Hoka One One Clifton 3 Shoe Review

Hoka One One Clifton 3 Review

The Hoka One One Clifton 3 is finally here! A few years ago, the Hoka One One Clifton was by far my favorite shoe. Lightweight, supportive, and felt incredibly fast. When the Hoka One One Clifton 2 came out, I was looking forward to an even better shoe than the original version. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen as the forefoot of this shoe was too narrow for a number of runners feet, including mine.

The feedback from the running community was that the Clifton 3 forefoot had to be wider.

The all new Hoka One One Clifton 3 is expected to be wider and provide the same level of support and responsiveness we have come to known from Hoka. The biggest question I have is how much wider is the forefoot. Having read articles from Runner’s World and JackRabbit.com, I was excited to give the shoe a try and determine if the updates would benefit other runners.

Thanks to the great people at JackRabbit.com, I was able to get this shoe early and provide feedback on my running experience with the updated Clifton 3 running shoe.

Here are the colors that are now available for the Hoka One One Clifton 3 running shoe. The men’s and women’s model each have five colors to choose from. Both offer black color so it is only shown once below.

Pictures courtesy of JackRabbit.com

Hoka One One Clifton 3 Verdict

I really wanted the updated Hoka One One Clifton 3 to reclaim its spot as one of my favorite running shoes. The Clifton 2 model not only bothered my feet, but almost made me stop running in Hoka One One shoes.

Even though the forefoot width was widened, it still isn’t wide enough for my feet. I was optimistic as the shoes felt amazing for the first 30 minutes of each run, but after that, the shoes started to bother me, just like the Clifton 2’s.

If the entire run felt like the first 30 minutes of my runs in these shoes, I would buy every color in them. That is how much I liked them when I first started.

If you have a normal to narrow width foot, I highly recommend trying these out. If the Hoka One One Clifton 2 gave you issues, you may want to find another shoe or hope they widen the Clifton 3.

Update 7/27/16: I ordered another pair of Hoka Cliftons in a 1/2 size larger, hoping that would make the shoes work for my feet. Unfortunately, this did not help and I had to send the shoes back to the great people at Hoka One One.

Where to Buy the Clifton 3 »
Pros Cons
  • Lightweight
  • Updated forefoot width
  • Responsive feel
  • Value Priced (retail $130)
  • Sole durability
  • True sizing (some sites say to order 1/2 size up)

Here are a few pictures of the Hoka One One Clifton 3 that I wore for this review.

Hoka One One Clifton 3 Initial Thoughts

Having worn both the original Clifton’s and the Clifton 2’s, I had a good idea of what to expect from the look of the Clifton 3’s. The one thing that I was anxious for was the updated width of the forefoot part of the shoe.

Besides the forefoot, the upper part of the shoe seemed to have a little more cushion around the tongue and the part of the heel inside the shoe. After tying the shoe, my feet felt comfortable and stable.

The one thing I noticed was that some sites tell you to order a 1/2 size up and others say that they run true to size. When sites say different sizing suggestions, it tells me that these are probably in the middle of running true to size.

Similar to the earlier models, the Clifton 3’s are lightweight and supportive enough to wear for daily or tempo runs. The sole appears to be very similar to previous versions.

Having recently reviewed the Brooks Glycerin 14, it gave me an appreciation of how light and great these shoes felt.

Hoka One One Clifton 3 Shoe Specifications

  • Weight : 8.8 Ounces (Men’s size 9), 7.8 ounces (Women’s size 9)
  • Shoe Category: Neutral
  • How It Fits: True to Size (based on width D)
  • Offset: 5mm heel to toe offset
  • Forefoot Height: 24mm forefoot height
  • Forefoot Width: Medium (wider for the Clifton 3)
  • Heel Height: 29mm heel height
  • Ultra-Lightweight Seamless Upper and Early Stage Meta-Rocker Geometry
  • Full Length HIP CMEVA Midsole with Full Ground Contact Design
  • Previous Model: Clifton 2

Hoka One One Clifton 3 Overview

Similar to previous versions, the Hoka One One Clifton 3 is another solid shoe from Hoka One One. This neutral specific running shoe provides a lightweight and responsive sole that makes it great for any distance of runs, including tempo or speed work efforts.

