Hoka Clifton 9 Vs ASICS Novablast 3: Which One’s Best?

Written By Sunny

Are you a runner looking for a new pair of everyday running shoes?

If so, the endless options in the market can feel quite overwhelming.

That’s why we are here to help you compare two of the most popular running shoes in the market: the Hoka Clifton 9 and the Asics Novablast 3.asics-novablast-3-vs-hoka-clifton-9

Let’s go through each fundamental aspect of these shoes and determine which one ticks the most boxes for you.

A Quick Rundown of the Asics Novablast 3 and Hoka Clifton 9

The Clifton and Novablast lineup both share a focus on delivering plush, comfortable, and smooth transitions.

As a result, these shoes are widely popular among runners seeking a well-cushioned daily trainer for easy runs, long distances, and recovery days.

These shoes also prioritize breathability and support but in a distinctly dissimilar way.

The first Hoka Clifton was released in 2014, with a low-profile cushion bed and a firmer midsole material for easy push-off. And through several iterations, HOKA has improved each and every aspect of these shoes.

Clifton 9 is currently the newest addition to this award-winning lineup.

Meanwhile, the Novablast franchise is a comparatively newer player in the market than the Clifton kicks.

Since 2020, Novablast has received 4 yearly updates, with Novablast 3 being the most notable one due to its exceptional daily training performance.

Speaking of which, check out how the Novablast 3 differs from the Nike Pegasus 40.

Technical Comparison between the Hoka Clifton 9 and ASICS Novablast 3

Despite both shoes being in the running category, Hoka and ASICS have implemented their own twists in these shoes. As a result, there are quite a few dissimilarities between the technical specifications of these shoes, which can affect your daily training experience.

So, let’s do a side-by-side feature comparison between the Hoka Clifton 9 and Asics Novablast 3 to get a better understanding.

AttributesHOKA Clifton 9ASICS Novablast 3
Release year20232022
Weight9.3oz(for US men’s size 9)8.9oz(for US men’s size 9)
Upper materialEngineered knit upper made with recycled materialJacquard mesh made with recycled material
MidsoleCompression-molded EVA foamFlyteFoam Blast Plus
CushioningMax cushion, plush and softModerate cushion, bouncy, and responsive
Stack height26-31mm23-31mm
Heel-to-toe drop5mm8mm
OutsoleZonal rubberAHAR(Asics High Abrasion Rubber)
Break-in periodMinimalOut of the box

Key Differences Between the Asics Novablast 3 and Hoka Clifton 9

I have been using the Clifton 9 and Novablast for the last couple of months and have covered over 300 miles with both of these shoes.

During my daily use, I have noticed some major and a few minor dissimilarities between these shoes, which can affect your purchase decision.

The following fundamental differences between the Asics Novablast 3 and Hoka Clifton 9 should help you pick the right one.

1. Upper Construction

From the overall design and aesthetics to the upper material technology, the Hoka Clifton 9 differs a lot compared to the Asics Novablast 3.

Let me explain!

Design Language

The Clifton 9 has a bold and chunky silhouette with a thick midsole.

Despite such a voluminous aesthetic, it has a streamlined look, thanks to the clean lines and subtle curves. Its modern vibe can be worn up or down with any casual outfit. It also has muted colorways, especially in the CORE category.

Not to mention, Hoka has kept the branding very subtle on this shoe, often blending the HOKA logo into its upper material.

The ASICS takes a completely different approach in the Novablast 3 by going with a more angular and performance-driven design.

It boasts sharp lines and pronounced transitions between the midsole and upper, conveying a sense of speed and dynamism. Its contrasting colorways and the visible logo make it a statement piece that identifies with the Asics brand.design-language-of-asics-novablast-3

This shoe also has reflective details and textured patterns to add a visually playful and energetic vibe.

Upper Material

To ensure a plush and comfortable feel, HOKA has utilized an engineered knit mesh upper in their Clifton 9 shoes.

This upper material has an open weave design to enhance breathability, while strategically placed overlays provide added structure and support. It also has a seamless construction that minimizes irritation or friction to offer a blister-free experience.

However, it’s not as lightweight as the jacquard mesh upper in the Novablast 3.

Speaking of Novablast, it also has seamless construction and textured weave to promote a luxurious feel and a perfect fit.

But it certainly felt short in the breathability aspect as my feet kept sweating during the summer runs.

