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Hoka One One Rincon vs Clifton – What’s The Difference?

Hoka One One makes plush, comfortable running shoes designed to make you feel like you’re running on clouds.

In this article, we’re comparing two of their popular lightweight, neutral trainers: the Rincon vs the Clifton.

There are many similarities between the two, including tons of cushioning and surprisingly lightweight design.

But the biggest difference seems to be the durability, with the Clifton getting more miles for its wear than the Rincon.

Let’s have a closer look at the two shoes side by side.

Upper

Hoka One One Rincon 3

The upper of the Rincon 3 has been revised and is now made from 100% vegan material.

It’s a lightweight, breathable engineered mesh with no overlays. Even though there are no overlays, it still has structure and a secure fit. Plus it looks sleeker than the previous versions.

The tongue is thin and asymmetrical with an asymmetrical notch at the top. It has a synthetic reinforcement that doesn’t irritate the extensor tendons of the foot. It’s not gusseted, but the tongue does have wide wings to prevent it from moving.

The light padding on the tongue provides plenty of comfort. Runners shouldn’t have any pressure points when dialing-in for the perfect fit.

The heel counter is firm, but it does have some give to it. For extra comfort, the collar and heel tab are lightly padded. Runners will find that the overall lockdown of the shoe is great and won’t experience any heel slippage.

The heel pull tab has also been revised, and it’s now a strong, thin cord that’s big enough to get more than one finger through it.

Hoka One One Clifton 8

The upper of the Clifton 8 has been refreshed. The engineered mesh upper has more venting on either side of the shoe and the upper has a softer feel to it.

Runners will find that the upper isn’t overly padded and that there won’t be any hotspots while running. Your toes will be able to splay naturally, as the toe box is fairly wide and deep.

The tongue is more padded than the previous versions. This will provide a snug fit without having to sacrifice flexibility. The tongue is gusseted and the inner lining is smoother.

But some runners may find the tongue is shorter than they would like, and that they need to adjust it as it may slide down or to one side during a run.

The laces are still long and the Clifton 8 shoes now have an extra set of eyelets that allow runners to cinch down and get a personalized fit. If you do find that your heel slips, then these eyelets will be great for heel lock lacing.

There is reflective detailing on the back of the heel and the side of the shoe by the toe box that will help you stay visible in low light conditions.

Midsole

Hoka One One Rincon 3

The midsole of the Rincon 3 features a tall stack of compression-molded EVA foam—CMEVA. Runners will find that the midsole cushioning is well-balanced between firm and soft. It provides excellent shock absorption without feeling too spongy.

From the moment you see the Rincon 3, you’ll notice that the midsole foam has been sculpted with sidewall grooves and a small swallowtail at the back of the heel to keep the midsole firm.

These sidewall grooves let the foam decompress more consistently while providing a hint of responsiveness and good energy return.

Hoka One One Clifton 8

Hoka has updated the midsole foam of the Clifton 8 and they’ve estimated it to be 15 percent lighter than the previous version. The midsole still features the thick, full one-piece EVA foam.

Runners will find that the foam doesn’t overly compress. The generous amount of cushioning does have some bounce, and it’s supportive during long-distance and medium-distance runs.

The sidewalls are also raised on the Clifton 8, and this helps to guide your feet. There are only two vertical grooves, which allow the heel to compress. This adds to the cushioned feel of the shoe.

For a plush step-in feel, the Clifton 8 features a thick Ortholite insert, which offers additional cushioning and comfort.

Outsole

Hoka One One Rincon 3

The outsole of the Rincon 3 was updated and more rubber has been added to the sole. The forefoot of the shoe now has rubber lugs and rubber has been added to the lateral heel area.

This new zonal pattern makes the Rincon more durable. Unless you’re a heavy midfoot striker, there should be very little wear on the exposed foam in the midfoot. The flex grooves in the forefoot allow for more flexibility, while the swallowtail in the heel allows for smoother transitions.

The Rincon has flat-waisted geometry and the Meta-Rocker technology offers a smoother ride with springy toe-offs. The sole of the shoe is also wide and runners will find that they can run confidently with this shoe over a variety of surfaces.

Hoka One One Clifton 8

The Clifton 8 features strategically placed high-abrasion rubber on areas that are prone to wear.

The forefoot design and lugs are now diagonal, which does make the forefoot feel slightly stiffer. Flex grooves now run across the forefoot, which gives the shoe some satisfying snap during transitions.

There’s still some exposed foam in the midfoot, with recessed foam in the shape of an arrow.

The rubber on the heel has a central triangle that may provide some more stability when landing. It also extends further up on the lateral midfoot, which could prevent wear for midfoot landers.

The early-stage Meta-Rocker will offer smooth transitions as you roll forward, and this will help runners save energy.

Other Features

Stiffness/Flex

Hoka One One Rincon 3

Runners will find the updates to the Rincon 3 make the shoes feel faster and more versatile. These shoes can be used for easy, tempo, long-distance, or threshold runs.

The updated outsole and the pattern on the forefoot does make for a slightly stiffer feel. But runners will find that the forefoot does feel more snappy, with a good balance of foam.

The ride of the Rincon 3 is smooth, stable, and supportive and it’s very well cushioned.

Hoka One One Clifton 8

If you’re a fan of the Clifton 7, then you may find the Clifton 8 to be slightly firmer than you’re used to.

But runners will find that Clifton 8 isn’t too soft and the early stage Meta-Rocker makes transitions much smoother.

Even after long runs, your legs will feel fresh as the thick midsole cushioning absorbs impact and is responsive. The lightweight feel of the shoe, even though it’s a max cushioned shoe, will help to keep your legs feeling fresh.

Drop

Both the Rincon 3 and the Clifton 8 feature Hoka’s signature drop of 5 mm.

This is an unusual heel-to-drop by most standards, so if you are moving to Hoka from another brand, it may take a bit of time to get used to this drop.

It does place less pressure on the forefoot, which can help runners to reduce the chance of foot conditions like metatarsalgia and plantar fasciitis.

Weight

The weight of the men’s Rincon 3 is 7.4 oz—210 grams—and the women’s shoe weighs 6.2 oz—176 grams.

The Clifton 8 is lighter than its previous iteration. A men’s shoe weighs 8.8 oz—250 grams—and a women’s shoe weighs 7.5 oz—215 grams.

That being said, the weight of these shoes will vary depending on the size of the shoe.

Price

At the time of writing, there’s a $15 dollar price difference between the Hoka Rincon 3 and the Hoka Clifton 8.

The Rincon 3 has an MSRP of $115, while the Clifton 8 has an MSRP of $130.

Summary

At the end of the day, these shoes are very similar. It will come down to personal preferences.

The Clifton 8 is best suited for runners who are looking for a lightweight shoe that can pick up the pace but that’s durable enough to be an everyday trainer.

It’s been reported to last a significant number of miles more than the Rincon before showing signs of wear.

The Rincon 3 is a great shoe for long runs, recovery runs, and daily runs for runners who are looking for a little extra cushioning.

It may not be as durable as the Clifton 8, but it’s lighter by more than an ounce and costs $15 less than the Clifton 8.

The Wired Runner