Hoka Arahi 6 vs Clifton 9: Check 7 Differences Before Buying

I know how frustrating it can be to try out a bunch of shoes and still not find what you want. I have done it countless times. Choosing between fantastic options, like Hoka Arahi 6 and Clifton 9, can be more confusing.

Both are amazing running shoes that will enhance your running experience. However, the Arahi 6 is a stability shoe perfect for overpronators. Clifton 9 is a lightweight, neutral shoe ideal for neutral daily runners. We already have a comprehensive comparison between hoka arahi vs clifton, you can have a look first.

Considering that, the right option still depends on your specific needs. You need to answer a few important questions like:

  • Are you training for a marathon or just keeping fit? 
  • What are your typical running terrains? 
  • What is your foot type?

I have been running for over a decade. In that time, I have tried out several running shoes. And this includes both the Arahi 6 and Clifton 9. I will use my experience to help you better understand these two Hoka shoe models. By the end of this article, it should be clear which model suits your foot type and running style. So make sure you stick with me to the end!

Hoka Arahi 6 Overview: main features

The Arahi 6 is a stability shoe. It is suitable for runners looking for something supportive for their trail runs. It can effectively prevent overpronation. It will also be a good choice if you want something for tempo workouts.

Its most distinctive feature is the J-frame midsole. But it also has meta-rocker geometry and a wide base.

Hoka Arahi 6 Overview: main features
  • J-Frame midsole support: Hoka uses a firmer piece of foam for extra support. The foam runs along the shoe’s medial side. It guides the foot and prevents it from rolling inwards. This way, overpronators are guaranteed a comfortable ride. 
  • Meta-Rocker geometry: This design feature helps to create a smooth and efficient gait. The rockered sole encourages the foot to roll forward. The more natural foot gait helps minimize fatigue.
  • Cushion midsole: While this is a stability shoe, it still has decent cushioning. The balanced cushioning is protective enough but still maintains a responsive toe-off.
  • Wide base: The Arahi 6 has a wider base than many other Hoka stability shoes. The base helps to provide stability and prevent the foot from rolling inward. It further makes it perfect for overpronators.
  • Zonal outsole rubber: Hoka adds zonal rubber to the sole. This improves the traction and makes the outsole more durable.

Arahi 6’s distinctive features combine to give runners an unforgettable running experience. One of my running companions, Chris just can’t get enough of this shoe. Chris is a severe overpronator who always has difficulty finding a good running shoe. Arahi 6 is one of the few shoes that can actually control his overpronation. According to him, the best part is they do it without feeling too heavy or clunky.

I have also worn the shoes for over 400 miles. While I am not a severe overpronator like Chris, I love the support. The J-frame keeps your foot in place and does not feel too stiff. And the fit is just snug enough. Their size 9 is true to size for me.

Hoka Clifton 9 Overview: main features

The Clifton 9 is Hoka’s lightweight, cushioned neutral shoe. It is designed for logging daily miles. This versatile shoe works well for those seeking a responsive yet soft and springy feel. It has balanced cushioning and neutral stability.

Here is an overview of its most distinctive features:

Hoka Clifton 9 Overview: main features
  • Engineered knit upper: Cliftons have one of the best upper materials. The engineered knit upper is super breathable. It also hugs the feet nicely to ensure maximum comfort. Many runners that I know admit that it has a sock-like fit.
  • Soft and bouncy midsole: The midsole foam is softer and more responsive. Runners get a comfortable and cushioned ride. The feel and level of comfort are perfect for long runs and daily training.
  • Meta-Rocker geometry: This is a design feature that this shoe shares with Arahi 6. It helps create a smooth and efficient gait. The rockered sole encourages the foot to roll forward naturally. It is, hence, effective at minimizing foot fatigue. I no longer worry about tired feet after my weekly long runs.
  • Durabrasion outsole: Unlike Arahi 6, the Clifton 9 has a rubber sole. The durabrasion rubber outsole guarantees longevity. Many runners also love the traction. You never have to worry about slippage, whether running indoors or outdoors.

While I have not worn the Clifton 9 for as long as Arahi 6, I am certain I have clocked at least 200 to 300 miles. I prefer them for my long weekend trail runs. They have just the right balance of support and cushioning. I never have to worry about ending up with sore, tired feet.

