Last updated: 27-Feb-20
By James Eacott
HOKA ONE ONE state the Clifton 5 road shoe is “light, cushy and very, very fast…with an engineered mesh upper to optimise breathability and comfort”. It seems little has changed from the Clifton 4, but seeing as I never wore the 4’s, I was excited to try this flagship series from HOKA.
- Road shoe
- Neutral, medium fit
- Reinforced eyestays for durability
- Early stage Meta-Rocker for a smooth ride
- Full EVA midsole
- Weight: 266g (size EU 42)
- Forefoot height: 24mm
- Heel height: 29mm
- Drop: 5mm
- RRP £115
The fifth edition of the popular Clifton range, it’s clear that this newest version is another classic HOKA ONE ONE shoe: large in size and stature, but as ever reassuringly lightweight when you take them out of the box.
The Clifton 5 is designed for a plush, smooth, comfortable ride. Simple.
I must admit that, having only read about the specs and reviews of the Clifton 4, I struggled to see the difference between them and the 5’s. It seems the upper has been given attention and is now more breathable and durable, but it appears little else has changed.
I’ve been training for a relatively flat local 50k so these arrived in good time to hit some speed sessions as well as long runs up to 21 miles.
Pros: What’s good about the Hoka One One Clifton 5 road shoe
Before the HOKA ONE ONE Torrent trail shoe, which I reviewed last month, I hadn’t consistently run in a pair of HOKAS for a couple of years. The ride, cushioning and comfort has always been a hallmark of Hoka, but their durability has been questioned in the past.
They’ve certainly paid attention and addressed this. The Clifton 5’s will clearly last. Despite my evidently wonky running style – which sees me repeatedly kick myself by the ankle, scuffing and tearing many shoes – the Clifton is bearing up well to my cock-eyed gait.
There is plenty of cushioning, but the drop (5mm) is relatively small which I like. Too much of a drop and midfoot running becomes difficult. Another interesting observation I had was on the arch support. I’ve got into the habit of always using insoles in my run shoes, regardless of brand and style, to support my arches.
But the Clifton 5 shoe feels much more supportive than many in this area, which I appreciate.
One of the best things about the Clifton 5’s is not really about the shoe itself – it’s what they allow you to do: they let you run naturally. Whether you’re a heel striker or mid-foot striker, I’m a big believer that you should run how you’re most comfortable.
With the Cliftons, you can land wherever you want and be guaranteed a comfortable ground contact and springy push to your next step.
Cons: What’s not so good about the Hoka One One Clifton 5 trail shoe
The fit is classic HOKA.
Anyone who’s worn HOKAS will attest to their narrow nature. They’re just a smidge on the narrow side and the toe box is not very generous. Although I didn’t run super-long distances in them, I’d worry that over 50+ miles my feet would swell, and toes would be gagging to splay (you know what I mean!).
The only gripe I have in terms of design is the upper, which is interesting considering this seems to be the main area they’ve developed on the previous model. It’s just a bit abrasive. I like wearing very thin socks (sometimes none) and a slightly thicker pair did prevent further soreness, but it’s worth noting.
Overall, there’s very little wrong with this shoe and what is wrong, could perhaps solely be down to a non-compatibility issue with my feet!
The HOKA ONE ONE Clifton 5 is a great shoe, but it does fall short in a couple of areas. Nothing massive, but enough to bring it down a notch or two.
It’s a great shoe for training. I’ve used them on roads, trails and treadmill, and they tick the prime goal: to provide a soft, cushioned ride.
I suppose my advice would be this: if they fit your feet perfectly, give your toes room to wiggle, allow your feet to swell and the upper doesn’t bother the top of your foot, then they’re a very worthy consideration.
But, seeing as there’s such little difference between this and the 4’s. I’m not sure why you wouldn’t just buy two pairs of Clifton 4’s for a similar cost as one pair of the 5’s.
Other shoes you may want to consider:
Brooks Ghost 10 GTX
Mizuno Wave Daichi 2
Have you tried the HOKA ONE ONE Clifton 5 running shoes? Don’t agree with this review? What’s your opinion? Add your own comment to this review and share your experience and passion for running with others.
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