HOKA Bondi versus HOKA Clifton

The HOKA Bondi 8.

The HOKA Bondi and the HOKA Clifton are two of the brand’s best-selling models. Both offer a hefty dose of neutral cushioning that’s great over long distances or long days on your feet. But when it comes to fit, feel and performance, which shoe is best for you? Read on to learn more about the differences between the HOKA Bondi and HOKA Clifton.

Buy the Clifton 9 if…

  • You like a high-cushion shoe that’s more responsive than squishy
  • You like a moderate drop of 5 mm
  • You like a flared heel tab to prevent rubbing

Buy the Bondi 8 if…

  • You like a tall stack of cushion with a soft feel
  • You like a low-ish drop of 4mm
  • You’d pay a little extra for more traction and durability
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Tech Specs

Tech Specs

HOKA Bondi 8

HOKA Clifton 9

Weight

8.9 oz (W), 10.8 oz (M)

7.3 oz (W) , 8.7 oz (M)

Stack height (heel/forefoot)

31/27 mm (W),

33/29 mm (M)

29 mm/24 mm (W),

32 mm/27 mm (M)

Heel-to-toe drop

4 mm

5 mm

Category

Neutral

Neutral

Surface

Road

Road

Price

$165

$145

The HOKA Clifton 9

HOKA Bondi vs HOKA Clifton: Fit & Materials

The Bondi 8 is made with engineered mesh, while the Clifton 9 uses an engineered knit upper. Both feel soft and padded in the tongue and heel collar, but reviewers found that the Bondi’s upper felt a bit more premium overall.

Both shoes fit true to size, but the Bondi 8 felt a bit narrower than past models. Alex, who sometimes wears a men’s 2E, was disappointed by the lack of space in standard-width Bondi. “These shoes were surprisingly narrow, and my feet were firmly pressed against the inside,” he says.

If you need a wide size and have been eyeing the Bondi, don’t fret. Both the Bondi 8 and the Clifton 9 are available in men’s 2E and women’s D sizes should you need the extra space.

Another difference between the two fits? The heel collar. The Clifton differentiates itself with a flared heel collar that minimizes the chances of rubbing. Reviewers also notice that the flared heel tab makes it easy for those with mobility issues to pull on the shoe, especially if they need to use a shoe horn.

“The Clifton 9 gives my achilles plenty of room to breathe, which is a small but thoughtful detail that I recognize as someone struggling with tendonitis,” Caroline says.

As with any shoe, it’s best to try them on at your local Fleet Feet. Fleet Feet outfitters use 3D fit id® foot scanning technology to gather information about your feet and the support they need by taking precise measurements of your foot length, width and arch height.

The HOKA Bondi 8

HOKA Bondi vs HOKA Clifton: Midsole & Outsole

The Bondi 8 and the Clifton 9 are made with the same type of compression-molded EVA midsole foam. The Bondi just has more of it, making for a taller stack height, a plusher feel and a stiffer shoe. Some reviewers found that this makes the Clifton a bit more versatile for faster paces, and prefer the Bondi for easy days, time spent on their feet traveling or working long shifts.

Max felt that the latest Clifton edition has more energy return than in the past. “Sometimes HOKA shoes feel almost too cushioned for me and I feel like I’m expending energy just digging out of all the cushion,” he says. “The update to the Clifton 9 feels to me like they’ve made the midsole cushion a bit more responsive and it has a bit more ‘pop’ in them.”

When it comes to the outsole, the Bondi delivers a bit more grip, with extra rubber when compared to the Clifton. This makes the Bondi more durable, but it also adds weight.

That said, we don’t think you’ll notice the extra ounces on the Bondi. You’re more likely to feel the thickness of the sole and the stiffness of the shoe.

Describing the Bondi, Nate says, “This shoe runs lighter than you’d think while providing incredible underfoot protection from the ground.”

Other reviewers noted how smooth the Bondi felt on the run and found themselves reaching for it on their easy run days.

For the Clifton, reviewers noted how stable it felt despite the tall stack height. I like that the Clifton cushion feels like a bucket seat for your feet. There’s cushion underfoot, but also surrounding your foot, giving the feeling that your feet are sitting down in the cushion and not just on top. It provides a supportive feel and makes it super comfortable for cruisy miles.

What are the HOKA Bondi and HOKA Clifton best for?

The Bondi and Clifton are HOKA’s best-selling models, famous for their ample amounts of supportive cushioning. They are both neutral everyday trainers, often recommended to people who are new to running, who spend long periods of time on their feet, or who suffer from plantar fasciitis or other types of foot and leg pain.

Both shoes received the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) Seal of Acceptance, which means they’re recognized as products that benefit foot health.

They’re also fantastic for everyday running and walking. Alex recommends the Clifton for anyone seeking comfort first and foremost. “There are faster shoes out there, but for anyone who just wants to go for a run and make it as easy and comfortable as possible, the Clifton is hard to beat.”

Nate describes the Bondi as, “a great max cushioning shoe for long runs, recovery runs or for anyone who is looking for maximum protection underfoot.”

Our reviewers have enjoyed logging weekly miles in both models, and the extra cushion can help your body feel supported for easy days when you’re feeling tired, or long runs when you’re spending extra time on your feet.

As Alex mentions, neither of the shoes is designed for hitting your top speed. Both of them are classified as everyday trainers and considered to be good shoes for beginners.

If you’re looking for a speedier HOKA shoe, we recommend the Mach 6 or the carbon-plated Cielo X1.

The HOKA Clifton 9.

HOKA Bondi vs HOKA Clifton: Which is right for you?

Most of our reviewers found that their preferred shoe came down to the fit and overall experience rather than the difference in price or weight.

Our reviewers who previously found the Bondi to be too chunky for their taste were pleasantly surprised with the new model.

“I’m really impressed with the updates made to the HOKA Bondi 8. There is so much cushion between my feet and the road that it felt like I was running on air instead of concrete,” Caroline says.

Those who had loved the Clifton in the past (me!) found that the ninth model felt very similar to the eighth—smooth, nimble and responsive.

Max says, “The Clifton 9 is a top tier choice for runners looking for a workhorse daily trainer to get in the bulk of their training miles for a 5K through a marathon. It’s light enough to pick up the pace and the cushion is perfect for those long runs where you’ll be on your feet for a long period of time.”

Still not sure? Head to your local Fleet Feet for a free outfitting experience. Our friendly Outfitters are well-trained to learn about your needs, scan your feet, and help you find your perfect fit.

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