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Shoe Review: HOKA ONE ONE Clifton Edge

The HOKA Clifton Edge running shoe

The HOKA Clifton Edge lists three attributes on its insole: light, soft and smooth—and it nails all three.

HOKA’s twist on the venerable Clifton proves to be another outstanding running shoe with shape to stand out. An exaggerated heel offers a large landing zone that leads into a smooth transition, and a streamlined look straddles the line between trainer and lifestyle shoe.

Fleet Feet runners have been wearing the new HOKA Clifton Edge for hundreds of miles, testing how it feels underfoot and how it differs from the main Clifton line. Here’s what they thought about the Clifton Edge.

Tech specs

HOKA Clifton Edge

Release date

June 2020

Weight

7.2 oz (W), 8.9 oz (M)

Drop

5 mm

Stack height (heel/toe)

26mm/21mm (W), 29mm/24mm (M)

Category

Neutral

Surface

Road, track

Looking for more HOKA shoes? Shop all HOKA running shoes or check out the best HOKA running shoes of 2020.

HOKA Clifton Edge Fit and Materials

A pair of the HOKA Clifton Edge running shoes

A big midsole and lightweight upper make the HOKA Clifton Edge feel very much like other HOKA running shoes, but the Edge gets some extra attitude.

The two most obvious differences between the standard Clifton and the Clifton Edge are both in the heel. The Edge’s flared heel collar keeps the shoe from rubbing the Achilles tendon and acts as a pull tab for easy entry. It’s also more structured and streamlined according to one of our testers: “I feel like my heel is hugged really nicely in this shoe.”

A flared midsole at the heel mirrors the collar above. The foam juts out about an inch behind the shoe to create a huge landing zone for your foot.

HOKA says the foam used in the Clifton Edge is super resilient, and the lightest proprietary foam to date. Our testers say it feels that way, too.

“The Edge is incredibly light,” one tester says. “Fast runs, long runs, walking the dog—nothing feels out of range for this shoe.”

The Edge features a very thin, minimally padded tongue, which forms easily to the shape of your foot, and they anchored it to the shoe with internal elastic straps on each side. Testers liked how the tongue gave the shoe a streamlined feel and how the elastic gave it a bootie-like fit.

A thin mesh upper with perforations help the shoe breathe, and a denser mesh pattern on the toe gives the shoe structure and extra durability.

There’s very little design up the upper aside from the mesh pattern and small HOKA logos. The toned-down look is great when you want to disguise it as a lifestyle shoe for a night out.

A small but thoughtful feature of the Edge is the padding in the heel. The pad sits just above the heel bone, which testers say helps lock down the fit. None of the Fleet Feet testers who ran in the Clifton Edge felt any heel slippage or rubbing.

Flat, thin laces sew the Edge together with a traditional eyelet pattern and the extra eyelet for the marathon lace loop.

The Edge feels a bit narrower through the midfoot and forefoot than some other running shoes, but none of the Fleet Feet testers felt like it was constricting or limited the use of the shoe.

HOKA Clifton Edge Ride and Performance

The HOKA Clifton Edge running shoes

The Clifton Edge is every bit a HOKA running shoe: It sports a generous amount of foam, it’s lightweight and it delivers a buttery ride.

Beneath the shoe, sits a big stack of its latest proprietary foam. The foam bed has a firmer feel than other foams, like the midsole used on the max-cushioned HOKA Bondi, which gives the shoe a snappier feel.

“You still feel the cushion you’re used to from HOKA, but it’s definitely on the firmer end of the spectrum,” according to a tester. “That firm feeling is consistent from heel to toe.”

The Clifton Edge’s firm ride paired with its extremely light weight makes it a great shoe for speedier runs or workouts.

HOKA also carved the midsole into its early stage Meta-Rocker shape, which moves the shoe’s natural pivot point farther forward in the shoe. The technology creates a smooth transition and increases the shoe’s propulsive feeling. The early stage Meta-Rocker is used in other HOKA running shoes, like the Rincon, Carbon X and Arahi.

A welcome part of the exaggerated midsole in the heel is the extra stability that comes with it. If you put the shoes on the floor and look down from above, you’ll see the midsole doesn’t just flare out behind the shoe but also to the sides, creating a sort of halo around the shoe.

The wide base is inherently stable, preventing any side-to-side wobbling through the entire heel-to-toe transition.

“It feels like I’m riding in a bucket seat,” one tester says.

The outsole doesn’t have any protective rubber. Instead, HOKA used a rubberized EVA foam beneath the forefoot and heel that’s light and grippy,

Testers didn’t have any problems with traction on pavement, but there was a slight bit of noticeable wear in the forefoot after a handful of runs. The normal wear and tear isn’t concerning, and the trade-off of the extra protection of a traditional rubber outsole vs. the reduced weight of rubberized foam is worth it for a shoe like the Clifton Edge.

[Many modern running shoes are forgoing traditional rubber outsoles without any problems, so we’re confident the Clifton Edge will hold up just fine over a few hundred miles.]

Conclusion

The HOKA Clifton Edge maintains everything we love about the Clifton line and adds a slight twist for a more aggressive attitude.

A flared heel collar lends the Edge a flashier look and improved comfort, while the wide midsole and exaggerated heel create stability without using traditional stability technology. HOKA again delivered maximum cushioning with minimal weight by packing its lightest foam composition yet into the shoe.

With a firmer feel than some other HOKA shoes, like the Bondi, the HOKA Clifton Edge boasts a snappy and smooth ride that’s versatile enough for long days on pavement or high-speed pursuits on the track.


Still not convinced? Don’t sweat it. Fleet Feet's return policy means you can test drive your shoes and gear without risk. If you’re not happy with the way your gear performs, looks or fits, we’ll take it back within 60 days. Plus, you’ll get free shipping on orders over $99 and free return shipping on all fleetfeet.com orders. That's our Happy Fit Guarantee.

By Evan Matsumoto. Evan played many sports growing up but didn’t go pro in any of them. Now, he’s the digital copywriter for fleetfeet.com and editor for the Fleet Feet blog where he writes about different foam densities and engineered mesh uppers.

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