Hoka Rincon vs Clifton: Check 6 Key Differences Before Buying

The visual appeal of Hoka Rincon and Clifton 9 is almost the same. But are there any differences in their features? Has Hoka really made the same shoes again with a slight difference in weight?

If you’re also concerned about the same look of both shoes and want to dive into the details, you’re at the right place! After collecting tons of reviews and testing both models, we finally understood that there’s more to both models than their looks.

Hoka Rincon is known for its lightweight and fast feel. Hoka Clifton is a daily trainer focused on cushioning.

Keep reading till the end to unlock the tiniest details that make both models different.

hoka rincon vs clifton: Key Features and Specs differences

1. weight

The weight is perhaps the key difference between the Hoka Clifton 9 and Rincon.

While Clifton 9 weighs 8.7 oz, the weight of Rincon shoes is only 7.3 oz. This difference accounts for a huge change in the running experience and feel of the shoes.

Runners who prefer a lightweight design will love the Rincon because they don’t feel heavy. Thus, you can run for several miles without your feet getting tired. On the other hand, the weight of Hoka Clifton 9 is basically due to its cushioning. It will seem light to some runners, but it still isn’t better than Rincon in terms of weight. Still, you can get a lightweight running experience in Clifton 9.

2. cushioning

As we said earlier, Hoka Clifton 9 focuses more on cushioning. It comes with a plush feel aimed to make you feel like walking on the clouds. This plush cushioning also comes with a responsive feel and soft bounce as you run. On the other hand, Rincon also has an EVA midsole. While the amount of padding is less than Clifton 9, you can still expect a soft and cushy feel while running.

Overall, Clifton 9 has more responsive cushioning with a thicker midsole stack height.

hoka rincon

3. Drop

When talking about the drop, we noticed there isn’t any difference between both shoes. Both Rincon and Clifton 9 have a heel-to-toe drop of 5mm. However, the stack height accounts for a big difference. The heel stack height of Clifton 9 is 40mm, while that of Rincon is only 29mm. This is primarily because Clifton 9 has more cushioning.

In terms of running experience, Clifton 9 will give a more plush feel. Runners who want a better ground feel with cushioning should opt for Rincon.

4. Outsole

The outsole of both shoes is also a key difference between them. Hoka Clifton consists of Durabrasion rubber that can stand the test of time. This rigid rubber sole and the heavy weight of Clifton 9 make it suitable for longer and slower runs. While the sole is already strong, the added rubber pads contribute more to its stability.

The outsole of Rincon shoes consists of Hi-abrasion rubber. The only drawback is that Rincon has more exposed foam in its outsole area. This foam sheds over time and accounts for less durability. Thus, Clifton has better traction and durability compared to Rincon.

5. sizing

In terms of sizing, Hoka Rincon is famous for being true to size. However, we noticed that Rincon can run small for some people. Therefore, ordering half a size up is still better. 

On the other hand, the extra cushioning in Clifton 9 is the reason for its snug fit. Runners with wide feet might not like the fit. Upon testing and running, we also noticed that the shoes are a bit tighter in the forefoot and midfoot area.

6. Upper

Now, let’s talk about the upper. Personally, we love the upper of Clifton shoes. Rincon is still a better option for neutral runners. Both shoes have an engineered mesh upper. It is breathable and flexible enough to allow movements inside the shoes while running.

However, Clifton 9 has structured overlays that account for extra support. These overlays also ensure durability and allow a snug fit.

hoka clifton 9 images

How the Shoes Fit on Feet

While looking the same, both shoes give a different fit on the feet. Rincon fits snugly with less structure. Clifton 9 will appeal to more foot shapes with its secure midfoot wrap.

Upon testing Hoka Rincon, we noticed that the shoes give a soft feel with cushioning and a breathable upper. The structured design of the shoes offers a sock-like fit in the midfoot, which also extends to the heel. However, the design and padding give extra space lengthwise but feel narrow on the sides. Thus, the shoes tend to run slightly short and also leave less room for toe splay.

