I’ll be completely blunt— of all of the HOKA trainers, the Bondi has traditionally been certainly one of my least favourite. It’s not a foul shoe, or it wouldn’t be HOKA’s bestseller or probably the most standard fashions for marathoners. With the brand new 8 mannequin comes a shift.
I’ve simply all the time discovered the big, outsized profile of the Bondi to really feel clunky and cumbersome to hold by my gait. However after testing the Bondi 8, I retract my earlier remark. Within the correct use case, I discovered the all-new Bondi 8 to be one of many higher sneakers within the HOKA line.
Briefly: If the prior fashions of HOKA’s Bondi had been additionally by no means your favourite, this overview is for you. Right here’s why I modified my thoughts.
HOKA Bondi 8 Assessment
Bondi 8 Specs
- Weight: 10.8 oz (males), 8.9 oz (ladies)
- Drop: 4 mm
- Stack top: 33mm/29mm (males), 31mm/27mm (ladies)
- Worth: $165
Testing the Bondi 8
Out of the field, the Bondi 8 is a a lot better (dare I say much less dad) trying shoe. The mesh higher is a cleaner, extra coherent sample than the Bondi 7, whereas deep horizontal grooves within the midsole with a beveled heel give the brand new Bondi a extra fashionable look.
One of many extra noticeable adjustments over its predecessor is the flaring midsole, particularly below the heel. We’ve seen this design throughout a number of HOKA fashions now, together with the Bondi X, Mach 5, and Carbon X 3, and from different manufacturers.
From a design and practical standpoint, a wider footprint makes a shoe extra secure as you land. That is particularly vital for sneakers with a delicate midsole, just like the Bondi. Including predominantly horizontal groves all through the midsole gives a softer expertise for heel strikers.
I discovered the brand new billowed geometry to present the Bondi a extra secure, grounded really feel, one thing heel strikers and greater runners will recognize. On the similar time, the broader footprint additionally elevated the mass of an already outsized shoe, so if you happen to thought the Bondi 7 felt big, the Bondi 8 feels barely bigger.
HOKA lists the stack heights as 33mm/29mm for males and 31mm/27mm for ladies, which is basically shocking to me. It feels a lot taller. By at the moment’s requirements, the place trainers are getting thicker and thicker because of lighter foams, 33 millimeters (31mm for ladies) below the heel barely qualifies as maximum-cushioned.
To place this in perspective, in comparison with different manufacturers’ maximum-cushioned sneakers, the Brooks Glycerin 20 and Asics Novablast 3 have 38 millimeters, and New Steadiness 1080 v12 has 34 millimeters. Regardless of this, I assumed the Bondi 8 nonetheless felt very very similar to a maximum-cushioned working shoe.
The step-in consolation is off the charts, which I feel is why it sells so nicely. Your foot is straight away welcomed with an ultra-soft Ortholite sock liner. It nonetheless has a reminiscence foam heel collar however beefs up the padding all through the tongue for added consolation when the laces are cinched tight.
Who the Bondi Is For
The Bondi 8 just isn’t a quick, responsive shoe by any means, nor does it attempt to be. Its candy spot lies within the leisurely run tempo to the strolling vary. That is the place I went unsuitable with earlier variations of the Bondi. I used to be judging it based mostly on a quicker tempo than it was meant for.
As a result of giant mass of the shoe, it lends itself to a short-cycle leg swing somewhat than the high-leg swing I’ve throughout my regular paces. As soon as I embraced this and slowed my tempo right down to a shorter leg swing, the Bondi 8 actually got here alive.
The HOKA Bondi has all the time been one of many best-cushioned sneakers you should purchase, and the Bondi 8 follows go well with. Personally, with my 5’8″ and 135 lb body, the Bondi 8 is method an excessive amount of shoe for me to make use of as a day by day coach. I a lot want the Clifton 8 for on a regular basis working. I discovered the Bondi 8’s candy spot as a restoration run shoe.
Its soft-underfoot feeling and secure platform are precisely what I would like when my legs are sore and achy from the day before today’s laborious exercise. To not point out, it’s probably the most snug strolling sneakers.
With that being mentioned, if you happen to’re an even bigger (than me) runner or favored the Bondi 7, you’ll love the Bondi 8. The updates give it a contact softer, extra secure experience with a extra snug higher, particularly across the heel collar and tongue. It additionally has a cleaner and extra fashionable aesthetic.
I’d simply warning these with wider toes to think about buying the broad (EE) or x-wide (EEEE) variations, because the common (D) Bondi 8 runs fairly slender.