Staff Shoe Review: Clifton 9

Aldren Biala, Shoe expert at Track Shack

Everyone goes through a plateau in their life; whether it’s in the middle of a training block, maybe a weight loss (or gain) journey, or even developing one of the most trending styles of shoes in the last couple of years. Once you’ve created something so great, how do you continue to evolve?

HOKA (pronounced ho-kuh, not who-kuh, not ho-kay, not hah-kuh) has been looking to answer this question regarding their beloved Clifton series. For the last 3 iterations, all “updates” have been purely cosmetic. Tech sheets will tell you that the shoe is more cushioned and lighter weight but I’m here to give you the truth. 

Working from the upper down, the heel liner is a lot more cushioned than previous models. The tongue is also semi-gusseted now. All that means is the medial side of the tongue on both shoes is stitched to connect to the upper. This allows the Clifton 9 to hug the wearer's foot without constricting it when the foot begins to swell. 

The only real new thing about the midsole this year is the stack. We’re looking at a 2mm addition of foam increasing the stack height to 32mm in the heel and 27mm in the forefoot (29mm/24mm for the women’s model). HOKA utilizes a compression molded EVA for a lot of their models like their Bondi and Carbon X lines and this trend continues in the Clifton 9. The density is a lot less compressed in the newest Clifton making it a bit bouncier and giving it more feedback than Cliftons in the past. No major changes from the previous version’s outsole. Some of the molding and layering has been altered but you’re still getting full coverage.

After all of this, the Clifton 9 has gained about half an ounce (our tech sheet says different). But this is understandable given the fact that there is more foam in the shoe. I recommend the Clifton 9 for anyone looking for that daily trainer meaning something that can handle anything from your recovery runs to your speedier efforts. Obviously it won’t have the quickest turnover like some of your plated racers but I’m sure you’ll be happy in this from your first runs to your 12 hour shifts at the hospital.

You can shop online or come pick up the new HOKA Clifton 9 for $145 at Track Shack along with your other running needs.

See y’all on the roads,


Track Shack is a specialty running/walking store that has been serving the footwear needs of Central Florida’s fitness enthusiasts since 1977.  Our experienced and knowledgeable staff takes each person through a custom fitting process.  Shoes and feet are our business but people are our specialty!  Now that you’re here, walk through our user-friendly website and welcome to the Track Shack family!
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