Although ASICS hasn’t provided any official statement, both shoes are vegan-friendly and utilize recycled material for the majority of their construction.


The gusseted tongue on the Clifton 9 has a flatter profile with minimal cushioning. It offers adequate midfoot room and mitigates tongue migration.tongue-of-hoka-clifton-9

But it lacks the much-needed plushness for running sessions.

Switching over to the Novablast 3, it also has a gusseted tongue wing construction with more padding.

Tongue ConstructionHoka Clifton 9Asics Novablast 3
ThicknessThin and flatThick and plush

2. Midsole and Comfort

The HOKA Clifton 9 utilizes CMEVA(compression-molded ethylene-vinyl acetate) foam which excels in providing a plush, cloud-like underfoot feel. It’s a bit heavier but offers exceptionally good impact absorption and a sink-in sensation.

Such a thick midsole material is ideal for recovery or long runs.

However, Hoka’s much higher stack height and plush ride, due to such cushioning, might not be stable enough for fast-paced running or technical terrains.

That’s where the Novablast 3 starts to take the lead!midsole-and-comfort-of-asics-novablast-3

Asics’ in-house FF Blast Plus foam is much lighter and bouncier than Hoka’s CMEVA offering.

As a result, it provided a responsive and energetic ride throughout my daily training sessions. It has a much better balance between softness and responsiveness compared to the Clifton 9.

Furthermore, Novablast’s slightly lower stack height and stable platform offer mild support for overpronators and provide more control on uneven terrain.

3. Outsole and Durability

Both shoes have rubber lugs with tread patterns in their outsole to enhance grip on various surfaces.

The Clifton 9 has zonal rubber with varying densities to optimize durability based on wear patterns. This high-abrasion rubber is concentrated in the rearfoot area to promote heel-strike running style.

The Novablast 3, on the other hand, employs Asics’ proprietary AHAR outsole, which also has enough durability to cover any daily training activity.

However, I have noticed early signs of wear and tear in the forefoot area after a couple of long-running sessions. The Clifton 9 fared better in this regard.outsole-and-durability-of-hoka-clifton-9

4. Fit and Sizing

Both Clifton 9 and Novablast 3 generally run true-to-size with half-size options to accommodate larger foot shapes.

But they have different build profiles.

For example, the Hoka Clifton 9 has a slightly narrower midfoot area compared to the Asics Novablast 3.

I’d suggest going for a half-size up for Clifton if you have a wider foot shape.

Not to mention, the engineered mesh upper of the Hoka shoe molds around your feet to provide a personalized snug fit without feeling too restrictive.

The Asics Novablast has a slightly firmer and more structured upper than Clifton, which gives a more relaxed fit.

And that’s not all!

Toe Box

To be honest, there’s not much difference in the toe box between these shoes.

Both Clifton and Novablast have a roomier toe box with ample space to accommodate wider forefeet. So you don’t need to worry about blistering or bunions unless you have very sensitive skin.

In that case, I’d recommend wearing socks for both models.


The Clifton 9 has a traditional 5-eyelet lacing system with an additional eyelet for a complete heel lockdown fit.lacing-of-hoka-clifton-9

Meanwhile, the Novablast 3 from ASICS has a standard 5-eyelet lacing system for a simpler and easier lace-up process. It also has additional eyelets at the midfoot for a more customized fit.

Collar and Heel Counter

The Novablast 3 shoes have supportive heel counters that guide your feet with more control and allow natural foot strikes through every gait cycle.

However, its heel cup isn’t as snug and secure as the Clifton 9.

Furthermore, the Hoka’s runner has an extended collar with adequate padding for a comfortable ride. Despite having excellent ankle support, it can give a bit of a bulky and constricting feel during hot days.

If you’re concerned about such a fit, the Novablast 3 would be more suitable for you as it has a lower-cut collar with slightly less padding.

It feels more lightweight and flexible without giving up much comfort.collar-and-heel-counter-of-asics-novablast-3

5. Weight Distribution

Since the Novablast 3 is around 4 ounces lighter than the Clifton 9, it offers a much more relaxed and lightweight feel during long-running or training sessions.

So, keep that in mind if you’re worried about foot fatigue.

Additionally, Novablast’s weight is more concentrated in the rearfoot area due to its rockered geometry. Such a construction promotes a rolling forward motion, which is ideal for midfoot and heel strike running styles.

