If you enjoy a shock-absorbed, cushioned running shoe, Hoka One One is the king of comfort. One look at their chunky soles, and you know that they’re different from others. Chunky soles have more fun.
Picking the best shoe can be highly personal. But you don’t necessarily have to run around the block to get an idea of whether a pair of shoes will work for you.
If you’re trying to decide between Hoka Clifton vs Bondi, our guide compares their similarities and differences and explains what’s new in Clifton 7 and Bondi 7.
Hoka One One
The marshmallow-soft cushioning in Hoka One One running shoes make them the world’s most cushioned and shock-absorbing shoes.
The sole has varying degrees of thickness. The thickest parts cushion your foot where most of your weight hits in each stride. Meanwhile, the rocking motion from the thinner toe area propels you forward.
Hoka shoes are good for bad knees. The thick EVA foam layer in Hoka insoles makes an excellent shock absorber and prevents the impact stress that can cause knee pain.
A lot of people choose Brooks running shoes because they are comfortable and look more traditional than Hoka. However, Hoka shoes are better than Brooks if you need extra cushioning and like to take long runs. Hoka shoes make more sense to keep your feet feeling their best.
Despite all that cushion, they are ultralight.
Hoka’s original Clifton running shoes set the bar for how comfortable a running shoe can be. Clifton first propelled Hoka to fame by making road runners feel like they were running on marshmallow clouds.
If you’re wondering which Hoka shoe is the most cushioned, it’s the Hoka Bondi. However, they do not have the walking-on-clouds feel of Clifton because they have less flex and more rigidity.
Comparing the Hoka Clifton and the Hoka Bondi
The Hoka Clifton and the Hoka Bondi aren’t the fastest shoes, so they’re not the type of shoes you put on to win a race. But they both fit the comfort-running-shoe niche.
Similarities Between the Hoka Clifton and the Hoka Bondi
You’ll want to choose the Hoka Clifton and Hoka Bondi if…
- You’re looking for a running shoe that will help you go farther rather than faster
- You’re looking for road shoes that will help keep your feet feeling better after lots of road miles
- You’re looking for a shoe that’s easier on your knees, mile after mile
Hoka One One shoes aren’t limited to running. The Hoka Clifton and Hoka Bondi are the top-rated Hoka One One shoes for walking. And if you’re a walk-run-walk-run sort of person, they’re both a great choice.
Differences Between the Hoka Clifton and the Hoka Bondi
In comparing Hoka Bondi vs Clifton, Hoka Clifton is plush and more highly cushioned than the Hoka Bondi. Clifton also has more flex than Bondi.
Because they are more comfortable, lighter, and have more flex, Cliftons will take you longer distances than Bondis. Some people even use Cliftons for marathons.
Clifton 7 doesn’t break with its reputation of being both super soft and light. It has the same midsole and feels much the same as Clifton 6.
Clifton 7 provides the same signature cushioning as always with a full-compression EVA midsole.
Clifton 7’s plush collar surrounds your Achilles tendon to ease pressure as you run.
For added durability, Clifton 7 has reinforced eyestays for your laces.
Clifton 7 has an early-stage Meta-Rocker so that you can experience a smooth glide when you run.
Clifton is a great stability shoe. The shoe’s unique structure and flat-waisted design make full ground contact for a stable run.
Don’t let the shoe silhouette fool you. Clifton 7 weighs in at only 8.7 ounces for men and 7.1 ounces for women.
The high-abrasion rubber zones on the sole help keep the weight low.
Changes from Previous Versions
The ride and weight haven’t changed from Clifton 6 to Clifton 7. But a few things have and for the better.
Clifton 7 has a more streamlined look than previous versions.
Hoka has updated the upper in Clifton 7 with a breathable open-engineered mesh. This mesh also helps prevent your tongue from moving around (that’s your shoe tongue, not the one in your mouth).
I hate fighting to put on a shoe. One of Clifton 7’s most useful new features is that the back of the shoe is now higher, which lets you more easily pull them on to get out the door faster.
[RELATED: Our Complete Hoka One One Clifton 7 Review]
Bondi 7 is Hoka’s most cushioned shoe yet. As a maximal cushioned running trainer with a smooth and balanced ride, Bondi 7 makes running distances easier. It’s a narrow-fitting traditional running shoe with helpful stability features.