My running companions have varying opinions on the Clifton 9. One of my running partners, Sarah, finds the Clifton 9 lighter and more comfortable. She prefers it over all other Cliftons. According to Sarah, the difference is like night and day. She says that with Clifton 9s she can finally run pain-free.

Hoka Arahi 6 vs Clifton 9: 7 Main Differences

I have both Arahi 6 and Clifton 9 running shoes. Naturally, I already have a favorite. And so I might be a little biased. However, I will use the running experiences of my friends Chris and Sarah to compare these shoes. This way, you get the most factual and unbiased opinions.

Hoka Arahi 6 vs Clifton 9 Check 7 Differences Before Buying

1. Weight Comparison

Sarah and Chris are very picky when it comes to running shoes. One thing they have in common, though, is that they both hate heavy shoes. Sarah would be happy to run barefoot rather than wear heavy shoes. At one point during a trail run, she removed her clunky off-brand shoes and ran barefoot for over a mile.

Clifton 9 is the clear choice for her here. She loves their super lightweight feel and nice cushioning. Clifton 9s for women weigh just 7.3 ounces, while the men’s model weighs 8.7 ounces. Arahi 6’s are relatively heavier. The women’s model weighs 7.8 ounces, while the men’s version weighs 9.3 ounces.

Overall, Cliftons will feel lighter on your feet. You can hence run for longer distances without too much foot fatigue. You can clearly feel there is less load on your feet. Clifttons will also be more agile and responsive. This makes them perfect for quick runs and speed workouts.

The extra weight of the Arahis can make them feel sluggish. If you prefer lightweight shoes like my friend Sarah, they can be a little tiring to run in for you.

2. Cushioning Comparison

There are generally two kinds of runners when it comes to cushioning. Some, like me, prefer something moderate to maintain responsiveness. Others, like Chris, my overpronator friend, prefer plush cushioning. 

There is, however, little cushioning difference between these two shoes. Both are under Hoka’s Balanced cushioning category. Hoka has 3 cushioning categories. The other two are responsive and balanced.

The most significant difference in their cushioning is the material and feel. For instance, Clifton 9 has a Compression molded EVA foam midsole. This cushioning material provides decent cushioning without making the shoe too heavy,

Arahi 6 also uses EVA foam for the cushioning. The difference is that its midsole is dual-density with a J-frame structure. Arahi 6 cushioning will hence feel a little firmer than Clifton 9. This cushioning is still comfortable enough. But it will not give you the same responsiveness as Clifton 9.

My conclusion would be that both shoes have comfortable cushioning. However, if you are looking for more responsiveness, go for Clifton. If you want something firmer and more stable, Arahi 6 is your best bet.

3. Stability Comparison

If feedback from my runner friends is anything to go by, stability between these shoes is quite clear.

Arahi 6 is a stability shoe, while Clifton 9 is a neutral shoe. Like cushioning, Hoka also has 3 categories of stability:

  • Neutral: Neutral shoes like Clifton 9 have a symmetrical cushioning bed. They do not have any additional technology for support.
  • Moderate: These shoes have some stability features. They have the Active Foot frame and a wide base. This category can work for moderate overpronators and neutral gait runners.
  • Stable: Arahi 6 falls in this category. These shoes have the J-Frame technology. The tech prevents the inward roll of the foot when running. It achieves this without overcorrecting the gait. The shoe is the most ideal for overpronators.

From the categories, it is clear that Arahi 6s offer enhanced stability. This explains why my overpronating friend Chris loves them. According to him, the shoes give him a more natural running gait. He says they correct his overpronation without overdoing things. The J-Frame works with the wider shoe base to create one of the most stable running shoes on the market.

Clifton 9s don’t have a J-Frame. The little support that you get is from the EVA foam cushioning. This might not be adequate if you have problematic feet. Still, it is enough to ensure a comfortable ride for neutral runners like Sarah and me.

4. Outsole Grippiness Comparison

From my experience, Hoka shoes are generally not the grippiest. And this is more so when compared to other top brands. Still, both Arahi 6 and Clifton 9 should provide adequate grip for safe running on most surfaces.

The outsole on Arahi 6 is not entirely rubber. Rather, it has a zonal rubber design. The zonal rubber lugs are meant to enhance sole durability. Also, they help with the grip. The sole also has more multidirectional lug patterns. The lugs also look deeper compared to Clifton 9.  These deeper lugs ensure good traction even on wet and slippery surfaces. The segmentation of the lugs also makes the shoe a little more flexible.

