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You will see from our review of the Clifton 3, we love this shoe. It is the sort of shoe that you look forward to running in; lightweight, bouncy, breathable and comfortable, you might even go further than planned. So, the Clifton 4 in our book has a lot to live up to.
What made us nervous is that it has been significantly updated. A new upper, new midsole foam and a new outsole??? It better be good…
The previous Clifton models were great but there were some general concerns from runners. Firstly, that they might have been just too soft, secondly that they might have been slightly too narrow in the toe box area and thirdly, that they could have been more durable. There might have been some merits in these concerns but that didn’t stop them generating a huge fan base of people who loved them just the way they were. But, changes have been made to the new model.
Thankfully, we can report that all is fine in Clifton world, more than fine in fact. The midfoot is slightly wider but it feels like the Clifton 4 fits feels the same as Clifton 3 to us. It is soft and hugging with plenty of room in the toe box. The reworked upper is made of a different but still breathable mesh and has additional 3d puff print overlays which looks good.
Running in the Clifton 4 is still great but different. The shoe is still soft but the inclusion of the upgraded EVA foam package in the midsole means that the shoe offers a more responsive ride that delivers consistent cushioning. It is slightly firmer in feel than the Clayton 3 but this is still a soft riding shoe. Couple this with the meta rocker system and you really do feel some forward propulsion.
The outsole design is less drastic, however, durability should be increased with the positioning of Hoka’s Hi-Abrasion lightweight rubber is key areas.
Hoka’s uprated PRO2LITE +10 midsole is denser than before but it does offer better propulsion and the deepness of this rubber will ensure protection. The Early Stage Meta-Rocker Geometry is a rocker design that’s made to assist the foot in achieving a faster and more effective performance. It is likened to the actual mechanics of the foot when taking each step, rocking from the heel to the toe in a single, fluid motion.
The engineered mesh upper has changed from the previous model but it’s still breathable. The addition of the new 3D Puff Print Frame creates a secure mid foot lockdown. This TPU lattice design wraps over the upper of the shoe which also comes with a form fitting heel foam for added comfort.
Full ground contact is an important part of the Clifton’s design aiding that smooth, rockered ride but there were some durability issues with older models. The new shoe has hi abrasion rubber which, while still providing good traction on the road, will enhance durability.
The new Clifton 4 does feel slightly firmer and it is heavier but maybe the increase in responsive ride does come at that price. This is still a soft shoe and a shoe to get excited about. It’s still an everyday shoe if you want it to be or a shoe to use when your legs feel heavy, on a pacier run or as your marathon shoe if a Hoka fan. A great shoe.
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