The Hoka Clifton 8 was a daily trainer at the core of Hokas Road shoe offerings last year. In the eighth version, Hoka wanted to focus on maintaining a light and smooth run while improving durability. So how is this shoe held up over the last hundred miles?
I got this shoe to the 100-mile mark, but before I give you my thoughts on this shoe, I want to go over some disclosures. This is a pair of shoes that Hoka sent to me for review. However, I need to pay someone to do this review or use the shoe, and no one will get a chance to preview any of my thoughts before you guys get to see this article on Reviewni. So with that disclosure, let’s talk about the Hoka Clifton 8 after 100 miles.
Hoka Clifton 8 Specifications
First, let’s go over some specs for this shoe. Hoka Clifton 8 comes in at a relatively lightweight 8.8 ounces and 250 grams. It features a 29-millimeter stack height shoe with a five-millimeter drop giving us 24 millimeters of stack height in the forefoot. In the midsole part, there are two parts to it, but it’s all one kind of foam. It’s Hoka’s compression-molded EVA, and there’s just a bunch at the midsole.
And then up front, there’s Hoka’s early-stage meta rocker, which is just some shaping and some geometry in the shoe, so that way, it rolls a little bit off the toes and helps pick the heel up. Going through your foot strike on the outsole, they have reconfigured how they’re laying out the rubber.
Durability has been a concern that many Hoka customers have been mentioning over the years, so they’re trying to work on that for this year. The overall design pattern is similar to that we saw in the Hoka Clifton 7, but they’ve added a couple more rubber pods along the outsole. In some areas, the exposed compression molded EVA of the Hoka Clifton 7 took the most beating on the upper.
We have an engineered mesh upper made of 100% vegan materials. The mesh is nice, breathable, very stretchy, and comfortable. The fit has been fantastic for me. Then, as we move further back into the tongue and on the foot cage, the tongue is very puffy, plush, and padded. It was a sweat sponge in the summer months, but now that things are getting much cooler, it’s not as much of a problem for me.
For those who like comfortable, puffy, plush tongues, you will definitely like Hoka Clifton 8. Moving around to the heel collar, decent padding on all the parts will touch your foot. After all, Hoka Clifton 8 is still a daily trainer, and the padding is about right for that use case.
There is a bit extra padding up in the little Achilles flare that Hoka calls a pull tab. Still, it is comfortable to the touch and to hold, but it’s not something that ever touches your foot, Achilles, ankle, or anything like that.
In the heel cup, there is quite a bit of structure. It’s a very rigid heel cup back in here with the idea that it will help keep your heel locked in place and prevent it from moving so much. In addition, there’s also a molding of the foam to give rails on each side so that it not only looks like there’s more foam but also helps keep the heel in a little bit of a channel.
Hoka Clifton 8 Personal Opinion After 100 miles
This shoe is lighter and smoother than it’s ever been. That’s a trend that the manufacturers have been pushing for. I never ran in the original Clifton, but my earliest memories of the Clifton are back when Hoka was like marketing it as a marshmallow. A literal marshmallow mascot would run around in the Hoka Clifton at the time. Back then, the shoe was a max cushion shoe that you could take for more daily training runs.
This also happened when everyone was still in the minimalist shoe movement. So it was quite a departure from anything that was out there on the market. Over the years, it has trimmed down and focused itself into becoming not a max cushion shoe with which you could do daily training.
It’s become a great daily training shoe with a bit more cushion than the average daily trainer. But for marathon training or logging a lot of road or light trail miles, this is the kind and amount of cushion you want and have been looking for in your daily trainers.
The Hoka is honed in on that sweet spot, and they’re doing a great job with it. It’s a Goldilocks of foam, and many people think that the compression-molded EVA is dead and old technology. But I still really like it, and it is working for me.
It’s not too bouncy and not too squishy. It’s just right in the middle of Goldilocks of foams, and a running shoe should feel underfoot. The way that I like to use this shoe is as my daily trainer. So my everyday runs, my easy runs, and even my long runs, Hoka Clifton 8 is a shoe I have no problem bringing along.
