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Hoka’s Clifton 8 Shoes Helped Me Smash My Running Record

I pounded the pavement like a beast but felt like I was running barefoot through a meadow, thanks to the shoes' arch support and bouncy sole.
Review: Hoka Clifton 8 Running Shoes Make Me Feel Like an Olympian
Composite by VICE staff

There’s too much choice in this world: where to eat, what to buy, who to date (curse you, Hinge). Grass-is-greener syndrome is a serious issue. Even so, we’re all for experimentation in certain contexts—like sexy times, for example. (How else would we end up trying this viral water slide for your hooha?) But we also feel no shame in sticking to what we know and love, and when it comes to workout gear [*cough, running, cough, cough*], we want a sure thing that we know won’t let us down—which is why I’m a forever superfan of Hokas

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My sneaker collection has been growing exponentially ever since I moved to New York, the city that never sleeps and forces you to hoof it everywhere as a means of practical transportation. Racking up an average of almost 10 miles of walking a day, my kicks get absolutely filthy and worn out. It’s even worse with my running shoes, which I also walk around in. It’s technically a no-no to walk in your training shoes, since you need to replace them every 300 miles to avoid injury. That’s why it’s good to have a vast collection, so you can rotate your shoes. I’m trying to practice what I preach. 

If you’ve been following my work as of late, you’ll know I’m a woman who bows down to the almighty Hoka gods. It’s hard not to have a crush on these shoes when you see everyone and their grandmother wearing them on the street, track, and on TikTok. I chose the Bondi 7 to run in for the Mastercard Mini 10K race, and these shoes did not disappoint, with their thick supportive soles that allowed me to run pain-free. Since I was so impressed, I had to check out another highly rated model—the Clifton 8

$140 at Nordstrom
$140 at Hoka
$140 at Nordstrom
$140 at Hoka
$140 at Nordstrom
$140 at Hoka
$140 at Nordstrom
$140 at Hoka

As opposed to the Bondi 7’s optimized running design, Hoka’s Clifton 8 model is a more practical shoe for everyday wear. The outsole is not as thick as those of the brand’s Bondi models, and the midsole is lighter and more responsive, giving runners or walkers a softer, airier ride. It has neutral stability, balanced cushioning, breathable mesh, and comes in various widths in case you need a wider toe-box (me). The shoes have received a Seal of Acceptance (oh-so-prestigious) from the American Podiatric Medical Association, which recognizes products beneficial to foot health. With an array of colors, from bright to neutral, they’re also very visually punchy, and stand out in a sea of black and white running shoes. 

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I ran four miles in the Clifton 8 model and felt like I was running barefoot through Sheep Meadow in Central Park. These shoes are super-springy and offer amazing lift from the ground to help boost pace. They’re great for speed work and tempo runs, given their light body. However, I personally don’t recommend these for long-distance running if you heel strike, or have shin splints or knee pain, since they have a thinner midsole. If logging hella miles is your jam, definitely look to invest in Hoka’s Bondi models, since they offer mega support. 

When it comes to not just comfort, but performance, these shoes are no joke; I did strides in these and increased my time by five seconds. With their 4.6 star rating on Hoka’s website, it’s clear that other fans agree. One reviewer said they’re the best shoes they've ever worn. Another said, “this amazing shoe fits like a dream. From the moment I first put them on, they fit perfectly and I didn't need to break them in—a sure sign of a well-designed shoe. The fabric upper conforms to the irregularities of my feet wonderfully and still provides support without suffocating my feet.” If you’re looking for versatility and comfort (and Hoka’s standout visual styling), the Cliftons are a great out-of-the-box-and-go choice. 

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TL;DR: If you’re seeking out a shoe to help elevate your pace with a lightweight glide, or even just a comfy walking shoe, Hoka’s Clifton 8s are the cream of the crop. I have my next speed workout planned with these bad boys.

Ready, set, lace up dem Hokas. 

Hoka Clifton 8 is available for purchase on Hoka’s website, Nordstrom, and Backcountry.  


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