HOKA ONE ONE CLIFTON 7 REVIEW
BRIAN METZLER | July 17, 2020
The original HOKA ONE ONE Clifton was the game-changing model that helped HOKA go big by meeting the needs of runners who wanted lightweight, well-cushioned shoes. 2020 sees the new HOKA Clifton 7 arrive on the running scene.
The max-cushioned Clifton has continued to evolve through the years, getting lighter, providing a better fit and enhanced heel-toe performance.
Although the Clifton 6 was an outstanding shoe, the Clifton 7 has been improved with a few minor updates.
HOKA made a few small but significant changes to the Clifton 7. They have reduced its weight and improved the fit and experience.
These updates include a more ventilated, engineered mesh upper providing greater breathability at the mid-foot, a gusset connection on each side of the tongue for greater fit consistency on the run and a new extended vertical pull-on tab behind the heel for easier entry.
The outsole of the Clifton 7 has strategically placed durable, lightweight rubber segments in high-abrasion areas. There is exposed foam where there is less significant interaction with the ground.
FIT, FEEL, RIDE
The HOKA Clifton 7 has a medium fit from heel to toe. The slight tweaks to this year’s model allow it to be snugged down better on narrower feet. It oozes soft, plushness when you step into them and lace them, but it feels even better when you’re running.
Like all HOKA shoes, the Clifton 7 includes a Meta-Rocker design geometry and a slightly beveled heel. These together create a rolling effect as the foot transitions from touch-down to toe-off.
Combined with the lightweight and modestly responsive qualities of the max-cushioned midsole, it creates a natural, propulsive feeling in every stride. It doesn’t give off a high-energy, bouncy sensation, but it certainly facilitates forward motion.
WHO'S IT BEST FOR?
Runners who value a lightweight shoe and soft cushioning will love the HOKA Clifton 7.
Beginners will enjoy the soft, inviting fit and feel, while faster, experienced runners will appreciate the smooth, efficient and very consistent ride.
PROS: HOKA CLIFTON 7
The midsole is unchanged from the Clifton 6. Why mess with a good thing? The thick layer of full-compression EVA foam offers exceptional impact cushioning and resiliency and a soft, smooth ride with a touch of liveliness.
The wide footprint provides inherent stability by way of maximal ground contact.
The pull-on loop behind the heel has been replaced by an extended vertical heel tab that makes the shoe easier to put on, but it also creates soft support along the heel and Achilles tendon. It looks a bit like an elf-like flare, but it is a noticeable improvement.
CONS: HOKA CLIFTON 7
There’s little to complain about with this shoe, but some runners might find this shoe a bit too soft and not energetic enough for faster workouts or all-out racing.
Although it can still move fast, the responsiveness of the foam midsole isn’t on par with more performance-oriented lightweight training shoes.
SHOP HOKA CLIFTON 7
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Brian Metzler has run races at every distance from 50 meters to 100 miles, wear-tested more than 1,500 pairs of shoes, is a three-time Ironman finisher. He occasionally participates in the quirky sport of pack burro racing in Colorado.
He's the founding editor of Trail Runner magazine, is a former senior editor at Running Times and editor in chief at Competitor Magazine. He's the author of "Kicksology", "Running Colorado's Front Range" and the co-author of "Natural Running: The Simple Path to Stronger Healthier Running" and "Run Like a Champion: An Olympian's Approach for Every Runner."