather wear a shoe that feels perfect for 100 miles, than a shoe that feels just okay for 250.
Thomas: The personality is gone. This is the older more mature shoe that can fit in socially but has lost what made it unique to run in. What do I mean? The Clifton started out feeling different from anything else out there. It was super light, looked a little weird, and bounced under your feet. The new Clifton 4 seems more like a mainstream trainer, and sadly it feels like one. That sounds worse than it is. The Clifton 4 is an upper tier trainer that I would recommend, but it isn’t the shoe that I fell in love with in the first two iterations. It also isn’t the shoe, so many other companies tried to knock off. Perhaps this happens when the designers listen to too much market research and complaints from a few knuckleheads. I remember the comments people had. “It’s too narrow.” “The durability needs improvement.” “The upper is too thin.” Now we have the results. A more durable, wider, heavier, less breathable, Clifton 4.
Hoka Clifton 4 Conclusion
Meaghan: While I don’t love the updates to the HOKA Clifton 4, I still love the shoe. I’ve put over 100 miles on them already. I find myself lacing them up all the time, primarily for easy days. They don’t feel as bouncy as they did on day 1, but I bet I’ll get another hundred or so miles out of them. You can try them out yourself for $130.
Thomas: While the changes in the Hoka Clifton 4 make it a more mainstream running shoe, I have to admit it is still terrific running shoe and still my favorite Hoka. If you love the Clifton as much as I do, you don’t have much of choice, so you may as well embrace the changes and purchase a pair. It still is one of the best max cushion shoes that can handle fast workouts and races. The Hoka Clifton 4 has a 5mm drop and weighs 10.8 oz. for a size 10.5. Check them out at Running Warehouse. PS- There is still time to pick up the Clifton 3 on sale.