Gaviota, Bondi, Rincon: very often Hoka models have geographical names and not randomly chosen places. These are beaches or specific locations, perhaps a reminder of the origin of this brand, which was born out of the friendship and passion of former Salomon men who loved trail running and envisioned a shoe that was both revolutionary and highly original in 2009.
Hoka has since changed its name (or shortened it, since it used to be called Hoka One One-to be pronounced exactly as it is spelled, since it is not an English name but Māori) and from France where it was born in Annecy (and where it still has an office) has moved its headquarters to Goleta, California. Along with its growth and the market share it has managed to gain thanks to its maximal and super-comfy shoe offerings, its catalog has also grown, and now counts many models and, starting with ultratrail, extends to any running discipline: from road, to track.
The Cliftons are dedicated to another beach, in this case in South Africa. And the one presented in Milan at the Civic Arena is their ninth version.
If a shoe makes it to so many versions, it means it is particularly beloved, and in fact the Cliftons are one of Hoka’s most versatile and popular models, for many reasons.
They are very cushioned (not that this is unusual for Hoka, quite the contrary), are loved not only by different types of runners but also as shoes for long walks or simply very comfortable for everyday life. But it’s their characteristics in running that we want to talk about, right?
To design the Clifton 9, Hoka designers listened a lot to the users of the previous model and corrected some details, lightening them overall by a few grams (they still weigh very little: 205 g for the women’s model and 248 for the men’s) and increasing the thickness of the midsole by 3 mm.
The drop (heel-to-toe height difference) is always 5 mm, and the rocker-that is, the profile of the midsole-is particularly pronounced and curved so as to make the ride as smooth as possible. The midsole compound is compression molded EVA: a guarantee of comfort and a traditional choice that allows this model to have a particularly low cost: 150 euros, as always in the best sports stores and the Hoka store.
The Clifton 9s have an upper made of partially recycled material and a gusseted tongue, which is particularly good for adapting to any fit and staying firmly in place.
Finally, note that they are available in two fits: regular and wide, that is, with a wider planform.
For whom they are suitable
As mentioned, the Cliftons are one of Hoka’s most popular models, both because of their price and their features: their excellent cushioning, light weight and dynamic running makes them suitable for many different runners and many different uses, from long runs to more technical and fast training. Moreover, the setting is neutral in terms of stability and balanced-as defined by Hoka itself-in terms of comfort.
Speaking of performance, protection and comfort thus lie squarely in the middle, along with that thing the ancient Romans said stood between one extreme and the other: exactly, virtue.