The lightweight shoe (8.8 oz for a size 9) combined with the Early Stage Meta-Rocker technology promote a natural running motion.

The high abrasion rubber sole provides improved durability and traction on most surfaces. This shoe is recommended for road surfaces, paved trails, or the track. Wearing these on actual trails will impact the life of the sole.

Hoka One One Clifton 3 Sole

The Hoka One One Clifton 3 sole is very similar to the previous Hoka One One Clifton running shoes. This shoe contains the Early Meta-Rocker technology, which supports and promotes a more efficient running motion.

If you are unfamiliar with the Early Stage Meta-Rocker technology, Hoka One One describes it as being “specifically engineered with a low heel-toe differential and a sculpted outsole radius in the heel and toe, creates a unique fulcrum effect and encourages a guided foot gait cycle.” You will notice the rocker technology when holding the shoe as the sole is shaped in a way similar to a rocking chair.

The Hoka One One Clifton 3 shoe has a slightly wider sole than the previous model, providing more room for toes and increased stability.

As I mentioned earlier, the sole on this shoe is similar to previous models. Below are a few pictures of the Clifton 3 sole.

Hoka One One Clifton 3 Upper

The Hoka One One Clifton 3 upper has a few updates on the new model. The main update that I noticed was the improved upper of the shoe.

The updated seamless construction provides a snug, yet comfortable fit. It improves the shoe to breathe and reduces the weight of the shoe. Another thing I noticed was the mesh-like material above the toes. During my run, this promoted air flow and helped keep my feet cool.

Additionally, the cushioning around the tongue and heel provided a supportive and comfortable fit. Both of which felt great during my runs in this shoe. Another thing I noticed was that the insole is a little thicker than previous years, something that made the shoe a little tighter for my feet.

The Clifton 3 has a wider upper and sole allowing for more room for your feet and toes, something that people wanted to be changed with the narrow Clifton 2.

Let me know what you think of the Hoka One One Clifton 3 running shoe!

If you need help finding deals on this shoe, contact me.

Please note: These shoes were provided by the great people at JackRabbit.com for this review. Any purchases on this site help support theActiveGuy.com.

If you prefer the Hoka One One Clifton 2, get them at Jack Rabbit.

Hoka One One Clifton 3 Ratings
  • 8.8/10
    Overall Rating - 8.75/10
  • 9/10
    Upper - 9/10
  • 8.8/10
    Sole - 8.75/10
User Review
4 (1 vote)

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  • the trick to getting Hoka One One Running shoes to fit if you have wider feet is to Not order them in your Actual size.This is Extremely,Extremely Important.For example if you are a size 10 you should order the Hoka One One Running shoe in a size 11 and a half and a size 12.Try both of them on.One of them is bound to fit the best.The other pair you return.Basically you need a much bigger shoe to overcome the problems of the overly tight fit in the toe box and for example the tightness on the right side of both feet when you have the Hoka One One Running Shoes in your exact size.once you have “dialled” in the right size to overcome this problem the Plush Hoka One Ride can be Enjoyed.if you order your actual size in Hoka One One you will be disappointed!they Must be worn at Least a size and a half bigger than your actual size

    • Jason,

      Thanks for the comment. I have another pair on the way in a 1/2 size and full size larger. I’m hoping this does the trick. As I mentioned I love the shoes, just wish they were wider. I’ll update the post once I give the new shoes a try.


