Hoka vS. On Cloud For Walking a Comparative Analysis:- Tested and Approved!

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Written by Brian Sweet

Welcome, sport shoe enthusiasts, to another dive into the world of walking and running footwear. As a head-to-head with Hoka vs On Cloud for walking, today I’m thrilled to share my personal experience and insights after extensively testing both the Hoka Clifton L GTX and the On Cloud Cloudnova.

Or should that be On Running Cloudnova or just ON Cloudnova? We’ll stick with On Cloud for now but officially I believe it’s just ON.

This article includes affiliate links. If you choose to purchase any of the products we have discussed in this article, we may receive a small commission.

Buckle up (or rather, lace up), as we embark on a short journey through these fantastic contenders!

To waste no time the following is our deliverance on the real pros and cons of Hoka and ON Cloud shoe models with a focus on the Hoka Clifton L GTX and the ON Cloudnova.


What’s good…

Nice walking shoes. Comfy when on your feet all day even on hard surfaces like concrete. I traipsed around two food festivals all day and my feet felt good at the end of it, although feet were warm.

Good cushioning and a responsive feel when walking with a moderate heel-to-toe drop.

This Hoka model is waterproof and the ON model isn’t. We’ve chosen the Gortex version of the Clifton so not really apples for apples.

They are easy to clean especially the outer. Just use hot soapy water.

They are a neutral shoe ideal for feet that don’t require any stabilizing additions to compensate for untoward pronation. They are also neutral in terms of gender – i.e. unisex.

The black ones are smart enough for most to be worn for less casual affairs.

If you do get the urge to burst into a quick run this Hoka model is the more suitable of the 2 models. I found little difference over short runs with the cushioning and responsiveness of the Clifton L and other “running” models of Hoka.

Large toe box but no extra wide option.

What’s not so good…

Slightly narrow; more so than Hoka Bondi models for example

You will likely have to size down by a half size.

Not so breathable as you might like.

Uppers were prone to wear quickly. I have worn many different Hoka models over the years and I think they have to watch their overall quality which is slipping.

Not an extra-wide option and I love the black ones but there could be more colors to choose from.

ON Cloud

What’s good…

There is no doubt that the Cloudnova is more of a lifestyle choice of shoes and for the aesthetic, I and many wearers, approve – they look pretty good.

Supportive when walking. They have a hard feel but they do break in after time.

A plush sock liner under the tongue.

Durable: more so than the Hokas.

This specific model fits wider than some of the other ON shoes I’ve tried which may please some.

What’s not so good…

These shoes are not really designed for walking and certainly not for running in my view.

The heel-to-toe drop is just too much for me putting pressure on the toe as you roll through with your gait.

I found that the soles tend to attract grit and small stones in the outsoles which is a pain. I had to keep stopping on a trail to move the little irritants.

Not easy to clean, especially the light-colored models but higher quality materials.

The firm “speed board” is close to the foot and is not that cloud-like. The ON models Cloudmonster and Cloudsurfer are more cushioned and are more of a running shoe.

ON Running look like they’re moving towards full-on running shoes with athletes endorsements and using other marketing ploys.

Not that bouncy and not responsive. But, hey, they look good!

Overview: Tested, Trusted, and True

Hoka Clifton L GTX: Defying Elements, Delivering Comfort

Hoka Clifton L GTX

My feet had the pleasure of slipping into the Hoka Clifton L GTX, and boy, did they feel snug! And as someone who values waterproof protection, this shoe provided the answer.

The combination of waterproof leather and coated ripstop materials made rainy days a breeze – no more soggy socks to ruin my outings. The GORE-TEX bootie construction truly lived up to its promise, shielding my feet from unexpected water hazards.

The heel-to-toe drop was a mere 5mm although you would be forgiven for thinking it was a lot more. With the Clifton as with most other Hoka models the outer and midsole are very substantial providing that extra cushioning from heel all the way to toe.

The cushioning was like stepping onto a cloud – (ruthlessly stealing ON Running marketing). The CMEVA midsole provided a balanced blend of comfort and responsiveness.

My walks turned into mini-adventures, where I could leisurely stroll or pick up the pace without missing a beat.

On Running Cloudnova: Where Performance Meets Style

Sliding into the ON Cloudnova was like stepping into a realm of style and function. The unique ‘heel tongue’ and inner sock design offered a superior step-in feel – a sensation of soft support that’s tough to match. With its high 14mm heel-to-toe drop and Speedboard™ technology, the Cloudnova was my personal launchpad.

