Hoka Bondi vs Clifton: which maximalist running shoe is for you?

Hoka Bondi 8
When it comes to the Hoka Bondi vs Clifton running shoes, it’s all a matter of big and bouncy vs bigger and bouncier (Image credit: Hoka)

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 feature a towering stack and rocker design for easy push off. Here, we compared the 8th incarnation of both models. Hoka released the new Clifton 9 in early 2023, which means you can now save some pennies on the Clifton 8, the ideal time to grab this excellent road shoe.

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.

speed workouts for runners

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 (Image credit: Getty)

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Meet the tester

Julia Clarke
Julia Clarke

Born in Scotland, Julia's has been running both road and trail for many years. After moving to the US for university, she had many great adventures on long road runs and trail runs in Colorado. Now back in her native Scotland, she frequently hits both the trails and tarmac, testing the finest running gear on the planet.

Stack height and responsiveness

  • Clifton 8 has a heel stack of 33mm and forefoot stack of 28mm
  • Bondi 8 has a heel stack of 39mm and a forefoot stack of 25mm
  • Bondi 8s are plush underfoot and are better for slow-pace training
  • Neither provides a responsive feel of the terrain

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 8 running shoes

Look at that chunky sole! (Image credit: Julia Clarke)


  • Clifton 8s have a 5mm drop
  • Bondi 8s have a 4mm drop
  • Both are good for forefoot and midfoot strikers

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.


  • Bondi 8s weigh 1.5oz (40g) more than the Clifton 8s

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 One One Clifton 8

The soles of the Cliftons aren't exactly modest, but you'll save a few ounces over the Bondis (Image credit: Hoka One One)


  • Both shoes provide a surprisingly stable ride
  • Extended heel geometry makes Bondi 8s more stable than the Clifton 8s

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.

Sizing, fit and comfort 

  • Both fit true to size
  • Bondi 8s have more toe room
  • Both just as comfortable
  • Clifton 8’s arch support may cause some people blisters

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 arch support that may rub your inner foot and cause blisters in some.

Person running on road at sunset

(Image credit: Getty)


  • Bondi 8s cost $165 (£150)
  • Clifton 8s are now reduced to $111.99 (£103.99) due to Clifton 9

All that extra cushioning that endows the Bondis with such a smooth, bouncy ride means more materials involved in manufacturing, originally to the tune of about $25 over the Cliftons. A brand new pair of Bondis will set you back around $165 whereas you could pick up a pair of Cliftons for $140.

However, the Clifton 9 arrived in 2023, meaning you can now get a pair of Clifton 8s a little cheaper, at the great price of $111.99 or £103.99 in the UK.

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Hoka Bondi vs Clifton
Header Cell - Column 0 Hoka Bondi Hoka Clifton
Stack height and responsiveness39mm heel, 35mm forefoot means a plush ride33mm heel, 28mm forefoot delivers a balanced ride
Weight8.9 oz / 252 grams per shoe (size 7)7.2 oz / 205 grams per shoe (size 7
StabilityVery stable thanks to high side walls and extended geometryStable thanks to high side walls
Sizing, fit and comfort True to to size, roomy toe box, breathable mesh uppers, lots of cushioningTrue to to size, roomy toe book for wide feet, some rubbing possible with arch support, breathable mesh uppers, lots of cushioning
Price$165 (£150)Was $140, now $111.99 (£103.99)

The verdict

  • The Bondi 8s are a little heavier and more expensive but are wonderfully bouncy
  • The Clifton 8s offer a more neutral feel and have a lower profile

To sum it all up, if you don’t mind a little extra weight and paying 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.

Julia Clarke

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.