  • I am so disappointed to read this review! Was waiting patiently for the 3’s. I too, loved my Cliftons. Brought the 2’s, which felt fine in the store. I wore them for 3 weeks, really wanted to like them, but kept getting pain across the top of my left foot. Tried returning them to the store, but they wouldn’t take them back since they were worn. They suggested I loosen and tie the laces differently. These were expensive shoes and another new pair was not in my budget. I found myself running less. It got to the point my foot hurt so bad, I couldn’t wear most of my shoes. At that point I emailed Hoka and they took them back and gave me a credit for $120. I bought the Bondi Wide. They fit great, but are not as light or comfortable. I thought I found my forever running shoe with the Clifton. Unfortunately, if the Clifton 3’s don’t work I’m going to have to find another brand – ANY SUGGESTIONS FOR A SHOE AS COMFORTABLE AND WITH AS MUCH ROOM AS THE ORIGINAL CLIFTONS? And btw, I take a 7 1/2 and wear an 8 1/2 in Hoka’s.

    • Judie,

      I was disappointed as well after wearing them twice. I am waiting for a larger pair to see if that will do the trick, but after a few runs in the 3’s, they just weren’t wide enough. What you could do is to order the shoes from Road Runner Sports, as they have a guarantee, that will let you run in the shoes for 90 Days if you are a VIP. You could also try ordering from Running Warehouse or Hoka One One directly as they have a 30 day guarantee plus free shipping and returns.

      I am hoping that by ordering a larger pair, it will rectify the issue I had with the traditional size. It is interesting to me that some sites suggest ordering up and others say they run true to size. Based on my experience, I would definitely order a size up.

      Let me know what you think about ordering up from one of those sites to see if they work for you!

      • In spite of all the warnings, I decided to try the Clifton 3 . . .and sent them back after trying them twice. The Clifton 2 was a nightmare so I decided to go for a short walk first. Not too bad but a little snug around the mid foot, strange they didn’t widen that part of the shoe as well as the toe bed. Next went for a short run. Half way I started getting slight pins and needles mid foot and near the end got the same pain as with the 2. I immediately stopped running, went home and deny them back! Also the cushioning was different. With my original cliftons I felt like my feet were springing up off the ground. The 3s felt more like marshmallows. The originals are my favorite shoe of all time, hope I can find something I love as much. Any suggestions on a very cushiony comfortable shoe?

        • Judie, sorry to hear you had a similar experience to me! Certainly frustrating after the original Clifton model. I recently wrote about the new Asics DynaFlyte shoe that has a foam sole. Not as much sole as the Clifton, but pretty comfortable. I also like the Altra Provision shoe. It has a wide toe box and plenty of cushion. Both of these have less sole than the Clifton, but they have worked for me. What shoes do you race in?

          Thanks for the comment and question!

      • Gardner Govan

        Take the thick sockliner of the C3 out and replace with an older hoka sockliner or a thin sockliner from another shoe. That should open up the toebox..

        • Gardner, thanks so much for the comment. I did try using an insole from the original Clifton and Clifton 2. Both of them helped a little but not enough for me to like the shoe. I’m hoping Hoka fixes this with the next model. Thanks again and happy running!

  • alexander kerr

    The shoes are not to be released in the U.K. till early August and I will not be purchasing having read these reviews. The Clifton 1 was the best shoe I used in 40 years of running , Clifton 2 was the worst. I hoped the this new model would be so much better. When assessing a shoe you should not need to select a larger size as Jason suggested, or use drastic tactics like cutting the shoe as it is too tight as many runners , including me, have been required to do. I do commiserate with Judie’s experience as this simply should not happen with any new product and the only consolation I have for the negative reviewers is that they have saved me the cost of buying a ‘Lemon’.

    • I totally agree with you Alexander. The Clifton 1 was one of my favorites and was beyond disappointed when I ran in these. I truly hope that Hoka does something sooner than next year to fix the width issues! Thanks for the comment.

      • With so many die hard fans of the Clifton 1, I don’t understand why they don’t simply re-release a classic. There is nothing I would change on the original including the thin tongue. Bring back the original and I’ll buy as many pairs as I can

        • Judie, I totally agree! I had 4 or 5 pairs of the original version. I wanted to like the 2’s, but they screwed up my left foot. Let’s hope they do something quickly!

