Hoka Clifton 9 Running Shoes Review: Features, Performance

Hoka Clifton 9 Running Shoes Review: Features, Performance
Table Of Content

Introducing the Hoka Clifton 9 Running Shoes

The Hoka Clifton 9 is the latest update to Hoka's popular lightweight, cushioned running shoe line. As a versatile neutral shoe, the Clifton 9 performs well for daily training runs, long distances, and for runners looking for a cushier feel without extra weight.

Key Updates in the Clifton 9

While retaining the same overall design and fit, the Clifton 9 introduces key changes and improvements:

  • A new lightweight, responsive foam called Profly+ for soft landings
  • Redesigned midsole geometry for smoother transitions
  • Refined upper for an adaptive, secure fit
  • Rubber outsole reinforcement in high-wear areas for added durability

Weight and Stack Height

True to Hoka's commitment of maximizing cushioning while minimizing weight, the men's Clifton 9 weighs 8.1 oz and has stack height of 29mm in the heel and 24mm in the forefoot. The women's model is equally light at 7.1 oz with 27mm heel stack and 22mm forefoot.

Outsole and Midsole of the Clifton 9

The outsole utilizes high abrasion rubber in strategic areas for traction and durability on roads without adding excess weight. Flex grooves promote smooth transitions from heel strike through toe-off.

The midsole is composed of a dual-densityProfly+ foam, engineered specifically for running shoes. This responsive, lightweight foam provides soft cushioning underfoot, while rate adaptive qualities keep momentum moving forward quickly.

Upper Design and Comfort

Employing an open engineered mesh material, the redesigned upper is breathable and helps reduce irritation across the top of the foot. Overlays offer structure while thin, pliable bands wrap the midfoot for security and comfort. The padded collar and tongue enhance fit and comfort at the ankle.

Reviews and Performance of the Clifton 9

Versatile, Well-Cushioned Ride

In initial reviews, wear-testers found the Clifton 9 to deliver on Hoka's signature cushioning while retaining responsiveness. The soft, energetic midsole provides plenty of protection even over long distances, while not feeling overly squishy.

The smooth, rockered profile makes the Clifton 9 a versatile option for easy jogs, tempo runs, and long marathon training. Neutral runners should enjoy the forgiving, balanced cushioning platform. The easy-fitting upper suits narrow to wider foot types.

Plush Heel, Stiff Forefoot

The contoured Ortholite footbed and well-cushioned heel maximize softness in the rearfoot landing zone. Some testers did note the forefoot feels somewhat firm out of the box, lacking flexibility upfront.

However, the stiff toe-off area tended to break in after 30-40 miles. Allowing the Profly+ foam to adapt during the initial break-in results in a softer forefoot landing.

Sizing and Fit

The overall fit and sizing receive positive marks for an accommodating, roomy toe box and adaptive upper. Most wearers find the Clifton 9 runs true-to-size based on preferences in other Hoka models. Those familiar with the Clifton series should expect a comparable fit.

Reasons to Choose the Hoka Clifton 9

All-Around Neutral Trainer

As an affordable, well-cushioned shoe equipped for everything from short to long distances, the Clifton 9 makes an excellent versatile daily trainer option.

Smooth, Stable Ride

Balanced cushioning combines with the rockered profile for easy mileage days, while stabilizing J-Frame technology provides subtle guidance.

Energetic Profly+ Foam

Designed specifically for running shoes, the Profly+ foam supplies adaptive cushioning and lively energy return to keep turnover quick and comfortable.

Breathable, Foot-Hugging Upper

Strategic lightweight mesh promotes ventilation throughout runs. The redesigned upper offers an adaptive, secure fit across the midfoot.

When to Choose Another Hoka Option

Although excelling as an everyday neutral trainer for most, some runners may prefer other Hoka models in certain cases:

  • For more stability, consider the Gaviota or Arahi
  • For trail running and rough terrain, check out the Speedgoat or Challenger models
  • For race days or speedwork, try the lighter Rincon or Carbon X

Yet for the majority of training miles, the Clifton 9 offers the winning balance of cushioning, support, and versatility.


Is the Clifton 9 good for walking?

With ample cushioning and a smooth, rockered sole, the Clifton 9 performs well for walking short or long distances. The breathable upper keeps feet comfortable mile after mile.

Is the toe box wide or narrow?

The toe box runs slightly wide, with ample room to splay toes. It should accommodate most foot widths, while an internal bootie construction prevents sliding inside the shoe.

How does sizing run compared to older Cliftons?

The Clifton 9 fits very similarly to the 7 and 8 versions. Most wearers are happy staying with their typical running shoe size based on preferences in other Hoka models.

What is the Profly+ midsole made of?

Profly+ is a dual-density compression molded foam compound designed by Hoka specifically for running shoes. It delivers soft, lively cushioning with energetic rebound.

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