- Great cushioning system.
- Lockdown is fantastic. The lacing system on the Clifton 4s wraps your foot and secures you down to the sole plate perfectly.
- Improved upper that is breathable, flexible, and comfortable.
- Tread is good for road running
- Narrow fit. Much more narrow than regular running shoes. Caused issues in the mid-foot and toe box.
- On the more expensive end.
We had high hopes for the Hoka One One Clifton 4s, but unfortunately they are too narrow of a fit for us and caused issues as we ran. We prefer the Clifton 3s.
Hoka One One makes very good running shoes and has a fanatical following in the marathoner, ultra-marathoner, and avid runner communities. Everyone else seems to think that Hokas are ugly and silly looking. We understand both arguments after having now tested the Clifton 4s. We understand the major reasons why someone would love Hoka, but we also get that there are a lot of other really good running shoes out there that aren’t as embarrassing to wear around. In any event, here’s what you need to know about the Hoka Clifton 4s.
Hoka One One Clifton 4 Running Shoes Review
The Clifton 4s fit 1/2 size small and when you first try them on you think they are surprisingly comfortable. They have the stereotypical extra-thick outsole that is very cushiony. The outsole is 34mm high in the back and 29mm in the front, making a 5mm drop, which is actually quite modest compared to many other running shoes out there. Still, the Cliftons propel you forward and the cushioning system is fantastic. Definitely perfect for people running a lot and/or long distances.
Additionally, Hoka improved the upper on the Clifton 4s. It is now softer and more breathable than it was on the Clifton 3s. We really like the new upper. In addition, the lacing system on the 4s really secures your feet perfectly to the sole plate without any pressure points or discomfort. In fact, the lacing system seems to wrap your foot more than it ties it down. It’s an interesting feeling, but we do like the lockdown with the 4s. On top of that, you have pretty good tread, at least for road running. We don’t think it will wear down abnormally quickly, so that’s good.
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On the downside, we think the Clifton 4s are narrow shoes—narrower than most running shoes that we’ve tested and we don’t have wide feet. It’s odd…the shoes look like they’d be wide, but they are curiously narrow. The toe box really constricts your toes and becomes somewhat painful mid-run. The mid-foot, near the arch, is particularly narrow such that you end up running on the side of the shoe quite often. Clearly, that’s not how things are supposed to go. The narrowness of these shoes made it so that we can’t use them. There’s a lot going for the Clifton 4s, but the fit is not one of them. If these shoes were a little wider, they would be absolutely fantastic and we’d definitely recommend them. Instead, we have to say try them on for yourselves and let us know what you think.
On top of that the MSRP for the Clifton 4s is $130 [check price on Amazon], which is somewhat expensive, but not crazy by running shoe standards nowadays…still more than we’d like to pay, in all honesty. Bottom line with the Clifton 4s is that we were slightly disappointed. We understand why someone would love the concept of a Hoka shoe, but I don’t think the Clifton 4s are their best shoe ever.
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