    • Hey Alex, maybe you should grab these off eBay: eBay: Hoka One One Clifton 3

  • Clifton 1 is the best fitting running shoe ever for me as it was a size 131/2 . I liked. Everything about the clifton 1 including the thin tongue. I ran 3 marathons in the Clifton 1 with no pain or injury. Hoka stopped making the half size 131/2 so I was forced I to a size 14 which is too big,
    not a great fit in the Clifton 2. I would love to get my feet in the origional Clifton 131/2 size shoe again!

    • Thanks for the comment! I tried ordering the Clifton 3’s in a 1/2 size larger and they are still too narrow. Like you, I wore the Clifton 1 for a few races and went through 4 or 5 pairs of them. The 2’s were a disaster and really, really wanted the 3’s to be similar to the 1’s and they were not. Now I’m trying to find another training shoe for my fall race.

      What shoes are you going to run in now?

      • Alfred Kuhnert

        Definitely take a look at Altra’s lineup. The One 2.5 has been receiving quite positive reviews. I have two pair of Clifton 1’s on hand but will be buying some Altra Provision 2.5’s for training purposes. I save the Clifton’s for racing!

  • Interesting to hear of so many fitting issues. I have a slightly wide foot and usually wear a 13. Clifton 3 in a 13 regular fits perfectly both width and length. One issue I have found with Hokas is variance in fit in different colorways – I assume they are made in different factories that may result in this difference.

  • Unlike what seems to be the majority of commenters on here, I have a normal foot width, so I am lucky enough to enjoy all the benefits of what in my opinion is the best running shoe ever made – the Clifton 3. I can run 20kms on consecutive days without a problem and I’m 55. I wear a size 9.5 and I own 5 pairs of Hoka’s. Each and every shoe fits perfectly, although I bought the Tor Summit Mid half a size bigger to accommodate thicker hiking socks, but as with all my other shoes they’re supremely comfortable.

    • I thought I had a normal width foot as I had no issues with the original Clifton. I’m glad you are able to enjoy this awesome shoe!

      • I tried the clifton 3 today for a 13 mile run, oughhhh, pain in my right forefoot burning like crazy, i really hate that they had to narrow the Stinson Lite when they came out with the Stinson 3 , my favorite shoe, all the hoka s are now to narrow for me and the Clifton 3 just give the support the stinson does for my high arched foot

        • I totally agree with you. I recently tried the Bondi 4 wide shoes and they were decent, but way too much shoe in my opinion. Hoka really needs to make a Clifton wide model. I have no Hoka’s in my shoe rotation because they are all too narrow. What other shoes are you going to wear now?

  • I had the originals and 14s were perfect. I generally wear 14 EE which my Asics are. I skipped the Clifton 2 because I heard they were narrow and got some NB 1080 v6. The fit was perfect but was dissapointed with how firm they were. I’m wondering if a Clifton 3 in 14 would fit.

    • Jason, thanks for the comment. If you wore a EE in Asics, then I doubt they would fit. If you do try them out, let me know as I am curious if they are wide enough. I love the Clifton, just not wide enough for me at this point in time.

  • The Hoka Clifton 3 is an incredibly,comfortable ride. The forefoot cushioning is amazing on both road and easy trails. In my mind no other shoe brand comes close to matching the hoka ride .The only complaint I have is not about sizing , they fit perfectly, but rather the pillowy cushioning does take some time to adjust to when running hard. About half the runners in my running club now wear hokas but a few who have tried the Clifton or Bondi found the lack of ground feel an issue and moved to other brands. But most other brands now seem to be much more cushioned than before. It is interesting to read of so many fitting issues with your readers as the Clifton 3 is a much wider fit than the two previous models.

    • Al, appreciate the comment.The original version worked for me, but for some reason the second and third models didn’t work. I love the shoe, just wish my feet liked them. Hoping they come out with a wide model like they did for the Bondi.

      Thanks again for the comment!

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