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What Run Oregon is Wearing: Hoka Clifton 4

Devotees of the Hoka Clifton have a new model to try out – the Clifton 4 is very similar in cushion, support, and ride, but with a few upgrades. The most noticeable is that the toebox is wider in the regular width. And: the Clifton 4 (both men’s and women’s) will be available in wide sizing.

The Hoka One One Clifton 4; I leave mine tied and slip on/slip off. They look pretty good for having 100 miles on them, don’t you think?

I tend to wear my shoes very loose through the midfoot – to the point where I usually don’t have enough lace left to tie a bow. It’s something that can be hard to judge when trying on brand-new shoes, because my feet swell after a few miles, especially when it’s hot out, and that’s when I can tell whether they’re wide enough. Wearing the wider Clifton 4 for their maiden voyage, I actually developed a hot spot and a little blood blister under my usual callous because I didn’t account for this extra space. That was completely on me; a few more runs with BodyGlide over the hot spot until the blister dissipated, and now they feel great.

The Clifton 4 is 0.1 ounce heavier than the Clifton 3 (for a women’s size 7), but I didn’t notice the extra weight. Compared to the Clifton 3, I felt that the footstrike was a little smoother through the stride. The trademark Hoka One One cushion is still there; but the materials have changed. Shoe geeks will want to compare the material specs (compare to the Clifton 3 here), but the takeaway is that the foam has been re-engineered to last longer. I have put about 100 miles on the pair I’m currently wearing and I have not noticed any reduction in the cushion or responsiveness. I’ve worn them primarily for road/sidewalk/paved path miles, but have also run a few hard-pack trails in them when a run included multiple surfaces. I’ve also worn them for races – I’m not the type of person to wear racing flats, however.

Another Clifton 4 feature that stood out to me was how comfortable the shoes felt when walking in them after a long run or particularly tough tempo session. When my feet are tired, I usually prefer to wear my Spenco flip-flops or slip-ons because they have a hard footbed with support in the right places. These shoes, although quite cushioned, offer excellent support that felt great when running errands after a Sunday-morning long run.

The styling – the look of the shoe – is quite different between the Clifton 3 and the Clifton 4. The Clifton 4’s wider toebox is balanced with the width of the lacing channel. The Clifton 3 had a plain mesh toe and a web pattern on the outside; the Clifton 4’s design reminds me of a circuit board with less contrast in the colors (on most color combinations), and the pattern continues around the toes. The midsole on the 4 is also divided by color; there is still a white base, but now there’s a colored strip that transitions from the main color to the accent color towards the toe. The men’s Clifton 4 comes in six colors, from a muted grey and white to a bright orange (“saffron”) and red.  The women’s Clifton 4 color options include a cool icy blue, an orchid-pink color, and four others, including the dark teal with lighter teal and salmon-colored accents that I tried out.

If you’ve never worn Hoka, but are looking for a cushiony ride that doesn’t feel too heavy, the Clifton is a good model to try out. As always, I highly recommend you try them out at a local running store when these are available locally. The Clifton 4 is only available for pre-order right now, at $130.

If you’ve had success with the Clifton 3, but a slightly wider toebox and smoother transition would work well for you, you can pre-order your first pair of Clifton 4s here.

Run Oregon sometimes receives running shoes and gear to test. We post our honest impressions with the intention of helping you determine if a product will be right for you. Learn more about how Run Oregon conducts reviews through our transparency page here.

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About Kelly Barten (723 Articles)
I started the Run Oregon blog in February 2007, because I felt like running in Oregon and SW Washington deserved more positive coverage. I also wanted to level the playing field so that small, non-profit races could compete with big events; and to support LOCAL race organizers. I'm a Creighton Bluejay (undergrad) and an Oregon Duck (Sports Marketing MBA), and I live in Tigard with my husband and two kids. My "real job" is working for an incredibly awesome math textbook company doing marketing and production.

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