Hoka Bondi 7 Review
by iRUN Singapore on January 28, 2022
The Clifton might be the most popular and bestselling Hoka trainer but if you're looking for the unadulterated, purest Hoka experience, the Bondi is the shoe that you should get.
The Bondi represents everything that makes Hoka such a unique brand of running shoe. It has the thickest midsole of all the Hokas, it has an energy-saving Meta-Rocker geometry and it has a wealth of cushioning.
You can think of the Bondi as the big brother to the Clifton. It has even more cushioning, more upper padding and a higher level of durability.
The Bondi is designed to be Hoka’s max-cushioned trainer in their performance running range so it's supposed to be their softest, most cushioned running shoe. It measures 33 mm in the heel and 29 mm in the forefoot so it's a very tall shoe.
The 7th version of the Bondi is an upper only update so it maintains the same midsole and outsole as the Bondi 6. The modified upper of the Bondi 7 improves comfort, fit and it reduces the weight by 6 g (for a men's standard size).
The Bondi 7 competes with other max-cushioned trainers such as the Saucony Triumph 19 (300 g), the Adidas Ultraboost 22 (335 g), the Nike Invincible Run (278 g) and the ASICS Nimbus 24 (289 g) so the Bondi 7 has a competitive weight of 303 g for a men's 9.
Men (303 g), Women (252 g)
The Bondi 7 has a comfortable upper which doesn't feel excessively padded so it's suitable for warm temperatures unlike other max cushioned trainers.
The biggest change to the Bondi 7’s upper is its collar. It's now much plusher and generously filled with memory foam. This new memory foam conforms to your ankle and heel areas so foot lockdown is exceptional. There is no heel slippage.
The tongue of the Bondi 7 is not gusseted but it is wide so there is no lateral tongue slide. It's shorter than most tongues so it doesn't irritate the base of the ankle, even when you are wearing hidden socks or no socks at all.
The Bondi 7 is made of soft, multi-directional engineered mesh which doesn't stretch. It has ventilation areas on the top of the toe box and on the midfoot panels.
Overlays around the sides of the toe box, the midfoot, and rearfoot provide structure and extra protection from daily wear and tear.
A thick, ribbon-style heel pull tab makes it more convenient to pull the shoe on. This is no longer a feature that's found on the Clifton 8.
The Bondi 7 has a super narrow fit which is suitable for only very narrow feet but luckily it comes in a wide version which most runners with normal width or wide feet will need to purchase.
The Bondi 7's midsole looks a lot thicker than 40 mm but the sidewalls are raised quite high so your foot sits deep inside the midsole. This leads to a very high level of stability.
Its midsole is made from compression molded EVA which doesn't have much give to it unlike other midsole materials such as TPU or PEBA. This makes the Bondi 7 very supportive and an excellent choice for heavy runners.
The Bondi 7’s Meta-Rocker is early stage which means its heel and its forefoot curve upwards to promote a forward-rolling effect during transitions. During long runs, the Meta-Rocker geometry saves you energy and makes the ride feel more efficient.
The forefoot of the Bondi 7 is thick and very stiff so it doesn't flex much during transitions. This helps the forefoot rocker to roll you forward instead of bending at the forefoot, increasing efficiency.
Unlike the Clifton 8, the Bondi 7's midsole doesn't have any diagonal slits cut into its heel, so there is less foam compression during feel strikes. As a result, the Bondi feels slightly firmer than the Clifton.
On the softness scale, the Bondi 7 is firmer than the Ultraboost 22, Nimbus 24 and Invincible Run but it still has a very well cushioned ride. You can think of the Bondi as a bigger, thicker, firmer pillow.
The Bondi 7 has a full ground contact outsole with blown rubber concentrated on the forefoot and the rearfoot areas. The midfoot area has exposed midsole foam as it's not a high wear area so it doesn't need any protection.
The forefoot of the Bondi has 2 deep horizontal flex grooves which prevent the shoe from being too stiff and result in a more natural ride.
All the lugs have textured patterns to grip the ground better so it should come as no surprise that the Bondi 7 has fantastic grip, even in wet conditions.
The Bondi 7's exposed midsole foam is more abrasion resistant than most midsole foams and the outsole rubber is also relatively firm so the Bondi’s outsole won't wear out prematurely. You should be able to get at least 600 km out of the Bondi 7.
The Bondi 7 excels at slow, easy and recovery runs. It's a large shoe with a voluminous midsole so it's not a trainer that you want to bring out for any type of fast effort or speed work.
It has smooth transitions which feel very natural thanks to its full contact outsole and its wide, stable base. The EVA midsole is also single-density and made of one continuous chunk of foam so the ride feels even smoother.
The Meta-Rocker geometry of the Bondi 7 stops it from feeling sluggish during transitions. It feels as if you don't have to work as hard to get from heel to forefoot so it's easy to get into a rhythm during runs.
The Bondi 7 makes easy work of any distance. It has enough deep cushioning for marathons or even ultras and its upper is comfortable enough to be worn for hours on end.
The low, 4 mm drop of the Bondi 7 is easy on the calves and is perfect for heel strikers, midfoot or forefoot strikers because the midsole cushioning is evenly distributed.
The Bondi 7 is a little bit less versatile than the Clifton mainly due to its heavier weight so the Bondi is a shoe that you pick up when you want to run slowly.
The Bondi 7 has exactly the same midsole and outsole as the Bondi 6 but it has a more comfortable upper and it's lighter so it's definitely an improvement.
The new memory foam collar makes the Bondi 7 feel plusher and more luxurious so it has improved step-in feel.
If you're looking for a very well-cushioned, maximalist trainer for mainly slow runs or walking, the Bondi 7 is a great choice. It has excellent stability and a Meta-Rocker geometry that improves efficiency by saving you energy during each footstrike.
There are a couple things that you need to be careful of when it comes to the Bondi 7: the standard width has a very narrow fit and it doesn't have as soft a ride as other max-cushioned trainers in its class.
In a Hoka shoe rotation, the Bondi 7 pairs perfectly with the Clifton 8/Mach 4 as an easy day shoe, with the Clifton/Mach for daily training, and the Rincon 3 for speed work.
Reviewed by Brandon Law