Clifton 9s have an entirely rubber outsole. The sole is typically made from a blown rubber compound. This softer rubber material helps enhance the shoe’s overall cushioning. I also love that the outsole has less aggressive lug patterns. The lugs are also shallower. While they are not the best for wet conditions, I find them perfect for dry surfaces. They work fine for sufaces like concrete and pavement. The only thing I would like Hoka to improve is to make the lugs more flexible. A little segmentation would help with this.

5. Sizing and Fit Comparison

Both Arahi 6 and Clifton 9 mostly run true to size.  A few of my friends with wider feet went half a size up. For most people, however, the fit should be true to size.

With that said, the fit still feels a little different. I will make this clear by explaining how the different parts of the shoe feel for each model.

  • Toe Box: The toe box on the Arahi 6 is a little wider. The extra room makes it more beneficial for runners who have wider feet. The toe box on Clifton 9 is more standard size. It is, hence, perfect for runners who want their shoes to be snug.
  • Midfoot: Arahi 6s J-Frame makes the midfoot feel firmer than Clifton 9. This is meant to provide extra support. Clifton 9s have a more flexible midfoot. The flexibility is perfect for runners who prefer a more bare-foot-like feel.
  • Heel: The heel fit is quite subjective, as different runners have different preferences. Overall, Arahi 6 has a deeper heel cup compared to Clifton 9. The deep heel cup helps with stability by keeping the foot in place. With Clifton 9, a shallow heel cup provides a better fit for runners with narrow heels.
  • Overall Volume: Arahi 6 has a more voluminous fit, while Clifton 9 has a somewhat average fit. Arahi 6 is perfect for runners who want more space. Clifton 9 is better for those who want something snug.

I advise trying out both shoes and choosing the fit you like most. And this is because both run true to size for most people. However, Arahi 6 is a good pick if you prefer something more spacious. If you want a snug fit, go for Clifton 9s.

6. Ideal Uses Comparison

As a runner, I have bought several shoes for a specific purpose and ended up using them for others. Many runners will agree that once you have that shoe in the house, it becomes multipurpose. I have also seen my friend Chris wear his trail runners to the gym. 

That said, Arani 6 and Clifton 9 are super versatile. Regardless of which model you choose, it will work well for most of your runs. However, the Arahi 6 is a more specialist shoe. It is ideal for overpronators, given its stable design. Clifton 9 is a more all-purpose shoe. You can wear it for most runs and even as a stylish streetwear.

Here is an overview of the  best uses for each shoe:

Arahi 6

  • Overpronators looking for maximum support
  • Tempo workouts as the stable design can prevent injuries
  • Trail runs as it has a grippier outsole
  • Heavier runners as the J-frame helps support the weight

Clifton 9

  • Neutral runners looking for comfort
  • Daily runs, as it is lighter and more flexible
  • Recovery runs thanks to the nice cushioning
  • Long races as it minimizes foot fatigue
  • Road runs as it is lighter

7. Price Comparison: Are they worth the investment?

Arahi 6 will be a little more expensive than the Clifton 9. Having bought both models, I can tell you that the difference is often insignificant. Unless, of course, you are shopping on a very tight budget.

Hoka is a premium shoe brand famous for making some of the best quality running shoes. You should be ready to spend more cash to get it. And this is regardless of whether you go for the Arahi or Clifton models.

Their shoe prices will typically range between $100 and $200. However, a few models, like Hoka  Rocket X 2, can cost a little more than this.

On average, the Arahi 6 will cost between $130 and $140 in most retail stores. Clifton 9s will set you back $140 to $150.

While I know you can get a running shoe for a fraction of these price ranges, the quality is different. The service life and performance you get from both shoes make them worth every buck.

Conclusion

Arahi 6 and Clifton 9 are two amazing shoe models from a top-tier brand. Arahi 6 is a stability shoe that will be perfect for overpronators. Clifton 9 is a neutral shoe that works perfectly for runners with a neutral gait.

It should hence now be clear which one will work well for you. Still, if you want something for daily workouts and recovery runs, Clifton 9 is perfect. If you are more into tempo workouts and trail runs, Arahi 6 should serve you well.

All in all, you will be okay with either of the two. The quality and performance of both are up there with the best shoes in the market. You only need to pick what suits your running needs and foot type. Once you do this, you can be sure of the best running experience.

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