Testers favoured this soft, responsive shoe for base building and recovery K’s.
The RW Takeaway: The Clifton 7 is relatively light for a plush shoe, making it an ideal choice for runners who want a cushioned midsole and responsive ride.
- Full-length EVA foam midsole provides support for runners susceptible to injury
- Beveled heel and early stage Meta-Rocker encourage smooth transitions
- Slightly lighter than the Clifton 6
Weight: 247 g (M) 201 g (W)
Clifton loyalists: It’s time to drop your bias against all models that came after the OG. The first Clifton will always be the shoe that changed our minds about Hoka, proving that “lightweight” and “speed” can be ascribed to a maximally cushioned shoe.
Hoka One One
- Full-compression EVA cushioning
- Lighter than Clifton 6
- Thick upper causes overheating
These days, however, speedwork calls for the brand’s springier options, like the Clifton Edge and Rincon 2. The seventh Clifton, like its predecessors post-Clifton 1, preserves its role as the base builder you can depend on. It’s reliable for providing comfort on a soft platform at a judicious pace.
“The Clifton 7 is incredibly comfortable,” said a tester. “It’s for those recovery days when your feet and legs are totally zapped.”
The shoe encourages an efficient gait cycle with an early stage Meta-Rocker—Hoka’s roll technology that makes turnover smooth and quick—paired with a beveled heel and full-ground contact outsole. It’s a plush shoe that’s forgiving on the joints and doesn’t cause any lag.
The engineered mesh upper provides some breathability, but its thickness—Hoka calls this “sandwich mesh construction”—makes the inside feel like a hotbed on warmer days and long runs.
“My least favourite part about the shoe was how hot it was, which was likely due to its relatively thick upper and fat tongue,” said a tester. “I wish the upper material was a bit lighter and more breathable.”
Your feet may overheat, but they won’t feel constricted. The fit is true to size with ample toe room. A snug, cushioned heel collar keeps your ankle secure and blister-free.
Some testers commented that the heel collar with its updated spiffy extra lip on the back—this has a functional purpose as an integrated pull-tab—was a bit excessive. Fortunately, though, it caused no friction.
Cushioning for Weary Feet
Clifton fans won’t be disappointed with the cushioning, which is soft enough for calloused feet, yet firm enough for a supportive ride. The midsole is the same as the Clifton 6: Full-compression EVA foam that our testers unanimously praised as the 7’s best feature.
“It’s difficult to find a shoe that is both cushioned and responsive,” said a tester, who has a history of foot fractures and joint issues. “The Clifton 7 delivers both, though. It features thick midsole foam that is soft upon landing but springy on the toe-off.”
And despite its plush feel and updated upper with its thicker sandwiched mesh, the shoe is lighter in both the men’s and women’s models compared to the previous version . When every second counts, shaving off tenths of an ounce makes a small—yet crucial—difference in terms of turnover. (I’m in the class of runners who believes the omission of two tenths of an ounce makes me faster, even if it is all in my head.)
Wear Tester Feedback
Scott B., tester since 2014
Arch: Medium | Gait: Neutral | Footstrike: Midfoot
“I love the way Hoka made a max cushion shoe look a bit more traditional. I know it seems petty, but that was part of what kept me from trying Hokas. I found these shoes to offer a max amount of cushioning without being obnoxious in their looks. This cushioning allows you to train regularly without some of the usual wear and tear on your body. Cushion with the right amount of roll makes these an amazing distance shoe and trainer.”
Eleni Dimou, Runner’s World Senior Designer
Arch: Medium | Gait: Neutral | Footstrike: Forefoot
“I loved how comfortable these shoes are from the second you put them on to throughout the duration of a run. I tested these at a moderate pace outdoors. They are on the lighter side, flexible, and also feel very stable. The traction is great and I felt comfortable moving side to side and making a sharp turn even in the rain. I could feel there was less pressure on my knees/joints when running on different surfaces. I definitely enjoyed running in these.”