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HOKA ONE ONE Clifton 6 Review

Introduction

The HOKA ONE ONE Clifton 6 is the newest variation of the neutral trainer that has attracted so many to date. The new model does not disappoint and makes for a great daily trainer for long easy efforts, though there is one modification I would like to see. Below I explain why this is a great add to any shoe rotation!


Specifications (per Running Warehouse)
Weight: 9.1 ounces
Stack Height: 33 (heel) to 28mm (forefoot)
Drop: 5mm drop
Classification: Daily Neutral Trainer

FIT/UPPER

The Hoka One One Clifton 6 fits true to size with an upper that is incredibly breathable when compared to most daily trainers. Though I would not classify the forefoot area as wide, it does allow for foot splay during the stance phases of gait.  This allows for a smooth transition during the toe off phase without excessive pressure on the tarsals. The upper holds snug around all surfaces of the foot, but may be a little spacious in the forefoot region for those with more narrow feet.
The one portion of the upper I would like to see changed (and this may be more secondary to the midsole...) would be through the medial aspect of the midfoot.  The upper hugs the foot well in this region, but does rub significantly on the medial midfoot due to pressure from the midsole and insole pushing inwards. With that said, I would like to see either the upper loosened in that area or the midsole lowered or medially shifted (I am leaning more toward the lowering the midsole).  Even with that desired modification, this is one of the better uppers I have seen for a daily trainer.

RIDE/MIDSOLE

The HOKA ONE ONE Clifton 6 provides a very fluid ride.  My first thought running in this shoe is that this is a shoe that is just enjoying the moment, and is inviting you to join the enjoyment on easy runs.  The midsole is not very firm, and does lean more towards the plush side. However, it is not overly cushioned, and does provide enough responsiveness to make it feel like you are not sinking into the shoe. The midsole does encroach on the midfoot in a subtle way as mentioned above, which may cause irritation to the midfoot indirectly through rubbing of the foot via the insole.  This shoe feels great at comfortable paces, but it is light enough to reach moderate paces. The 5 mm drop ratio also helps with making a comfortable plush shoe into a responsive trainer as well, making the shoe just a little more aggressive and willing to push the pace.  Weighing at 9.1 ounces, this shoe provides a delicate balance of cushion, responsiveness, and decreased weight.

STABILITY

The Clifton 6 is not a shoe that one would turn towards for maximum stability, but it is a shoe that provides minimal stability through other features.  The heel counter does a good job of being moderately stiff (not overly flexible or rigid) and provides just enough stability to prevent heel slippage in a neutral shoe.  The outsole is constructed of durable hard rubber that adds stability.  The shoe loses a little stability with a plush midsole, requiring more eccentric control of the stabilizing muscles from the runner, though the amount of stability requirement is lessened by the outsole's rigidity.  HOKA does a nice job in balancing stability within a neural shoe on this one.


SPEED

The HOKA ONE ONE Clifton 6 is a shoe that is designed for comfortable efforts. Weighing in at 9.1 ounces, the shoe is light enough to get up to moderate paces, but really can't push the pace beyond that. The 5mm drop helps with responsiveness, but this is a feel good shoe.  It works very well with daily efforts and is good option for accruing mileage in a comfortable way.

DURABILITY

The Clifton 6 is a pleasant surprise in the durability category.  This HOKA outsole can really take a punch and tackle any mild to moderate terrain.  The hardened rubber is emphasized on the lateral heel (small amount placed on medial heel) and the entire forefoot.  This configuration helps create an outsole that is more suitable for a larger variety of foot strikers.  If one pronates, the medial forefoot is covered, and if one supinates, vice versa.  I appreciate that the sole extends to the distal portion of the midfoot as well, for this is a common spot of wear for midstrikers (and a large portion of those who enjoy neutral shoes).

The cushioning of the shoe holds form well after multiple long duration days of running (>10 miles in a day) and continues augmenting a smooth ride. For a daily trainer, this is a shoe that can tackle many miles without breakdown to the midsole or outsole.


THOUGHTS AS A DPT 

As a Doctor of Physical Therapy, I find that this is a shoe that many will be agreeable to if they have narrow feet.  I like the coupling of the lower drop ratio to promote forefoot mechanics and the moderately plush cushioning to ease the ground reaction forces on the legs.  The stack height of the medial midfoot does provide increased stability indirectly, but may be a skosh excessive in this model.  Despite this feature of the shoe blistering my foot, I thoroughly enjoyed the Clifton 6. For being a neutral daily trainer, this shoe does well with balancing weight, cushioning, and responsiveness.  For future models, the only change that I feel would be necessary would be lowering the stack height in the midfoot or medially offsetting it slightly to decrease the encroachment on the medial longitudinal arch. 

WHO THIS SHOE IS FOR (Conclusion)

The HOKA ONE ONE Clifton 6 is a daily neutral trainer that is for a runner looking to log appreciable amounts of mileage without much concern of faster paces. The shoe delivers an incredibly smooth ride at comfortable paces and shows hardly any signs of wear when the mileage piles on. With this specific model I would recommend that this shoe gravitates towards those with a more narrow foot (due to the midfoot encroachment noted earlier.)

GRADING

Fit/Upper          9.25/10
Ride/Midsole    9/10
Stability            8/10
Speed                7.5/10
Durability          9/10

Total Score: 8.5 / 10

Thanks for reading!

Editor's Note: As always, the views presented on this website belong to myself or the selected few who contribute to these posts. This website should not and does not serve as a replacement for seeking medical care. If you are currently injured or concerned about an injury, please see your local running physical therapist. If you are in the Inland Empire area of Southern California, I am currently taking clients for running evaluations.

Dr. David Salas, DPT, CSCS
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist

***Disclaimer: These shoes were provided free of charge in exchange for a review.  We thank the  people at HOKA ONE ONE for sending us a pair.  This in no way affected the honesty of this review. We put at least 35-75 miles on trainers and 10-25 miles on racing flats prior to reviewing them. Currently I have 50 miles on my pair. My views are based on my extensive history in the footwear industry and years testing and developing footwear. If you are a footwear rep looking for footwear reviews or consultations on development, we are currently looking to partner with companies to assist, discuss and promote footwear models. Partnership will not affect the honesty of our reviews.


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