While Bondi 7’s compression-molded EVA midsole makes it the most cushioned shoe in the Hoka lineup, it doesn’t have the Hoka’s signature “running on clouds” feeling.
One of the draws of Bondi 7 is its stiff early- and late-stage meta-rocker insole that rolls with each step.
The last time a running shoe gave me a blister was when the heel was too loose. Hoka solves this problem with an internal heel grip to lock your heel into place.
You’d not think so from looking at the outside, but Hoka is a master at keeping their shoe weight down with a quality rubber outsole.
Bondi 7 has a comfortable memory foam collar. Nothing says happy ankles like a comfy collar.
Changes from Previous Versions
The changes between Bondi 6 and Bondi 7 are primarily on the inside.
I don’t have wide feet, but I can’t stand for my feet to feel constrained inside my shoe, so the change I like the most between Bondi 6 and Bondi 7 is that Bondi 7 doesn’t fit nearly as tightly around the toe box.
Bondi 7 felt perfect right out of the box, which is far better than the 30 to 40 miles it took to break in Bondi 6.
The biggest change Hoka has made between Bondi 6 and 7 is that version 7 has a new breathable open mesh upper.
[RELATED: Our Complete Hoka One One Bondi 7 Review]
Comparing Clifton 7 and Bondi 7
In comparing the Hoka One One Clifton vs Bondi, it’s vital to look at the similarities and differences.
Similarities Between Clifton 7 and the Hoka 7
Nothing says happy feet like a maximal cushion and a cushy foam collar, and both Clifton 7 and Hoka 7 have them.
Differences Between Clifton 7 and Bondi 7
A few of the differences between Clifton 7 and Bondi 7 may appeal more based on your running style and personal preferences.
Both Clifton and Bondi work fine for daily training, but it’s distance that sets them apart in usage.
Because Clifton 7 is more highly cushioned and more flexible than Bondi 7, they are more comfortable over longer races. Some people even favor them for marathons.
Since I don’t do runs or races that are more than 10 or 20K, Bondi 7 works fine for me. But, the farther you run, the better Clifton 7 will probably look to you. Clifton 7 costs about $20 more than Bondi 7.
Clifton 7 weighs 1.8 ounces less than Bondi 7 for women (7.10 ounces vs. 8.9 ounces) and 2 ounces more for men (8.7 ounces vs. 10.7 ounces). The difference is the equivalent of two AA batteries. It’s not that much of a difference for me, but it might matter to you.
A shoe that has a higher heel drop will give you a more comfortable heel strike, while a lower model pushes feet forward more. Both Clifton 7 and Bondi 7 have a low heel drop.
Clifton 7’s heel drop is 5mm, compared to Bondi 7’s 4mm. Is 1mm enough of a difference to matter between these two? Maybe a little, but I think it’s negligible.
For comparable shoes, Brooks Mach 11 XC Flat, Saucony Kilkenny 3 XC Flat, Nike Free 3.0 v2, and Saucony Kinvara all have a 4mm heel drop.
All Hoka One One shoes include a Meta-Rocker insole that performs like a rocking chair for a smoother gait. Both Bondi 7 and Clifton 7 use early-stage Meta-Rockers, which transition behind the head of the metatarsal for a smooth and quick transition from heel to forefront.
However, Bondi 7 Meta-Rocker is more refined to deliver an even better transition.
Bondi 7 doesn’t have an easy-entry pull tab at the back like Clifton 7 introduced.
Cushion and Flex
Clifton 7 is balanced and highly cushioned with a medium flex, while Bondi 7 is plush and medium cushioned with a more rigid flex.
Final Thoughts on Hoka Clifton vs Bondi
Which shoe is best for you? In the showdown between Hoka Clifton vs Bondi, the clear winner is going to be personal.
If you run longer distances and want a pair of shoes that weigh less and are more highly cushioned, Clifton is going to be your best choice.
If you’re looking for Hoka One One’s most comfortable shoe, want a sole designed to push you forward more, have narrow feet, don’t usually run more than 20K, and want a cheaper shoe, Bondi will be your best choice.