Such a high drop of 14mm is not normally one which I would choose but it was fine in fact each stride was met with propulsion that egged me on to explore further and faster.

We mentioned the cloud-like cushioning of the Hoka but the team at ON Running decided on the simile, “like running on clouds” in their marketing campaigns.

They achieve their “cloud cushioning” with Cloudtec™, a design of pods in the sole that compress both laterally and vertically but it is still too firm a feel for me.

And let’s talk about the design – a blend of performance and fashion that turned heads wherever I went. Whether it was a leisurely walk or a city exploration, the Cloudnova was ready to roll.

In fact, in some middle-class areas, the target demographic seems to exclusively enjoy what ON has to offer.

ON Cloudnova white shoes

Feature-by-Feature Comparison: From My Feet to Yours

Comfort and Fit: Feet in Paradise

As someone who values comfort above all, both shoes deliver. The Clifton L GTX’s symmetrical cushioning was a dream for my feet, creating a supportive yet plush environment. On the other hand, the Cloudnova’s ‘heel tongue’ and inner sock construction cradled my feet in a cozy embrace that lasted miles.

While this model of Hoka prioritized waterproof protection, the On Cloud focused on a snug fit that complemented its performance-oriented design. Perfect for long walks and urban adventures.

Performance and Responsiveness: Propelled Forward

Ah, performance – that exhilarating feeling of a shoe propelling you forward. The Clifton L GTX’s CMEVA midsole ensured a balanced stride, allowing a smooth transition from heel strike through the foot roll whether walking or the occasional running.

The On Cloud Cloudnova, however, with its Speedboard™ technology turned every step into a minor launchpad, propelling me with an enthusiastic bounce.

Whether I was in the mood for a leisurely stroll or a quick sprint, both shoes had my back, each catering to a different aspect of my walking experience.

Design and Aesthetics: Functional vs. Stylish

The eternal debate – function versus style. The Clifton L GTX focused on delivering waterproof protection without compromising on classic athletic design. It was all about functionality and dependable performance, which it delivered beautifully.

The Cloudnova, on the other hand, made a statement with its design. Not only did it perform well, but it also turned heads with its sleek silhouette and attention to detail.

Choosing between them felt like choosing between a classic roadster and a smart sports car – both excellent, but catering to different tastes.

On the street, it seems to me that the style of the On Cloud is winning. Anecdotally I see many more women wearing these shoes as casual wear. They just look less like sports shoes than the Hoka.

Durability and Weather Resistance: Battle-Tested

When it came to durability, both shoes look well-made enough to last. The Clifton L GTX’s waterproof leather and ripstop materials were armor against the elements.

The Cloudnova, however, surprised me with its rubber reinforcements that supported my natural foot motion and enhanced the shoe’s lifespan.

In terms of weather resistance, the Clifton L’s GORE-TEX bootie was a reliable shield, ensuring my walks remained dry and comfortable. So, whether you’re braving the elements or aiming for durability, both shoes were solid.

In terms of durability, the Hoka was let down by excess wear with the outer stitching and the uppers.

Pricing and Support: A Worthy Investment

Price tags and customer support are important considerations for any purchase. Both shoes are in the same price range, making the choice more about your personal priorities.

Customer support from both Hoka and On Cloud is commendable, ensuring that your investment is backed by assistance and care. Remember, a quality shoe is an investment in your well-being, and both brands are known for valuing their customers’ satisfaction.

Both ON Running and Hoka offer a 30-day money-back guarantee, free delivery on all fully priced items and often 10% off.

This article includes affiliate links. If you choose to purchase any of the products we have discussed in this article, we may receive a small commission.

The Verdict

In the battle between the Hoka and On Cloud as represented by their two models the Clifton L GTX and the Cloudnova, there’s no definitive winner but for me, it comes down to walking and looks.

If you’re seeking waterproof protection, cushioned comfort, and dependable performance, the Hoka Clifton L GTX is your trusty companion.

If you’re ready to infuse style into your urban adventures while enjoying positive propulsion, the On Cloudnova is your fashionable partner-in-crime.

I prefer the Hoka whenever I feel like breaking into a run. For the fashionistas, I would think the On Running Cloudnova is the preferred choice.

For hiking shoes I would look elsewhere.

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Mad keen runner of old. Now just mostly mad. But mad keen on researching the best and latest fitness-related information and products for a healthier and fitter midlife. Over 50 - most definitely. Qualified in Australia as a PT in Sports & Recreation.

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