Hoka Bondi vs Clifton: which big, bouncy running shoe is for you?
When it comes to the Hoka Bondi vs Clifton running shoes, it’s all a matter of big and bouncy vs bigger and bouncier
Are you in the market for a new pair of road running shoes? If so, chances are you’ve been eyeing up some Hoka One Ones. Unlike your best trail running shoes, which are built to give you excellent trail feel and protection from sharp rocks on the trail, the French company’s road shoes have in just a few years become famous for persuading a lot of runners to eschew the barefoot running shoe tradition and embrace the maximalist style of big, chunky soles.
Two of their most popular models in this department are the Clifton and the Bondi, both of which are now in their 8th edition and feature a towering stack and rocker design for easy push off. The uppers in both shoes are made using breathable mesh, and the two models are intended for short and medium-distance road running, so at first glance it’s hard to know exactly what the differences are. We’ve taken both models, the Bondi 8 and Clifton 8, out for a few spins ourselves, so we present the main differences and similarities between the Hoka Bondi vs Clifton road running shoes here to help you pick the perfect pair for your next smooth, bouncy run on the tarmac.
Hoka Bondi vs Clifton: stack height and responsiveness
If you don’t already know, both of these shoes sport seriously meaty soles. The Clifton 8 has a heel stack height of 33mm while the forefoot stack height is 28mm, but even that shrinks in comparison to the Bondi’s 8s full-bodied 39mm heel and 35mm forefoot. This means that while the Cliftons deliver a balanced ride, the Bondis are rated as positively plush underfoot, so if you’re looking for bounce and comfort, you know where to go.
Clearly, neither of these shoes will give you a particularly responsive feel of the ground under foot, but if you want lots of cushioning to absorb the shock of the tarmac, both models will provide that with the Bondis coming out on top. All of this means it is a little easier to pick up the pace in a pair of Cliftons, while the Bondis are better for slower-paced and recovery runs.
Hoka Bondi vs Clifton: drop
If you’re paying attention, you’ll have noticed that the drop is comparable between these shoes – 5mm for the Clifton and 4mm for the Bondi. We can’t say we’d notice a millimeter of difference between the two, and both are considered low drop shoes good for forefoot and midfoot strikers. If that's all gobbledygook to you, start with our article on running gait types and get a gait analysis before you splurge on new shoes.
Hoka Bondi vs Clifton: weight
You might have guessed that all that extra plush cushioning on the Bondis will add some grams on the scales, and you’d be correct in thinking so. While how much your shoes weigh depends on how big your feet are, in general a pair of Bondis on your feet can add nearly 1.5oz (about 40g) per shoe over the Cliftons. The longer distance you’re running, the more the extra two or three ounces will matter, but know that if you’re looking for a light shoe, the Bondi is not for you.
Hoka Bondi vs Clifton: stability
Though we wouldn’t break out the plush Bondis on the rocky terrain of a trail, the robust cushioning of both shoes delivers a surprisingly stable ride thanks to high side walls so your foot can sit snugly inside the shoe. That said, the extended heel geometry of the Bondis makes them feel even more stable underfoot than the Cliftons.
Hoka Bondi vs Clifton: sizing, fit and comfort
Both models fit true to size. The Bondis have a bit more room in the toe box and are perhaps better for those with wider feet, while neither is great if you have narrow feet. Comfort is certainly subjective, but with breathable mesh uppers and plenty of cushioning, both are very comfortable, however be warned the Cliftons have a little archnn support that may rub your inner foot and cause blisters in some.
Hoka Bondi vs Clifton: price
All that extra cushioning that endows the Bondis with such a smooth, bouncy ride means more materials involved in manufacturing, all to the tune of about $25 over the Cliftons. A brand new pair of Bondis will set you back around $165 whereas you can pick up a pair of Cliftons for $140.
|Header Cell - Column 0||Hoka Bondi||Hoka Clifton|
|Stack height and responsiveness||39mm heel, 35mm forefoot means a plush ride||33mm heel, 28mm forefoot delivers a balanced ride|
|Weight||8.9 oz / 252 grams per shoe (size 7)||7.2 oz / 205 grams per shoe (size 7|
|Stability||Very stable thanks to high side walls and extended geometry||Stable thanks to high side walls|
|Sizing, fit and comfort||True to to size, roomy toe box, breathable mesh uppers, lots of cushioning||True to to size, roomy toe book for wide feet, some rubbing possible with arch support, breathable mesh uppers, lots of cushioning|
Hoka Bondi vs Clifton: the verdict
To sum it all up, if you don’t mind a little extra weight and paying nearly 20% more if it means you feel like you’re running on pillows, you’ll love the Bondis. They’re roomy and bouncy on the road. If you want the protection of a well-cushioned sole but prefer a slightly lower profile and moderately more neutral feel, for a lower price, the Clifton’s are a great compromise between your old road runners and the Bondis. Hoka One One has lots of other models you should consider before making your mind up, however, such as the Mach 5 and Tecton X, so we recommend using their handy Shoe Finder tool to help you narrow down your choices, and reading up on how to choose running shoes.
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Julia Clarke is a staff writer for Advnture.com and the author of the book Restorative Yoga for Beginners. She loves to explore mountains on foot, bike, skis and belay and then recover on the the yoga mat. Julia graduated with a degree in journalism in 2004 and spent eight years working as a radio presenter in Kansas City, Vermont, Boston and New York City before discovering the joys of the Rocky Mountains. She then detoured west to Colorado and enjoyed 11 years teaching yoga in Vail before returning to her hometown of Glasgow, Scotland in 2020 to focus on family and writing.