Hoka Bondi 8 Review
by iRUN Singapore on August 31, 2022
Weight: 315grams / 11.1oz (Men’s US 9)
Price: $249 SGD
Stack Height: 33/29mm (4mm drop)
Pros & Cons
Wide & Stable Platform
Wide Toe Box (2E Version)
Weight Decrease from Past Version
Foam is Less Lively than Competing Brands
Slightly Abrasive Arch Portion
I remember the first time trying a Hoka shoe a couple of years back: the Clifton 8. Then, The Hoka Clifton was considered one of the best all-rounder shoes. It used a compression moulded EVA foam midsole that was soft but not mushy. Fast forward to the present, compression moulded EVA foams have become technologies of the past. These have been replaced by Pebax, Nitrogen Infused EVA and TPU foams that are livelier, lighter and bouncier in comparison. Strangely, Hoka has chosen to stick with the same compression moulded EVA foams, tweaking them ever so slightly. This move has proved unwise, with Hoka slowly falling out of favour with the running community.
That being said, I have not run in a Bondi model before. The Bondi was designed to be a heavier and more cushioned Clifton. It is designed as a max cushioned trainer that competes with the likes of the Nike ZoomX Invincible Run, Adidas Adistar and Saucony Triumph to name a few.
Upper & Fit
The upper is made from an engineered mesh. Usually with max cushioned trainers, the upper is really thick and plush. Surprisingly, the amount of padding here in the Bondi 8 hits the sweet spot. It has sufficient padding in the ankle, tongue and overall upper to ensure comfort during the run while not being overly thick. This results in better breathability and a better fit compared to other max cushioned trainers.
I got my pair in true to size with a 2E width. Many of the standard width Hoka shoes are too narrow for my liking. Thankfully, the Bondi 8 came in a wider width option. The toe box has plenty of room for my feet to splay nicely, something I appreciate in my easy day shoes. Lockdown has been really good; I did not find myself needing to tie a heel lock lacing as I would have needed in other Hoka shoes (e.g., Kawana).
One gripe I have about the upper is the arch portion. I seem to face this issue with most Hoka shoes I’ve tried. There is some rubbing at the arch area that occasionally causes me blisters. I attribute this issue to Hoka’s bucket seat design where the midsole sidewalls ride upwards to provide more stability. I hope Hoka looks into this issue with their future iterations and models.
Midsole & Ride
The midsole comprises Hoka’s new compression moulded EVA foam. It’s said to be softer than their previous foam blends. The foam is plush but not mushy, though it lacks any sort of bounce you would find in newer foam technologies like PEBA and nitrogen infused EVA. It reminds me strongly of New Balance Fresh Foam X, which is also an EVA type midsole.
This thick stack of EVA results in a reliable and cushioned ride, although lacking any sort of fun. I’d take this shoe out solely for recovery days due to the weight and the lack of responsiveness. Hoka couples the midsole with an early-stage rocker geometry which aids foot transitions. The Bondi 8 is stiff with all that stack, so having this rocker definitely helps my feet roll through each foot strike.
You must be thinking that all this stack would result in an unstable ride. On the contrary, the midsole platform is really wide! This is one of the most laterally stable max cushioned trainers I’ve used. I find that it does the stability job better than the Adidas Adistar while still maintaining a soft, cushioned ride.
Runners who are looking for a max cushioned shoe but dislike those springy midsole foams found in many brands of today can consider the Bondi 8 for their easy and recovery runs.
Outsole & Durability
The outsole consists of ‘zonal rubber placement for weight savings. I wonder how heavy the Bondi 8 would have been if not for these outsole cut-outs. The outsole coverage is still extensive, but eliminates the centre portion of each zone in an attempt to cut some weight.
Grip wise is pretty decent in both wet and dry conditions. The generous outsole coverage also provides great durability to the Bondi 8, although I have a feeling that the midsole will break down before the outsole does.
Areas of Improvement
New, Livelier Midsole Foam
An Improved Arch Section
Weight Reduction (If Saucony can do it, so can you Hoka)
The Hoka Bondi 8 is a max cushioned trainer that performs well for your easy and recovery runs. While many runners would prefer a lighter option to clock their miles, those who desire high levels of cushioning might be inclined to give this pair a try.
Reviewed by Xtride Running
Check out Hoka Bondi 8 here