Bringing the Clifton 9 to the mix, its weight is more evenly distributed from heel to toe cap.

This creates a plush platform that is suitable for any running style, especially for those who land on the midfoot.

6. Running Performance

Both the Hoka Clifton 9 and Asics Novablast 3 are excellent neutral running shoes, but their running performance has slight variances.

As an example, the higher stack height and the softer foam of the HOKA Clifton 9 are not designed for fast-paced running. For that, you’ll need the energetic and responsive build of the ASICS Novablast 3.

Conversely, the Novablast is not as plush and soft as the Clifton shoe, making it less ideal for high-mileage, comfort seekers, or runners who need impact protection.

The Clifton 9 also has a decently stable platform. Any neutral runner would have a secure ride with this shoe thanks to its wider base and inherent cushioning.running-performance-of-hoka-clifton-9

That being said, it’s still not as stable and effective as the Novablast’s sole for mild overpronators.

Hence, the Hoka Clifton 9 is an ideal choice for slow runs, longer distances, or recovery days, while the Novablast 3 from ASICS is a more versatile daily trainer that can conquer any terrain.

7. Price to Value Ratio

Clifton 9 is around $5 more expensive than the Novablast 3 at their MSRP.

It may not seem much, but when you consider all the strengths and weaknesses of these shoes, it becomes clear that the Novablast 3 offers a bit better value proposition than the Hoka’s offering.

Not only that, you can find the Novablast 3 at a much cheaper price than its launched MSRP due to being a year older model than the Clifton 9.

Benefits and Drawbacks of the ASICS Novablast 3 and Hoka Clifton 9

Both the Novablast 3 and Clifton 9 are best for individual reasons. They also have a few drawbacks that might be a deal breaker for some potential buyers.

The following pros and cons of the Asics Novablast 3 and Hoka Clifton 9 should tell you more about it.

Asics Novablast 3

  • »Lighter and more responsive.
  • »Offers a bouncier, more energetic feel.
  • »Good stability with a medial post for some mild overpronation control.
  • »Out-of-the-box comfort due to a minimal break-in period.
  • »Slightly cheaper than the competitor.
  • »Less cushioning.
  • »Higher offset.
  • »Less plush upper.

Hoka Clifton 9

  • »Maximal cushioning for unparalleled comfort and shock absorption.
  • »Lower offset to promote a more natural midfoot strike.
  • »More comfortable and breathable upper.
  • »Durable outsole.
  • »Smoother toe-off transition.
  • »Feels bulkier.
  • »Slightly less responsive.
  • »More expensive.
  • »Less stable for overpronators.

Hoka Clifton 9 Vs Asics Novablast 3: Which Is the Better Pick For You?

If you’re looking for a versatile running and daily training shoe, the ASICS Novablast 3 would be a better choice than the Hoka Clifton 9, as it has a better sole construction suitable for any workout activities.

ASICS has also done a great job with Novablast’s geometry design as it has a nice balance of comfort and stability.

However, if you prefer plush cushioning and adequate breathability, the HOKA Clifton 9 might be a better deal for you.

No matter which runner you pick, I’d suggest trying out both shoes to check how they fit with your foot physique before you make a purchase decision.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do HOKAs fit compared to ASICS?

The majority of the HOKA and ASICS footwear have true-to-size fit. However, ASICS shoes may run slightly small compared to HOKAs, especially in some popular models like the Gel-Kayano or Gel-Nimbus.

Can I run a half-marathon in Asics Novablast 3?

Yes. You can run a half-marathon with the ASICS Novablast 3, but I wouldn’t recommend it for a full marathon over some dedicated shoes(like Nike Alphafly) built for such long runs.

Is Hoka Clifton 9 good for walking?

Yes. The HOKA Clifton 9 is generally considered an ideal shoe for walking due to its comfortable and supportive build quality.

About The Author
Sunny is all about action and activities. He finds it difficult to contain himself. Be it motorcycling, playing football, or exploring the great outdoors, he loves to keep his legs busy.Sunny quickly realized the importance of footwear to keep himself going healthily. This was when he decided to share all his knowledge and expertise regarding different footwear and their significance.Now, he’s on a mission with this humble platform by his side. With time he plans on doing bigger and better things.Apart from his writing and other hobbies, he loves spending time with his cat Sophie. He loves to cook for his friends and family too.

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