Hoka Clifton 8 is also agile enough of a package that if there is something like strides included in the run, it’s something I could bring along with me. Or if it’s a longer workout with some pace changes, like it’s a fartlek type of workout, the shoe is still up to pick up the pace a little bit for those kinds of exercises.
I’ve also used it as a recovery day shoe. If I had a 5K time trial the day before and wanted to get out there to get the legs moving, I wasn’t worried about pace and would have enjoyed the run. Hoka Clifton 8 was a perfect choice for that as well.
In terms of how the foam behaves, it’s a little less squishy than when it was first right out of the box, and that’s one of the drawbacks of compression-molded EVA. It does change quite a bit over the shoe’s lifespan, but a one-hundred-mile mark is a good place for this foam. It just feels not as exciting and dynamic as it did right out of the box, but it’s a nice, smooth foam and very agreeable for any run you want.
Let’s move to the outsole, where there is quite a bit of exposed foam. The changes that Hoka made, which were subtle, just adding a couple of pads more of this rubber to the outsole, create a world of difference, and the shoe is holding up very well. I would be hard-pressed to guess this was a hundred-mile shoe unless I looked close to it.
To do that, I look in the areas where I usually experience the most wear: on the outer part of the heel and right underneath the foot pads. I can see slight wear on the rubber and under the foot pads. But in my experience, it is normal for a shoe to be for a 100-mile. It’s not a super ultra-durable rubber configuration, but it’s also not super soft and wearing out quickly. It’s holding up precisely about what I would expect.
Because they’ve made those changes to where that rubber is, there’s very little damage to the exposed foam that I’m seeing. In many areas, I still see many of them, like, the original etchings, like the shoe when it was brand new, and only a few are wearing down or scuffed.
We’re getting the benefit of having exposed foam in terms of it being lighter because no rubber has to cover it up. Also, we get to feel more of that midsole performing rather than it being dampened by the rubber outsole underneath it.
So, I am very impressed with how the outsole is behaving, and they’re managing to keep the weight just at about the same weight as last year. It’s a 10th of an ounce heavier than Hoka Clifton 7. Still, given that they’ve added more rubber to the outsole, it’s a small price to pay for the added durability.
Next, the fit has been fantastic for me regarding the shoe’s upper part, and it’s holding up well. The material isn’t stretching out or showing signs of wear and tear, and it looks like a brand-new shoe to me. It’s very comfortable to put my feet on for a recovery day. There were no complaints from the toes when I put my foot into this shoe. So it’s been fitting well, and that fit has been holding up over time.
My Verdict on Hoka Clifton 8
So overall, I’m pleased with the Clifton 8. It made me happy right out of the box and continues to make me very happy to have this shoe in my rotation even after 100 miles.
This is probably the best Clifton that Hoka has ever made. Again, I ran into the re-release of Clifton 1. I didn’t run in the original Clifton. There’s something about that shoe that makes runners crazy. I’m coming to the Clifton from someone who ran in lots of other daily trainers first, and I’m now looking at this shoe as a daily trainer, and I love what they’re doing with the Clifton at Hoka.
So those are my thoughts on the Clifton 8 after a hundred miles. Let me know in the discussion below if you have any questions. Thanks so much for making it all the way to the end of the review.
More Details on EVA Foam used by Hoka Clifton 8
For those who want to know more about EVA, please read the difference between compression and injection-molded EVA. Both EVA refer to different manufacturing processes for creating products made of Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate (EVA) foam.
Compression molding involves heating the EVA material in a mold and then applying pressure to compress it into the desired shape. In contrast, injection molding involves injecting melted EVA into a mold, which cools and solidifies into the desired shape.
The main difference between the two processes is how the material is introduced into the mold. Compression molding requires heating and pressure, while injection molding only requires heating, and the machine applies force. The result will depend on the product’s specific requirements and the chosen molding process.
The main benefits of EVA midsole include the following:
- Lightweight: EVA is a lightweight material that does not add much weight to the shoe, making it comfortable to wear.
- Durability: EVA is a rigid material that can withstand repeated impact and wear, making it a long-lasting choice for footwear.
- Shock Absorption: EVA is effective at absorbing impact and reducing the shock felt by the foot.
- Energy Return: EVA is also known for its energy return, which can help bounce back the energy from each stride and make the following stride easier.
Until next time!