In the upper, Rincon has used a breathable and flexible material. This material allows maximum spreading while running and increased flexibility. But, the lack of overlays also leads to less support. Therefore, we recommend that Rincon shoes are best for narrow to average-width feet.

On the other hand, Clifton 9 comes with a wider toe box. This wide toe box is ideal for people who want extra room in the forefoot without a snug fit. We also noticed that it allows the toes to spread naturally while running. We like the midfoot panels, as they are a bonus! These panels play a huge role in locking the feet in the middle of the shoes. Thus, you get a secure feel while running without the feet moving and rolling to the sides.

We also loved the underfoot feeling combined with the cushioning and rigid outsole. The outsole design gives a more structured and substantial feel underfoot, resulting in smooth rides. With the wider toe box, Clifton 9 accommodates wider feet better than Rincon.

Ideal Use Cases and Running Styles

After getting all the tiny details of the shoes, you must be concerned about their use cases. We’re pretty sure you would have guessed that by now. But let’s get to know more about the use cases and running styles that will match Clifton and Rincon.

The lightweight design and features of Rincon makes them ideal for speedwork and tempo runs. The springy feel and ability of the shoes to push feet forward makes them ideal for long-distance running. Therefore, we also recommend these shoes for races 5k to half marathon.

The outsole design and rigid sole will also suit runners who want a soft and cushioned feel at faster paces.

hoka rincon 3

However, as the shoes have less stability and support mechanisms, we believe they are good for efficient runners who don’t overpronate. In that case, Rincons can perform great on the ground. Also, due to the snug design, these shoes will be great for runners who have narrow or average-width feet.

On the other hand, you should reach for Clifton if your preference is high-mileage training and long-distance racing. The cushioning and soft feel of the shoes is the reason we recommend them for recovery days and easy mileage. However, if you just prefer cushioning and support with a less ground feel, Clifton 9 can be a great choice!

As these shoes are available in wider options too, runners with wide feet and mild overpronation can give them a try. Plus, we also observed that these shoes are durable enough for moderate trails.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are the Main Differences Between the Rincon and Clifton?

The key difference is that the Rincon is lighter than the Clifton. However, the extra cushioning of Clifton makes it better in terms of a smooth and cushy ride. The Clifton has more traction and durability, which leads to better ride transitions. On the other hand, the Rincon has more exposed foam in the outsole, which makes it less durable than the Clifton.

The support and stability of Clifton is also better than the Rincon. This is due to the extra cushioning and rigid sole.

Hoka Rincon vs Clifton, which shoe is more durable?

The Clifton tends to be more durable because it has structured overlays in the upper. They are flexible and prevent wear and tear while running. The midsole consists of EVA foam, which is durable and flexible to provide comfort for hundreds of miles. On the other hand, the Rincon has more exposed foam, which can shed over time.

The outsole of the Clifton is also made of rubber. It is much more durable than that of the Rincon.

Hoka Rincon vs Clifton, which shoe is best for speedwork?

For speedwork, the Rincon would be the better choice since it has a lightweight performance. The shoes have a streamlined design and tend to push the feet forward. All of this combines to provide a smooth ride during short intervals and speedwork.

Apart from this, the durable upper and cushioning also make it suitable for speedworks. The shoes provide maximum flexibility and cover the feet to protect them from all angles.

How often do I need to replace Hoka Rincon and Clifton?

Most runners can expect around 300-500 miles before considering replacement, but factors like the usage and terrain also play a huge role. Therefore, tracking the shoe performance on the number of miles might not be the best idea.

If you use the shoes daily on rough and dirty terrains, you will degrade their lifespan. Apart from that, cleaning and storing the shoes in the right condition will also determine their life.

Final Takeaways and Recommendations

While Hoka has great cushioning and support, the Rincon is a lightweight daily trainer for speedy runs. Both the shoes are great in terms of cushioning, but the Rincon leans faster, while the Clifton is softer.

It is better to get the shoes on your feet to see which upper, ride and fit works for you. Apart from this, you should also consider goals and typical running surfaces when deciding. Also, rotation between both models can optimize the training and longevity of your running shoes.

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